The Bag is Done!! Updated!
Hey Everyone! I'll update this post later, but I am so excited that I just finished reviewing and entering my bag in the March Handbag contest over at Pattern Review.
OK, so here's the real post (although much of it is lifted straight from my review):
The inspiration of the design elements of this bag came chiefly from two bags that I already own and have used extensively. But first and foremost, I needed a summer bag. Last year at the end of the spring, I bought myself a leather Fossil bag which I love, but found it very uncomfortable to wear during the summer. (Leather straps do not slide freely on bare skin.)
For the handbag contest at Pattern Review, I made a small lined messenger-style bag with an adjustable strap and magnetic snap closures on the flap and back pocket. There are two main exterior pockets (front and back) as well as two side pockets for cell phone and keys. There is one interior pocket for pens and another specifically to carry the little urn of my mother's ashes.
The finished bag is roughly 9" x 11". The strap is about 50" long. This means that this bag is on the small-ish side which is good for someone my height. My life dictates a functional bag, but I wanted it to be a little fun, classic, and summery at the same time.
I spent who knows how much time searching for a bag pattern, but I couldn't find a commercial pattern that even somewhat resembled this bag, so I ended up drafting it myself. It wasn't too hard - just rectangles, and using graph paper made the drafting much simpler. (I do not profess to be any good at searching the internet, however. There could be thousands of patterns like this out there...)
As I mentioned in a previous post, I had originally hoped to put small zippered pockets on both the front and back pocket pieces. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to do the research and testing needed to learn how to make and assemble any zippered pockets.
I am very pleased withthe tiny urn pocket. My mother taught me to sew, so it is nice to have a little spot for her ashes in my bag.
I used a very stiff sew-in interfacing to support the body of the bag. It sewed remarkably well, but was difficult to pin without distorting the seam. To solve this dilemma, I used small squares of fusible tape left over from an old set of Ikea curtains, and fused the outer fabric to the stiff interfacing. I also used small binder clips to hold multiple layers together.
My machine had more trouble sewing through many layers of the outer fabric (when attaching the straps to the bag) than it had sewing through two layers of outer fabric, two layers of lining fabric, piping, and two layers of interfacing (sewing the bottom/side panel to the front/back of the bag).
I used the fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the lining to add support for the inner pockets. I also used fusible interfacing to support the magnetic snap closures. On the flap, I attached a piece of the stiffer interfacing opposite the magnetic snaps to prevent the fabric from wearing thin.
The strap is many layers thick - maybe six? I thought about adding fusible interfacing, but the methods I tried didn't work. The sliding buckle is just a regular buckle, but I removed the prong from the center bar. Works like a charm!
I had so much fun designing and making this bag! A friend asked me how many hours I put into it, and I can't even say. Definitely more than ten hours of actual working time, but then I also spent countless hours thinking through the steps and my techniques (and then there's all the time spent schlepping around town to purchase materials - I never manage to correctly estimate the amount of piping I actually need...).
Here is a slideshow so you can look at the entire album of photos with captions below. (The slideshow goes crazy fast and I wrote a lot in the captions, sorry. You can pause the slideshow by mousing over the photos and clicking the pause button that appears.)