McCall’s 6176 — Needs More Skulls

Honestly, I don’t know HOW I could fit any more skulls onto this purse. I finished it yesterday and have been using it since last night. Here it is:

M6176, View D

Ok, the first thing that I have to note is there seems to be a drafting error. The gusset that forms the bottom of the bag is too short if sewn as indicated, with a center seam. I put a note on the pattern piece to “cut on fold” rather than sew that seam. This should also make for a stronger bottom. It took me 3 tries of sewing and ripping to figure this out, and once I did then I simply cut the gusset in half and inserted a square bottom which you can see here:

Good thing this print is busy. Any matching is accidental, I assure you.

Now for the nitty gritty.

I used a poplin from Lip Service, bought off of Ebay. The skulls have something that looks like a reversed number 322 printed under them (no idea what it means, probably something Satanic). This is a VERY crisp poplin, I don’t know what you would use it for aside from bags since the printed skulls make for a stiff hand. Here’s what I did differently from the directions:

— Interfaced the outer shell with DecorBond instead of fusible fleece plus regular interfacing. This makes for a stiffer exterior, which is kind of what I was going for but I won’t do it again because DecorBond does not fuse well and there are visible creases in the fabric. Again, good thing it’s kind of a busy print.

— I thought the zipper looked weird being placed on top of the decorative band, like the directions want you to do. I also didn’t want to cut down a 12″ zipper and risk breakage, plus I hate having super-long front pockets. So, I used a 9″ zipper with self-fabric tabs at each end to cover the (slight) length discrepancy, then I used the front pocket piece to cut a lining and put together the pocket that way.  The decorative band now covers up the top of the zipper. I think this looks so much better than the way the directions are written. Maybe it’ll be clearer with a picture:

— I didn’t bother to interface the loop at the top because interfacing means I can’t turn a loop right side out. Turns out the joke’s on me — my fabric was too stiff to do that anyway, so I just ironed the edges to the inside like bias tape. Next time I’ll use the interfacing and do the bias method.

— I also didn’t interface the straps for the same reason. I wanted them padded, so I cut two 1.25″ strips of fusible fleece, ironed them down the middle of the straps, then turned them right side out and sewed down the straps. This caused a good deal of fiddling and the straps aren’t quite as padded as I would like. Next time I’ll make the straps, then pull TWO back-to-back strips of fusible fleece down the middle of each casing (like you’d put in elastic), fuse and then sew. I think this will get a better result with less swearing.

— I didn’t bother with the side pockets or loop. I have never in my life used a pocket that small, and I don’t like pockets without zippers.

— For that reason, I totally ignored the interior pocket instructions and made a hanging pocket instead, based off a RTW bag I already own. Just insert a zipper in a fabric tube, make a small bag out of it, then sew to the back of the lining like this:

Interior pocket. I cut down a longer zipper for this, but I'm not as worried if this one breaks.

— The instructions have you construct the lining as a simple bag with no interfacing. I used fusible fleece to interface the back, front, and bottom then put everything together like a bag in reverse and hand-stitched the top to the zipper. The hand-stitching was kind of painful because the material was so stiff, and the lining tends to shift a bit but I’m not sure how I’d do this step differently next time. I do like the idea that I can easily open up the bag to do repairs if needed.

A few observations after using the bag:

1) The shoulder straps could stand to be shortened a wee bit. I took off about 1.5″ while sewing, but I think I’ll take off 2″ next time. Keep in mind, I don’t wear heavy coats so I can get away with less strap. The straps are not adjustable, which is something else I might change.

2) Black is a very bad color for interior lining when your phone and most of your accessories are also black. Duly noted.

3) Wonder Tape is the single best invention for anyone who wants to make bags. I have no idea how I installed zippers before this.

4) Regular zippers have really dinky pulls. I’m probably going to add ribbon or something to make it easier to access my stuff, but for next time I’ll probably look into some sport zippers with chunkier pulls/teeth.

Well, that’s it! Operation New Purse is done and dusted. Let’s all collapse in a heap now.

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Posted on October 3, 2011, in sewing. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You need a skull sharm for the dinky zipper pull! Great review- now I need one of these.

  2. The cherries made me giggle a little. Tough, edgy skulls on the outside, happy girly fabric on the inside. It’s perfect.

    • Part of the challenge I posed to myself was to use up fabric that I had floating around, rather than buying anything new. I thought the cherries offset the skulls nicely, and I had just enough of the fabric to cut out the lining without fussing. One of the difficulties of sewing mainly clothes is that I end up with a lot of nice remnant cuts in between half a yard and a yard, and there’s not much that can be done with that amount.

  3. totally loving it; inside and out, but yes it needs more skulls!

  4. I was totally thinking a skull zipper-pull. Also a big skull applique on the front (preferably with a bow on), but obviously it’s a bit late for that ;). Seriously, cute, cute bag, and I really appreciate the tips. Someday I’m going to go off my rocker and attempt something like this, and posts like yours will save my sanity. 😀

    • Ha, you would probably be surprised at how easy bags are, relative to say, jeans.

      And yes, I’m thinking about sewing my next bag already. Big appliqué and all!

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