Afternoon handbag challenge

afternoon handbag challenge

Sewing brief: in one afternoon, make a new handbag (cross body style) using only stuff we already have at home.

The time has come to move onto my next handbag.

Since my children were born, I’ve gone from….

afternoon handbag challenge nappy bag
….nappy bag (it undid to make a change mat)….
afternoon handbag challenge old large tote bag
….to large tote bag….
Goodbye Handbag old handbag
…to large handbag (shown here during its last days)…
afternoon handbag challenge old brown handbag
….to medium handbag….
Goodbye Handbag new wallet open
…to a wallet (this was foolishly premature – I just wasn’t ready to go so small)…
…and back to the medium handbag…

For the next handbag era I fancied a cross-body bag so I wouldn’t have to carry it in my hands. It needed to be big enough to fit a water bottle, small camera and wallet (notice I didn’t say phone? I don’t have one!!) and if necessary an A4 sketch book.

The idea was to use only materials we already had at home, since it was a Saturday afternoon in a country town and therefore all the shops were shut.

afternoon handbag challenge denim fabric
I cut the bag from a 30cm strip of denim I’d been saving – it’s actually from the the zero waste jeans earlier this year. The bag ended up being almost zero waste too.
I didn’t interface any of it.
afternoon handbag challenge lining fabric
For lining I looked through the scrap box and came up with (L-R): kitchen curtain offcuts (quilting cotton), toile de jouy curtain offcuts (linen) and some Michele Hill quilting cotton. I thought Michele would give me the most joy.
afternoon handbag challenge zips
I found some zips that sort of matched.
afternoon handbag challenge zip pockets 4 sew zip in window
I spent most of the time making the interior pockets which are essential in any handbag.
afternoon handbag challenge zip pockets 5 pocket bags
Mine have green and white seersucker pocket bags.
afternoon handbag challenge broken zip
Disaster struck when the zip broke midway through sewing, so I literally ripped it out and decided not to have a zip.
afternoon handbag challenge new bag lining
It still needed something to close it so I sewed 13mm press studs around the top.
afternoon handbag challenge new bag button strap
The strap length is adjustable with buttons and buttonholes.
afternoon handbag challenge new bag
I had a not-very-well-thought-out idea I could have two bag styles in one. I could have a shorter bag with a top flap that folded over….
afternoon handbag challenge new bag made taller
….which could then become a taller bag, for the A4 sketchbook.
It seemed like a good idea in my head but it doesn’t work very well for several reasons.
However, I still like this bag enough to change to using it.

And yes, aware of the dangers of favouring one side of the body, I plan to alternate shoulders each time I wear it.



  1. Michele Hill on September 23, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Oh my gosh Liz… absolutely wonderful to meet you!! Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and how gorgeous is your delicious bag interior!! Now that I have found you we must stay in touch! Hugs xx

    • lizhaywood on September 23, 2019 at 10:45 pm

      Thrilled to meet you too Michele – can’t believe I never visited your blog before although I knew you were in SA. Stay in touch, Cheers!

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