Driving past the St. Louis Arch one day, I noticed how much it resembles a purse handle. I was on the way to the airport with my husband and children to spend Christmas with family back east. While ...
Driving past the St. Louis Arch one day, I noticed how much it resembles a purse handle. I was on the way to the airport with my husband and children to spend Christmas with family back east. While the rest of the family slept in over the holidays, I woke up early, made a pot of coffee and jotted down my ideas in my sketchbook for a handmade bag business. I tinkered around with the logo, the St. Louis Arch my inspiration, and the name Hold It Right There came to me and stuck.
This was about three years ago. The idea has simmered on the back burner until about spring of 2011 when I signed up for a reupholstery class. Sitting behind an old, black tailoring machine, learning to sew welting, I remembered how much I LOVE this craft. I pulled my own sewing machine out of my closet and began sewing again. I started making purses, pillows and diaper bags as gifts.
Making things with my hands is second nature. In my bag designs, I see DNA from both my parents, from the inspiration to the design to the construction. I grew up in a very DIY environment. During my childhood, my engineer father built his own airplane in the basement of our house. And, then, when it got too big, he built a hangar in the backyard to house it. My artist mom spent her spare time writing poetry, painting, sketching my five siblings and me and sewing.
In designing and sewing bags, I see strands of many experiences as well. In my lifelong passion for cooking and baking, the perseverance I've gained tweaking and perfecting recipes applies to fiddling with designs until they feel "just right". My experience in graphic design finds new relevance in designing purses. Tinkering with beading and furniture refinishing the last few years, I've learned to incorporate some of the processes from these pursuits, blending them into a new composite.
Mostly, of course, I sew. I learned to sew as a seventh grader in Home Economics class. I am sure I would have given up had my mom not encouraged me, helped me when I was completely frustrated with a sewing project, and taught me many tricks and tips, especially in fabric layout. (She is meticulous in matching prints; all her plaids chevron perfectly!) I felt thrilled to wear clothes I sewed, and my mom generously shared her sewing machine, her knowledge and mostly, her patience, with me.
Years later, as a new teacher in Northern Virginia, hearing about a winter storm that could (and did!) close school for a week, I hurriedly bought a sewing machine to cope with the prospect of being home bound. Drinking far too much coffee, I sewed into the wee hours while the snow piled up outside. Stores sold out of shovels; skirts accumulated in my apartment.
It's this same sewing machine I pull out most afternoons when I turn my dining room into a studio for a couple of hours. Designing and creating handbags is to me what Fahrvergnügen is to Volkswagen owners. It's a wonderful way to ramble through an afternoon.
Every little girl needs a purse of her own! Create a purse as spunky and delightful as your little girl.
The Adelphi Girls Purse is the very first PDF pattern I created, in 2013. In 2016, I redrafted the pattern pieces and redesigned the page layout. A team of 12 testers scrutinized the revised version. This favorite pattern is better than ever!
While the pattern remains the same and was a hit in its original form, I learned a lot since I started designing patterns. I decided to bring my first pattern up to the standards I use now, with the benefit of experience. As before, the instructions are detailed, tutorial-style and contain full-color photos, plus illustrations.
This purse features an optional bow, a splashy knotted tie shoulder strap and pom pom fringe. A magnetic snap closure secures the bag shut. The purse is fully lined.
The Adelphi purse style is named with fond memories of many stroller excursions on a street by this name with my own once tiny daughter. She was seldom without a purse on her shoulder or clippity-clop high heels for all her make-believe adventures. Her wonderful sense of design remains a delight to watch blossom in new ways the older she gets.
FEATURED ON SIS BOOM BLOG:
REVIEWED BY PATTERN REVOLUTION: