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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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