I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
So, it's clear from reading A Guide to Elegancethat I will never be elegant by this book's standards. And hey, I'm cool with that. "Elegant" isn't really the first word I'd want people to use to describe me anyway. (So there!) But I'll be the first to admit that I wouldn't mind polishing up my act a bit. And the area where I could use the most immediate help is handbags.
I've never really been into handbags like some women are. I realize that a good bag is something you need to invest a little bit of cash in, and I always get distracted by shoes and fabric and books and such when it comes to my discretionary money. My current bag of choice is a Barnes & Noble tote bag. On one hand, it's practical. I carry a lot of stuff with me to work everyday: wallet, manuscripts, Kindle, phone, umbrella, my lunch, and possibly an extra set of shoes. On the other hand, I feel like a bit of a shlump. I've also had synthetic bags (of the Target variety) that have literally fallen to pieces, with bits of pleather chipping off everywhere. Not pretty.
According to Ms. Dariaux, the author of A Guide to Elegance, "an unfailing way to downgrade a lovely outfit is to carry a shabby or cheap [handbag]." This makes a certain amount of sense to me. I hate the thought of spending so much time making my clothing by hand only to downgrade the effect with my stupid tote bag.
So every now and again I'll get to looking at buying a good handbag. But I become so obsessed by finding THE bag that I soon get frustrated and give up. After all, I'm not going to spend a lot of money on a bag I merely like. This better be the bag to end all bags, you know? Unfortunately for me, my bag to end all bags costs $1,840. (It's the Marni number at the top of this post.) HA.
Or this beautiful Marc Jacobs, which is a relative steal at $1,295.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
So I'm back to square one. And I seem to recall that I have this machine that makes stitches in fabric; I may have mentioned it here once or twice. I even have a Teflon foot to sew leather! There's a shop here in New York that sells buttery soft leather skins in every color. Should I buy a couple and make my own simple bag? Have any of you ever done this?
Or should I just suck it up and buy a mid-range bag that I don't necessarily want to marry and have babies with but is good quality?