How Do You Design?

Black, gray, brown & yellow jacquard upholstery fabric that's as thick as if it were quilted.

I almost always sketch my ideas. But I just saw this fantastic upholstery fabric on sale that I HAD to have & knew I was going to make a purse out of it. Problem is I don't really know how to design purses. I have sketchbooks full of clothing designs, but almost no accessory designs of any kind. When it comes to purses, I feel stupid. I just stare at the blank page in front of me & wonder what the hell I'm doing.

Framing the fabric too see what area I should use & what shape I should make.

With this fabric I decided to change things a little. When getting new apparel fabric I'll often hold it up to my body & see if I'd like it as a dress, skirt, etc. In that spirit I laid the fabric out & moved some muslin around it to block off a good shape.

I think I may make it into a circle (that's belting framing the section I like). I also don't know diddly squat about making bags, but am thinking of using the same stiff belting to help it hold its shape. What do you think? How do you go about designing things?

Probably the winning shape.



8 thoughts on “How Do You Design?

  1. great fabric – i bet it has a lovely feel.
    the belting would probably work well for shape. you could also use a heavier iron-in interfacing or fusible fleece to give it body.
    some other things to think about (maybe you already have) – lining, zip or non-zip pockets, length and style of strap/handles, bag closure (zip, snap, magnetic snap, button, nothing…).
    it will be great to see what you come up with 🙂

    • The texture is visually more swoon worthy than the feel, but it certainly doesn’t feel rough or bad & I really love how all the different threads were used together. I did use my stiffest interfacing, but now I wish I had used a few layers! This morning I’m going to try to reverse engineer some more architecture into the thing.

  2. I like the circle shape.
    When it comes to designing, don’t over think it. I know it sounds crazy, but the fabric will speak to you.

    • I think both are really important- thinking through every detail can get you a wonderful couture gown, but you certainly don’t want gowns for every day! I’ve been trying trying do make more immediate projects with less planning because I tend to think through a lot. I’ve had some mixed results, but it’s been good to branch out a bit!

  3. I draw nothing. Actually that’s not true I do draw stuff but I don’t usually end up making it because I have the attention span of a gnat. I have, however, made a round (ish) bag (last image this book).

    • Nice purse! I have a similar attention span & can be horribly impatient. That’s why I haven’t made most of the things I’ve drawn- takes too long for me to draft a pattern & test it over & over- although that’s how I started out sewing. For years I didn’t know how to flat pattern so I had to reinvent the wheel every time. Figuring out how to work with commercial patterns was a revelation in productivity.

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