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Floral Swoon Mabel Handbag for a Summer Wedding

I bought this dress for my niece's wedding in July, it was just so pretty I couldn't resist it!  Then I realised I didn't have a bag to go with it!  Can you believe it, all the bags I've made, and I have nothing small, pretty and floral!

So I trawled the local patchwork and quilting shops, then went on-line and finally found what looked perfect, this vintage style floral rose print.  But it turned out to be fine voile, a flimsy cotton not quilting weight cotton.  Disappointed I went on looking but kept coming back to the voile, it was such a good colour and pattern match.  In the end I decided I would just have to make it work!  For the lining I found a mottled green and pink cotton (Moda Spraytime) that both went perfectly.

The next thing was deciding on the pattern.  Yes I know you usually do it the other way round, but until I found the fabric there would be not bag!  I considered another "Emma" ( or Glenda (Swoon Patterns) but really wanted something a little different, a more traditional looking handbag.  Then I remembered the free Vintage Handbag called Mabel from Swoon patterns, and I knew that was what I wanted to make.

I already had the pattern so I read it through, then decided I was going to a) use a twist lock, b) add some slip pockets, and c) make a contrasting handle by using the pink lining fabric.  I reinforced my voile with some sew-in interfacing basted on with a 1/8" seam, on top of the fusible woven interfacing necessary for the pattern.  I considered pieceing it somehow to use both the pink and the green cottons, but went for just the pink in the end.

I confess I struggled to sew an even 1/2" seam to assemble the bag.  What with the pins and the way the edges crumpled underneath I had to unpick some and sew it all again once the pins were out, to get a smooth line.  I think the secret for me would be to hand baste and remove the pins, then stitch with a zipper foot so it fits next to the stabiliser neatly.

However I got there eventually, and assembled the flap and put them together.  I think overall I would prefer to use foam wadding (ByAnnies Soft & Stable/Vilene Style-Vil/Pellon Flex Foam) cut to match the exterior, then trim it all out of the seams afterwards.  My twist lock and pink handle went on okay.  

I did consider using one of these faux leather case handles I bought from u-handbag, but it came in red, not hot pink, and just didn't look as good.  Maybe my next Mabel?

For my slip pocket pattern I used the main panel pattern piece cut down a couple of inches.  I cut 2 from the voile and interfaced them with vilene G700 (pellon SF101) and stitched them RST across the top.  I pressed the seam open then turned the pocket RSO, pressed it again and top-stitched across the top edge.  

I positioned this on the lining panel matching the raw edges and basted in within the seam allowance.  Now it was held in place I stitched it up the middle, took one stitch across, then stitched straight down again, dividing it in two. 

Then I just continued assembling the lining, which was much easier than stitching the exterior together!  My pocket was now fixed in place by the gusset seam.  I trimmed it with pinking shears to notch the curves and trim the seam allowance in one.

Then it's time to put it all together and squeeze it out through a very small gap!  This always worries me, but it worked without ripping any of my stitches.  I gave it a good press and then pinned and hand basted it so the lining stayed inside (and I could get rid of the pins) before top-stitching all around the top edge.

I was happy with how it looked, but decided it needed an extra finishing touch - some rivets!  I added a double cap rivet to each of the squares holding the handle on. Then I decided that it was finished, although in retrospect I think I could have added bag feet to help keep it's bottom clean!

Someow the sunshine has toned the colours down, but you can see how pretty and dainty it looks.  And now you get to see how well it goes with my dress!

It's a Wedding MaBell!

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Comment by Karen on July 14, 2017 at 6:21pm
Thank you, it was such a great match it was meant to be! I am now making another Mabel with that red case handle and a cherries fabric; watch this space!
Comment by Roxanne on July 12, 2017 at 9:41am

I repeat Mary Ellen's comments!  And thank you for the pictures of the construction process.  

Comment by Mary Ellen Edwards on July 11, 2017 at 9:28pm

I think your bag is simply lovely and such an unbelievable fabric and color match. A stunning ensemble! I bet you were the belle of the wedding.

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