Presido Purse no 2/1 aka Blue Birthday Bag

So, when I first saw Erin’s Presido Purse pattern I was interested, but I wasn’t going to buy it. After all, I quite happily make different bags at the drop of a hat.

But the pattern picture with the large polka dot insert kept calling to me, “look, you could make me, in the large polka dot fabric to match your skirt” it said. Except I had no more of that fabric and there is no Ikea near here to get more.

Then my brother, who does live vaguely near an Ikea, invited himself down for the weekend. So I asked him if he would mind going and buying me some fabric and he obliged. Hurrah!

But what lining to choose? I remembered some red fabric with white stars on, that I thought would be similar yet different to the polka dots. That was until I took my polka dot fabric to the shop and found that the reds clashed horribly.

In the end I chose two fabrics that I couldn’t choose between, at that time I was thinking of making two polka dot bags (one for a present I hasten to add). But then the present one turned into a present for a different old friend who has a birthday in January and loves all things blue. So I planned to use some of the blue uphostery remnants from my bag making stash with the bluer of the two lining fabrics.

First I made the lining for what will be my polka dot bag from Erin’s instructions, and very nicely it came out too. But the bag is not finished yet – I’m following the sewalong for a couple of details and I’m having to be patient. Next I made the lining for the birthday present bag and went on to finish it as I had a deadline, hence the 2nd/1st thing.

So, wanna see? First you make the secret pocket with a zipper pocket over the top…

zipped pocket with secret pocket peeking out

zipped pocket with secret pocket peeking out

I used a reclaimed zippers from a destroyed childs coat for the bag. The one for the pocket had attatched the coat hood to the coat (why do they make them like that?!) which meant that I had a matching one from the front of the coat to use for the main bag zip. They’re both green, which tones with blue, right? Plus the lovely owl lining fabric is a tealy blue, so there are definitely green tones there. I added blue ribbon tags from my stash (seriously, if it’s blue, the birthday girl generally likes it, so I planned lots of blue) with judicious dobs of clear nail varnish to stop the ends unravelling and the knots coming undone. The zipper insertion didn’t go in as smoothly as the zipper on my first lining, I think because it was a chunkier zipper. But it looked pretty good. However the fabric at the end of my pocket zipper is narrower than the pieces above and below. It is on the other bag too. Other people seem to have mastered this step fine so I’m pretty sure the error is in my excecution not the instructions.

Zippers with ribbon tags

Zippers with ribbon tags to distract from the way the pockets sides step in where the zip is

Then I found the blue and green and purple upholstery remnants from my stash to choose a combination of fabric for the outer from. Hubby helped. In the end we went for a blue square print fabric for the front and back panels and a matching blue for the bottom, sides and strap (I didn’t have enough of the squares to do it all). We considered inserts but, umm, how can I put this, with the inserts in the main panel the front piece reminded us of a pair of pants. Don’t tell Erin! It’s clearly our dirty minds, but once we’d seen knickers we saw them in all the bags the testers had made with inserts. So we went for no inserts.

the "outside" fabric

the “outside” fabric

The main part came together quite quickly as it’s the same construction as the lining but without any fiddly pockets. I had to “finger press” the seams though because when I ironed it it made a horrible smell that I could ‘t stand. Presumably the fabric is treated with some fire retartand stuff or summat. I was mainly pleased with it. Although a little disappointed. The photo above is a bit misleading, the squares don’t stand out that well in real life, and it was just a little bland. I felt it was letting the lining down. Maybe I should’ve put my foot down and had green side panels. Hmmm.

Next to join the main bag and lining, which you do along the zipper seam. I had never inserted a zipper on a bag before and never sewed a zipper in between a main fabric and an lining. Luckily the instructions were nice and clear. Well, it would have been lucky if I’d read them more carefully. The instruction said to pin the zipper “to the top curved part of the bag with the teeth facing down”, I glanced at the photo, the zipper teeth were pointing down the bag away from the opening, easy peasy. I finished following the instructions painlessy, turned my bag the right way around, had a brief moment of pride at my wonderfully inserted zipper before I realised that I had sewn it in upside down. Ah, that “teeth facing down” instruction must mean, face down, right side of zip to right side of fabric, as is fairly usual in sewing (although they also clearly needed to face down the bag). Never mind, how bad can an upside down zipper be I thought. I zipped it shut. Not too bad, definitely livable with. Then I tried to open it. That was quite hard. Not livable with. Arghh. It clearly needed unpicking. But could I do it without the upholstery fabric that liked to fray coming apart too much for me to reassemble it afterwards. And how would the zip be, I’d already had to “mend” part of the zip tape with nail varnish as it was starting to unravel after getting snared when being unpicked from the coat.

I put it on oneside. And sulked…

Then I had a brainwave. Why unpick and reinsert a zipper so that the exciting fabric can be hidden on the inside. Why not keep the bag the way it was. OK, so the lining fabric was a fairly thin (poly?)cotton, but it would still have the strength of the upholstery fabric on the inside.

Decision made, I fudged the handle construction (I couldn’t get the instructions to work somehow) and attatched the end to the outer lining fabric before sewing the lining and main main and lining fabric together at the top of the sides. This means that the end of the strap is hidden inside the bag.

And job done….

Finished Blue Birthday Bag

Finished Blue Birthday Bag

Inside Out

The Inside Out Bag

zipper tag

funky zipper tag


what it was going to look like

When I finally got my act together, wrapped it, parcelled it, took it to the post office, realised I didn’t have her address, found out her address, took it back to the post office and posted it and it made it’s way (less than a week late) to her, it was a hit. Especially the owls. Which match her owl top and owl slippers. So, once again a sewing disaster that turned into a triumph.

7 thoughts on “Presido Purse no 2/1 aka Blue Birthday Bag

  1. Jolly good idea to turn it inside out – inspired. Looks very cute. I have to confess to the ‘knicker’ perception too – thought it was just me – but once seen I can’t unsee it. I will make this bag one day sans inserts.

  2. That’s such a funny story. I enjoyed reading it all! My input: the owls look lovely. Serendipitous mistakes!p

  3. Thank you. I’m really glad I bought this pattern, its a great bag (if you like huge) I really recommend it and the instructions are very clear. But once seen the knickers don’t go away!

    I think in the end the owls were more popular than the blueness.

    I’m excited that mine is nearly finished but I’m waiting for the handle part of the sewalong so i can do it the way it was intended this time.and see what a difference it makes.

  4. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Spotty Bag for me

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