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What do jeans, bathing suits and handbags have in common?

It’s almost impossible to find one that fits you! And the shopping experience is truly miserable. Let’s start with jeans. You have to bring at least six different pairs into the dressing room – a full range of sizes, cuts and lengths. Then there’s the joy of getting out of your clothes and trying each one on. The lighting is terrible, you need two mirrors so you can get a true view of the back of the jeans, none of them fit, so it’s back into your clothes, return the jeans to the sales floor and get another slew to try on. That is – if – there are more styles in that store. Probably not, most likely you have to head to another store. Of course, I didn’t address the pricing issue – that’s another whole scenario. And how come the only ones that fit really well have holes in them? I am not paying extra for holes. I refuse.

Bathing suits. This experience is so degrading I know many women who simply do not wear bathing suits. I don’t blame them. But sometimes, they’re necessary and I do love the water so I wear them. I am very comfortable in a suit with complete strangers. Any other condition is an entirely different story.

Back to the search for a suit. Again, a full arm of suits in a variety of cuts and sizes goes into the dressing room. Now, we have to strip down to our skivvies and stand in the fluorescent glare and look in the mirror. Oh for heavens sake, dim the lights, use the Crazy House mirrors that make us look skinny, paint the walls a soft, rosy pink – anything to make the naked, aging skin look youthful again! And I’m not even in the suit yet! Today the suits come with slimming linings so your tummy is flat, you’re having difficulty breathing and your thighs look like stuffed sausages. Oh a little skirt might do the trick! Every time I pick up a skirted suit, I remember the last time my mother wore a bathing suit. I was about 8 (she would have been my age now) and said, “Oh Mom, I love that swim dress!” Never again did she don a suit and join us in the water. And we lived at the beach. Sorry, Mom. It is a family rule – never describe a skirted bathing suit as a swim dress.

The best part of bathing suit shopping is buying the cover-up. I love the cover-ups! They can be glamorous, plain, tropical, beachy, you name it… they’re beautiful and comfortable! So if you have to actually purchase a suit always treat yourself to a new cover-up. And add embroidery – up near the face so everyone stops looking at your thighs!

Handbags. Shopping for handbags is even worse because this you have to do in public – on the sales floor. I always feel like I’m about to commit a crime because my behavior is so suspicious. I pick up the bag, examine it and open every pocket and zipper. Put it over my shoulder. Look for a mirror (they don’t exist in most handbag departments, they do in the shoe department but not the bag department, which is funny because you can see the shoes when they’re on your feet!) Then I travel over to the ladies clothing department in search of a mirror. Now I’m moving through the store with THEIR handbag on my shoulder (in addition to mine). I think that’s very suspicious behavior. What I would really like to do is, dump all the contents from my bag into the new bag and see if everything fits. But I think I would be approached by a badge-wearing security person with a very stern look on his/her face.

So? What’s a machine embroiderer to do? I can only help you on the handbags here. There is no rescue to the bathing suit-jeans scenarios (mail order might help but still it’s such a trial-and-error process). At least we can make our own bags! Thank heavens! And today we can make them soft-sided, stiff, small, large, shoulder or clutch. The list goes on and on. Right now I’m designing a collection of bags – and having a lot of fun doing it. But I am still behaving quite suspiciously in the handbag department. Now I’m actually measuring the bags on the sales floor! You know, ever-so-discreetly. Just how wide is that bottom, and how long is that strap, ooh look at that zipper placement!



Tell me about your shopping experiences. Do you bring a tape measure into the store and measure clothing or accessories? Do you find it helpful to examine the innards of bags? And feel free to tell us that last time you purchased a swimsuit!

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  • Shirley R

    Oh, My Goodness, Eileen! I had my laughter for the day reading your blog about the jeans and the swim suits. I had to laugh because what you wrote is soooooo true! Thanks for your humor – it is delightful! It is next to impossible to find jeans, and I don’t even look at bathing suits anymore! And purses, another almost impossible thing to find, because I carry everything but the kitchen sink in mine! I would have to admit to “suspicious behavior” in that department too, because I like to have lots of places in a purse to compartmentalize my “treasures” otherwise I’d never be able to find them again in the purses I use! I do carry a tape measure and I use it quite frequently when shopping.


    so true, so true … but I’m at that age where I’m not particularly interested in impressing anyone. I’m very conservative, though, at my age, when it comes to buying a swim suit. I bought my last swim suit probably 3 years ago. The one previous to that was a “hand me down”. The only problem with the swim suit is that the sides are “high cut” even though it is a full swim suit (not a two piece). But it does the job…gets me in the water.

    I don’t carry a tape measure. And don’t really mind trying on clothes. I just pick a few that appeal and HOPE they fit. If not, I put them back, and maybe or maybe not look for more. If they fit, I buy. If they don’t, I don’t.

    And, yes, when I buy a new purse (pocketbook, as we down here in the south call it) I do check out the inside. Gots to have lots of pockets and zippered compartments. And I carry a “satchel” rather than a pocketbook. I need it for all my crafting goodies, as well as my makeup and other essentials.

    I do love either buying a “blank” purse to decorate with my embroidery machine. I also have jeans (pants and jackets) that I pick up thrift stores to embellish. So much fun deciding what I’ll put on them.

  • Mary Parker

    Thanks for the laugh, you are soooo right!!! The shopping experience is trully awful. The last time I tried on a bathing sute was not too long ago, that started the get serious diet, and until I can loose about 50 lbs. there will be no wearing a bathing suit!!! Getting old is an experience…you just can’t tell someone young that this will really happen to them!
    I carry a measuring tape in my pocket, and I do measure all sorts of stuff…my friends also know I carry it and use it when they are with me too!


    P.S. It would just tickle me to death to be a winner of this latest give away. Thanks so much for having them. Also, I purchased the “Embrilliance Thumbnailer”. It has been the BEST thing I’ve ever gotten to assist me with my embroidery. All I can say is if there are those embroiderers out there who have not gotten it, get it. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Janet Whitaker

    I like to swim with the grandkids so white legs, cellulite and all get in a swim suit. I figure on vacation I will never see the people again, and as long as the kids aren’t embarassed, who cares. (The trick is to go to any length to avoid mirrors.)

    I love to copy things in a store, and now that cell phones have cameras, I will whip out the camera and take a couple of shots of something I see I want to copy. Also, I carry a tape measure in my purse at all times. You just never know when you spot something you need to discretely measure.

  • lois

    Eileen, I loved your comments about purchasing (or trying to) bathing suits and jeans. I laughed and laughed, but it was all so true. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful work! xox

  • LeAnne

    I hate trying on jeans and I don’t even attempt bathing suits, but I sure got a chuckle of your post today.

  • Susan Cira

    I have been making my jeans for years!!!!! I’m tall & at the time many years ago, there were no tall sizes. I found a fabulous Butterick pattern sized proportionately for tall & that could be made regular or short. Its so old it started to look like a lace tablecloth so I re-traced it & keep going. It only takes 2 yds of fabric so I can get my custom fitted jeans for a song.

    • eileen

      Susan, you’ve tackled (and mastered apparently) a challenging task. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Janice Langan, a fitting instructor and a few of her students from the Sewing Place in Santa Rosa, CA. One of the students, Chris Lush (really, that’s her name and she lives a very sober life in Sonoma County, CA!), was wearing the best fitting jeans I have ever seen! Wow. I was so impressed. Obviously, it can be done.

    • Wanda Weese

      Is there any chance of sharing that Butterick pattern number for jeans? I would LOVE to have a pair that fits.

  • Audrey Goodwin

    All I could think of when reading your article was, Hey, I resemble that remark.
    Due to chemical and fragrance sensitivities I have to shop wearing a respirator. That saying, I buy, take home, try on, take back. Whew…wears me out thinking about it. So yes, I do carry a tape measure it has saved me a thousand times. And I measure ideas for projects and now, with my smartphone, I find myself taking pictures of clothing including some on regular shoppers if I see something I like. I hope no one catches taking od pic of them cause I like their clothes or purse LOL

  • Edna Khalifeh

    Eileen, I always enjoy reading your posts, you have a wonderful sense of humor 🙂
    I haven’t purchased a swimsuit in about 32 years (since I was 21), and since I don’t know how to swim, no problem, hahaha!
    It’s also been about that long since I bought jeans; I just can’t find any to fit my big thighs.
    Bags on the other hand…I could go for that. Your cd’s look VERY interesting and I would love to try out all those fabulous bags! Thank you for the great giveaways!

  • Margaret Pepper

    I haven’t bought a bathing suit in forever! Yes, I carry a measuring tape with me everywhere I go, you never know when you might have time to duck into a store!
    I am 4’9″, so I need to measure everything.


    and, yes, “white legs” syndrome I have, too. And, I, too, use the camera on my cell phone to take pics of potential projects; otherwise I’d forget all about them and wonder later “what was that I wanted to try to do?”

    (This blog is so funny … reading all the comments … and thinking “that’s me”)

    Makes me feel good that I’m not all alone.

    • eileen

      Oh we have a lot of fun, here, Rita! I love – love -reading the comments!

  • Carolyn

    I can’t remember the last time I tried on jeans and I only wear a bathing suit in the privacy of our hot tub. As for purses – I made the trifecta bag and it’s perfect! I’ve made a few variations for different seasons but ended up giving them to family.

  • Sandra Bassett

    I couldn’t believe it. There it was…the perfect purse. It was a soft, dark denim blue leather..perfect to wear with jeans. Lots and lots of roomy pockets both inside and out, but not too bulky. Places for my cell, wallet, glasses, coupons, reusable shopping bags, patterns, thread, fabric swatches, etc. etc.
    Problem was–I did not really need a new purse. It took me all of 2 minutes to decide that -what the heck- I would need one eventually and this would suit the purpose.
    So home I went, new purse in hand and and proceeded to fill it up. Of course, the next day I could not figure out where I had put what. Opened up every zipper, every pocket outside and in before I found the missing article.
    Now I have it solved. Everything is in the one large inside opening and the rest of the pockets are empty—- but they will be there when I need them.

    • eileen

      I agree! Too many compartments just make for a scavenger hunt!

  • Beth

    I rarely buy anything without trying it on first – it is so hard to find well-constructed clothes that fit! I browse though the store first to see what styles they have, what is on sale, and what prices look like. Then I pick out my top 4 or 5 items, and go try them on. If I’m lucky, I’ll find one that fits! And once I find some pants that fit, I will be 3 or 4 pairs, because I know I’m going to wear them out.

    I bought a bathing suit last year. It was not a terribly painful experience – I found a nice blue color that compliments my eyes, and it is a one-piece that hides some of my less-than-perfect features! But I’m not anxious to go shopping for another one anytime soon!

  • Donna G.

    I have to admit that as an avid swimmer, I buy swimsuits all the time, and also make many of my own. But I also have found that at the pool, the emphasis is on “swim” and “fun” and no one pays any attention to how anyone looks. What I like buying the least are purses! It’s hard to find the right size, the needed number of pockets, the handle length that fits…so I’ve tried making a few of my own. I’d love to win the Boatload of Bags this week!

    Thanks Eileen for the wonderful blog! You always have such great ideas and funny stories!

    • eileen

      Donna, you’re right, the focus is on the fun once you’re at the beach or pool. It’s the getting there that I dread! The joy of the water makes up for the dressing room experience. Here’s to making a big splash!

  • Dede

    I refuse to try on bathing suit in store.Bought one few years ago,took it home and it fit!,does have a skirt and bloomers is 1 piece on top but underneath it is 2 connected with strings on each side. Tricky to get into.looks pretty good on old body. My cover up is a tee shirt showing a bikini clad body,front and back.My kids love it and grandkids wanted to be sure it comes on vacation with us.

  • pam duxbury

    I live in Florida and the last time I bought a swimsuit was the year I moved here in 2004. I refuse to put myself through that anymore. I will wear cut offs and a t shirt first. And I am 54.

  • Susan

    Oh the trials and tribulations of trying to stay fashionable at any age. You have resonated with many, myself included!

    I solved some these dilemmas through the process of avoidance and I highly recommend it. For bathing suits . . . about ten years ago when the body began going south, I discovered Lands’ End. I order, the UPS man delivers the box, I try them on in the privacy of my own bedroom . . . groan as I look in the mirror . . . and sometimes send them back. No stress at all and no showing my true self to strangers (clothes do indeed hide a lot).

    I agree that jeans can be an intimidating purchase. I can’t tell you the number of mall jeans stores I walked into and out of several years ago on my quest for the perfect pair of jeans. It’s either the loud music (I’m told that’s to keep us old people out – and it works), or the sizing chart that I can’t figure out (Size 1, 2, or 3????) or the sales gal who looks at me as if I’ve stumbled into an alien land. So I took the leap and jumped off the fashion train.

    I happen to like basic jeans – not the $185 per pair an adult son who shall remain nameless buys in multiple washes. I found a style at a department store several years ago that fit well so I bought them. And I have been buying them ever since. They haven’t changed much over the past five years – just the level of blueness . . . and my most recent pair has some bling on the back pockets. I am happy with my $30 jeans . . . and I can happily avoid shopping for them at other stores.

    Now purses are another story . . . Am I alone in being someone who won’t even examine a bag if it is already heavy before anything is put into it? The weight test is my first . . . anyone watching me would see me pick up and put down bag after bag after bag. I’ve decided that either designers lift weights, travel so light they don’t need a bag or have a personal assistant to carry all their stuff so they don’t need to heft their own. We all have our peculiarities as to what is essential in a bag . . . I like inside pockets (outside not so much) so everything isn’t jumbled in the bottom. I haven’t found anything that carries all my stuff (yes, a measuring tape and my camera, too) as well as my diamond quilted lightweight five-year-old black microfiber bag from a designer known for printed quilted bags and totes.

    I retired last June (good-bye high school kids) and am just getting back into more than “just-in-time” sewing. I purchased a new computerized machine (mine was vintage 1974 – I sold my motorcycle to buy it . . LOL) and have just begun experimenting with machine embroidery. Very exciting and totally new to me. Would love to win the bundle!

  • Belinda

    Dear Eileen,

    I am right there with you when it comes to shopping for jeans, bathing suits, purses and I might add, bras!!!! The last time I bought a bathing suit was about 1 year ago and I ended up buying one of those skirted suits – because it did hide the “sausage” thighs!!! I carry a tape measure in my purse everywhere I go. You never know when you will need to measure something! I do thoroughly examine the insides of purses to see how many pockets they have, whether it is divided inside (I hate purses that are not divided because everyone just falls to the bottom and you have to hunt for whatever it is you are lookng for!!), how it is lined, etc. I also take photos of purses or clothing with my cell phone if I find something I really like that I want to imitate (aka -copy)! 🙂

    • eileen

      Bras! You’re so right! I missed that – add to the list.

  • maryc

    Great post and so true! I always travel with at least one measuring tape and I turn everything inside out. Price tags are never indicative of quality or sizing accuracy. I made costumes for the theater for years and I incorporate a lot of the tricks I learned then to my personal shopping now. As for bathing suits, most of my skin hasn’t seen the sun in decades and I plan to keep it that way – and I spend at least part of every summer at the beach!

  • Karin

    I’m right there with you when it comes to swim suits, only worse! I have a back/hip challenge that makes it really hard to get dressed (on a good day…on bad days I just don’t go out!), plus, I’m pretty sensitive about the way my body has betrayed me lately….sooooo, I often invite my husband (ok, ok, I drag him) into the dressing rooms with me & my armload of swimsuits. Now, you gotta know, I scope out the rooms first, and make sure I’m the only one in there…but, the last time we were in one, it wasn’t long when we heard, “SIR, I’m sorry, but only women are allowed!” To which, of course, I replied, “I have a disability and cannot get dressed without my husband’s help.” You could have heard a pin drop! No apologies, no comment, just dead silence. Needless to say, we just kept on trying on swimsuits till we found one we could both live with.

    Jeans are different story. I try rreeeeeeeaaaallly hard to stay a size 10 so I don’t have to buy new jeans!!! Now, purses are easy – I just make whatever I need or want, as the mood strikes.

    And measuring is easy – long ago, I learned my handspan is exactly 8 inches, my palm is 4″ and my leg is 36″ – no need for other measuring implements! I’m usually within a quarter inch of accurate, just using my built-in’s.

    But, I’d love to see the Boatload of Bags you’ve got – I can always use one more!!! And, oh, a pattern would be soooo welcome! I always just cut & sew, often, cutting more than once! 🙂

  • Mary L Haggenmaker

    I haven’t had a bathing suit on in about 20 + years! Have glanced at a few in the stores but I am definitely not made for a bikini. I have thought about making myself a suit but haven’t gotten up the nerve to even think about putting it on this old body. Who knows… maybe someday I’ll get brave.

    Now a handbag is a whole nother deal. It needs to have plenty of pockets and I do love a zipper. Many times I will wear out a purse but save it for the zippers and construction details. I have made several macrame purses and I did make a hobo bag once upon a time. Always looking for new ideas though. The bigger bags seem to be the current trend now YEAH.

    Jeans I love especially if they stretch. An 18W petite seems to be a pretty good choice. If I get it home and it turns out to be too snug..I raid my stash and find some nice stripe down the sides to insert.

    I usually do have a tape measure. You just never know when it might come in handy.

  • carroll

    I love purses but when I shop for one I’ll be the first one they throw in the klinger. My friends know that they are to come bail me out unless they are there wilth me. I always dump my stuff out and pack my stuff in a handbag before I buy one. I have made several bags, some I like and some I don’t. I always like to add my special touches to them. Sometimes they don’t turn out the size I think that they are gonna be so I give them away. I’ll be glad when I find one that is just the right size. Oh my, buy a swim suit. No, I won’t go there. I don’t remember the one I bought but the expirence scared me for life. What I saw in the mirror was a horrible site.

  • Janice Murry

    Finding a pair of jeans or a bathing suit that is flattering at my age is an impossibility. Comfort is the name of the game these days! Finding the right purse is another thing all together. I do like to have lots of pockets and zippers. A place for everything so that I can go right to it. It has to fit my shoulder and not be too big. When I finally do find a purse I like, I will buy different colors in it, if the price is not too high. Being able to make your own purse to order would be wonderful. Hope I win!

  • I always struggle to find the perfect bathing suit, but always have bad luck. Since I’ve started shopping online, I have no problems. At first I was shy being in a bathing suits in front of strangers, but now, I just don’t care. If other women can do it, so can I.

  • Dale Fedor

    Your story/comment on buying jeans & swim suit is true & made me laugh. I haven’t bought a swim suit in many years – can’t stand the sight of myself – age & weight loss (hanging skin) has really made the sight bad! And I hate shopping for a purse because they never have enough pockets for all the junk I carry or if it has the pockets, then the strap is wrong. I guess I need to find a good pattern & then learn how to make them. Thanks again for the laugh.

  • Cindy Smartt

    Shopping for any of these three items is definitely NOT my idea of a fun shopping trip! It is so much more satisfying to make my purses/bags – I can never seem to find one in a store that fits me! Creating my own bags is one way I can express my creative nature to the world and let them see the “real” me! As far as swim suits and jeans go, NO ONE will ever see the “real” me in those!

  • Diane Kunowski

    This is so timely! I have been looking for a new Spring-looking purse and I finally bought one after looking at many stores. I used it yesterday and told my husband that I don’t like it – it slips off of my shoulder. I told him I really need to put my stuff in the purse and walk around with it for awhile before I buy one to make sure it works for me. I didn’t realize this was such a universal problem! I had the thought that the only way I will get my perfert purse will to to make it myself!

  • Sue McGovney

    Thanks for the morning chuckle. My rule is when you find jeans that fit buy two pairs because if you go back for more they will probably be discontinued. am on a quest to make the perfect bag. So far I have not succeeded.

  • marsha nelson

    My measuring tape is a permanent fixture in my hand bag. Why would anyone ever be without one, unless they don’t know what it’s for. The last time I tried on a swim suit tears filled my eyes. I sucked in and scrunched and tugged and pulled all without any improvement. I finally bought one but I wear a big old tee shirt over it. Now why did I buy that suit???

  • Janet

    It’s been awhile since I bought a swimsuit. I love the bac on this blog and I have made many of them but I am now inspired to embroider on one. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Sharon Goodrich

    You hit the nail on the head, Eileen! This is sooooo true – I would love to win this bundle and have dreamed of making my own handbag(s) for a good while.

  • Bonnie Henson

    I think I was in high school the last time I actually bought a bathing suit. At that age fitting issues are not as complex. Since then, the last bathing suit I had expired over 25 years ago. I had it 8 years and it was a hand-me-down from a relative. I have not seen anything since then that would tempt me to put my matronly (now 63yo) body on display for.

    As far as bags and totes go, I can’t seem to find any “store bought” ones that meet all my criteria. Since I sew, I keep talking myself out of ready-made ones by thinking, “I could make one like this that has all the features I need.” I do make quite a few bags for myself and as gifts, especially since I have begun doing more and more machine embroidery. The more I make, the more fun I have experimenting with new ways to design them. I have developed a bag insert that makes it easy to change purses and making them myself (especially since I am whittling down the size of my stash) eliminates any guilt associated with having a lot of bags!

  • Jackie

    I didn’t realize you were shopping with me last week trying to buy jeans haha. I completely agree with your telling and understand completely. I have no hips and am very short waisted so purchasing jeans or a bathing suit is a nightmare and I only buy them when the current one is going to have me arrested for visual pollution. I’ve never thought of bringing a tape measure but think I’ll drop one in my purse for my next trip.

  • Greta

    since I am not sized 0 thru whatever, I hate shopping for clothes. I did purchase a swimming suit from Kohl’s 2 years ago, it was 2 pieces, the top being a tankini, and the bottoms, a cute little skirted short. It looked nice in the store, but in the pool, it is a whole ‘nother story, lol… the skirt won’t stay down in the water, it would rather float on the surface, or try to reach the surface if I am in deep water, so it is almost pointless to wear one with a skirt.

    Jeans, I have a favorite brand and type, so just get 1 or 2 of the size I wear when the need arises. no muss, no fuss and it drives my sister crazy if she is with.

    I always go thru purses to see what types/sizes of pockets are on the interior and exterior. I hate purses to, so the smallest one that will do the job needed is the one that wins. preferably it has a long strap that I can wear on the opposite shoulder so it wraps around my torso. I have never carried a measuring tape with me, but thank you for the idea!!


  • Betsy

    One thing I’ve learned over the years is…when I find jeans that fit properly and are comfortable after a couple of washes, go back to the store and buy multiples! I have 4 pair of jeans that I wear over and over. The other umpteen brand new jeans in my closet felt ok in the dressing room but after wearing them a couple of times I know they’ll never see the light of day again. I had a garage sale a couple of years ago and put out a WHOLE rack of brand new jeans…sold them for a dollar a pair….jeepers, think of all the fabric and embroidery supplies I could have spent my money on!

    I did buy a bathing suit a couple of years ago…just in case I HAD to wear one some day. I haven’t worn it yet. The last one I bought was 15 years ago. It is just too depressing to shop for one. I don’t feel my age until I look into that store mirror while half naked. I refuse to buy the skirted ones and most of the others would require more shaving than I’m willing to do at my age!

    I didn’t realize that so many others were as picky as me when it comes to buying a purse. I have to have a shoulder bag with one handle…two are a nuisance. It has to be big enough to hold all the stuff that I might need yet not too narrow and deep where everything gets lost….yes, a tape measure, comb, lipstick, bandaids, toothpicks, tissues, shopping list, coupon organizer, phone, camera if going away, mints, Tylenol, heaven knows what else. Well, for Christmas I got the most adorable purse, high end brand, probably $100….nothing I would spend on myself….but it was so tiny I had to go out and buy a new wallet because mine wouldn’t fit. I ended up having to buy a man’s bifold wallet! I tossed some of my former necessities and now make due with just basics. And, I no longer have pain in my neck carrying those old heavy ones. Just goes to show, old dogs can be taught new tricks!

  • Enis

    You must be kidding! Go into a store with a measuring tape. I try to get that nasty little chore done before leaving the house! LOL And, I’m with you on the swimsuit/jean buying experiences. Been there — done that! However, having recently lost 60 lbs has made shopping a bit more fun — even if I just get to see a lower number on the size tag. Oh, and let’s not even get into shopping for “unmentionables”! Love them, need them, but hate shopping for them.

    • eileen

      Oh Enis, maybe I didn’t make myself clear. I use the measuring tape to measure handbags, zippers, straps, that kind of thing, not the waistline, bust or hip.

  • Vicki

    Yes I’ll take a tape measure into a store. Depending on what I’m shopping for it is a sewing tape measure or a carpenter’s tape.
    Don’t be shy about checking to see if your stuff will fit in a bag – I always do that as the last step before parting with my money to buy. Bags are so personal.
    My pet hates about bags are:
    * dark linings
    * external decorations & hardware that are designed to snag your clothes and/or stockings
    * cardboard etc “stiffening” that crumbles into dust between the layers of the bag
    * linings that create “crumbs” over time (eg faux swede)
    * narrow openings (I can’t get the same things into a deep narrow bag of the same volume as a wide shallow bag)

  • Susan Burns

    I dislike all shopping other than fabric/embroidery shopping. I carry a measuring tape, pen and paper, measurements from items at home, but also find the camera on my cellphone great for bringing home ideas for my hubbie!

  • Diane Zimmerman

    I’ve carried tape measure w/me for over 20 yrs; invaluable for assessing those unexpected special finds. Handbags must be scrutinzed not just the exterior but interior dimensions-I always test them by stuffing envelopes, notebook to see if I can take them in and out without scrunching them (in the view of a sales clerk of course-don’t want to be escorted out in cuffs). The stiffness of the bag, not too much or too little (too stiff and you’ll wipe out everything in your path; too soft and it won’t stand up and all spills out). Chk out stitch quality, zipper installation. Easy access to cell phone & keys (a leather lined exterior pocket would be great; linings tend to deteriorate within 3 months). My last suit was purchased 4 yrs ago, catalog, it’s still in the pkg., don’t want to know what I’d look like in it…will make a coverup before I attempt it! The water arobics class never happened…maybe this year.

  • Vicki Barnes

    When I DO get a chance to go shopping by myself(having 4 kids) I will spend time looking at designs and the construction of things. I think to myself “I would not pay that price but could I make it myself? Humm” But I end up forgetting things when I walk into the house and see all that needs to be done!

  • Becky

    I look at everything in a store to see how it’s made and whether I can learn anything that will help me when I sew. Yes, even purses. I have been known to take a camera with me into a dressing room, though I try to remember to turn off the flash. I am short so trying on just about anything is a nightmare……especially jeans and bathing suits which I’ve just about given up on finding ones that actually fit and just going for the “that will do” fit. It’s really sad. My husband can grab just about anything right off the rack, not even try it on, and know that it will fit. If it’s his size, it fits. Boy, if that were only true for us, it would be so nice. I’m so glad you’re designing new purses. I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I would love to win today’s give away. I’ve seen what you’ve made from these and they’re really cute.

  • Gail Beam

    I just love reading your fun and funny blogs!! I hate trying on jeans at the store these days! They are full of holes and most of them are so low cut that the old belly hangs over !! At my age, I need tummy control! lol For the young and fit, the jeans may fit good, but I still like the ones that actually come up to the waist! I don’t think I have bought a swimsuit for over 20 years!!
    As for purses, I need a large one that has a lot of give, because it carries everything but the kitchen sink. At least, that is what my husband and children think! lol

  • Geraldine Carlisle

    First off I DO NOT LIKE SHOPPING, well, except in fabric, notions and craft shops. I do take tape measure, and a notebook. When sales people question this I tell them I am a careful shopper, I comparison shop, and I will take my bussiness elsewhere if they would like. {seldom find any who would like me to do that, but if they do I will leave cheerfully and pleasently.

  • rho

    I hate buying swimsuits! I love buying purses! I tend to go for cute purses rather than practical, although some are both! I have even made a couple of bags. For clothing I take my daughter with me because I know she will give me an honest opinion and she has great taste in clothes.

  • Bridget Cheatham

    I LOVE purses…currently I probably have about twenty in my closet! I have all styles and colors (as I like to have something appropriate for different outfits) but only when I started designing and sewing my own bags did I get something that felt truly “me”. I use my bought handbags as inpiration and combine my favorite details from each to make something unique and useful.

  • Doreen

    I used to have tape measure in my bag. In recent bag changes it was left out.
    Swimsuit issue- Last time I tried on a swimsuit was quite an experience. I grabbed a bunch in my percieved size and proceeded to try them on. One tankini top was very difficult to get on but I preserveered and yes I got it on (all the while thinking you fat cow and this must have really good slimming power), As I was having diificulty breathing I looked at the bottoms tag and they said size 5 on a size 12 hanger. I hate when people put things on the wrong hanger. Ok great do I feel good because I got it on or frustrated. Well, considering I was all by myself I felt a little alarmed. How am I going to get this off. I thought I might have to leave the dressing room and explain my dilemma to a sales clerk and have to have a stranger pull it off. I eventually got it off. Lessen learned always check the inside tag for size

  • Paule-Marie

    OMG, did you hit the nail right on the head. I hate (no make that HATE!!!) shopping for jeans, purses, bras, etc. The last time I bought jeans was 3 yrs ago. Went to the large lady shop and was totally irritated. Even though I came away with jeans, I had to buy the tall sizes in a couple of them so I could get the waistband sitting where I want it (I am a short chubby semi-old lady), one pair had legs that were over a yard in circumference at the bottom and the other was baggy in the seat to the point that if the waist had been a little bigger, they would have fallen off. And these were the best of the lot. So off to the alterations lady as soon as I got home. (I refuse to do alterations, don’t even like hemming pants – I have worn jeans with safety pins in the hems until they wore out). Esther did a fantastic job with the alterations.

    I really don’t like pants where the top of the waistband sits below my natural waist. Didn’t like hiphuggers when I was a teenager in the 60’s either.

    Purses, I do put my stuff in them before I leave the store, if I feel like it. Otherwise I try them on at home and return them if they don’t work. You know what’s the worst? Buying a new purse and wallet at the same time. Can’t find a darn thing if you do that.

    I don’t even want to talk about swimsuits. Haven’t had one since 1987. I can’t swim anyway so it doesn’t matter.

    I know Chris Lush, we went to the same monthly class when I still lived in Santa Rosa. She’s a talented and really nice lady. Hi Chris, if you’re reading this.

  • Sherrie

    I love to swimsuit shop…with my beautiful 17-year-old daughter! She has curves in all the right places and gravity hasn’t, yet, taken ahold of anything. (The crazy part is that she and I share a “body-type” and I now know that I looked pretty good at that age, although I didn’t know it then.) She looks fabulous in wild colors and prints, 1-piece or 2-piece. She has flawless skin and a beautiful smile that lights up any space she occupies. …now, do I have to buy a suit for me????? um, maybe next year – haha.

    • eileen

      Ha! I too have a daughter with a fabulous shape! It’s hard to resist buying every swimsuit in the store for her. What I love about shopping with her is the time I get to spend with her and how great everything looks on her. What I hate about shopping with her is we never have enough time together!

  • Kim

    I do sometimes bring a tape measure with me when shopping and the other thing I do is use my phone to take pictures of the article! That way, I don’t have to remember all the little details (like zipper placement), I can look at the pic and put together a pattern.

  • Carol Seavitt

    My sister is working on sewing purses and she too borrows ideas from designer purses (not literally). So, I have been helping her and tearing out pictures from magazines and mailing these to her. If she likes the style, she then sews a proto-type. We’re both having fun with this new found ‘hobby’.

  • Michele Cariveau

    I carry a measuring tape AND I look at the inside of everything!! Your can really tell what kind of construction methods were used, and the quality of the fabric by inspecting the inside. And with prices of everything so high today, you want to buy the best you can afford.

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