Number one: Brown shoulder bag


I made this bag a while ago. I think I finished it in May or June. I can’t quite remember, it was a busy time for me. I used the Diana pattern from Burdastyle. I chose a heavy, chocolate brown cotton for the bag. Funny story – I’ve always wanted a leather shoulder bag of more or less these dimensions, but I’ve never been able to justify spending that much money on an accessory. Well, at least not at this point in my life. One, I’m earning a mere teacher’s salary, and two, I’m supposed to be saving money here in Asia. So I decided to make myself a shoulder bag, and I chose brown as a little inside joke to myself. It doesn’t even slightly resemble leather.


The bag was fairly easy to make, and I recommend it wholeheartedly as a project for beginners. Nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment when you snip off the last bit of stray thread and hold up your finished article of beauty for the walls and dust bunnies to behold. I used a gorgeous paisley cotton for the lining. Anyone within earshot of me that week could tell you that I lamented my chronological impairment at least once every two hours. I wish I had been alive in the seventies! Who could get away with a blouse in browney-orangey paisley print today? I know I couldn’t pull it off. Hence my decision to use this lovely little find on the inside of my bag, where only my eyes could see and enjoy it. I also added a patch pocket on the inside to keep my cellphone, keys and MRT card within easy reach. It wasn’t exactly brain surgery, so I won’t bother with a lengthy tutorial.


I’ve been teaching myself to sew, and nobody is a better tutor than experience. I learned more than a few things with this bag. For example, when and when not to use interfacing. I had decided that my chocolate cotton wasn’t stiff or sturdy enough for my liking, so I bought some iron-on interfacing at the same place where I got the brown and the paisley, Yong Le Fabric Market  (永樂市場) in Taipei. But alas, I haven’t been able to do anything about the bubbles that had appeared after its first wash. Here’s a very sad picture of the miserable bubbles:


I’m planning on making another Diana bag for a friend, but this time I’ll try canvas or denim and see how it turns out. I like the idea of a bag that you can just toss in with the rest of the laundry. In the meantime, my bag and I are going everywhere together. It accompanied me on a visit home to South Africa in July – here we are looking at some musicians/toy sellers during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown…


  …and of course to the park near my flat in Shilin (士林). I feel about this bag the way I suspect some mothers feel about their offspring – it’s a little wonky and a little odd, but I made it, so I love it. And I think I’ll keep it.



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