Thursday, February 16, 2017

Introducing Ellen's Esplanade


It's pattern release day!

Meet Ellen's Esplanade, the newest pattern by Chris W Designs for her easy street pattern lineI loved sewing up this bag, it's a very quick sew and results in a polished and fucntional shoulderbag that is so fun to carry. At 15" W x  11" H x 5.5" D it's a generously sized bag without being oversized. 

I loved the side pockets, they are cute and super convenient for stashing your phone, keys, and even a small umbrella. I also love that this design element allows you to use up a fun print that you've been holding onto our pairing something fun and bold against a more neutral main panel print. 

For this bag I used essex linen for the exterior and strap, this gorgeous AMH print for the pockets and for the interior I found a beautiful purple peppered cotton that plays against the purple in the pockets.

The interior has a zip pocket, that is very generously sized and the bag construction involves turning the bag through this pocket, a technique that I love. 

The top has a recessed zip closure and is super easy to install. As a general rule, I am not a fan of zip pockets in my personal bags only because I am always too lazy to zip them closed. With that said, I always love the way they look, and I think recessed zips are my favorite!

The recessed zip also allows for a bit of bling by way of the zipper ends. I do love my bling! You can get these zip ends from Emmaline Bags here

I loved how the top stitching thread popped against the linen! It might be my favorite thing about this bag. 

This bag calls for either fusible fleece or foam stabilzer depending on your preference for structure. I opted for the foam stabilizer and I did like the results, but I think if I make it again I would prefer the slouchier look that fusible fleece would give. The only part that I didn't like was that I had used fusible fleece in the side pockets, which flop over at the top with the weight of the hardware when not being carried. Next time I will try fleece on the body and possibly foam on the side pockets to help keep them more structured. 

This bag is a very quick and pleasant sew, it comes together easily and is a great way to try different looks by using various types of fabrics and hardware. I love that the side pockets are functional. 

Head over to read up on the pattern release and pick up your copy here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February BOTM: The Sublime Bag by Sew Sweetness

Are you a member of the Bag of the Month Club? It's a fun subscription that gives you a new bag pattern each month from one of six fantastic bag pattern designers. Although the bag itsef is secret until the first of each month, you know that the patterns are going to be well written and easy to follow. If you follow along each month, you will learn some new techniques and it will absolutely increase your confidence and knowledge of sewing bags.

The February pattern is the Sublime Bag by Sew Sweetness. This bag is a medium sized handbag that requires little to no hardware to create. It can be made using all fabric, or you can include some vinyl, cork or leather if you like to add some contrast to your bag. The front of the bag has a unique zip pocket that adds an interesting touch to your bag while being a great feature to keep essentials handy.

I love that the design of this bag lends well to showcase prints, and fussy cut your fabric. I attempted to do this with these adorable owls. Since I tested the bag, Sara has since added a template for those of you that want to fussy cut your feature panel which makes it super easy to do!

The interior of the bag has both a zippered and accordion pocket and PLENTY of room to tote around your goodies.

If you join the club now, you will receive both January and February's patterns and then on the 1st of the month until June you will receive a new pattern. It's such a great value and a fun way to try out something new!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My First Leather Bag

As we kick off 2017, I've set a few goals for myself, one of which is to challenge myself to try new techniques and push my self outside of my comfort zone. Last year I started working with vinyl, and while I am far from an expert with it, I do feel much more confident incorporating it into my normal sewing. This year, one of my goals was to try sewing with leather.

 I saw this jaw dropping bag that Sincerely Jen made for the Bag of Month Club in which she had used reverse applique on black cork. The bag is absolutely incredible, and as always her workmanship is impeccable. Her reverse applique is what inspired me to give this technique a go, and in true me fashion, with a medium I have never tried before...leather.

I asked some advice of some talented bag makers who have experience working with leather and they were able to answer some questions for me and steer me the right way.

The hardest part was the applique, only because I quickly learned that any holes punched in leather, STAY in the leather and can create an unsightly mess. I had to cut away my original applique design and re work it to cut away some areas that I had messed up on. Once some of the initial mistakes were made, I ended up with this design:

Top stitching around the edges was the hardest part, only because I knew there were no take backsies. Once I had completed the panel, constructing the bag with the leather wasn't a challenge. However, I only did two panels with leather. I think that was about the extent of what my machine could comfortably handle. 

I chose the Miss Maggie Bag by Emmaline Bags, along with her Long John Strap Anchors. I went with Miss Maggie because it's a a perfect "basic" handbag that is like a blank canvas. It's a simple bag but that's what makes it such a cool pattern, there are so many ways to change the entire look of this bag by adding different features, hardware or panels. I am so happy with how this bag turned out, I used some of my favorite Alison Glass prints, one of which a sweet friend sent to me because it's so hard to locate. 

Of course, every good bag deserves a tassel. I made this one with a scrap of leather that was a perfect match for this bag. I added some bling from Emmaline Bags to top it off. 

The back of the exterior doesn't feature the applique, and I still love it. 

I'm so over the moon with this bag and I am so excited that it worked out how I had envisioned it, despite having to alter the applique a bit. Leather was less scary than I thought and I am looking foward to using with it more and learning more about it. 

Do you have any new things you want to try or techniques you'd love to learn in 2017? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Calabash Handbag

I'm so far behind sharing my projects! One of my goals in 2017 is to blog more, and stay on track with my projects. I tested the newest pattern by Roarhaus Design Co., the Calabash Bag.  This is the second pattern by Roarhaus, which is the creation of an incredibly talented fellow bag maker and designer Amber. Amber did an amazing write up on hardware for my It's in the Bag! Series over the summer and she is known for her great mixing of fabrics and design elements to make her bags pop. Her patterns are no less stunning. 

The Calabash Bag pattern features both a handbag and a tote bag size. I opted for the handbag size and even this size is a very generously size hadbag and could double as a small tote.  This pattern comes together very easily, and I think a confident beginner would be able to make this pattern.

This bag is chock full of pockets! The front of the bag has a large divided slip pocket, which are quite deep in size. It would be great to slip in your sunglasses and phone with room to put your keys and pens on the other side. 

The back of the bag has a zippered pocket, which allows you to store more stuff without and gives a bit of extra security. There are two side pockets as well, which could easily hold a small water bottle. 

The inside has a full sized zippered divided pocket, that extends all the way to the bottom of the bag. It's secured with a magnetic snap closure and has the option for both vinyl/leather straps as well as fabric. 

I really like how the straps and attached to the bag, I've yet to come across a style like this. The straps are inserted into the strap tabs (you cut a small slit to insert) and then secured with hardware or stitching. It gives a really unique look. To be honest when initially reading through the pattern, I wasn't sure how I felt about this style but now that it's completed I love it!

You can pick up the pattern on Craftsy here and if you don't already follow Roarhaus on Instagram you are msising out on some serious bag inspiration.. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Swoon Sydney Crossbody

Happy New Year! 

Over the holidays I was happy to get some sewing in and try out a new pattern. My sweet friend Kate surprised me by sending me a yard of Winner's Circle in Mint by Tula pink, knowing my love for mint green. I instantly thought of making the Sydney Crossbody  by Swoon Patterns.

I was lucky enough to have a bit of this pink glitter vinyl left over after I finished another project and I had JUST enough to use for the pocket flaps and accents on this bag. She was a remarkable easy sew, even for all the details on the exterior.

One of my favorte features on this bag are the two front cargo pockets. They add a different look to the exterior and are so functional. 

The back has a full sized slip pocket, which allows you to store a generous amount, making it perfect for a small diaperbag or for toting your work essentials around.

In addition to the two cargo pockets, there is also a large zippered pocket on the exterior front. It's a great place to add a pop of contrast by using a different colored zip. 

The top has a zippered closure and inside there is another zippered pocket. This bag has so many pockets it's perfect for someone as unorganized as me, I seem to always have stuff rolling around on the bottom of my bag. 

This was a very easy to follow pattern, and none of the steps were very challenging, but there were a lot of elements in this bag. I would rate it intermediate, and I'm sure with some patience even an advanced beginner could make this bag. It's rated as a 3/4 for difficulty on the Swoon Site, and I would say that is appropriate only because of the many steps involved. 

I'm so terrible at estimating sizes from measurements on patterns. I had expected Sydney to be a bit bigger than she was, more of a true messenger bag or tote bag sized. She is 13' Wide x 11" Tall x 3" Deep. Which makes her more appropriate for an every day bag than I had envisioned. I think she woul make the perfect diaper bag for someone who doesn't need to tote around a lot. I haven't decided what to do with her yet but I can see this being a new favorite pattern for me. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Copper Love

Did you know that Emmaline Bags now carries copper hardware?! I had the chance to play with this yummy finish last month and the pictures do not do it justice, it's GORGEOUS. I was so excited to get my hands on this stuff and this Cotton and Steel print waited it's whole life for this copper. 

When deciding on a pattern, I immediately thought that the fabric and hardware would be well suited for a Swoon Sandra Saddle bag. I paired it with a faux leather I got from JoAnn and a hot pink solid on the inside. 

I love how the copper picks up the colors of the fabric so nicely, on some prints it looks more rose gold but on others, it's like a true copper. 

Emmaline is stocking snappy closures, rectangle rings, slides and rivets in copper as of now. Enough to do a lot of different bag styles. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Madison Hunting Bag

A while back I started working on a Madison Hunting Bag for a sweet friend of mine, and then I promptly put it away for the better part of 6 months. It was one of those projects that everytime I would dig it out I would realize that I was missing this item or that item that I needed. A few weeks ago I finally decided it needed to get done and I knocked it out.

My friend requested a pink bag, so I found this bubble gum pink canvas on and paired it with a print from Tula Pink's Eden line for the interior. All the accents were done in glitter vinyl. I purchased this particular glitter vinyl from as well and it's so thick, it's really only suitable to go through my machine as accents.

Although she is VERY pink, I'm so happy with how she turned out:

This was my first time using an iThinksew pattern. I absolutely love the style of this bag and many that they have, but I will say that it was a lot of pieces to work through. She was definitely not a quick sew. She was also a bit smaller than I was expecting, but in a good way. It's a good sized bag that would be great for toting around for work or the gym without being ginormous.