I printed this free pattern off some time ago. It was a free pattern on Sew Mama Sew but it does not seem to load right anymore. It is also in Amy Butler’s Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags so you can always go that route. I made this for the State Fair of Texas. I am beyond addicted to competing in the fair now! I chose this pattern because it has rave reviews with words like “showstopper” and “people won’t believe you made it.” I bring my A game to the fair and the review had me convinced this would make a competitive bag.
Amy Butler loves interfacing so beware fellow enthusiasts, if your machine can’t handle it, these bags might not be for you. Use a heavy duty needle like the 100/16 or Denim needles and be prepared for interfacing antics. I used Leather needles anytime there was leather involved and sometimes left them in especially during the attaching the bottom to the sides phase.
There are not many pictures in this pattern BUT there are many tutorials floating around the interwebs including SewSweetness that has nice pictures of the handle assembly.
Belmont Sewing Club that used metal rings instead of the cloth ties (I contemplated this but in the end decided I was not a fan).
Charmed Liebling had some nice warning of the pitfalls of the fit-to-page printing option and using different interfacing. You can seriously Google this bag and get all sorts of tips and tricks.
I did trim my ties down by 3/4″. I wanted a nice solid turn at the handle brackets and I was getting a lot of slack before I trimmed it.
I added in extra batting when installing the magnetic clasps, which you should always do! That is a high stress point and I’m surprised the pattern does not have that in there. After cutting the holes for the brackets to go into the fabric and before I pressed them down to secure it, I slipped a little square of batting down onto the brackets. You do not want that metal pulling against unprotected fabric 15 times a day!
WHAT I DID
I used quilter’s cotton quilted with batting instead of home dec fabric. I used Stamped Grove in Nightfall from the Indelible line by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics. I feel like this line was underrated. The purple in this fabric is so rich and lush it really is incomparable. The line is crazy awesome and nerdy cool.
My skill builder for this project was to match the fabric on the flap with the main panel on the front to keep a continuous look. Anytime you can match seams or lines it looks more couture. I believe in competitions people are looking for a show of effort and anything that sets it apart. If you are looking at two bags you like a lot maybe the deciding factor is that slick fabric matching!
This bag has a magnetic closure making it a snap (punny!) to line up the fabric. I marked where the snap was to be put on the flap pattern piece and the main panel pattern piece. Then I laid out my outside fabric and picked a distinctive point. I laid the flap piece on the fabric with the snap marking on the distinctive point. I found the next repeat in the fabric and lined up the main panel piece the same way. Since I was going to quilt these piece I cut about an inch extra around the pieces to account for shrinkage. After quilting the panels I again lined up each pattern piece with the mark on the chosen points and cut out the pattern piece.
In the end I was soooooo close but was a little off:
Leather Bottom and Handles
I used leather on the bottom and for the handle tags. The leather is from a vintage leather skirt that never fit me. You can usually score vintage leather at secondhand stores and it will be higher quality and way cheaper than what is at the fabric store. I installed purse feet on the panel after attaching the Peltex with the fusible interfacing. Purse feet are super easy to put in and add a lot to the bag! They also actually help protect from wear and tear on the bottom. I added a layer of batting on the bottom so you would not feel the feet through the interior lining.
I used a walking foot most of the time. When putting together the exterior I switched to a a 1/4″ seam foot when attaching the curved side pieces to the main exterior panels because it was the smallest I had. I tried using the walking foot then put it was too bananas. The walking foot would not allow the curved panel to ease. I made it through all the layers 99% of the time and I only had to hand sew the last tacks in the side of the bag:
This inside lining is No. 30359 15 – Grey from Little Black Dress 2. I love this polka dot and really want a dress made out of it… one day! I also added a grosgrain ribbon around the edge. After I attached the flap to the main body I noticed this created a hot mess inside the purse. I created a label on my Bernina and put that on the ribbon. I hand-stitched the ribbon around the entire circumference. It was a big added step but I am much happier with the results!
I bought a 14″ zipper and added zipper tabs to each end after cutting it down to 12″. I especially like how this creates a nice clean edge where the zipper pull is. I cannot stand it when, after zipping something up, there is a gap between the pull and the side of the project.
Final verdict: I really like this bag and I am proud of all my effort. I felt accomplished when I finished the last tack on the divider panels. I am entering this into the fair so I can’t use it but it will be my daily carrier after the fair is done!