Cherry Blossom Evening Bag

This is a bag I made to enter in The Independent Handbag Designer Awards. I interned with a handbag designer when I was in school and she always told me to enter this competition, and I finally did this year!

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About two months ago I decided I would enter, but I still didn’t know what my bag would look like. Then about a month ago I thought I better get onto it and went to Toronto for supplies. I got this really beautiful cream coloured pearlized leather from The Fabric Room. I had eyed it last year but didn’t have any projects in mind until now. I also got a teal coloured pig suede to line the bag from Perfect Leather. I didn’t have much luck finding any hardware. It’s so difficult to find any hardware here, if only I lived in New York. I quickly ordered some hardware off of Etsy, praying it would get here in time. I waited until the last minute……and it did not come. So now I had no hardware and NO time left!! At least I had my design mostly figure out so I just started it hoping I would finish it time. The deadline was April 23 at 11:59pm and I literally submitted my entry at 11:56pm. I made it JUST in time!

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I was inspired by High Park in Toronto. Around this time of year its filled with beautiful cherry blossom trees. I also really like to experiment with different textures and shapes: the pearlized main leather, the purple suede circle, the pebbled leather tree and the 3D leather flowers. I hand cut and sewed on 100 flowers, each layered with a circle of pink suede and anchored with a fresh water pearl. The bag has four gold purse feet and a teal green suede lining. The lining has two pockets, one zippered and one patch pocket.

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The bag is small and structured. I used a recycled leather stiffner on the front and back, I used a plastic purse bottom and I fused the side panels with shirt collar fusing.  The handles are made using plumbers tubing and overlapped to form the handle shape.

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I had bought Tandy leather edge paint in Neutral, it painted on mostly clear, so I painted the raw edges with textile paint first, then used the edge paint as a top coat.

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This bag was going together so smoothly, until the very end, where it just all went wrong. And at this point I only had a couple hours left, needless to say I was getting stressed. I was really wishing I had an industrial free arm sewing machine. I didn’t realized the bag would basically just not fit in my machine, no matter what I did. I ended up having to take the plastic bottom out to sew the sides in, and then cover the plastic base and place it above the lining instead. But it all worked out in the end.

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Heres the picture I entered in the competition, you could only send in one picture so I tried to make it look as pro as possible. I just entered the competition for fun and if I place or not I still got a pretty new evening bag out of it!

MaliaJanveaux

I can’t wait to see what bags are chosen this year!  Thanks for reading!

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