Recently I went through my assortment of handbags, got rid of a few, and decided I could use some new ones, or more specifically three new ones: one in cream, one in dark brown, and one in a caramel brown. I bought the caramel handbag, and after much internet browsing and Pinterest research decided to make the cream and dark brown handbags. The very sharp sewn vinyl tote bag above really caught my eye, and there's an excellent tutorial available for it. I decided that it would be the model for my cream handbag.
And here's my version. I chose an ivory vinyl for the exterior, oval tortoiseshell plastic handles, and when I couldn't find a fun patterned fabric I liked for the lining, I went with a brown satin kasha lining. I'm pretty pleased with the combination. I also really liked that one can tailor the pockets to hold anything one likes. As you can see, my sunglasses fit nicely in one slot and I also created a pen slot. And my wallet nearly matches the lining, though I never thought of that when I was picking out fabrics. When you plan a wardrobe around a certain colour palette, things just do tend to go together well.
I do have a few notes on the tutorial. The instructions for the pocket placement will tell you to put the pocket too high -- so high that there won't be room at the top for the magnetic clasp and anything that goes in the pockets will stick out the top of the bag. I followed the instructions exactly and then wound up having to redo the lining completely. If you should use this tutorial make sure you don't make that mistake. Then the instructions tell you to pre-stitch one end of the tabs to the bag, and then put the handles on, fold the tabs down, and keep the tabs and handles in place with binder clips while you stitch around the top edge of the bag. The problem with this is that the binder clips make it impossible for one to stitch around the handles. I did it the way the tutorial said, had to take the binder clips off while stitching by the handles, and consequently got the handles on crooked. When I was redoing the stitching in the handle areas, after I put the handles on, I secured the tabs by folding the end of the tabs inside the bag and, when I had them folded just right, tacking both sides of the tabs together by hand with a few darning needle stitches. I made sure my hand stitches were placed lower than where the lining stitching line would be, so that once I had the lining stitched into the bag, the hand stitches I had taken were safely out of sight underneath it. Vinyl is a little nerve-wracking to work with, because any holes you make when working with it are permanent. You basically only get one chance to get a line of stitching right, and you can forget about using pins to keep things in place while you're stitching it.
However, it turned out well in the end. Looking at this cream bag, and looking at the pattern I've got picked out for my dark brown handbag, I'm rather regretting the purchase of my caramel bag. It cost more than both my sewn handbags combined, and I don't like it as much.