A while back I received a lovely bundle of fabric from Stay Home Fabrics, and I used it to make a purse, glasses case, key fobs and a cup cozy. The fabric is Beyond the Backyard by Jane Farnham for Camelot Fabrics (a Canadian company).
I still had a bit left, and spring is finally here, so I decided to make another insulated lunchbag with it. I followed my own tutorial, but changed up a few things. I used a different method to box the corners, and I tried tapering the top a bit. I love how easy it is to make small changes and get different results. I also made my own straps instead of using webbing. It's a nice way to use a coordinate and gives the bag a more sophisticated look - moms pack lunches for themselves too!
You can find the tutorial by clicking here. Beyond the Backyard is such a versatile collection. It's so happy and the tossed print has bees! I love fabric with bees!
You can pick up your own Beyond the Backyard bundle at Stay Home Fabrics. While you're there, check out some of the exciting new items in store: Minky, Fusible fleece, and insulbrite (perfect for lunchbags) are all back in stock; Cloud 9 organic cotton, and Tula Pink Elizabeth are now available, as well as Babyville Boutique and precuts.
I'd love to hear if you've made a lunchbag from my tutorial yet, or if you have any questions about it.
I was so excited to have the opportunity to test a pattern for Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. The pattern is called the Ansel Camera Bag, and offers 3 sizes. The medium and large feature an adjustable divider. It's a fully padded bag with lots of room for customizing. I made mine with snaps just for fun, but the pattern calls for hook and loop. Here's my medium, made with Amy Adams' Geekly Chic 2 Pink Cameras, for Riley Blake Designs, from Stay Home Fabrics.
The medium and large has instructions for 2 buckles to close the lid; whereas, the small has one buckle to close it. The bag also calls for an adjustable strap. I added an interior pocket to mine as well.
This bag did have a lot of prep because of all the pieces and basting and fusing, but I found once I got to the sewing stage, it came together quite quickly.
You'll have lots of time to pick your fabrics out for this one, because the pattern isn't due to be released until May.
I have some map fabric that will be great for my next Ansel. What fabric would you choose for this fun and functional bag? UPDATE: This pattern is now available here.
Cat-Eye Pouch Giveaway
I had a chance to make Thread Riding Hood's Cat-Eye Pouch, a free pattern I featured in this post. I used Cotton + Steel from Fabric Spark and Fishskin Fabrics, and a nice zipper with a gold pull from Emmaline Bags. It came together so nicely, and you should definitely give it a try. I made this pouch as a prize to celebrate over 500 'likes' on my Facebook page.
Update: Thanks to everyone who entered; the giveaway is now over.
Liliane Buckled Hobo Bag Retro Purse
Remember when I posted about testing this pattern? Well the pattern has been released and is now available for purchase from Delinda Boutique, you can get it on Craftsy or Etsy.
I did find the pattern to be very detailed, and it's definitely one you won't want to be printing. Each step is extremely detailed, and the pattern is loaded with pictures. With most PDFs, I simply print just the pattern pieces and read the instructions from my tablet. The designer wanted this pattern to be detailed enough for a beginner, and I would say she hit the mark on that one. If you're experienced with bag making, you will probably be able to quickly scan some of the instructions for the simpler steps. Either way, you'll end up with a beautiful, unique bag!
I love a good deal, and I love sharing them too, so I thought I'd remind you all about the discounts exclusive to Happy Okapi readers right now.
Blue Calla Sewing Patterns, is offering 10% off patterns from the shop, with code OKAPI10.
Flare Fabrics is offering 15% off with code HAPPYOKAPI until the end of March.
In continuing with my Everything Else series, featuring different sources to get "everything else" needed for bag making, I have another shop to share with you. I've received my first order from PacCana and I've been waiting to receive the items before sharing with you all. I'm so impressed! They have a GINORMOUS selection of supplies. Everything from interfacing to zippers to canvas and webbing, and pretty much everything else you'll need for bag making besides fabric. For my first order, I wanted to try a variety of items.
Their interfacing selection is quite large, and I got some of the woven fusible, which seems to be a great slightly cheaper alternative to what I normally use; it's more per yard, but it's 46" wide compared to 20". I also requested a sample of the medium weight non-woven fusible interfacing, which they carry in white and black. I've had a chance to try out the woven interfacing, and I find it's comparable to the name brand stuff I usually use. It fused easily and didn't wrinkle on the finished product.
They have a pretty impressive hardware selection too. I ordered a box of 100 magnetic snaps for cheaper than some places would sell me 20 for, and the quality is comparable to what I often buy. If you don't need 100, you can order smaller quantities for a higher per piece price, but still very affordable. They also carry O rings, D rings, snap hooks, buckles, and more, in a variety of sizes.
You can also find carry rotary cutters, replacement blades, and cutting mats. They have a couple brands, so I tried one of the cheaper blades, and so far, so good!
You do need an account to access prices and order, but it was really quick for me; I just filled out the form, and received an email the following morning with my account info. So don't let needing an account deter you. I also needed to call and ask some questions, and I was able to get help by phone, hassle free.
I found the shipping rates really reasonable too! Free shipping on orders over $200, and low shipping rates on orders below $200, for quick reliable shipping.
I absolutely must share my latest happy mail. I found this really neat Victoria, BC based company, Stamplifier, that makes custom stamps. Their Etsy shop has lots of fun stamps for sale, plus listings for custom stamps. I ordered one with my logo and I'm so thrilled with it! The packaging is upcycled and comes with a really funny Warning/Instruction sheet for your new stamp. They offer free shipping in Canada too!
When I first started making bags, I only used free tutorials I found on Pinterest. Since then, I've accumulated dozens of purchased PDFs, but there are still some gems out there for free. The great thing about these free patterns, is it gives you a chance to test out a designer's style of instruction before buying another one of their patterns. Here is a small round up of free patterns from some of my favourite designers; I've chosen a few that have a some different techniques to try out.
Don't forget the discount at the bottom of this post!
The Retreat bag features a long zipper, and uses wire frames to hold the bag open wide. You can also make use of the new metal zipper ends available on www.emmalinebags.com instead of fabric zipper ends if you prefer.
The Baker Street Bag, by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness is a free PDF with one pattern piece and full instructions. I think it would make a good first project for someone who is comfortable with sewing, but hasn't made bags yet. The bag features a recessed zipper, but if that scares you, you can use a magnetic snap instead.
The Ramona Mini Hipster is Swoon's latest free pattern, and it features some fun hardware and a zipper. I love the design feature on the front of the bag: so much freedom to make it unique.
Anna of Noodlehead has many free tutorials and patterns listed on her site, here's the Snappy Manicure Wallet I made with the pattern. It was a lot of fun to make because it uses an elastic pocket, a zipper, and snaps. I also think it's a great pattern to use if you have several prints you're wanting to showcase. It makes a great gift too!
This last pattern is a brand new freebie from Thread Riding Hood. I just love the unique area for a fussy cut featured on the front of the pouch. I can think of many precious scraps I've hung on to that will be perfect for this project. Take your zippered pouches to the next level!
Note: Please refer to original posts for the individual designers' rules around selling bags made with these patterns.
Blue Calla Sewing Patterns Discount
Celine over at Blue Calla Sewing Patterns has been busy creating even more patterns, and has generously offered a discount for my readers. Use code OKAPI10 at checkout to save 10% on any bag patterns in her Etsy Shop.
Liliane Buckle Hobo Bag
I had the opportunity to test a new pattern for Delinda Boutique, the Liliane Buckle Hobo bag. The pattern is still in testing, but due to be released soon. The pattern is for an elegant pleated hobo bag, with a unique exterior front pocket and a decorative buckle magnetic snap tab closure.
I really love the details in this bag. The pleats on the front and back add a really nice touch to the bag and turn a typically casual style into a nicer bag. The buckle from my bag and most of the other testers' bags were upcycled from old belts; I love upcycling, but that story's for another day. Actually, the pattern comes with a couple options, and Maria, the pattern designer, upcycled an old sweater for one of her bags. The unique pocket on the front of the bag with 2 open sides is such a neat design feature, and makes a great place for chapstick, notepad, pen and other quick access items.
The pattern includes instructions for interior zippered pocket and slip pocket. The technique to add this zippered pocket was a new way for me, and was a bit longer to do, but the results were worth it. It made for a very neat pocket, with no exposed zipper tape on the inside. I used my By Annie's Zipper by the Yard with mutli-coloured zipper pulls, and was able to match the pull to my top panel and handle.
I chose the latest Cotton + Steel collection Tokyo Train Ride from Sarah Watts as the feature print on the front pocket. I used Charley Harper Feathers from the Nurture line for Birch and Cotton + Steel Basics xoxo in Night Owl both from Fabricspark.com as accent fabrics to pick up the navy and coral in the main print. The lining of the bag and front pocket is in a Free Spirit solid.
If you're looking for a new pattern for a special bag, consider the Liliane! I think this bag is best suited for an intermediate sewist, but a confident beginner could tackle it as well, since the instructions are very detailed.
Update: see my review of the final pattern and links to purchase here.
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Hi! I'm Reece and I love to sew! I'm also a mom and a wife. I love being crafty and sharing tips.
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