Thursday, September 14, 2006

Zipperhead Bag

This is the bag I started with, about a year ago. I had gotten an Epson inkjet printer, specifically for this sort of project, and this was my first attempt at printing fabric using the DuraBrite ink system.

I started with a piece of artwork I'd nabbed from Worth 1000 some time ago; a hand-colored Bride of Frankenstein still. After deciding what size the bag would be (basically big enough for my phone, wallet and keys), I printed the panel and assembled a very simple lined bag with a zipper at the top.

I was very happy with the way it turned out and started printing pieces to use in a variety of projects, including the one I want to talk more about following. (By the way, after more than a year, the Elsa bag is still brightly-colored.)

With the Elsa bag in mind, I decided to do a sort of companion. But this time, I wanted to use the zipper as a design element in addition to a closure.

I started with the classic Frankenstein portrait and created a piece of artwork (on my Mac) featuring hand-coloring and some more details in the background. They show up much better in person, where you can see there are cherubs, a skeleton, etc., behind him. Some of the colors are quite subtle and were difficult to photograph.

After deciding on a size (again, basically big enough for phone/wallet/keys), I drafted the pattern entirely in Photoshop, splitting open his head and adding allowances for the zipper insertion. Then print, cut, stitch, line, flip, tada! It's got a pleather back panel and embroidered linen in the interior (black with multi-colored lizards--a very cute leftover scrap). The hardware attachments are rope cleats of some sort scored from Lowe's, and the chain handle is scavenged from a belt. It's all adjustable; in fact, I made two different chain straps, one for across-body and one for over-shoulder (shown--there is a narrow webbing woven through the chain, and a small chainmail piece at each end). I also finished it off by a little bundle of lock and key dangles on the zipper pull, after I had already taken the photo.

Now, here's the really funny part of this. I had made it specifically to carry to a tattoo convention in Toronto this summer. At the same time, though, a website I sometimes visit, Pattern Review, was having a handbag contest. And it was a "season" theme! I decided that Halloween was a season, and I entered this bag almost as a lark. As I'm sure you can guess, people who spend a lot of time on sewing websites tend to be more Holly Hobbie than Halloween, and when I post my goofy things, the best I can typically hope for is to be ignored.

The contest was decided by visitor/member votes, and boy was I surprised when I found I had tied for the win! The other winning bag was exactly the sort of thing I had expected to take the contest--a beautifully-constructed floral clutch. I was so glad to see the other visitors evidently had more of a sense of humor than I'd privately given them credit for. (I won a gift certificate for a sewing pattern site, incidentally, which is a little ironic since I didn't use a pattern for the bag.)


  1. Anonymous16:17

    Hey, you musta inherited some of your Grandma's sewing talents after all (not her taste in designs!)

  2. Anonymous16:30

    P.S. I do like the handle.


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