Potty for spots – Lotta Lady Bag by Maria Denmark

Have you seen Maria Denmark’s new website?  Very smart.  She’s also been releasing some gorgeous patterns – & spreading tips for customising them to make them look unique.  I’ve bought the Olivia tee and love it – will be posting more on that shortly.  However today is all about accessories.  At Christmas/ New Year I think, Maria released this cute pattern to make a perfectly wonderful every day handbag.  The Lotta Lady bag.

Lotta Lady bag

It is “just the right size” to load up with ipad, book, water bottle, other ladylike essentials plus that imaginary wad of cash that is too big to fit in your back pocket.  It is lined, has an all round gusset which houses  a long zip (longer than a dress zip people, be equipped), and I have to say looks adorable with its graceful curves & shoulder straps (x2) – there is something that feels just a little bit vintage about its style & proportions.

Lotta lady bag

This is the Lotta Lady bag.  You can add your own inside pockets to help organise your effects (& make it easier to lay your hands on that imaginary wad of cash), but pocket pieces are not specifically part of the pattern – you make them to suit yourself (or not).

Lotta lady

So I bought some “oilcloth” not long after downloading this pattern & had it waiting patiently for the bag-making urge to hit me.   It arrived with the onset of spring & the prospect of being out & about more & wanting to look more “like a lady” rather than rely on coat pockets.  Plus, what better reason to adopt a new bag than a trip to London?

Lotta lady bag

Cutting out was simple, lining & outer fabric done quickly.  I used a tip from Dave (Sewing Bee) to use the odd bit of scotch tape to secure pattern pieces to the waterproof oilcloth instead of pins.  Nice one.

Lotta lady bag (6)

I contrived pockets based on phone & wallet & was ready to sew.  It felt like it should be a quick Sunday afternoon’s project.  Maria’s instructions are laden with photos & explain the construction very well.  But guys.  Manipulating *oilcloth* around those curved edges was a beast.  Not only did it pucker but there was absolutely no ease in this awful “fabric” & that meant unpicking & that meant unwanted permanent puncture marks.  So I did the best I could & didn’t swear too much.  On the plus side, I absolutely love the zip insertion steps of the bag-making process- especially when there is a lining.  So neat.  So sharp.  Love it.

Lotta lady bag (5)

Anyway.  Apart from a few dodgy corners, my bag came together fine.  The acid green polka dot lining provided some tang to the sky blue polka dot exterior.  Spring colours.  I was looking forward to using it.

So come the morning of my trip to London I loaded it with my bits & pieces & a whole lot more.  You can fit a lot in- for information!  I’d just put it onto my shoulder when I heard an unmistakable tearing sound

Lotta Lady bag

& saw that the bag’s seam where the straps are inserted & stitched (although reinforced) had shredded – the “fabric” literally split.

Lotta Lady bag

It has taken me a while to realise what went wrong.  You see the fabric that I used is not real oilcloth, but more like tablecloth PVC.  It has no strength, no fibres.  It is plastic.  Oilcloth contains a woven element & would be strong enough to cope with weight.  This “fabric” was not suitable – my poor choice.

Badgers bag

I had to make a quick swap on that morning for my trusty shopper (made using a “White Stuff” carrier bag as a template many moons ago.)

Badgers bag

I am not giving up on the Lotta Lady bag though, the design is lovely & in email chat with Maria, (to try to understand where I went wrong) she’s said how much she uses hers & it has withstood all sorts of wear & tear.    So the good news is that this bag does not use a lot of fabric and I have a couple of long zips, bought especially , waiting for inspiration to strike, plus allsorts of fabric in my “too big to throw away” scrap pile.

If I didn’t have other plans, this would be a perfect make in a few spare hours in the Easter break …..

21 thoughts on “Potty for spots – Lotta Lady Bag by Maria Denmark

  1. Debbie

    Oh no, what a shame it ripped! I think the Lotta Lady bag looks perfect as a handbag and am sorely tempted. BUt have no printer access and I already have a queue of pdfs waiting for me to find a printer! I hope you manage to fix it. xx

  2. Eliza-sew-little

    What a shame!! It’s such a lovely bag. Great colours.
    Is there a way to salvage it? Could you add a strap all the way under the bag ( poss with woven interfacing inside) as a extension to the strap?
    Lookings forwards to the next instalment. Such a lovely shaped bag.

  3. Marilla

    Devastating! Give another go though and I’m sure it will work out fine! I’m just about to embark on my first oilcloth sewing excursion, but will be dabbling in the much simpler form of a travel change mat (2 rectangles bound with bias). I may experiment with making a new change bag too, so may come a cropper yet! Happy Easter! Xxx

  4. Caroline Joynson

    How frustrating! All that work ; (
    At least it wasn’t a pair of your beautiful running shorts / dress that ripped at the seams….
    Better luck on your next bag……. woven oil-cloth it is then ; )

  5. Kim Hood

    So sad , that bag looked wonderful. I have the pattern already stuck together ready to trace and make. Seeing your version might just bump it up the pile. Though I will take on board your fabric experience 🙁

  6. LinB

    Oh, so sorry that your vinyl split! Oilcloth is literally “oiled cloth.” Canvas duck — a very strong, heavy fabric that is used for things like sails and dufflebags — is treated with boiled linseed oil to make it water-resistant. That’s why it was such a staple for household items like tablecloths and floor mats, outside it’s maritime uses, until the advent of truly water-proofed fabrics in the 20th century. Am not sure that what you buy nowadays is the real deal, but having a woven instead of sheet-goods does give your thread something to grab onto, as you join one piece to another. The purse looks like an excellent project for summer sewing, when one does not want yards and yards of woolen goods piled in one’s lap as one feeds a project through a machine.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      That’s exactly it Lin. This is some popular imitation oil cloth that has jumped on the Cath Kidston craze- sadly no where near up to bag strength, but I shall use the rest to make a good patio tablecloth!

  7. Karen

    Winnie! Such a pity! It’s soooo cute. Dotty & with pockets. My recommendation: vinyl-ize your own fabrics! That way you can pick the (heavy-duty) fabric, then make sure it doesn’t show the dirt. Here’s the stuff from the US (https://www.fabric.com/buy/0293648/heatn-bond-iron-on-vinyl-matte-24-by-the-yard) and here’s a tutorial on vinylizing & sewing with it: http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/oh-baby-fabriccom-how-turn-any-fabric-laminate-iron-vinyl

    Get in touch w/ me thru my website (http://bellaindustries.us) if you can’t get Heat ‘n’ Bond in the UK & I will gladly send you a few yards.

    BTW, you have inspired me to make one of my own for the summer! I’m heading over to Maria Denmark right now.

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Karen, this is really interesting! I recently pinned something about laminating your own fabric so it shows that you tapped into an inner curiosity of mine!
      I shall look into this when I am considering my next bag – thank you for the offer to help get the magic stuff – I will get back to you if I have a problem. SO KIND, 🙂

  8. Ginger

    Oh no, I was loving this bag for you (double polka dots!!!) so I’m really sorry that it split. I hope you give it another go. The pattern is really cute!

  9. CGCouture

    And it was such a cute bag too, Boo! Oh well, now you’ll just have a good excuse to buy more fabric and make up another. 🙂

    BTW, did you intend for the title of your post to be “POTTY for Spots” or “DOTTY for Spots”? Because, um….

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