Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Handbag Sew-Along Week 2

It is week two of the  Amy Butler Beautiful Belle Handbag Sew-Along. When I begun this sew-along, I thought I would have a hard time pacing myself and would have made my bags by now. (I have been busy with some custom orders: a lace jacket and a custom embroidery order.) It took me a few days to narrow down my exterior fabric choices, but when I did, I was able to move to this weeks' task of adding marking and interfacing to pattern pieces. 

My bag fabrics
Amy Butler bags are usually advanced lessons in interfacing and stabilizers. This pattern however, requires only medium-weight interfacing and a little bit of Shape flex to give it its' structure.

Interfaced interior fabrics

Interfacing and stabilizer area along the bottom.
I have decided to use leather for my handles on both bags. There is an awesome thrift store in town that has progressively declining prices on all of their items. On Wednesdays, everything in the store is $.25! This store is the definition of chaos on a Wednesday and when I go, I must go with a plan. No kids, knowledge of what I want, comfortable shoes and a willingness to "throw elbows" if needed ;p. I went in one day with a plan to source leather and boy did luck out! 

Half of my haul! There is some animal print in there!

The other half: with some blue suede and silver leather in there!
I thought this bag was a good candidate for leather handles and I shopped my stash for a good match. For the chevron print fabric, I decided on tan suede from a skirt (sorry no before pic) .
Suede handles
 For the floral print bag, I choose this pink suede jacket.
Pink Suede Jacket

Sleeve removed
I cut the handles on this one longer.
Ready to sew!
I have a heavy duty sewing machine and leather needles. I am confident (hopeful and prayerful) that my machine will be able to take on this task. I have been publicly coveting an industrial sewing machine like the one Hillary at Entropy Always Wins  just bought. Since I am no longer saving for a Chanin Studio week (I longer support this company), an industrial machine is closer on the horizon than I thought!  

I will share how my Singer does on the handles when I begin bag construction.

Happy Sewing,


  1. Oh man Bianca, I am so jealous of that leather stash! So funny because I've been asking all my friends about old leather skirts/jackets/etc they may want to give me for repurposing. Great minds think alike I guess. :) Love your fabric choices and anxious to see how the bags turn out.

    1. Great minds do think alike! :) You are the bag queen, so I must be on point when I make mine.

      Today is Wednesday, so I popped in at that store and snagged you a coat or two check your flickrmail :)

  2. What a haul! How lucky you are to have such a great thrift store nearby. These bags are gorgeous and I would love to join in...if only there were more sewing hours available in my day.
    Regarding the AC situation; I admire and respect your standing behind your principles. Their reaction/response is disappointing, not only for the obvious reasons, but also in light of the fact that you have championed their designs and spent a great deal of time making them and blogging about them. Pretty on the outside doesn't always mean pretty on the inside. Shame on them.

    1. Julie, thanks so much for your support; it means so much. You have always supported my pieces and I know you understand the significance of my withdrawal. I feel like a fool for giving so much of my time to a company for whom a critical element of my person-hood is insignificant. You said it so right " Pretty on the outside doesn't always mean pretty on the inside."

  3. By the way, I have just penned my own inquiry to Alabama Chanin about your situation. As another woman of color, perhaps if more of us voice our upset the response will be more satisfactory. I have a hard time believing that Natalie Chanin herself would not see it our way and that the response you received did not have her approval. Hopefully, we will see in time that it was the thinking of an individual speaking for the company and truly not the organization's official stance. I used to work in crisis comunications in D.C. and in public relations this is a rampant problem. I'll let you know what I find out.

    1. Thanks so much for the support! I like you thought that it was not a company response, but one of an individual. From the message, it looks like it came from Natalie Chanin who was following the communication. She explained that the misnomer is system-wide and has been in place since 2000. They had also just released new color cards. The impression I got was that the cost of the change was greater than my concern. I am curious to hear what happens with your inquiry.