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Kimura purse/handbag pattern

kiwianne | Posted in Patterns on

I am trying to make the Marrakesh bag in Stephanie Kimura’s “Bags of Style” book but have come to a grinding halt because I can’t understand the instructions.  I
have read and re-read them but I still can’t work them out.  Is there something I am missing?

The ‘Prepare’ section says to cut FOUR batting pieces of #THIRTEEN 2 but only a total of TWO silk pieces (one brown, one green) of #THIRTEEN 2. Then when I go to the ‘Assemble’ section, Item 3 says to sew the green silk dupioni body pieces (by which I assume it means the lining pieces of Piece 1) to the strips, but the only strips that have been cut are already stitched to the tapestry pieces. Am I supposed to cut extra two green silk dupioni strips for these?

Further, in Item 4 it says to place the two tapestry/silk pieces RST and sew the TOP seam. Is that meant to be the SIDE seam?

I don’t want to proceed unless I am sure that I am doing the right thing. The fabric I’m using is too special to make mistakes with.

Any help anyone can give me would be much appreciated.

Regards, Kiwianne


  1. marymary | | #1

    kiwianne, I don't think you are missing anything, I think the directions are missing something.  Here is my understanding of how to make this bag, after studying the directions in the book.

    First, there should be two addition strips of the green dupioni cut for the lining.  Since the lining is the same pattern as the outside, you need those so that the lining ends up the same size as the outer fabric.  I would have cut the lining all in one piece by combining the two patterns, but I think you have already cut, right?

    Yes, in item Four, you sew the side seams, not the top.  If you were to sew the top, you would just end up with the two tapestry pieces sewn together.  You don't want that.

    I would additionally, maybe, make the opening in the lining bottom a little larger than the 5 inches.  Tapestry can be hard to pull through an opening that size.  I am just basing this on prior experience, not this bag.

    I do make bags.  I even carry some of them.  My best ones end up leaving the house with my daughters.

    If I have not made anything clear, let me know.


    Edited 4/21/2007 1:04 pm ET by marymary

    1. kiwianne | | #2

      Many thanks, Marymary.  So reassuring to know that I am not going doolally in my old age!  Now I can proceed in safety.

      What a pity these errors weren't caught at the editing stage of the book.  Doesn't anyone test these things anymore?

      Regards, Anne

    2. kiwianne | | #3

      Hi Marymary

      Me again asking for another sanity check.  Have you made the Jungle Book bag on p61 of same book?  That's what I've been trying to do this afternoon and I'm just about screaming with frustration!  The illustrations and the patterns don't seem to match.

      The pocket shape shown in the illustration on p61 is not the same as the one given in the pattern.  The pattern one is much smaller and therefore doesn't allow the pocket to fit as per the illustration on p62.  And because of the four layers involved when sewing the side and bottom, it is impossible to turn it without getting very lumpy corners. 

      Arrrrggggghhhhhh!!!! More wasted time and fabric.

      Yours in a highly agitated state, Anne

      1. marymary | | #4

        Anne, I don't think I have made any of the patterns in bags with style.  Now, I am not sure I ever will.  I have a lot of handbag books and patterns and when I decide to make one, I go through all to decide what to make.  This one hasn't made the cut.  If it makes you feel any better, this is not the only handbag book that has mistakes.  One other that I tried to use had the amount of materials all wrong.  Could not make the bag with what they had listed and had to start over.

        I have had good success with Vogue handbag patterns, Ghee handbags from Linda McGehee, and some old Simplicity and Butterick patterns.  I even design some of my own.  I found a handbag in a thrift store that I really liked, but it was in sad shape.  It was an old tapestry bag, so I bought it and made my own pattern.  I have another denim one from a thrift store that I plan to do the same with.

        I started making cloth handbags when I realized that my leather purses were just too heavy.  Some of them were too heavy empty.

        I haven't pulled the pattern for the Jungle Book, but will do so later today.  I want to see how "off" it is.  I plan to make the corrections to my book so that if I decide to make either of the ones you have, I will not have to remember what is wrong with them.  BTW, you picked the two prettiest bags in the book.  I love the monkey fabric.  I have some to reupholster a chair.  That's been on my to-do list for a while now.

        Did you finish the first bag? Or, the second, for that matter? 

        1. kiwianne | | #5

          Hi Marymary

          After much gnashing of teeth, I think I have found a way to make the Jungle book pocket to work but it still leaves me an untidy inside to the pocket.  I may topstitch around the outside of it to enclose the seam.

          Rather disheartening to hear that other books suffer the same inaccuracies.  I've got quite a few Vogue and Butterick patterns as well.  I've made Mc Calls 3772/E several times for myself, daughter-in-law and friends.  Found another lovely one in McCalls the other day - 5119 - which I am dying to try but must finish these other two first or they will just lie around unfinished forever.

          Have you tried the StudioKat designs?  Have several of those too but haven't got round to doing one yet.  I want to try some crazy patchwork as well on these.

          I also have made things from existing bags etc.  My biggest success was jewellery rolls, copying one I've had for years.  I'd been going to silk dyeing workshops for several years and ended up with lots of little samples that I didn't know what to do with.  Once I worked out that I could get a JR out of them, I went into production and made 24 of them, most of which have been given away as presents.  A previously crammed drawer now has space for more fabric.  :-)

          I know what you mean about the weight of leather bags.  We travel quite a bit and by the time I've got all the essentials in, my leather travel handbag weighs a ton.

          Thanks for your help and thanks for the tip about McGhee purses.  Have just found the website and will indulge myself with a good look round.  Handles are hard to get here so I'm hoping she will have some nice ones.  Good to talk to you.

          Regards, Anne

      2. marymary | | #6

        Anne, I looked at the pattern for the Jungle Book.  If you just cut the pattern the way it is presented, no wonder you are screaming with frustration.  The pattern pieces for the top band and the pocket need to be copied and have a seam allowance added.  I do see that the pocket pattern and the illustration are not the same.   If you just cut the pieces the way they are, they will not go back together.  What a poor design.  I looked through the book hoping there were instructions for doing that, but could not find any.  A beginning sewer would really be frustrated with this book.  No editing and appears to have been put together by a committee.

        While I was typing this, your new message came in.  I will look at the StudioKat designs.  I don't know that I have looked at those.  I will also look for the McCalls pattern you mentioned.  I do have some McCalls and just forgot to mention them.  When Hancocks has pattern sales, I always look for handbag patterns.  I buy some even when I don't have an immediate use.  Never can tell when you want that one.

        Funny you should mention jewelry rolls.  A few years ago, I made travel jewelry bags for Christmas presents.  They were based on two circles, one smaller than the other with pie shaped  pockets.  Big hit.

        Today, I am painting fabric that I plan to use for a handbag. 

        1. kiwianne | | #7

          So comforting to know that it really isn't me that is so stupid.

          Enjoy your fabric painting, Marymary. 

          Must do some housework before I can let myself sew. :-(

          Regards, Anne

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