My youngest son got invited to a birthday party for a little girl and the first thing I thought of was "YESssss! I get to make a little girl's purse!" I really try to get my boys into liking bags, and they do like the lunch bags and other bags I make them, but they just aren't into the "pretty" stuff, so I rejoice when I get an excuse to make a fun, pretty purse. Right away I found out the birthday girl's favourite colours are yellow and blue. At the same time, I've been itching to make one of the Bag of The Month Club bags from this year. They're all now released and I hadn't made one yet because I always seem to have more urgent projects (well, as urgent as sewing bags can get, ha!)
The Polaris bag is the March bag from the club, it's bySara of Sew Sweetness, and the pattern includes an oval and a rectangle bag. I chose to use the oval Polaris as my canvas for the birthday purse. I think it's a great pattern when you want to be creative and add your own elements. I was inspired by the Cat-Eye Zippered Pouches (Thread Riding Hood) I'd previously made, but couldn't really construct the bag the same way, so I came up with a different way that should work for most patterns, and the best part is you only need a scrap piece for your center focus fabric.
Start by selecting your focus fabric. It can be relatively small as long as there is about 1/2" all the way around the area you want to display (the mermaid in my finished bag). Place the full oval pattern piece (both halves taped together) on your work surface, then place a page protector or clear quilting template over top, and line up the focus fabric so it is centered with the center of the pattern piece. Now make an additional 1/2 pattern piece (half an oval in this case) and line up with original pattern piece (on bottom of pile) and center of pattern.
Now you can draw the shape of the curve that best suits your focus fabric. Just draw on the 1/2 pattern piece. Cut out the curved section and check to see if your focus fabric is how you'd like it, flip over to other half of the pattern to make sure it looks good from that side too, which it should if your focus image is fairly symmetrical and centered properly.
Once you have the center curve how you like it, create another full oval. Place the 1/2 pattern piece (with the center curve cut out) over top of the full oval, now you'll need to continue that curve along to the edge of the oval, on both top and bottom. You can use a French Curve tool, or just freehand if you like to live on the wild side, like me! My piece ended up looking a bit like a "C" with horizontal teardrop cut out.
Cut a mirror image set of both the exterior fabric and the accent fabric, which will act as a faux piping.
Sew one set of exterior and accent pieces right sides together; repeat with remaining set. Turn right side out. Then you'll need to press each piece, but before you press, roll the accent piece toward the center of the cutout, to reveal a scant amount, this creates the faux-piping look.
Place the 2 assembled overlap pieces over the center fabric and overlap one piece on the top and one piece on the bottom, so they're intertwined. I did this step on top of the page protector again to make sure I maintained the original shape of the oval. In order to have a nice topstitch around the center, and seal off any raw edges from your focus scrap, mark where your pieces overlap (pink arrows). Now take your overlap pieces apart again and start a topstich about 1" inside the overlap point (yellow arrows) and continue to past the overlap mark (you can go all the way if you like, but it won't be seen on the finished product). Bring them back to your page protector work surface and line up again with center focus fabric. I used some double sided fabric tape to secure my pieces once I was happy with placement. Now we'll finish the topstitch around the curve, starting at each yellow arrow and continuing along to the end of the curves.
Baste all layers in place along outer seam allowance and continue with bag construction as per pattern instructions.
I really hope that helps! If there are any steps that were confusing, please ask and I'll try to clarify.
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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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