It's February! That means I can share the latest bag I tested. I made this Sublime Bag, pattern from Sew Sweetness, and it's the February pattern for the Bag of The Month Club.
I love the details on this bag! The front exterior pocket opens on both left and right sides of the pocket, and I think metal zippers really help add some bling to this low-hardware bag. I used cork from the Sew Sweetness shop, and chose the black with silver specks to match my zippers. The cork was a dream to work with on this bag, and one piece of 18" x 54" is enough for this pattern.
The pattern has instructions for rolled handles, like I did here, or flat handles. The rolled handles in cork were a breeze! If you prefer, you could also add some hardware on the connector and do your handles separately.
As usual, I made my own double pull zipper, but a single pull zipper works here too.
The purse feet are optional of course, but I thought they went well with my cork.
I added a bag label from Emmaline Bags on the back, because it never hurts to #putabirdonit (see here for reference).
Inside is just as lovely! There's a zippered pocket, and a divided accordion pocket.
The pattern calls for 2/3 yard of exterior fabric (pink in my bag) but I actually managed to make it with just one fat quarter, although I had to cut the lining of my front pocket from a different fabric. I just thought I'd mention it in case you only have a FQ of a special fabric and want to use it for this bag. I used Safari Moon, an older collection from Frances Newcombe for Art Gallery Fabrics. As mentioned earlier, I used one piece of 18" x 54" cork from Sew Sweetness, but the pattern has instructions for both fabric or vinyl/leather/cork. I followed the pattern exactly for all the interfacing suggestions, and I really like the body and structure it resulted in.
I'm pretty sure I've shared this before, but I'm so slow at sewing, really! This bag was rather quick though, even the cutting and prep didn't take too long. Another winning pattern from Sara at Sew Sweetness! This pattern is only available as part of the Bag of The Month Club, so if you haven't yet, sign up to get the exclusive patterns!
I've been working on secret sewing lately and it's been so hard to keep them all quiet. I'm bursting at the seams to share these awesome patterns and thrilled I can finally show you this one. It's the Prairie Girl bag, by Janelle from Emmaline Bags, for the December pattern in the Bag of the Month Club.
This bag has it all! The front zippered pocket has card slots, and even a pen loop! The main section is two separate zippered compartments and the strap is adjustable so you can wear it on the shoulder, or cross-body. Lining up the butterflies from the pocket to the main bag was an experiment that worked, thankfully!
I'm not a prairie girl myself, having lived on the west coast my whole life, but I wanted the fabric for this test to match the name. I envisioned butterflies in sunny fields and pretty foliage when I did this fabric pull, and I think they're so pretty together. These are prints from two Lizzy House collections: Natural History and The Lovely Hunt.
A great thing about this bag is that it's low on hardware. It really only needs an adjustable slide and 2 rings. I even managed to upcycle my hardware from a thrift store bag. You can also use rivets to attach the straps, but if rivets make you nervous, you can just stitch them on instead.
If you want to read more about the Bag of the Month Club, you can check out the Emmaline Blog. There's also a big announcement from Janelle in her post, you won't want to miss it.
Update: The Prairie Girl is now available individually from Emmaline Bags, click here to purchase.
I made another bag from Sara Lawson's newest book, Windy City Bags! This time I chose Sweet Talk, which is perfectly retro and was calling to the Melody Miller typewriters in my stash. I also tried out glitter vinyl for the first time. I had planned on sharing what I learned with working with the glitter vinyl but it actually was so easy to work with I didn't have to do anything differently at all. I even kept my same presser foot. I did make sure to increase my stitch length a bit because I've heard that if your stitches are too close with non-woven material, then you can perforate it.
About the Bag
Sweet Talk has a front pocket with a flap and that front pocket is perfect for a fussy cut. You can choose to match the front of the bag, like I did, or make it a feature and have it different. Each side has a set of magnetic snaps, which you can leave closed, or open them up to make the bag a bit roomier.
The top panels are firm and close with another magnetic snap. There's also an interior zippered pocket. I used the interfacing and stabilizers called for, but I like my bags a bit more structured, so I think I'd add some Craft Fuse or Decor Bond to the lining next time, and use foam for the side panels instead of Thermolam. I think a firm base for the bottom would be good too, but I can always add a removable one to this bag.
The size is absolutely perfect for an everyday purse. I like to carry the essentials but I tend to bring too much if my bag is really big and then it's too heavy to be practical.
This was a fairly quick sew, especially once you finish the top panel assembly, then the rest is a breeze. I added rivets to my straps, mostly to bring out the silver glitter in the black vinyl, but also because I asked some sewing friends and the answer was a resounding "yes!"
Working with Glitter Vinyl
As I mentioned above, working with glitter vinyl was so much easier than I expected. I actually put my walking foot on, but then tried sewing with my regular foot and it was just as easy! This vinyl from Sew Sweetness is thin enough that you don't need an industrial machine, even when sewing multiple layers like the straps. I sew on a domestic machine, and it handled this bulk without hesitation. I do suggest trying on a scrap before sewing the real project, but I do that with any fabric combo I'm about to sew.
I'm not sure what would happen if you ironed the front of the glitter vinyl, but I suspect it wouldn't end well. I did fuse some interfacing on the back of mine with my iron on a lower setting, and didn't have any problems.
For straps, I simply folded the vinyl and then used my point turner to make a crease instead of with the iron.
Now the hard part is deciding which colour vinyl to choose next! There's flat rate shipping to Canada and US too!
Have you worked with glitter vinyl? Did you have to do anything differently? If you have any tips to share, let's hear them!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you're probably aware that I recently took the Mix & Match Clutch Bag Techniques Craftsy class taught by Janelle MacKay. Today I'm sharing my review with you. I also have a discount to pass along (details at the bottom of this post).
This class includes patterns to make all the "mix and match" clutches, plus instructions on how to make them. Along with video instruction, there is a full text version on how to complete the bags. The class is way more than just a video tutorial though. I consider myself an intermediate-advanced bag maker, and I picked up so many tips for making bags, especially finishing tips. Here are the lessons covered in the class:
I really enjoyed the fabric lessons Janelle gave; she talked about some fabric that is typically considered more difficult to work with, and she provided tips on how to use them in these bags. The first time I watched the class, I pretty much had my mouth gaping open in awe the whole time. The entire class wowed me. I really could not wait to get started making the clutches and trying out the new techniques I had learned.
I really love the concept of these mix and match patterns. The class includes pattern pieces and instructions to make a virtually unlimited number of combinations for your clutch. You can choose from 3 different flap fronts: asymmetrical, pointed and rounded. You can also choose the body front: trapezoid, rectangular and pieced. In addition to those options, Janelle teaches how to make your own shape if you choose. The hardware options add even further to the uniqueness of your bag. There are also several strap options for you to choose from, including wrist strap, shoulder strap, and metal chain. The construction of the clutches are identical, no matter which shape you choose. The lining of the clutch eliminates the need for a wallet with the bag. There are 3 card slots, a "lipstick" slot, a zippered pocket and a slip pocket.
I really have been enjoying Craftsy lately! This is the first time I've made a project along with a video, and it really felt like I was sewing along with the instructor. I liked being able to pause and back up, refer to my class materials, and even read questions from other participants. Craftsy really offers a lot of flexibility to access your classes. You can watch from the computer, or from a tablet or smart phone. There's even a Craftsy app, which is my preferred way to access my classes. The app makes it easy to switch quickly between video and class materials. If you like, you can download individual lessons, so you can watch them offline as well. Craftsy is risk free too; if you don't like the class, you can take advantage of their money back guarantee.
Janelle MacKay designs patterns and hardware at Emmaline Bags. Her sense of humour is so endearing and really adds to the enjoyment of the class. As I mentioned before, these Craftsy classes really make it seem like you're spending the day sewing with the instructor, so it's important that the instructor is someone you'd want to spend the day sewing with! I found she had a relaxed demeanor that made it easy to learn from. The techniques she showed have already improved my bag making and I'm so grateful for the knowledge she shares with us in the class.
I think this class is suitable for advanced beginners and up. Even very experienced bag makers would benefit from this class, if not just for the patterns it includes. I learned extra finishing touches, how to properly install a turn lock, how to add metal trims, how to get perfectly folded card slots, and so much more. I imagine I'll be referring back to this class many times when I want refreshers for certain skills or techniques. When I made my second clutch, I enjoyed being able to skip to the parts I needed to refresh my memory on those steps.
Enjoy 50% off with this discount link, good through March 4, 2016. Update: that discount is over, but check the link anyway, there are often sales and it may be on sale again!
Full disclosure: I bought this class for my own use and I'm now sharing my review with you. Because I'm a Craftsy affiliate, I was able to obtain a discount to share with my readers. This post contains affiliate links and I earn commission from sales made through these links. All opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for your support!
If you've taken the class, I'd love to know what you thought. Or is it on your wishlist? Take advantage of the sale price and get making those clutches!
Sandra Saddle Bag
Sandra is one of my unblogged bags from last year. This saddle bag is part of the Swoon Sewing Patterns Vintage Collection. I gave it a classic style with Jackie McFee's Opposites Attract line (Sitka Fabrics) and large gold rings (Paccana). The pop of colour from the lining is Camelot's Mixology Woven in Topaz (Sitka Fabrics)
In addition to the interior zippered pocket, the bag has a front slip pocket with pretty dart tucks, secured by the flap. The flap is closed by a unique bottom tab with magnetic snap. I chose black vinyl for the gusset and tab and I think it completes the timeless look. This was one of the faster Swoon bags I've made and I would say it's suitable for a confident beginner.
Harriet Expandable Tote
Harriet is expandable! Each side opens wider with zippers. It's also part of the Swoon Vintage Collection. This bag was definitely more involved than Sandra, but certainly worth the effort. I used a couple prints from Bonnie Christine's line Winged (Dragonfly Fabric) and some matching vinyl. I also chose O rings (Emmaline Bags) instead of the suggested rectangle rings, mostly because I had them in the right finish; I think either shape works just fine.
The main top opening is secured by a flap tab with magnetic snap. There is also an interior zippered pocket, and room to add another pocket if you like. The vinyl overlays and straps gave me a bit of trouble until I remembered to use my walking foot - why do I always forget?! Overall, I love the style of this practical tote. I think this pattern is suitable for an intermediate bag maker.
The Swoon Sewing Patterns Vintage Collection offers really great value, even for Canadians with our not-so-great exchange at the moment. The per pattern price is really affordable, and I love having a variety of patterns to choose from in my pattern library. The collection concluded with Maisie Bowler Handbag, an adorable pattern that I'm itching to sew up. I'm not sure how long the collection will be available for purchase, but once you purchase the collection, all 12 patterns will be in your account for good. One thing I really like about Swoon Sewing Patterns, is that you can always access and download your purchased patterns, for an unlimited amount of times. You can also take note if any revisions have been made on a pattern before you tackle a new project.
Have you made a bag from the Vintage Collection? Which one is your favourite?
Thanks so much to everyone who entered the Sitka Fabrics giveaway. I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. Don't forget the discount code HAP10 good for 10% off until June 20, 2015 in the Sitka Fabrics online shop.
I used Random.org to help me select winners. Courtney's comment won her the Heavy Metal from Camelot Fabrics FQ bundle. Congrats Courtney!
Gwen won the Acorn Trail from Birch Organics FQ Bundle. Way to go Gwen!
Thanks again to everyone else, stay tuned for another giveaway soon; they're so fun!
Hyacinth Bag - February Bag of the Month
The Hyacinth Bag, bySew Sweetness, is the February bag from the Bag of the Month Club. I'm trying to catch up. The club has one more month, and I have 4 more bags to go, yikes, I better step it up!
The Hyacinth has a front flap covering card slots and a zipped cash pocket. The flap is closed with a magnetic snap, and the pattern offers an option for an invisible snap, or the regular magnetic snap option. The pattern also has an adjustable strap so the bag can be worn over the shoulder or cross-body.
The bag is slim, but roomy, with a large divided interior pocket and a zippered exterior back pocket.
I chose Melody Miller's Mustang line from Cotton + Steel. The arrows and horses were from Fabric Spark, and the matching border print was a lucky find in my local quilt shop. I was also happy I had all the coordinating gold-finish hardware and zipper pull to match the metallic in the prints.
The Hyacinth Bag is now available from theSew Sweetness shop.
What kind of giveaways would you like to see? Patterns? Fabric? Let me know in the comments. Are you in the Bag of the Month Club? Are you up to date, or behind, like me? I've already started cutting my Manhattan Mama, so watch for that soon.
Discount Alert: Make sure to catch the discount code at the end of the post.
In case you haven't noticed, I love testing bag patterns! I wouldn't even know where to begin to design a bag, so testing a pattern still allows to be a part of the process, and I find it quite satisfying. My latest testing opportunity was for Blue Calla Sewing Patterns, to test the Rose Gathered Handbag. It features a large opening closed by a flap with a magnetic snap, interior zippered pocket, and large interior divided slip pocket. The defining feature is the gathered side, with ties you can cinch to increase the gather. It also incorporates some hardware to complete the fun retro look.
I used Pellon Craft Fuse 808 on my lining and it gives the bag a wonderful shape when combined with the fusible fleece and the gathers and pleats.
The only tip I have for this bag is to use a binding maker, if you have one, for the ties. If you don't have one, it might be worth looking into. I picked mine up a while ago for under $10; it's such a great little tool, and prevents burnt fingers, ouch!
I found the pattern itself to be easy to follow, with many full coloured pictures and detailed instructions, including tips. Once everything was cut and fused, it was a relatively quick sew.
To me, this pattern is such a summery bag, so I chose Anna Maria Horner's Lou Lou Thi collection for it, with Summer Totem as my focus fabric. I think this line exudes summer! It makes me think of sunny days, fruity drinks and island getaways, and I think this bag showcases all the coordinates so well. I just love how the lining peeks out at the top; it's too pretty to hide.
Update: the introductory discount is over, but you can always use discount code OKAPI10 to save 10%, even on sale items!
I'd love to hear your plans for the next thing you're working on. Will it be a bag? If you don't have any projects on the go at the moment (or even if you do), now's the perfect time to pick up this pattern with the discount.
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.
We've been getting so many grey and cloudy (and wet) days lately, so I was happy to work with this Beyond the Backyard collection from Camelot Fabrics, that I got from Stay Home Fabrics. I love the little bees in the tossed Tiny Blossoms print, and the Daisy Mosaic on white was the perfect pop for the lining. This Orange leaves print is different than my usual style, but I'm glad I ventured out of my comfort zone. All of these gorgeous springtime lovelies are available (on sale) from Stay Home Fabrics right now.
This bag is Swoon Sewing Patterns' January pattern, and her name is Vivian. I have the Swoon subscription and it is such a great value. It's so much fun waiting to find out each month what the next pattern will be.
I also made Vivian some matching accessories: a cup cozy, a couple key fobs, and a glasses case.
Now is your chance to get a great price on these fabrics from Stay Home Fabrics, as they are having a "Going out of Business Sale." Lindsay has really enjoyed interacting with everyone with her shop and loved the work, but her and her family have made the decision to pursue other life dreams. The store will officially close at the end of February. All stock will be marked down, so head on over and take advantage of the sale to build your stash. She still has a great selection of quilting cottons, Essex linen, and fleece. Here are a few from collections I love.
Update: The store will have a new owner, which means it will stay open, yay! It also means sale prices will end January 30, 2015 in preparation for the new owner, so stay tuned to see what's in store.
Welcome to my new blog! Here are the last few bags I made in 2014. I really love making bags and working with beautiful fabrics.
All 3 bags pictured are made from Swoon Sewing Patterns, and are Bonnie, Glenda and Dallas.
Bonnie, made with some adorable Andover chickadees from fabricspark.com was made for a friend in exchange for an amazingly soft wool cowl she crocheted for me.
This Glenda Convertible Clutch, made in Tula Pink's Moonshine collection, featuring Deer Me in the Strawberry colourway, came together really nicely, if I do say so myself. I used an antique brass hardware and I think it makes a nice finishing touch.
Finally, this Dallas Duffel bag was a Christmas gift for my Dad. It was my first time using this pattern and also my first time working with Echino linen blend, also from fabricspark.com. The piping and lining are made with Free Spirit Solid in Eggplant, which match the helicopters perfectly, thanks to Daryl of Fabricspark for helping me with the colour code!
I look forward to another year full of great sewing projects and more beautiful fabric!
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.
Disclaimer: This website contains affiliate links. Purchases made through those links provide me with a portion of those sales. Proceeds earned through these links help pay to continue running this site. Thank you for your support!