It's a Big Dill: The World's Largest Handbag!

Call us crazy... but we've decided to break the Guinness Book Record for the World's Largest Handbag! We'll be making our attempt from Sunday, July 9 - Tuesday, July 11 in the North Waiting Room of Philly's 30th Street Station! Why??? 1) To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of The Career Wardrobe-- a wonderful organization in Philly and 2) because we think it'd be super fun!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day 7 - The Proof is in the Pix - Part 2

Figuring out how to sew the lining to the exterior
Everything is done! The list is checked off!

Susan in front of the BIG BAG with the regular-sized bag.

The Pickles "hamming" it up (or "tofu-ing" it up for the vegans out there)

Day 7 - The Proof is in the Pix! - Part 1

Writing up our "List of Things to Do"
Hand-sewing the pickle patch to the exterior pocket
Sewing together the exterior fabric strips (look at how many people it takes to move it!)

Positioning the pocket on the completely sewn exterior fabric.

A fun shot of the shoes relaxing on the floor! No shoes on the bag!

Sewing the exterior pocket to the exterior fabric.

Sewing the lining side seams
Sewing the exterior side seams
The exterior turned right-side out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 7: Happy Shiny Pickles

It's done! Today was the official raising of the what we expect to be the new World's Largest Handbag! The official raising occurred a little after 2pm this afternoon-- with lots of members of the press in attendance, lots of visitors and volunteers-- and a group of very wonderfully dressed pickles! Here's a shot of the Pickle team hamming it up in front of the BIG BAG (notice the standard size of the bag on the floor in front of the ladies!)

More details will come tomorrow-- for now, it's off to bed!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Day 6 - We Did It

And boy, did we ever. It's freakin' HUGE. Bigger than we expected... final measurements to be determined... but we do know it is approx. 29' across.

It was a long, long, long, long day... but it got done sooner than most folks thought. We started at 9:37 and and finished at approx. 6:15. Congrats to Mel S. for guessing the closest ending time... woo hoo.

I would write more except for the fact that I am exhausted and have to get up early tomorrow for TV stuff...

We still have some work to do to make the bag look pretty for the news people... but at least no more sewing.

Thank you to EVERYONE for helping out... the volunteers, the CW staff... my man, Craig P., the policeman at 30th Street, the J&O family... and a special set of thanks to the wonderful Viv Pickle team. Your teamwork, dedication, enthusiasm, thirst for iced coffee and chais never, ever cease to amaze me. I am honored to work with you all-- esp. on something that's been this important to me and the Career Wardrobe. Thank you soooo much.


Day 5 - Loading Zone

Saturday was a quite, but busy day. Donna G. finalized the straps for sewing and yours truly did the needlework. KT K. and Donna G. also pressed the straps in the fusing machine to get them nice and flat. They look a little "glunky" but, they'll work for sure.

The "fun" for the day (and I use that term loosely) was loading the U-Haul for the trip to 30th Street. Moving sucks. But at least I had help from Craig P. -- Mr. Wonderful (who is hoping his reward for all of this will be riding in the scissor lift!!!).

So, here it is Sun AM -- we are almost ready for the trip... everything is bungee'd in the truck... now all we need is to pick up drinks and snacks and sticks for the pickles and we're off!

See you at 30th Street!

(pix will follow).

Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 4 - All Hands on Dill!

Today went MUCH, MUCH better. Lisa G. suggested that we get as many hands into the effort as possible-- ditching production work for the day-- and I agreed. GREAT IDEA, LISA! Dunkin Donuts also helped that situation. Iced coffees, bagels, apple crumb & boston creme donuts and a strawberry coolata. Ahhhhh... everyone was in a sugary-caffeinated daze by mid-morning... and then we kicked butt!

One team of pickles did the stickying of the exterior fabric strips (continued from yesterday)... another sewed the interior pink strips ALL together... Beth B. cut the fabric handles and the tie closure... then Reesha G. sewed the closure (welcome back, Reesha-- we hope you are feeling better!!!)...

After the sucky day yesterday, everyone seemed to have a MUCH better idea how to approach the work... so it went more quickly. Nothing like a process, eh?
We also got the exterior pocket fabric from Ryan & Stan at I went over to NJ to pick it up-- had fun with our littlest pickle fan, Hannah (Ryan's daughter)... she will be there on Sunday to meet everyone.

Speaking of the exterior pocket... It's ABSOLUTELY MAMMOTH! We decided to make it smaller than our original plan-- and it's STILL huge! 15' across. Big enough for at least 1,000 cell phones and keys. :-) We positioned the pickle emblem on it-- and it looked FAB!

Sooooo... now it's the calm before the storm. Donna G. (fresh from her trip to Italy), Rebecca L. and I will be in the studio tomorrow... we'll finish stickying the handles and sew them... and organize everything to be loaded in the U-Haul. My wonderful man, Craig P., is coming up from Baltimore to help with moving the equipment (YAY CRAIG) and will be our go-to guy on Sunday for hardware and engineering type issues (i.e. - he'll be the one who can zip down to Home Depot or Fabric Row if we need something last minute!!!).

Other good news today... it looks like LOTS of press will be coming on Monday at 2pm for the bag raising... and yours truly will be on the 10! Show on Monday morning (at 10AM)... so be sure to check that out.

Sew... with all that said and done, it's time for rest!

PHOTOS (from top to bottom):
TOP LEFT: Christa M. (with bandana) & Andrea T. position pink strips while Reesha G. sews!
TOP RIGHT: Beth B, Janette S., and Melanie F. iron the sticky the old fashioned way while KT looks on.
NEXT: The sticky crew are joined by Mel S. (in yellow!)
NEXT: Sewing the exterior pocket (GNP Stripe fabric!!!)
BOTTOM: Andrea T. surveys the length of the pocket as Reesha G. folds!

Day 3 - The Sticky Hits the Fan

So today was the day that the Pickle team must've been thinking, "What the hell was she thinking?" Yup... it was sticky day.

What is sticky, you might be wondering? It's fusible interfacing-- another part of a Viv Pickle bag that you don't get to see 'cuz it's inside the bag. We apply the interfacing to stabilize our fabrics-- and give it staying power.

We have a lovely fusing machine that helps affix the sticky to the fabric... and for our standard shapes, it works fine... BUT... with a 60" wide strip of fabric... not-so-much. And with FIVE 60" wide strips of fabric that are 17 yards long... DEFINITELY not-so-much.

Under Bumper's direction (he's our mascot-- the cutest dog ever), the Pickles worked diligently for 2 1/2 HOURS -- and were able to get 3 of the 5 strips of done. It was VERY difficult. VERY VERY VERY tough... multiple passes through the machine... and lots of folding and moving in unison. Lots of teamwork-- which the ladies did wonderfully... HOORAY FOR THE PICKLES!

Some other good news: our U-Haul truck is confirmed-- as are our dollies for transporting our sewing machines. We have extension cords, surge protectors, tables and drop cloths ready to go too...

AND, even better news: the new Dunkin Donuts FINALLY opened around the corner from our studio-- and the Pickles are thrilled. I want to keep buying them Munchkins (glazed!!) (and large iced coffees with milk and sugar for Rebecca L.) ... but I worry that they will pelt me with Munchkins if I bring any more of them into the studio!!! (Like any of the girls need to watch what they eat??!!! I am bigger than all of them put together!!!!)

Lisa has made me promise that Friday-- we'll have all hands on deck so we can finish stickying... once we get that done, we'll also be cutting the handle and tie pieces of the bag...

TGIF??? We'll see...

PHOTOS (from top to bottom):
TOP: Katie H. and Beth B. working the sticky machine
MIDDLE: Up close and personal with Katie H. (nice cleavage), KT and Lisa G.
BOTTOM: KT keeping the sticky straight.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Day 2 - How many pickles does it take to sew a hot pink purse lining together?

With yours truly out running errands and picking up supplies today, the ladies of Viv Pickle flew solo on Day 2 of our quest for the World's Largest Handbag. The agenda for today was to sew the lining: a total of 119 yards (how big is a football field again?) of hot pink broadcloth strips sewn together into larger panels that will be easier to handle when we get to 30th St Station on Sunday.

The lining strips were sewn together with the same system that we used for the puffy yesterday, but the much thinner and smoother material was a lot easier to work with, leaving plenty of time for goofy photo opportunities.

Answer to Q above: It takes a whole studio full of pickles: one to sew, one to pull, two to straighten, and the rest to take advantage of goofy photo opportunities. And incidentally, staring at bright pink for a long time makes everything else look green. Green like a pickle! Try it at home for hours of fun.

Tomorrow: Starting to sew the exterior... and cutting the handles and ties!

Photos from top to bottom:
TOP: Janette S. at the machine, Katie H. pulling, Lisa G. in the middle and Rebecca L. at the end
NEXT: Lisa is LOVING it! Check out that smile!!!
NEXT: A pink (and purple) bike to match the pink lining... Can you see Susan's shoes in there too??? HEY SUSAN!!! Did you know your shoes TOTALLY match the lining???
NEXT: Lisa G., Mel S (dig the new 'do and the specs) and Janette lei the rolled up fabric
NEXT: Rebecca smooching the pink bolt!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Day One - Puffy Time and Pickle Patch

There's a part of most Viv Pickle custom handbags that you never see... it's sewn inside the bag-- and it's what we call, "Puffy." It's actually felt, but puffy sounds more fun, don't you think? The puffy helps give our bags some stability-- and it's makes them a bit soft on the sides... since we don't use quilted fabrics for our bags, I decided a long time ago that we would need to add it for most of our bags. Perhaps I should have rethought that!!!! Sewing 17 yard (612 FEET) strips of puffy can be quite daunting-- as we discovered on Day One... Good news is-- we survived-- and it didn't take too long... and it was fun. We got to sit in the puffy puff afterwards and it was quite comfy.
Some of the challenges:

1) lining up the fabric and making sure it stayed straight as we sewed.
2) laying the new 17 yard strips on top of each other
3) folding the whole thing when we were done!

I suggested that we take it up to the parking lot outside our studio to lay it out and fold it--- but Beth suggested that we rethink that-- since it would get dirty and track icky stuff into the studio. So... we opted for the next best thing. Making a big blob of puffy and storing it on a spare table in the corner. Yay!

Also done is the ever-so-wonderful pickle patch that will be sewn to the pocket on our big bag. Becca G. did an AWESOME job of handmaking the pickle. I want to hug it frequently!!! It's sooooooooooo cute!!! It truly looks like our pickle emblem... and it's 3-D, too!

Tomorrow we will start in on sewing the lining strips together. Lots of Pink fabric coming up!

Pickle Dreams,

Pictures of our antics (from top to bottom): TOP: Susan at the sewing machine with Katie H. pulling fabric, Beth B. in back keeping fabric positioned for sewing. MIDDLE: Susan and Katie H. keeping things straight. BOTTOM: Katie H., Beth B., and Rebecca L. relaxing in the puffy pile with the pickle!