Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My First Leather Bag

As we kick off 2017, I've set a few goals for myself, one of which is to challenge myself to try new techniques and push my self outside of my comfort zone. Last year I started working with vinyl, and while I am far from an expert with it, I do feel much more confident incorporating it into my normal sewing. This year, one of my goals was to try sewing with leather.

 I saw this jaw dropping bag that Sincerely Jen made for the Bag of Month Club in which she had used reverse applique on black cork. The bag is absolutely incredible, and as always her workmanship is impeccable. Her reverse applique is what inspired me to give this technique a go, and in true me fashion, with a medium I have never tried before...leather.

I asked some advice of some talented bag makers who have experience working with leather and they were able to answer some questions for me and steer me the right way.

The hardest part was the applique, only because I quickly learned that any holes punched in leather, STAY in the leather and can create an unsightly mess. I had to cut away my original applique design and re work it to cut away some areas that I had messed up on. Once some of the initial mistakes were made, I ended up with this design:

Top stitching around the edges was the hardest part, only because I knew there were no take backsies. Once I had completed the panel, constructing the bag with the leather wasn't a challenge. However, I only did two panels with leather. I think that was about the extent of what my machine could comfortably handle. 

I chose the Miss Maggie Bag by Emmaline Bags, along with her Long John Strap Anchors. I went with Miss Maggie because it's a a perfect "basic" handbag that is like a blank canvas. It's a simple bag but that's what makes it such a cool pattern, there are so many ways to change the entire look of this bag by adding different features, hardware or panels. I am so happy with how this bag turned out, I used some of my favorite Alison Glass prints, one of which a sweet friend sent to me because it's so hard to locate. 

Of course, every good bag deserves a tassel. I made this one with a scrap of leather that was a perfect match for this bag. I added some bling from Emmaline Bags to top it off. 

The back of the exterior doesn't feature the applique, and I still love it. 

I'm so over the moon with this bag and I am so excited that it worked out how I had envisioned it, despite having to alter the applique a bit. Leather was less scary than I thought and I am looking foward to using with it more and learning more about it. 

Do you have any new things you want to try or techniques you'd love to learn in 2017? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Calabash Handbag

I'm so far behind sharing my projects! One of my goals in 2017 is to blog more, and stay on track with my projects. I tested the newest pattern by Roarhaus Design Co., the Calabash Bag.  This is the second pattern by Roarhaus, which is the creation of an incredibly talented fellow bag maker and designer Amber. Amber did an amazing write up on hardware for my It's in the Bag! Series over the summer and she is known for her great mixing of fabrics and design elements to make her bags pop. Her patterns are no less stunning. 

The Calabash Bag pattern features both a handbag and a tote bag size. I opted for the handbag size and even this size is a very generously size hadbag and could double as a small tote.  This pattern comes together very easily, and I think a confident beginner would be able to make this pattern.

This bag is chock full of pockets! The front of the bag has a large divided slip pocket, which are quite deep in size. It would be great to slip in your sunglasses and phone with room to put your keys and pens on the other side. 

The back of the bag has a zippered pocket, which allows you to store more stuff without and gives a bit of extra security. There are two side pockets as well, which could easily hold a small water bottle. 

The inside has a full sized zippered divided pocket, that extends all the way to the bottom of the bag. It's secured with a magnetic snap closure and has the option for both vinyl/leather straps as well as fabric. 

I really like how the straps and attached to the bag, I've yet to come across a style like this. The straps are inserted into the strap tabs (you cut a small slit to insert) and then secured with hardware or stitching. It gives a really unique look. To be honest when initially reading through the pattern, I wasn't sure how I felt about this style but now that it's completed I love it!

You can pick up the pattern on Craftsy here and if you don't already follow Roarhaus on Instagram you are msising out on some serious bag inspiration.. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Swoon Sydney Crossbody

Happy New Year! 

Over the holidays I was happy to get some sewing in and try out a new pattern. My sweet friend Kate surprised me by sending me a yard of Winner's Circle in Mint by Tula pink, knowing my love for mint green. I instantly thought of making the Sydney Crossbody  by Swoon Patterns.

I was lucky enough to have a bit of this pink glitter vinyl left over after I finished another project and I had JUST enough to use for the pocket flaps and accents on this bag. She was a remarkable easy sew, even for all the details on the exterior.

One of my favorte features on this bag are the two front cargo pockets. They add a different look to the exterior and are so functional. 

The back has a full sized slip pocket, which allows you to store a generous amount, making it perfect for a small diaperbag or for toting your work essentials around.

In addition to the two cargo pockets, there is also a large zippered pocket on the exterior front. It's a great place to add a pop of contrast by using a different colored zip. 

The top has a zippered closure and inside there is another zippered pocket. This bag has so many pockets it's perfect for someone as unorganized as me, I seem to always have stuff rolling around on the bottom of my bag. 

This was a very easy to follow pattern, and none of the steps were very challenging, but there were a lot of elements in this bag. I would rate it intermediate, and I'm sure with some patience even an advanced beginner could make this bag. It's rated as a 3/4 for difficulty on the Swoon Site, and I would say that is appropriate only because of the many steps involved. 

I'm so terrible at estimating sizes from measurements on patterns. I had expected Sydney to be a bit bigger than she was, more of a true messenger bag or tote bag sized. She is 13' Wide x 11" Tall x 3" Deep. Which makes her more appropriate for an every day bag than I had envisioned. I think she woul make the perfect diaper bag for someone who doesn't need to tote around a lot. I haven't decided what to do with her yet but I can see this being a new favorite pattern for me.