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After showing off the first purse I’d made, which was open topped and had no closures, someone asked me “is it possible to make this same purse but with a zipper?” Hmm. Worked a bit with zippers on pencil cases. How much harder could that be? So began a period of experimenting and learning.

After I had made one or two, and took one in to work to show them what I had been wrangling with the previous weekend, I was asked a question: is it possible I could make 10 purses by August? Hmm, 10? By August? Not sure, considering how long those two had taken me! However, I said I’d give it a try. And so began a period of experimenting and learning.IMG_2428

Catching on to the theme here? 🙂

My short notes when making that first purse turned into almost two pages of “if then” instructions, depending on how I wanted to make the next purse. Zippered top? Cut the body pieces x inches by y inches.

Inside slide pockets? Cut the fabric a inches by b inches, sew in this manner.

Outside pockets must be top-stitched.IMG_2424

That really doesn’t look like the batting will stay in place over time. Add a couple of quilting lines here and here.

Handles need to be cut this long to be carried on the shoulder.

Inside zippered pocket? Cut inside pocket fabric this big if using method R, two pieces this big if using method S.

The zippered-top instructions don’t make sense. Why don’t I try it this way… eureka, that looks so much better!IMG_2427

DON’T FORGET TO OPEN THE ZIPPER BEFORE SEWING LIKE SIDES TOGETHER. (In caps, because I forgot to do that at least three times, and decided I was becoming regrettably talented at opening zippers from the wrong side.)

Hmm, that seam didn’t quite even out, I’d better double-stitch that. You know what, double-stitching that whole section for all purses would be smarter.

And so, I’ve reached the last of the 10 purses, which was actually 14 purses because the customer wanted all of them to have zippered tops (leaving out the first two), I needed a new purse for myself, and someone else ordered one. I’ve made this pattern so many times I don’t even need to look at my notes anymore (although I make sure they are up to date, in case I start making something else and forget some of the important things I’ve learned along the way). I really like how these purses turned out. And every one is totally unique, because I don’t have enough fabric to make two exactly the same.10 purses July 2015

Is it possible to…? Probably, if you view it as a journey instead of a test, as a learning experience instead of a “have to”. I’ve had a lot of fun with these, although my sewing machine is probably ready for a break.  🙂