This post comes with a warning! it's not about travels or trailers or special events! it's about one of my passions, sewing. so if that's not what floats your boat, just skip it now! but if you read it, you just might learn something!
This is a pattern that has been waiting for me for quite awhile. I've wanted to find the right style of messenger bag to suit my needs. It can't be too big, because then it just feels floppy and empty, and is prone to gathering too much stuff which makes it hurt my neck to carry it. It can't be too small because it won't accommodate my bare necessities. I have honed down what is essential for day-to-day walking around stuff. I have phone, keys, wallet, loyalty cards, 2 pens and personal items. But only the personal items that will fit in that little zip bag! I have carried a checkbook most of the time, but I just removed that after changing the account. I think I maybe have a minimalist purse?! What's in your purse?
I have phone, keys, wallet, loyalty cards, 2 pens and personal items. But only the personal items that will fit in that little zip bag! I have carried a checkbook most of the time, but I just removed that after changing the account. I think I maybe have a minimalist purse?! What's in your purse?
I used some of my treasured fabrics on this bag exterior. Like the little hedgehogs. And the owl on the bag exterior. Some of these are Japanese Echino by Kokka Fabrics that I have collected. Not by going to Japan, however! They are available at a few stores, and since I worked for a quilting store and had a hand in the ordering, a few of my favorite things came to Bear Patch! I also am using some canvas weight fabrics from Cotton + Steel. This pattern was pretty easy to follow, but I wanted to make a couple changes. I wanted to use a variety of materials. I don't always like a fabric strap because it can get worn and dingy looking pretty fast. So I used cork fabric instead. Yes, it's real cork on a cloth backing. This piece came from Fabric Funhouse. I ordered lots of cork from that source when I managed the quilt shop. Our customers really liked the design possibilities with the cork products. It sews just like fabric. The Fabric Funhouse website has some helpful information about where the cork comes from and how to use it.
I wanted a different closure on my bag, it called for velcro and I just am not a fan of velcro on a handbag/purse. I want my bag to look stylish and professional. When I look at purses in stores, I never (or rarely) find velcro closures. And there are real good sources now for classy looking metal and/or plastic findings for purses. I did want to make my strap adjustable, but I didn't have the right size of hardware on hand and I just decided to go without that. Some sources I have used: Emmaline Bags, Sallie Tomato, By Annie and Sew Sweetness. Take a look at all of the fantastic ideas that these women have collected. And, they all have great written and/or video tutorials available.
My go-to bag zippers are now from Sallie Tomato. They are a size #5, which are heavier than a regular dress zipper. The cloth tape is wider, and the nylon teeth look metallic but are easy to sew with and trim. So don't let the idea of using zipper-by-the-yard scare you off! It's very easy and satisfying to make your zippers any length you want.
I kind of got off on a tangent there about zippers, and my Chunky Wee Bag doesn't even need a zipper! My message really is that the bag trims and hardware and fabrics and interfacings are what really elevates your bag to the next level. I really like the look and function of the silver slide/snap clasp that I put on my bag, and it wasn't hard to add in place of velcro. So use some of the information and tutorials from these women who really do specialize in bag-making. They have tested and experimented with many options. Annie Unrein, of Patterns By Annie, brought one of the biggest changes to home crafters when she made Soft and Stable easily available. Now I use it in almost all of my bags instead of fleece or batting.
So, that's my soapbox for today. Work with the good stuff, as much as you can afford. The time and thought and skill to make a bag that I am proud to carry is worth the price of good looking materials. Hope this inspires someone to take on a new project!
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!