Once upon a time, delightful dialogue and whimsical pictures inspired me to knit the “Chamonix” skirt from Knitting it Old School. In my stash was a kit for a shadow knit sweater whose gauge never worked, but with a gorgeous supply of Harrisville yarns. A quick gauge swatch revealed a perfect match. Obsessively, I cast on in hopes of wearing the skirt during winter, 2011.
Worked from the top down, the pattern offers alternatives for increasing based on desired skirt flare angles and the wearer’s body structure. I ripped it out after 6 inches, and made the size larger, just in case of those Christmas cookies stuck to the hips. Throughout a snowy January, I happily watched the snowflakes fall outside while the snowflakes grew on the skirt. By early February, it was done and I could hardly wait to try it on!
There was no need to look in the mirror after I pulled it on. I became the Abominable Bubble Woman wearing an oversized skirt. See the angle of the skirt as it lays flat? In three dimensions, there was that same angle. Nothing could disguise the fact that my yarn substitution yielded the same stitch gauge but not the same fabric drape. Reblocking did not alleviate any of the issues. I couldn’t wear it, (but I did one day, anyway) the stickiness of the wool made frogging (ripping out) useless, and I couldn’t find anyone willing to take it. Tossed into the pile of stash yarn, it was the equivalent of Aurora sleeping and waiting for the prince to kiss her.
Enter the Sophia Carry All pattern by Amy Butler. My parents sweetly gave me this last summer. Pulling out the pattern pieces, I realized that the Chamonix fair isle pattern might be the perfect match for the handbag. I tossed the skirt with a bunch of towels in the washing machine on hot and shoved it all into the dryer. The top, sides and piping were carefully carved out of the skirt. I chose green faux suede for the purse bottom and gold cotton for the lining.
The pattern calls for folded over, stitched down the middle dividers for interior pockets. That’s not my style: give me a zipper side pocket and two welted pockets to organize the smaller items. It’s a bit more work, but saves time when I’m looking for my phone or keys.
Faux suede is fairly hard working, but I wanted the purse to have feet. The sewing shops in my daily path didn’t carry them, so I sliced a cork from a lovely Pinot Noir into 0.25” circles.
I covered each one with the same faux suede and sewed them to the purse bottom. This is my first try on this and I’m curious to see how it wears over time.
In the end, I made the purse without piping: 4 layers of felted skirt and 2 layers of interfacing were difficult to sew. I thought about cotton piping, but the texture was just not appropriate. Quilter’s template and 2 layers of very heavy nonwoven interfacing supported the purse false bottom.
And then I treated myself to a perfect set of handles by Lantern Moon. Tacking the lining into the bag took more time than I originally anticipated, but I can hardly wait to move into this new hand bag.