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.