THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

December 21, 2006

(La) Rue the Day

Filed under: Accessories,Designer Inspirations,Embellishment — phyllisc @ 2:24 pm

By Diva Phyllis
It’s a funny thing about sewing and me – when I get outside my zone, even though I have years of sewing experience, I still feel that newbie anxiety. This is the first project I’ve ever done in leather, and I can’t thank Diva Els and Diva Ann enough for their wonderful recent posts on making leather bags.

The La Rue bag is perfect as a first leather project – it’s simple (only 2 sides) and it presents a LOT of embellishment opportunities. This is made from dark bittersweet chocolate lambskin and it has a silver silk dupioni lining. Dark brown and silver is one of my favorite color combinations – think of the wrapper on a Hershey Bar. The leather came from an EBay merchant named Leatherwise and it was really easy to sew. Of course, you need a Teflon foot and a leather needle. I used Magna-Tac to glue the seams, and the hardware is all nickel plated. Truthfully, I lucked out with the hardware – I found the chain and the rings at Windsor Button in Boston, and the chain on the tassel is a tiny piece left over from my Chanel jacket. Years ago my mother gave me some vintage nickel grommets so I was all set there. I think matching the hardware on a bag is the biggest challenge, and Els’ recent post of canibalizing old handbag hardware is a brilliant idea.

The idea for the strap came from a Gucci bag owned by my friend Stina. Originally I wanted to do two pieces of chain parallel, but it was too heavy even though it looked amazing. I’ll have to size up this bag into a true tote and give that a try. The studs came from Mister Nailhead, also on Ebay, and do check them out because they have a super “Buy It Now” deal that gets you 500 pieces of really cool mixed studs. I haven’t used every style they sent me – there were 10 total in the bag, both nickel and brass.

Did do a few pattern and construction changes: replaced the binding with a simple curved facing, a horizontal center seam was added to the lining to enable me to edge stitch all the way around the top edges, and instead of the zipper pocket I just did a very simple open cell phone & pen pocket.

The armhole was widened 1/2 inch, which is enough for me. I cut an L-shaped slash into the pattern down the middle of the armhole and slide the piece to the left 1/2 inch. Then I added a gentle curve to soften the right angle, which actually made it look more like the original Patricia Field bag.

The tassel is embellished with hot fix Swarovski crystals in mixed colors of red, and a 20MM green faceted crystal bead forms a tassel head. The crystals were hot fixed onto a flat piece of leather which was wrapped around neck because it was impossble to hot fix the crystals onto the curved tassel neck. The tassel is attached to the chain with looped wire which runs through the center of the bead and tassel neck to a stop bead hidden in the skirt. I do need to get heavier beading wire and add a crimp bead to make it really secure. The tassel attaches to the bag with a big nickel plated lobster claw clasp so I can remove it.

So a big thank you to HotPatterns for such a great bag! La Rue bags are now going for the ridiculous price of $150 on the Patricia Field web site, so get sewing and make one of your own!

I really love this pattern.

Happy Holidays!



  1. What a fabulous bag, and of course the embellishments are just superb!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — December 21, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

  2. Phyllis, congrats on accomplishing your first leather sewing experience. Your bag is fabulous and your embellishing skills made it one of a kind and unique.

    Comment by Els — December 21, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

  3. My goodness, what a beautiful bag, Phyllis! Congrats, your embellishments are astounding.

    Comment by Mary Beth — December 21, 2006 @ 6:59 pm

  4. Oooh!Really, really nice.

    Comment by Georgene — December 21, 2006 @ 10:30 pm

  5. Your LaRue is very yummy, Chocolate Lambskin. Excellent job thanks for posting. Very inspiring.

    Comment by Linda — December 22, 2006 @ 4:00 am

  6. Love all the details. The strap/handle and tassel and embellishment really set this apart. Gorgeous!

    Comment by Marji — December 22, 2006 @ 5:12 am

  7. Fabulous bag. Can you tell me exactly where in the construction sequence you applied the curved facings? Thanks.

    Comment by goldenferrule — December 22, 2006 @ 6:30 am

  8. Your bag is gorgeous and very inspirational. Thanks to your links, I am going to tackle my fear of sewing with leather.

    Comment by VTmartha — December 22, 2006 @ 7:04 am

  9. Each bag I see completed just gets better and better. I absolutely love the details, like the studs and crystals and tassel. Just splendid.

    Comment by Ms. Place — December 22, 2006 @ 9:42 am

  10. Wow what a beautiful job you did on your bag. I love the details and the studs. Thank you for the sites on ebay I’ve put them down as favorite sellers.
    Priscilla :O)

    Comment by Anonymous — December 22, 2006 @ 3:42 pm

  11. I really like your additions/alterations to this pattern–especially the circular facing and the horizontal seam. Very nice detailing with the studs and crystals and the way you did the belt and tassel. Very Nice!

    Comment by Carolyndh — December 22, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

  12. Beautiful – I love the silver lining with the chocolate leather combo!

    $150? I think not. Thanks to the magic of sewing we all have our own *personalized* versions!

    Comment by Summerset — December 23, 2006 @ 5:37 am

  13. Phylllis, this is so gorgeous! And you are so generous to provide links to your sources – thank you!


    Comment by Anonymous — December 23, 2006 @ 7:39 am

  14. Oh wow! I love your bag! And all the embellishments made it absolutely stunning!

    Comment by Maja — December 24, 2006 @ 2:42 am

  15. What a beautiful bag. The chocolate and silver is the most beautiful color combination. You certainly can’t tell it’s your first leather project.

    Comment by Melody — December 25, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

  16. Very successful! I like your alternative facing on the armhole & making a horizontal seam in th elining to allow cleaner finishing of the edges.
    I was wondering if something like that would work. Your embellishments are so creative and make the bag!

    Comment by Robin — December 26, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  17. Phyllis, email me with your address if you want some doo-dahs (nailheads).

    Comment by Kathleen Fasanella — December 29, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

  18. Phyllis – Stunning bag! I’d say yours is worth at least $150. The original wasn’t even leather, which surprised me. Yes, sewing is the best: unlimited possibilities, unlimited inspiration, amazing satsifaction when it all works. Thanks for sharing your lovely work. Sue

    Comment by Susan — December 30, 2006 @ 10:37 pm

  19. Hello,

    Your handbag (in my humble opinion) looks like the best I have ever seen. I would like to make this bag as well, but I would like to replicate the exact LaRue handbag, with distressed light brown leather, and the metallic tassel. I would also like to increase the dimensions of the handbag by 2 inches on each side (I am 5’10” and would like a larger bag for my body length) I’m a pretty good sewer, but have no idea of how to increase the dimensions accurately and how to make the curved shape closer to yours.

    Did you use a special cutting tool? Or did you eyeball it? Any advise and suggestions you can share would be most welcome and greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for sharing your fanastic looking purse!


    Juliet Perrault

    Comment by Juliet Perrault — January 24, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  20. Your version is so much better than the original! Do you still have a copy of the pattern? I just found out about it and it’s long gone.

    Comment by Marilyn — November 13, 2007 @ 10:59 am

  21. Girl this bag is fabulous and I agree, it looks much better then the original. Do you sell them?

    Comment by Angela Rivera de Texidor — November 17, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

  22. I love this bag!!!
    Can anybody send me the pattern????
    I heard it was a free down load but I can’t get it.
    I would love to make this bag
    Please send it to

    Thank You

    Comment by marie — November 29, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

  23. Diva,

    Could you explain what a simple curved facing is…

    I tried making a test bag but the arm holes did not come out well I am not a sewing diva heheheh

    Any help with the arm hole would be greatly appreciated.
    the horizontal center seam doo-hicky sounds very good too. If you would mind explaining that too.

    thank you 😉

    Comment by marie — December 18, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  24. oops 😉
    If you wouldn’t mind explaining …….

    Comment by marie — December 19, 2007 @ 8:07 am

  25. thank you !
    I have made two bags now.
    They look pretty good for a novice like me 😉

    Comment by marie — January 7, 2008 @ 9:06 am

  26. This bag is GORGEOUS!!! You did such a fabulous job with it, I am completely inspired to give it a shot… just curious, I have just printed out the pattern, (for those of you who can’t find it, try here)

    and it doesn’t look large enough even at 125% – I am just curious at what setting you printed out? OR if you sell your adjusted pattern?

    Thank you!


    Comment by Jennifer — May 18, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  27. This is my weekend project and I need assistance with the pattern. Please help.

    Comment by kasandra marie — October 5, 2008 @ 6:11 pm

  28. Would you consider making some to sell???

    Comment by Kristi — October 25, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

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