Psst! Keep reading for discount details.
Time for a fun round-up! I thought I'd share some patterns for framed purses, since there's such a range and I find they turn out looking like you put more effort into them than you really did. I won't tell if you don't! There are several different types of frames, so I've broken up the post by type of frame.
Psst! Keep reading for discount details.
These purses and clutches remind me of dress-up as a little girl, with my "click-clack" shoes, long gloves, and mom's old dresses. I still get a kick out of opening and closing them.
This pattern from U-Handbag is true to its name. I found the sewing to be lemon squeezy, but I was a little nervous when it came time to glue the fabric into the frame. Thankfully I didn't mess up and get glue all over, and it turned out beautifully! You can also find this pattern as part of the online Craftsy class Sewing Structured Bags with Lisa Lam.
Inside is simple, and the purse opens up quite wide.
You can also find an adorable mini frame with chain that works to hold a few coins or as a lipstick holder at Emmaline Bags; there are even pattern pieces to download for free to make 2 different minis.
If you have the Sizzix die cutting machine, this Sew Sweetness coin purse will be a breeze with her coin purse die. You can also find the frames in 2 different sizes and 2 different finishes on the Sew Sweetness site.
These frames open up wide and snap shut with irresistible fun- really, once you install them in a bag, I dare you. You won't be able to resist opening and closing the bag just for the sake of opening and closing the bag! This style of frame really helps give the shape of carpet bags or doctor bags. You can see how to install them in myvideo found here.
The Companion Carpet Bag from Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H is the first framed bag I made and I really fell in love with it. This bag will make you look like a genius! Once you pop that frame on, the wow factor is unavoidable.
This Craftsy Class features video lessons and downloadable resources, including the patterns for the Easy Purse (as mentioned above) and the Carpet Bag pattern by Lisa Lam.
Internal Wire Frames are inexpensive and relatively easy to incorporate. You can find them Emmaline Bags, and they come in 3 different styles: A, B & C.
This pattern from Little Moo Designs uses the Style A Internal Wire Frames from Emmaline. The Race Day Bag is insulated and tall enough to hold a bottle of wine!
This FREE pattern from Emmaline Bags comes in 2 sizes and uses either Style A for small or Style B for large. Download the pattern here.
This is one of my favourite patterns ever! I've made more of this pattern than most others. I love to use it as a lunch bag by insulating it and using a wipeable material for the lining. The pattern calls for the Style B internal wire frames and the bag opens up really wide so there's plenty of room for your lunch in containers. Get the pattern here.
Here's another free pattern for you! This pattern from Mrs. H uses the style C internal wire frames from Emmaline Bags. The large rounded top gives the bag a luxurious shape and is perfect for tall brushes and toiletries. It's larger than it looks, and could even work as an evening clutch. Check it out here.
This large bag works as a day trip bag or even as an overnight bag. You'll need the style C frames for this one. I hosted a sew along this summer so if you need some extra help check it out here. To get the pattern, click here.
These ones don't have frames but look like they do!
This bag, like a traditional doctor bag is structured and opens up nice and wide, but doesn't require a frame. Instead, the pattern calls for boning at the top, in place of a more expensive frame. See the pattern here.
Now that you've learned about the different types of frames, get started on your own framed bag! Emmaline Bags is offering a 15% discount on any of their frames found at this link. Use code OKAPIFRAME15 at checkout. No minimum order required, offer expires October 31, 2017.
Yay! it's Day 1 of the sew along. I hope you're as excited as I am to make this beautiful bag together. Before we get started, let's review what we'll be doing. Starting today, I'll be posting steps to make the Emmaline Bags Castell Day Bag. I'll break it up over several days, to give you plenty of time to sew at a leisurely pace. I will offer tips and different options and take pictures along the way. You can share your progress on Instagram with #CastellSewAlong or in the Emmaline Sewing Patterns Group on Facebook. There are also going to be 3 prizes for participants who complete the bag. To be entered to win an Emmaline store credit ($20, $15, and $10), simply tag me @reecemontgomery and Emmaline Bags @emmalinebags in a picture of your completed Castell Day Bag, and use #CastellSewAlong on Instagram before September 12, 2017. (Profiles must be public so I can see them. If you don't have/use/like Instagram, you can also upload a picture of your completed bag to be entered to win.)
Here's the schedule:
Day 1: Getting started - cutting and fusing pieces (that's today!)
Day 2: Starting Exterior of bag
Day 3: Finish Exterior of bag
Day 4: Make the Lining
Day 5: Finish the bag!
A note about this sew along: I suggest reading through the actual pattern and referring to it while sewing; this sew along is meant to supplement the pattern instructions, not replace it. If you don't have the pattern yet, you'll need to purchase it. You can find the discount code and link in the announcement post here. If you haven't ordered your hardware yet, you'll want to do that right away too. You don't need it today, but you will need the frames before finishing up the bag. Visit Emmaline Bags to pick up some bling and your frames!
If you've purchased a paper pattern, you're one step ahead. If you have downloaded the PDF pattern, you'll need to print it. You may wish to only print out the pattern pieces and refer to a computer or mobile device for the pattern and sew along. Make sure the pattern pieces print out at 100%, or actual size. Once printed, double check by measuring the 1" test square. Cut out the pattern pieces and tape A1 and A2 together, overlapping the gray area; do the same thing for D1 and D2. I also find the cutting guide on page 4 really handy to print out, so I can check off as a list as I go.
Cutting and fusing is often my least favourite part of bag making, and I often have to psych myself up just to get started, but once it's done, the fun begins...so let's do this!
If you haven't chosen your fabric yet, you'll need to do that. For this bag, I chose one single fabric for my exterior, but it works well to have the centre pockets as an accent fabric too. For my lining, I chose several coordinates and went with a brighter theme than my usual low volume innards. I like to cut my fabric first, before the interfacing, since it's prettier and more fun, and then when cutting the fabric is done, I tell myself I'm more than half done all my cutting! Gather your supplies. I use shears for the pattern pieces, and rotary blade with rulers for the rectangles. Do yourself a favour and change your rotary blade if you haven't done it recently. A fresh blade really does make cutting so much nicer, and reduces fatigue. I also like to have a few different marking tools. I like the chaco liner, the clover triangle chalk, and just regular pens.
The direction of the print of fabric should be the same way as the words on the pattern piece, so if you have directional fabric, pay attention to make sure your top isn't at the bottom.
Let's start with the exterior fabric. Notice that Pattern Piece A states to cut 2 mirror image sets. Here is an example of how I did one mirror image set. Basically, you trace/cut one piece out of the pattern with writing side up, and another piece with the pattern writing side down.
A time saving tip for some of the rectangles is to do subcutting. For example the zipper casing is 24" long by 1.5" wide and we need 4 of them. For this piece, I've cut one piece 24" by 6", and you can interface the same way, and cut into the smaller sections once you've fused the interfacing.
Some of the rectangles we have to cut are probably bigger than the rulers you have available. Use 2 rulers together! In this example, I wanted a piece of fabric 15" wide, but my large ruler is only 12.5" wide, so I added 2.5" from another ruler.
Here's another way to cut 4 pieces of fabric, when you want to 2 mirror image sets: fold the fabric right sides together, and then fold again, now wrong sides together. Trace around pattern piece, and cut (I pinned my fabric layers together before cutting to prevent shifting). This method is a favourite mine because I only have to trace and cut once for 4 pieces of fabric.
For the lining gathered pocket, we're cutting on the fold. I also pin before cutting on the fold.
Make sure to check off all the pieces as you go so you can keep track of what you've done. I like to write on the back of my pieces with erasable pen, like frixion markers, since they'll disappear with some heat. I also pin or clip small pieces together so I don't lose them. Any pieces that correspond with pattern pieces I leave with the paper pattern piece. This pattern doesn't call for interfacing the lining pieces, but if you choose to do so, you can cut a set of interfacing to match the lining pieces; however, you should consider not interfacing the gathered pockets since they may not gather nicely once interfaced.
Once you've cut and fused everything, you're ready to move to Day 2! This can take a while, so we'll start Day 2 on Monday, August 21, giving everyone the weekend to do their prep. If you're done early, gather the rest of your supplies, like any of the pretty optional hardware, and all your zippers.
I'd love to see your fabric choices; share with me on Instagram with #CastellSewAlong or in the Emmaline Sewing Patterns Group on Facebook and don't forget to tag me @reecemontgomery so I can see. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing you all again on Monday.
Disclosure: Some links in this post are my affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission on purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you. All opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for your support.
I made this bag last year and I really don't know why I didn't share it earlier, but this pattern has me thinking about summer, so I figured I should tell you about it now to give you some time to prepare your next beach bag. Is it just me, or do bucket bags have you dreaming of sand and surf? The Blue Calla Dahlia Bucket Bag doesn't have to be a beach bag of course; it could be your everyday bag too. It's roomy enough to carry more than just the essentials and the trendy accents give it a cool vibe.
I couldn't resist using the border print of this older Cotton + Steel print to coordinate with the other C&S. I will admit, the grommets were new for me, and I was having a heck of a time cutting the holes to set my grommets. My friend Crystal of Cloth Albatross helped me by suggesting to cut Xs for my holes, and then she even wrote a tutorial on the Blue Calla blog. If you haven't installed grommets before, or you have but struggled, I strongly urge you to check out the tutorial, because it helps so much.
This pattern is great to try out vinyl or cork for the accents. I used a faux suede from Funky Monkey Fabrics; like cork and vinyl, this material doesn't fray.
See this rounded cap stud on the accent here? It's a purse foot! I know you can get studs specifically for adding bling, but the purse feet I had on hand worked perfectly and matched the rest of my hardware. I also use a zipper end from Emmaline for the end of my drawstring.
This pattern has an adjustable strap, 2 exterior side pockets, an interior zippered pocket, and of course, a drawstring closure. It's a lot of fun to sew up, and then a bit scary to cut holes into your completed bag, but that makes it a fun challenge.
If you want to try it for yourself, you can get the pattern from Blue Calla, and don't forget to use the exclusive discount for my readers to save 10%, just put in code OKAPI10 at checkout.
If you follow Sara Lawson's blog Sew Sweetness, you're probably aware that she recently taught a Craftsy class. It's all about interfacing and tips for better bag making. I feel pretty confident with interfacing choices, but I'm a big fan of Sara's so I took this class to see what it had to offer. Craftsy has given me a discount to share with you all as well! Find the discount toward the bottom of the post.
I think the class did a really good job at showing something I thought could only be taught with a physical hands-on experience. Sara compiled many samples of interfaced fabrics, using different fabric and interfacing combinations. She showed several different examples in completed bags, which really helps demonstrate the body and support interfacing lends to bags.
I think it's a really great class for those starting out in bag making. I wish this class was around when I first started making bags. The proper interfacing selection makes such a big difference to the look and feel of a completed bag. Just getting started at bag making can be so confusing and overwhelming; I really think this class helps take a lot of the confusion out of the subject. Even though I'm not a beginner, I picked up a few tips myself. I'd like to try some of the alternative stabilizers mentioned in the class.
It's not only about interfacing though! Sara also covers how to:
Some other topics were: choosing thread, needle size, and stitch length. I'm excited to try her trick for bias binding finish on seams. I always struggle with those, but Sara made it look easy with her tips. I also learned about some interesting tools I'd like to try out. The class also comes with a handy interfacing comparison chart, found in the class materials.
I've only started using Craftsy less than a year ago. I really like it so far. I find the app works really well for me, but watching from my computer is also convenient. I like to watch classes on my tablet while preparing food or folding laundry. There are many free classes to choose from as well. With Craftsy, there really isn't a risk either, because of their 100% money back guarantee. Another really great feature of Craftsy is that class participants can ask (written) questions during the class, and the instructor answers. It's great, because you see the questions others are asking. I learned nearly as much reading the questions and answers as I did from the class!
I found Sara so charming and really easy to listen to. Her instructions were clear and comprehensive. Those outfits! She doesn't say in the class, but I'm almost positive she made all her outifts, and I loved seeing them. I found that Sara went above and beyond answering class questions. I didn't notice any unanswered questions. Some questions I didn't find relevant to the class, but Sara graciously answered them anyway. I also really liked that she showed us some of her "not so perfect" bags to help us learn from her mistakes.
I wholeheartedly recommend this class for anyone starting out in bag making. Whether you've made one bag, or you've made a few basic bags but are wanting to take your bags to the next level, then this is the class for you! I can't fully recommend this class to experienced bag makers, because I think much of the material covered in the class, you will already have a firm grasp on. If you're a fan of Sara's though, like me, and enjoy taking Craftsy classes, then I still think you'd enjoy the class, and probably pick up a tip or two. It was fun seeing bags made from patterns I've used and even tested.
Here are some other reviews of the class:
Until February 11, you can save 50% on the Building Better Bags Craftsy class here.
Full disclosure: I received this class for free as part of the Craftsy affiliate program. The opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links and I earn commission from sales made through these links. Thanks for your support!
Have you taken the class? What did you think? What other classes would you like to see a review on? Let me know in the comments.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Sara Lawson's newest book Windy City Bags, so that I could host a Sew Along with all of you! Sara even let me decide which bag to sew with you. I loved so many bags from this book, so it was really hard to decide. I had to get some help from my Mom and sister to narrow it down. We decided that Hey Mercedes would be a great one for it.
You can read a bit more about the bag here on Sara's blog, Sew Sweetness. I really love the shape and size of this bag, and I think there's a lot of room to be creative with this pattern. I also think it works well with some larger scale prints, which can be hard to work into some bags.
Before I get into the details of the Hey Mercedes sew along (including prizes and a discount), I wanted to share another bag I made from the book: Trompe Le Monde. This is a really unique bag, with a zippered divider pocket, a tongue lock closure tab, and some pretty overlays. I used Heather Givans' Succulent line from Fabric Spark. The main exterior is a border print, and I had been waiting for just the right bag to display it. For the divider pocket and piping, I used a Mixology print from Sitka Fabrics; it works great as an accent.
It's a great size too! This large tote has lots of room for books or magazines, a tablet and typical purse contents. Keep your valuables secure in the zippered divider, and the larger items in either of the large sections. The interior slip pocket is great for quick access items, like a phone and keys.
This was my first time installing atongue lock and it was so easy! Check out the free tutorial on Emmaline Bags to learn how to install it.
Hey Mercedes Sew Along Details and Discount
What's a sew along? You can check out some of my other sew alongs to get a better idea, but the gist is that I will break down creating the bag in steps over a few days. I'll try to explain the process with extra pictures, and I also offer tips and different ways to do things in the pattern. Many people enjoy sew alongs because it's extra motivation to get going on a pattern you've been wanting to make. It's also lots of fun to see progress of others joining in. Once it's over, I'm always amazed and all the different bags made from the same pattern...so inspiring!
Because I know many of you still need the book, I'm giving you lots of time to get prepared for this event. If you haven't purchased a copy yet, you can pick up a signed copy of Windy City Bags from the Sew Sweetness website. Book purchases from the Sew Sweetness website receive a free paper pattern (just leave a note at check-out which one you'd like), and as a special for the sew along, Sara is including the 4 metal rectangle rings you need for Hey Mercedes for free as well (just leave her a note at check-out that you're participating in the sew along so she knows to include the hardware with your order).
You'll have a whole month to gather your supplies and plan the bag. We're starting the Sew Along on March 1st.
What you'll need for Hey Mercedes:
Sitka Fabrics, one of the sew along sponsors, is offering a 10% discount from now until February 21 with code Mercedes10 at checkout. I'll be making mine with the gorgeous Avantgarde collection from Sitka Fabrics and the colors are stunning!
Of course there are prizes! Really awesome prizes that I'm very excited about. Sitka Fabrics is giving away gift certificates and Aurifil has offered some thread boxes for prizes!! How awesome is that?! We will have one judged winner, and the rest will be random winners. I will include details on how to enter to win on March 1st.
So gather your supplies, and check back in on March 1st. I'll be posting some progress shots on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there as well. I'll use #HeyMercedesSAL, and I hope you do too, so everyone can follow along.
Introducing the Primrose Satchel, the newest pattern from Blue Calla. I had a chance to test out this pattern and I'm thrilled with it! Make sure to read through to the bottom for discount details!
There are so many features packed into this bag! It has an adjustable strap, making it able to be worn cross body or carried on the shoulder. The back has an exterior zippered pocket.
The pattern calls for a slip pocket inside the main compartment.
I love bags with flaps, because we can use a feature fabric and really showcase it. I used a directional fabric, and used the same focus for my interior and exterior fabric, so I just flipped my pattern piece to make sure my print went in the right direction on the inside. Like many of the Blue Calla patterns, this bag also features pleats, and I think they add such a nice touch to the bag.
The pattern calls for a turn lock, and you can even get a hardware kit for the Primrose Satchel from my favourite Hardware supplier: Emmaline Bags! I had a chance to use the new Half Moon Magnetic Edge Clasp from Emmaline, and I'm in love! It's simple to install, but has a big impact beyond a simple magnetic snap.
This pattern is a PDF that you print yourself. I love PDF patterns because I don't have to worry about messing up the original pattern because I can always print it again. I like to read instructions on my tablet while I'm sewing, so I only print the pattern pieces. The instructions consist of ample full colour photos; with a layout of 2 columns per page. This is one of the easiest bags I've made in a while, and I think it would be great for a confident beginner. I love the versatility with the flap and the closure options, and you can add piping too, depending on which closure method you choose. The hardest part of this pattern is placing the zippered pocket at the back of the bag, pay careful attention not to place it too high, or you will have a difficult time topstitching at your final step. If zippers scare you, leave it off, the bag will still be really nice without it, and you can try on your next one. I really like the method of closing this bag, leaving no seam to hand stitch (my sewing pet peeve). I recommend this pattern for anyone looking for a quick, easy sew with satisfying results.
More Tester photos
This beautiful Primrose featuring Anna Maria Horner's Loominous collection is made by Kristy of Rock Baby Scissors
This stunner, using Alison Glass' Ex Libris, was made by Sheri of Lil' Munkee Designs
Discount and Where to Purchase the Pattern
You can get the pattern at the Blue Calla site. As always, you can use promo code OKAPI10 to save 10% on any Blue Calla pattern, even sale priced patterns!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the Primrose Satchel pattern has been retired. The Lilac Mini Messenger will achieve a similar look (minus the pleating) and it's free! Click here to download the pattern.
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.
Sponsors and Affiliates
Save 10% with code OKAPI10
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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