Sunday, 20 November 2005

Sills Bend Bag Festival

UPDATE: these bags are all gone. Thanks very much to the four buyers. I appreciate it very, very much, and I hope you'll enjoy the bags for a long time to come.

More photographs, longwinded descriptions, and the all-important Paypal buttons may be found underneath the fold. This is the longest post ever, by the way. Sorry RSS people.

(If you would like to know about terms of sale and shipping, read this. For care and maintenance instructions, click here.)

Here is my first bag made specifically for Sills Bend. It's a sling bag, and its name is Fangirl.

hmmm yeah sorry about the badness of these photos, it was raining when I took them :( anyway, the bag is nicer than these atrocious pictures!

Fangirl is made from rich orange and cream wool - vintage, circa 1965? - that I was lucky enough to get a nice big piece of recently. A very big piece, in fact. You'll probably see this fabric again... anyway, the fabric is reversible, see the little flipped-over triangle bit down the centre? Inside, the bag is lined with crisp cream canvas, and there's a good big lined pocket inside it. The continuous strap is veeeery long and on a medium heighted woman it will go diagonally across you and rest on your hip or bottom. The bag does up with a loop around a double button contraption at the top of the actual bag section.

I thought I'd kick things off here in the same style as I intend to continue and individualise what is a very nice but essentially quiet and restrained bag with something not so er, restrained: hence the Pelorian Cat Rock Band patch stitched to the right front. I printed this onto cotton & it's washable and wearable as well as ridiculously adorable.

Also adorning the front of the bag is a handmade silk chysanthemum pin, which is detachable and re-attachable. It would look good on other accessories besides this bag. I made it as well.

UPDATE: Fangirl is going home with Ampersand Duck: thanks, &duck!

Bag #2 today is called Gilbert and George. Stupid name for a bag? I think so. ;)

Not that this is such a very interesting story, but oh well. All the reasoning behind the name, is that I have a Rubik's cube that Dorian's parents brought us from the Tate, which is considerably more frustrating and nerdy than your ordinary rubik's cube, because instead of solid colour each side has a different Gilbert & George picture on it, so every little square has to be the right way up. (Is that the same as how a normal rubik's cube works?) Anyway, wrestling with that was a lot like trying to figure out how to cut out this bag so it did that slouchy crumply thing I wanted. Got it in the end...unlike the bugger cube. The main fabric reminds me a bit of their stuff too, just the colours really - it's a midcentury Japanese wrapping cloth (furoshiki), teal green textured cotton, printed with toys and food and flowers.

Again, fairly shithouse pictures. Sorry. The bag has two top handles, chunky inverted box pleats on front and back, and two button-down flap pockets on the front face. The back, the top band, the outer edge of the handles, and the pocket flaps are all cut from the emeraldest green pin corduroy ever dyed.

The bag is fully interfaced, reinforced, topstitched, and lined with loud Alexander Henry deco-style printed cotton. It does up with a little magnet in the top between the handles. In terms of size, flat on the table it's about the size of a piece of A4: the top band is 30cm across, and the bottom edge is 40cm across with the pleats unfurled. The handles really are handles, you won't get them over your shoulder unless, like Liz Hurley, you eat nothing but six raisins a day.

UPDATE: Gilbert and George is now the property of Kate, who is perfectly entitled to change its name if she chooses. Thanks, Kate!

The third bag for today is called Abelard. It's a slouchy shoulder bag in dark pinks, magentas, and charcoal-violets.

The bag is a sort of rounded flattened truncated triangle shape, pleated onto the top band which closes in the centre with a magnetic press stud. The centre pleat on each side is a deep inverted box pleat which opens out when something largish is carried inside the bag. The bag body is a beautiful floral printed linen and the pleat is melon pink silk dupion. Top band and shoulder strap (which is mounted on a pair of antique bronze rings) is elephant grey ridged Indian cotton. The inner face of the top band is olive / rust shot tafetta patterned with a floral design. Inside the bag is lined with black crepe de chine with magenta polka dots. There's a lined pocket inside for holding little things. This is a generously proportioned bag, the strap is 75cm end to end, the bag itself is 42cm across the bottom and 32cm across the top. It holds a lot. This will sound weird, but it's also a flattering shape to carry - the bag sits against your waist, and because it's wide, it makes your waist look smaller. Not that we care about such things.

The big flamboyant trim there is a crumpled bow formed out of hideously expensive and lavish striped grosgrain ribbon, accented with chocolate / pink spotted ribbon, coral pink velvet ribbon and a little carved button. Like all the trimmy things attached to my bags it's mounted on a nickel brooch pin and can easily be moved, removed, attached to some other bag as mademoiselle desires.

Abelard is sold, thank you v v v much, Cristy!

Fourth and last is a new style for me: a big practical Messenger bag, this one is called You Are Here.

I am very (perhaps ridiculously) proud of this bag. I've anted to make a messenger for ages but when I was doing heaps of bags I never had time to sit down and figure out how to put one together. Then there is the fact that a bag this size eats up the fabric. But I had time to spend on getting this right, and I really loved making it. I'm looking forward to doing more of these.

The outer shell is mostly indigo denim, 14oz, and darker than it appears in the photos. I washed the denim in hot salty water before cutting so the dye is more or less fixed, but just the same you should not sling this over yourself if you're dressed entirely in white (Zizek take note.) The edges are all bound in a slightly thinner and darker ringspun denim for subtle contrast. The front face under the flap is Scandinavian moderne cotton printed in slate and black. he sides and base are my very last bit of vintage 1960s screenprinted psycho-dotty fabric (the fabric is pretreated with stain resistant stuff but another going over with some kind of waterproofing spray would be a good idea if you're planning on subjecting this bag to hard wear.)

The front flap says Where Am I?

Under the front flap is a map of Australia.

It's not upside-down, friends. These things are entirely a matter of perspective. If the bag is on you and you open it to look inside, the map is the right way up. Because you will be looking at it from the correct angle.

(note: foot not included)

The rest of the interior is lined in gorgeous sapphire taffeta with little glossy dots. There is a large divider panel on the rear wall and a smaller lined pocket for keeping your compass in.

It's 40cm wide, 35cm high, and 10cm deep. Strap is 120cm long. Bag shown with cat for scale estimation purposes (hat tip to Jac for that notion).

UPDATE: This bag now belongs to Another Outspoken Female...

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Anonymous said...

YAY YAY YAY! Congratulations on your blog shop Laura-looks great. The messenger style bag is very cute. They all are actually. Thanks for letting me know about your great blog. Looks very clean and stylish-I love that! Go girl! As for me I am adicted to Flickr. You can see my clutter at
Cheers, Julia.

jac said...

L - they are great. I particularly like the messenger and of course the Pelorian rock god. And your prices are insanely reasonable for the quality and the great fabrics you use. I'm excited!

JM said...

I'm not a bag-carrying person except for messenger bags with lots of bookstuff in them, but I _love_ all these bags! I would put my vote in for making more messenger bags next time 'round, so I can buy one!

Phantom Scribbler said...

What JM said. I fear that I am not responsible enough to own one of these gorgeous bags, but oh! how I covet the messenger bag.

(Making note to self about earmarking the next chunk of disposable income...)

Anonymous said...

I like the Messenger bag a lot as well...

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've bought the Gilbert and George bag! I love handmade bags.

GS said...

I feel honoured to be the new caretaker of the messenger bag. Can't wait to get it transacted and start strutting it around the city.

If any bloggers recognise it being paraded around Melbourne you are welcome to stop me and take a closer peak.

lucy tartan said...

It's funny you should say that. I've sold several hundred handmade bags but never yet seen one of them out and about.

Thanks very much AOF and Kate - hope you'll be happy with the actualities.

Marg B said...

Glad you are still making bags! I was worried you had packed up the sewing machine forever.

I'd also like to add my vote for the messenger bag - love the design.

lucy tartan said...

Hi Maggie!

This is nice, finding all these ebay folk agan in the blogosphere. (anyone else lurkin'round?)

Anonymous said...

Laura, you're back!! Thank God ... a girl can never have too many of your bags. Goodluck with life after the red shoes. Cheers, Cathy.

Ampersand Duck said...


Ampersand Duck said...

I just have to have that kitten in my life. The money is winging its way to you before the American market comes online!

Anonymous said...


I particularly like the fact that now you're off eBay, you can use foul language (not that shithouse is so very foul) and openly bag Liz Hurley at will. And I do believe that the six raisins she eats is only around Christmas time.... the rest of the year she limits herself to three.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...


I heart Abelard. the colour combo is just devine and I love the pleat at the front. what a great design!

Anonymous said...

Oh Laura, you came and you found me a turkey . . .

so good to see you back in the business of handbaggery. That messenger bag was so tempting - do make some more. I want 'em all!!!

lucy tartan said...

Know what else, Paoyi? If I wanted to I could say SHABBY CHIC - SHABBY CHIC - NYAH NYAH, RACHAEL ASHWELL without getting my bum kicked and my auctions closed down.

Ah, the freedom, it's gettin to me *goes crazed with power, runs round keyword spamming herself silly*

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA! How about throwing in a little bit of 'very SASS, BIDE now!' or some 'your CUE to REVIEW!' for good measure! See, then people will think you're REALLY clever.... not just your run'o'the'mill spammer... but a diabolical genius in the art of keyword spamming.

Miriam Jones said...

Oh, I love the rocker cat bag. I will have to keep my eyes open ...

anyresemblance said...

Wow, came over here via ampersand duck and I love your bags. They are so, so cool.