The Pinafore Collection

comments: 32


There's nothing like a mountain of  fabric on a spouse's chair and the deadline induced by imminent arrival of his plane to motivate one to . . . sew. And sew I did, so that he wouldn't see what a disaster I made of the house while he was gone. Wow. Weird how 48 hours in a house by oneself with a sewing machine and plenty of groceries produces such a mess. But look what came out of it!

Aw, I'm pleased. I sewed twenty handbags and got handles and buttons put on seven of them before this morning. Thank you to all of you for your really nice comments yesterday -- I really appreciate so much encouragement and kindness. Melanie asked me a couple of interesting questions I don't think I've been asked before. I'm usually terrible at answering questions, but before I forget, I'll answer them here.


First she wanted to know if I ever keep something for myself that I originally intended to sell. My answer: Not often enough! But I am trying to make a point of keeping more for myself, since it's dawning on me that I won't be doing this forever, and I won't have any tangible evidence that I did do it if I don't start keeping my favorites. I have let a lot of things go that I wish I had kept, actually -- though I usually don't wish that I'd kept it until it's gone. Oh well. Sometimes I just get going so fast I'm only thinking about how to get through the day. Having the blog is actually helping me be a lot more thoughtful and reflective about things, and I hope the result of that will be that I pick out my own bag first, and then do everything else second sometimes.

Melanie also asked if I was surprised by which bags went first and which do not. My answer: ALWAYS! Always. It's totally bizarre to me. That's why now when I'm working on something that is not totally jazzing me, I just keep going because I know it'll be the first one to sell.

Do I attempt to forecast future trends? Um, sadly, no. I can barely keep up with the present. Although it probably makes business sense to do so, I wouldn't say that I consciously watch trends or even know what they are (if you saw me in real life you would say "Clearly!"), though I'm probably always absorbing things and responding to them just like anyone else. I don't mean to sound disingenuous about this. Maybe being fickle and capricious in one's tastes can sometimes make it appear as if one is aware of trends, when really, I just have a short attention span for certain things, and a lot of ideas. I will say that I am always trying to do something that fits specifically into Alicia-world. I'm guided most consistently by the little stories I make up. They help me find a focus for the difference colors, patterns, and ideas that I like. People come into the store (or call, or email) and say, all day long, "Oh, you should make this, and this, and this!" I've learned to just smile politely and say, "Well, I'll keep that in mind! Thanks!" If someone tells me to do something I usually don't, just on principal (sorry, Dad), because I get twitchy and freak out when anyone wants me to do . . . anything. I always just make things that I like. For instance, I consistently have to be reminded to make things that are black for fall, because I don't like black and I never really use it. And when I do succumb to customer "suggestions" in my designs I have to be feeling it as much as I "feel" anything else -- another reason I don't do custom work at all anymore. Inevitably I would wind up designing things to meet customers' criteria that I didn't like, but then the things would have my name on them, and that was just no good. So -- I just make what I like, and what I have always liked, and sometimes the things I like are popular, which I also like -- makes it a lot easier to shop. My tastes really haven't changed all that much since I was an itty bitty. I had a mint green room with pink flowers. I was a total prissy goody-goody in a rock-'n'-roll family, and I dressesd sort of preppy in a tattered, second-hand hippie-chick sort of way. I was big into The Smiths in high school, though. Maybe those things aren't so far apart, really. . . .


You were very productive.
Those bags are beautiful!!!!

These are sooooooo lovely. You are so talented and a VERY fast seamstress!

I love productivity! When I put my mind to it, and there's a deadline looming, I'm always amazed at what I can accomplish and how many bags I can make! Then, I sit back, and oftentimes need to veg for a couple of days!

Gorgeous! I will be setting aside a few dollars to buy one, that's for sure! Isn't it so nice when you accomplish something? I'm having the opposite problem -- too many ideas and unfinished projects, and not enough completed items to look at and sigh over.

ooh, gorgeous bag! one more beautiful image to make me long for spring and flowers and birds......aaaah, blogs are killing me today! :)

They turned out so very beautiful. Great work. I can't believe you managed to make 20! Well done.

And so quick, too!

I have like TOTALLY expired from the sheer delight of it all, knowing that I inspired a FULL post on one of my very favourite blogs!!! (ooo... see! look! I use extra "u"s in v. British fashion. But sadly, not because I'm British, but because I am Canadian.)

The Pinafore collection turned out spectacularly! I am especially besotted with the buttons and the one bag tucked in the cupboard. And your answers were most satisfying too... I am not crafty (although I absolutely long to be), but i am an illustrator and the issue of what is hot and what is not does come up as well as the necessity to at least be moderately aware of where your style fits in the scheme of things. I really admire how focused and specific your vision is... that's something I'm trying to cultivate myself because I am far too scattered in my own fancies.

So thank you for your well considered replies!!

And P.S. um... yeah, was also rather frighteningly enamoured with the Smiths myself in high school.

wow!! i'm amazed at how fast you cranked these out! they look so pretty -- beautiful colors.

I've been so busy lately that I've dropped a lot of the blogs on my bloglines account, but not yours. I just have to take you in big gulps now instead of daily sips. Still delightful! Thank you for putting all your loveliness out in the world. The bags are delish!

I love your blog and find it so inspirational to try new crafty things. I don't know how to sew, but wanted to learn and asked Santie Claus for a featherweight sewing machine for Christmas (thinking it's small and shouldn't be hard to learn how to use - wrong, it took me over an hour to wind the bobbin and thread the needle). I then purchased some lovely liberty of london quilting squares on ebay (could I pick a more delicate fabric?). Well, my first attempt at quilting and bag making turned out pretty well, considering it was my first. The "minor" discrepency in size between the outside and the inner lining is barely noticeable with the pretty Pouf Boutonniere I purchased from you last year attached - thank goodness, and thanks to you, too. I can't wait to see your new treasures.

Alicia, you're amazing...20 bags in 48 hours! They look incredible, I really am in awe!

p.s. my mother-in-law absolutely LOVED her posey box, it had perfect timing...& she thought it was so clever coming from Portland! ;)

Absolutely lovely, Alicia!
I especially love the bag inside the cupboard. You are so amazingly talented and it so much fun to join the journey of your creativity.

really gorgeous bags! and twenty in just days? wow! very impressive!

I love this line- its fun and colorful and beautiful. I'm create for me too.. I don't really look at trends but classic pieces are always in style. :) xo

Uh, "I" not "I'm"

woo-hoo! Those bags are great, and I'm so impressed with how much you got done!! If only I could have a weekend to myself :)

As usual, lovely and inspiring writing.

Oh, and those bags look delightful.

ack! i'm away from your blog for two days and look what i have missed. is the man home yet? i wish i could come over and have some tea with you and watch skating.

Oh, lovely loviness. I'm very much into using and seeing patchwork in places other than quilts, so these bags really do it for me! Perfect!

Stunning, gorgeous bags. Beautiful fabrics too.
I like dropping by your site.

like i said, open up your cabinets and it's magic in there!

love, love the name pinafore, and your new bags are great (will make a greta quilt too). the addition of the eyelet is so sweet.

Beautiful - also love the linen closet!!

How long was I gone? And I thought I was busy in Chicago!

You were certainly busy! It was well worth it! Thos are adorable!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at