Louise Barrel Bag: May Bag of the Month Club Pattern

Sorry for the extended leave!  I have been busy with custom orders and some other obligations I can’t publicly write about (yet). IMG_8099EDIT2edtied

It’s May now and with a new month comes the latest Bag of the Month Club Pattern.  This is a club where you buy a subscription for 6 months of bag patterns (each released on the 1st of the month from Jan – June).  The bag patterns are secret until release but they are all from reputable designers who have large followings and sell many patterns.  I test patterns for 4 of those pattern companies….so lucky me!  I get to see and sew 4 of them before release.   (I am burdened with keeping them a secret as well though!).

This is a look at the May bag by Swoon patterns.  It’s called Louise Barrel Bag.

My tester is made up from Bull Dog linen blend by Maker Maker combined with faux leather in black.  I used Antique Brass hardware throughout.  I love this little bag because it’s a hybrid between 2 of my favourite Swoon patterns.  Imagine: a combination of Nora and Blanche and you will get the Louise!  Of course, it’s not JUST a mash-up…the construction is VERY different and it’s an easier sew than either of the other 2 bags.  I was always being asked to modify Nora for customers to include a zippered top, so this pattern fits the bill perfectly!  It also eliminates the final SIDE panel top stitch on Nora (that step is not for the faint of heart and has drawn guttural curse words from deep within me, while sewing that part).  Well, NO MORE!!!  You will be pleased to know that no curse words were uttered during the sewing of Louise! IMG_7858EDIT

The zipper extends past the edges of the top and folds down to be snapped onto the side panels.  Inside, there’s a zippered pocket included in the pattern but it would be easy to add a divided slip if you wanted more organization inside. Also, included is an optional shoulder strap and connectors for it.

This pattern has a unique feature:  a zipper flap thingy that hides the zipper underneath.  I am not sure if there’s a technical word for that bag anatomy other then Zipper panel or Zipper flap.  A picture is worth a 1000 words though so see below.IMG_7860EDIT

Approx Size: 12″ wide by 8″ tall and 5″ thick on the bottom

I often photograph my bags among other well known, commonly sewn bags bags to give an idea of scale. Louise was no exception.  Here she is with some other Swoons. IMG_7879EDIT


I also added purse feet on the bottom.  Not in the pattern, but super easy to add!IMG_7859EDIT

Overall, this is a moderately easy and fast sew, that will leave you with a very useful and modern looking handbag!  I recommend buying the subscription if you would like the pattern NOW!  or if you wait 6 months, then the pattern designer is allowed to release it separately as an individual pattern purchase if she decides she wants to do that.

In my opinion, so far…the club subscription has been worth every single cent.  I have liked or loved EVERY bag released and with membership you also get the pleasure of the FB group for support as well as general bag maker chatter.  Oh, and of course inspirational pics of bags by other makers…my favourite part!

So far we have had:

Clover by Blue Calla Patterns

Captivating Clutch by Mrs. H

Sublime by Sew Sweetness

Moxie by Betz White

Louise by Swoon

There’s one more to go for June and that will be Chris W Designs and it will be a complete surprise for me since I don’t test for Chris W.



  1. Megan Smith says:

    Happy 150 birthday Canada, I’m very proud that we have some amazing bag designers all around us. I’m just starting to make bags and find it really fun.

    1. barabooboo says:

      Isn’t it?? And addictive too.

  2. Janet Christianson-Watt says:

    I saw a similar bag that was on sale for $90…. I thought I could make one just need a pattern…. My search is over!

    1. barabooboo says:

      Oh really? Well, I’m glad you found the pattern!!

  3. sewncreations says:

    Love your bag comparison. It helps to see them side by side.

    1. barabooboo says:

      I love doing photos like that. It really puts them in perspective.

  4. dstelar says:

    Love this pattern, will check it out.

  5. jenny says:

    That’s a super good-looking bag! You really have an eye for fabric selection/placement.

  6. jenny says:

    That’s a super nice-looking bag! And thanks for the comparison!

    1. barabooboo says:

      Thank you! And you’re welcome.

  7. Melissa Layman says:

    What a gorgeous bag! I love the shape of it, your fabric placement is perfect!

    1. barabooboo says:

      Thanks so much Melissa!

  8. Another gorgeous bag to add to my ‘to do list’. Oh well who needs sleep lols 😉

  9. MoeWest says:

    I love getting inspiration from the fabric choices of bags made by others.

    1. barabooboo says:

      Happy to help!!

  10. Peggy says:

    Lovely bag!

  11. Laura says:

    Thanks for sharing all the great closeup photos of your bag. bag making is fun and each is so, sew! useful.

  12. Joni says:

    Beautiful bag, nice choice of fabrics.

  13. Gail says:

    Such amazing, interesting bags!

  14. Denneny says:

    Love the Louise barrel bag. Also looks fab in white leather accents.

  15. amandaelias says:

    Oh wow! I have always loved the look of Blanche and I printed the Nora but never got around to it. I didn’t sign up for this BOTM club but I think I will now! I like all the designers and I like all the bags so far, but I really want to make this Louise! Thanks for the review. 🙂 And for your review of the sewing machine paper piecing by Quiet Play… I chose fabrics and printed the pattern but have felt too intimidated to start.. I feel a bit better about it now. 🙂

    1. barabooboo says:

      Oh!! I am happy to have inspired you!! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  16. Joanne Roots-Rochon says:

    what a great bag

  17. Deana Wolstenholme says:

    Loved the comparison, I like seeing those when planning what I am going to sew

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