You don't need EXPENSIVE clips, rulers, or machines to sew, you DO need a little creativity & a willingness to try…..


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Canada 150 – In The Bag! Blog Tour

This post contains affiliate links to patterns, ( so I get paid if you buy one)…as well as, the maximum number of Canadianisms (in red) as I could reasonably use and a small amount of Canadian Trivia. It has been written on my laptop from the comfy seat of my chesterfield . (There’s the first one!)

Happy Birthday Canada!

 I am a proud Canuck and this year marks my country’s 150th birthday. 150 years since Confederation, wow!  There’s quite a bit of kerfuffle going on “From Sea to Shining Sea”.  To mark this occasion, I have joined this Canada 150 – It’s in the Bag Blog Tour to show off all of my 4 Blue Calla Tote Bags done up with this theme in mind.

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*There are a whole bunch of prizes being given away for this tour, so make sure to read to the end! *


First, a bit about Blue Calla Patterns: Blue Calla is a Canadian pattern creating business operated by Torontonian, Celine Allaert.  She has been creating original patterns for 4+ years, after sewing custom bags for people in her Etsy shop for many years prior.  Her patterns are precisely written, photographed, tested and delivered to her customers by way of PDF, (she offers some in paper form as well).  You’ll find her patterns to be either trendy or classic, but always unique.

If you are familiar with Blue Calla’s patterns, then obviously, you already know the tote patterns are anything but ordinary.  You can get a basic tote pattern anywhere, but these 4 patterns are far from that! Below you can see the comparison pictures of all 4 tote bag styles, as it’s so much easier to SHOW size comparisons then it is to write about them!


 

THE BAGS:

(By the way, many Canadians drink milk from BAGS and not cartons…did you know this? we buy a large bag that contains 3 smaller bags of milk. We then put those smaller bags into a special container shaped to hold them and cut the corner off to pour.)

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As you can see the size on these bags varies greatly, depending on the bottom and gusset style that the pattern has. Mimosa’s bottom is largest and so it has the most real estate for your stuff.

(BTW we refer to people’s bottoms in Canada as an ARSE).

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Mimosa Tote: features a very spacious interior because of the oval bottom.  In my opinion, this tote style holds the most. It has 2 handy exterior zippered pockets on the sides as well as 2 interior slip pockets.  I absolutely LOVE the closure flap with the turn lock, however, to save money a magnetic snap may be used instead.  The Mimosa is a more upscale look for a tote, and that’s why this one is my favourite!  Purse feet may be used on the bottom if you choose.  As well, there are many areas that you could showcase fussy cut fabric, pieced blocks or pretty hardware embellishments.  This pattern calls for fleece and woven interfacing, with some stabilizer in the base, but NO foam in this one.

My Mimosa above is done in Northcott’s Sesquicentennial line (purchased from Sew Sisters in Toronto) featuring a red cork leaf on each side.   The side panels are made of metallic, faux leather from Fabricland in Canada.  The Antique zipper tape and pulls are from BringBerry Hardware in New Brunswick, Canada.

Speaking of Mimosas….  I don’t drink them myself, but our fridge usually has a case of 24 cans of beer in it…that’s called a TWO FOUR, (because we Canucks don’t like to complicate things)IMG_8395EDIT

Lantana Tote:  One of my favourite features of the Lantana is the method that is employed to attach the straps.  They are inserted into a finished bag as the final step, and because they are riveted (or stitched) into folds in the finished bag, it changes the shape on top from flat/rectangular to a very wide almost square opening!  Most people who make this pattern remark on this unique feature.  Once installation of the triple set of exterior zippers is done, it’s fast and smooth sailing from there.  Lantana is a fairly quick sew, and if you omit the 3 front zippered pockets, then you could really feature a large graphic print or a decent sized pieced block there. It would also be a great bag for the Quilt-As-You-Go method.   A magnetic snap closes the bag top. The pattern calls for fleece and sew-in interfacing.  I chose to add foam in the gussets and use woven fusible interfacing….. and I love how it stands on it’s own.

My Lantana Tote above is made in red cotton with white piping and white zippers.  Inside, the cotton is printed with red and grey maple leaves.  The “eh?” is done in raw edge appliqued white faux leather.  All from Fabricland in Canada.

“eh?”   Translation:  Don’t you think? Conversational device that allows a non-confrontational Canadian to turn a statement into a poll of opinion or question.  

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Trillium Tote: This pattern has recently had an update to it, and it doesn’t disappoint.  It is well explained and not difficult to make.  The main feature on this tote is the U shaped cut out on the main panels.  It also sports 2 convenient exterior side panel slip pockets trimmed in faux piping.  Inside, it’s spacious with a zippered and a slip pocket.  A  magnetic snap closes the bag.  I really love the modern shape of Trillium and the top edge also has a lovely profile.  The pattern calls for foam along with some woven interfacing, so it’s quite a stable bag, it stands on it’s own with no issue.

My Trillium Tote above is done in a woven Buffalo Plaid from Fabricland, in addition to the Burly Beavers print by Andie Hanna for Robert Kaufman (purchased from Funky Monkey Fabrics in Varna, Ontario).  Accents are done in black, faux leather, and the grey is Essex Linen from Mad About Patchwork (Ottawa, Ontario).  Hardware by Emmaline Bags (Alberta, Canada)

The Trillium flower is the official flower of the province of Ontario, apparently they are illegal to pick, but I live in a vast area of forests and lakes, where these blossoms thrive.  The province is sandwiched in the middle of the country.  It has the most southerly point in Canada (Point Pelee),  and also is home to Ottawa: our country’s capital city.  

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Moonflower Tote:  This pattern was conceived by The Cloth Albatross and then written, published and drafted by Blue Calla.  It’s a fairly large but skinny tote.  The pattern calls for all 4 sides to have a circle cut out on it for reverse applique.  I chose to omit one large circle cut out because I had a huge Panel I wanted to use.  It’s so easy to modify the exterior of this bag! The cut outs are an EXCELLENT place to feature a coveted fabric that you’ve been hoarding, or a pieced block, or needlework embellishment.  The exterior pockets also have a sweet drawstring feature fed through a set of grommets on each side.  Inside, there’s a large “half moon” shaped slip pocket, and a zippered pocket.  You can choose to add some fancy hardware to join the straps to the bag, but the pattern doesn’t call for it, or much other hardware at all.  The closure is a magnetic snap.  This pattern calls for fleece and woven interfacing throughout.  I used a stabilizer on the base.  As a bonus, there’s a FREE pattern to match this bag called The Morning Glory Pouch.

My Moonflower is done in the large Sesquicentennial Mounties panel in Northcott’s “Oh Canada” line (from Sew Sisters in Toronto), it’s combined with several other Northcott prints from the same line.  The reverse side features the Canadian Trivia print, see below. Hardware on this one also from Emmaline Bags.
“Mountie” = RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police- known for their unique hats, uniforms and horses.IMG_8879EDIT

As always, sewing a Blue Calla pattern is a pleasure and produces something you can be proud of.  There are many Free patterns available on her website, if you want to try one out!

As for me, I am off with a pocketful of loonies and twoonies to buy myself a BeaverTail,  I think I will go with Killaloe Sunrise this time….yum!  I deserve a treat! 

******POST GIVEAWAY: A random person from the comments on this Blog Post will win their choice of the Blue Calla Tote patterns I have featured here! So show me your comments and questions! This is open to everyone, and will be drawn at 12 noon (ET) on Wednesday June 14th 2017*******

Each blog has an exclusive giveaway, so be sure to visit them all. 

SCROLL down further for the TOUR GIVEAWAY, Rafflecopter link below!!! There are soooo many prizes!


Tour Discounts

  • 10% off!
    Tangled Blossoms Design
    is offering 10% off anything in stock for the duration of the tour. Offer expires June 10, 2017. Use discount code HAPPYBIRTHDAYCANADA
  • 15% off!
    Bringberry Handbag Hardware and Design
    is offering 15% off anything in stock for the duration of the tour. Offer expires June 10, 2017. Use discount code LOVECANADA150

Giveaway Prizes

PLEASE enter the big tour GIVEAWAY here: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Stops

(These links will be active on and after the day they are scheduled.)

June 4

Emmaline Bags

June 5

Tangled Blossoms Design With Love in Every Stitch Happy Okapi

June 6

Michelle’s Creations Barabooboo Soca Sewing

June 7

Glitter in my Coffee Michelle’s Creations Seam of my Pants

June 8

Seam of my Pants Creative Roots Sewing Happy Okapi

June 9

Seam of my Pants

June 10

Giveaway ends at midnight EDT (North America)

July 1

CANADA DAY 150


Please join us in thanking our tour sponsors by visiting their websites.

sponsor new



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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

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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.

 


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Juniper Toiletry Bag

(Blue Calla patterns is one of my affiliate links, I will be compensated if you purchase a pattern)

I am a pattern tester for Blue Calla Patterns, it’s one of very few Canadian Bag Pattern Companies.  I love testing patterns for a few reasons:

1. I get unlimited free patterns (totally awesome), and I get to try the new ones before the rest of the world does!

2. Having a testing deadline FORCES me to finish things, even if I have no “sew-jo”.

3. I get to make suggestions for patterns I would like to see, and have someone actually consider creating them!  (and yes, she has done some of my ideas!)

4. I love being able to feel like my feedback, along with the other testers makes it possible for her to present an amazing product to her customers.

**** BTW, this will be a great end of year Teacher Gift, it’a getting close to that time!****

Last week I tested the Juniper Toiletry Bag for Blue Calla.  This is one of my favourite styles of bags to make and I sell many toiletry/make up type bags to my customers.  Everyone needs one:  men, women and children.  This pattern is totally unisex and can be customized in sooo many ways.  I usually sew 1 bag as my test bag for her and provide feedback….this time I sewed up 4, in 2 days!  That is how much I love this one!

Info:  Release date: Wednesday, April 12th
Dimensions: 9.75″ W x 4″ H x 8″ D

Features: It has 2 zippers that open 2 separate compartments, a top carrying handle, and a very wide, flat bottom that won’t tip over.  There are small pull tabs at the end of the zippers.

Potential Fabrics: This can be made out of a huge range of materials, such as vinyl, cork, cotton, laminated cotton, waxed canvas and possibly even leather. As for interfacing, it requires a little bit of foam, fleece and fusible woven interfacing, and a piece of Peltex stabilizer for the base.

Hardware: This one hardly takes any hardware, just 2 zippers, that’s IT!!  You can always add more hardware to fancy it up, I added Bridge Connectors and Rivets and Feet to some of mine, but it’s not necessary at all.

Skill Level: I would say this is for a confident beginner/ intermediate skill level, if you are comfortable with zippers, you should be OK.  I always encourage beginners to try something they think is slightly out of their skill level, you will likely surprise yourself!  It’s easy to omit the piping to simplify the bag slightly.

As I mentioned above, I made 4 of these!  1 of my 4, I decided to do as Sewing Bag, to hold my hand sewing for travelling.  I added an exterior divided pocket, used Sewing Theme fabrics and combined them with yellow marine vinyl.  I was pleasantly surprised by how cute it turned out and it’s very useful too.  There will be a tutorial for this simple customization on the Blue Calla Website when the pattern is released.

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I also did a classy metallic gold faux leather version.  It was easy to quilt the vinyl to foam for the side panels, and I recommend this, to add a little interest to plain vinyl.  I also added some shiny gold hardware, including a Handmade in Canada metal label, bridge connectors for the handle and purse feet.  My zippers on this one have gold teeth and shiny gold pulls.  I did NOT make vinyl piping for this, (as that sounds about as appealing as cleaning a toilet: I hate making piping), I used a metallic gold piping that is available at Hobby Lobby in the US.  (I have never seen it in Canada.)  I have included a photo of it alongside the popular Clematis Pouch to give a feeling of the size.IMG_7327EDITIMG_7366EDIT

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Next one: I ordered in this perfect fabric called Jubilee by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel fabrics.  I combined it with navy vinyl.  It was meant to go on a bag like this!  I just love it.IMG_7242EDITIMG_7253EDIT.jpgIMG_7257EDIT

Finally, I did a “Tabby Road” version.  I am a Tula Pink addict and although I am not really a cat lover (more of a dog person)…I broke down and bought a little bit of this line because the colours were really pretty.  I combined it with lime green vinyl, and also featured a bit of the fabric’s selvedge on the handle. There are 2 different cats on this print, so I fussy cut each side to show off the 2 different kitties.IMG_7378EDIT.jpgIMG_7374EDITIMG_7383EDIT

If you need a quick Christmas, Birthday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day gift..this is your pattern!  From start to finish it took me about 2 hrs.  This is something everyone can use in one way or another.  I am going to make some for my kids for summer camp and personalize them with their names.

The pattern will be available in 2 weeks!  So, you’ve got time for some plotting and planning, or even a sweet little paper piecing for the side panel!

Michelle

 

 

 


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Sweet Pea!

(This post has affiliate links, I would be compensated if you purchased another pattern from the website, but this pattern is actually FREE!)

I think it’s fair to say we all love FREE stuff, right?  I test patterns for Blue Calla Patterns and I tested this adorable little pattern a while ago.  This is the Sweet Pea!  It’s a FREE pattern.  Isn’t it just so … sweet?  My daughters love this size of bag, but it’s also a great size for adults too.

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I used Anna Maria Horner’s Fibs and Fables combined with a cinnamon coloured faux leather on this one.  It’s outlined in piping on the side panels, which by the way have a very refreshing silhouette.IMG_5778EDIT

You also will learn how to make that little tassel yourself and can apply that to whatever bag you want!
This bag is fairly easy to make, and also quick, so it’s great for a quick birthday or teacher gift.

Enough already from me…go get your FREE pattern here.  Come back and let me know what you think??

 

 


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To Blog or Not to Blog…that is the question

Well, here it is….finally.  My Blog.  After years and years of sitting of the fence about this I finally picked a side and thought WHY NOT?   I make bags.  I test bag patterns for bag pattern designers.  I love taking photos, and I love sharing my tips and little bag making secrets with people!

So, without further ado……this is what I sewed today…

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This Satchel type bag is a sweet little one I sewed up to test an upcoming pattern for Hold It Right Here patterns.  I used DILL (I love that colour name!) Essex Linen combined with Alison Glass’ new Seventy Six line. The pattern calls for foam, woven fusible interfacing, a flap closure, some D rings, clasps and some zippers as well. piping is optional, but almost ALWAYS gives a a professional look.  I do love the look that woven interfacing gives to the exterior of a bag, but i always substitute a NON woven fusible interfacing for the interior.  This saves me a bit of money and makes no difference in the end product whatsoever!

This is not a huge purse but it has a lot of features!  As always, I customized my bag slightly…I added concentric top stitching rows on my flap and installed a Turn Lock closure instead of the Thumb Lock called for in the pattern.  I thought this fancy, schmancy Circle Lock looked great with the Alison Glass fabric on the exterior flap since it echoed the circles in her print.  I always try to incorporate hardware that goes with the “feel’ of a bag…maybe I am a bit OCD that way, but oh well.IMG_7519EDIT

Both the front and back have these round cut out slip pockets, the back actually has an additional zippered pocket installed within the slip pocket.  Don’t worry though, the instructions on how to do this are very clear and easy to follow. IMG_7513EDIT

The pattern calls for a shoulder length strap, however my customers LOVE cross body bags so I extended mine to 60″ and added a slider to make it adjustable..  The bag has loads of storage pockets inside including a divided slip pocket and another zipper pocket.  The silhouette is outlined in piping, a feature I really love!IMG_7527EDIT

This pattern will be available for purchase in Hold It Right There’s Etsy shop, and her Craftsy Shop.  Incidentally, my bag will also be listed in my Etsy shop for sale.