Bag Blitz

I’ve been focusing  on making bags the past week, trying out a few new patterns and techniques.  It felt like a good time to do a number of smaller and relatively quick projects and bags fit the bill since they gave me a chance to do some experimentation.  Here are some of the finished projects.

Convertible Bag

The first bag was actually one that I had made previously as part of the 2014 Sew Sweetness Bag of the Month (read more about the BOM projects in an earlier post called Bags, Bags, Bags).   This fun Convertible Bag by Samantha  of Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H.  It converts from an knapsack to a cross body bag.

This bag  is small (finishes at only 9″x11″x2″) so it is a handy size for a day pack or for kids.  I made this version out of of child-friendly fabric with lots of bright colours.  I love the size and flexibility.  What a fun little gift.  I have already cut out several more and would recommend it if you love making bags – or are thinking of trying.  If you are a beginning sewer, you will definitely find a few challenges but you can do it.  Samantha’s patterns are clear and detailed.

Travel Set

Not technically designed as a set but it seemed a good fit for my needs.  I wanted to make a large travel tote but when I travel I like to have a smaller bag inside for things like museum visits or an evening on the town.  I found two bags that I liked and decided to make them with matching fabrics so they could serve as a set.  I plan to make each of these bags again and will include at least another set or two – and I’m looking for other bags that I could combine as travel sets.

This is the Professional Tote by The Creative Thimble. I bought the pattern at my local fabric store, Atlantic Fabrics but you can get it anywhere that sells The Creative Thimble products.  NOTE: This is a large bag (18″ x 15″ x 5″) that is too large in one dimension for carry-on for some flights when fully open.  Fortunately, the top sections fits well down and in if the bag is not fully stuffed.  Check your connections for bag sizes as they vary from airline to airline.

This tote has lots of pockets inside and out, including two side pleated pockets and a center inner zipped pocket that effectively divides the bag in two sections.  I used a flexible foam interfacing on the inner pocket which makes it perfect for a tablet.  This is a flexible bag with plenty of uses.

The other part of my travel ‘set’ is a Seneca Creek Bag. This is a small bag (7-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ x 1-1/2″)that uses swivel clips to switch easily from a shoulder bag to a waist pouch.  Very handy and compact so it makes a perfect every day bag or, in this case, easy small travel bag.  It is designed by Betz White, who has lots of fun patterns.  I love the unique shape of the front pocket on this one.  Betz also has some great tips and ideas for reclaiming and reusing fabric.

Seneca bag converts from shoulder bag to waist pouch.
Seneca Creek converts from shoulder bag to waist pouch.

Companion Carpet Bag

The last bag that I want to share today is the Companion Carpet Bag.  As it happens, this is another one by by Samantha  of Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H.  I’m really enjoying her patterns.  This one was a challenge because it featured a few things that I hadn’t tried  before but I really enjoyed making it and am happy with the results. It is the first time that I have used an internal tubular frame but it won’t be the last.  Also, the first time that I have made my own leather look strap after looking at a number of tutorials online (the new teflon foot worked like a charm).  Had to do some manoeuvring to stitch multiple layers but worth the effort.

The Companion Carpet Bag reminds me of a Mary Poppins bag and it is very roomy – lots of room to carry more than a few of your favourite things.  I made the large one which uses a 12″ frame and finishes to 16″ x 10″ x 6″.  The pattern includes a smaller version with an 8.5″ frame and a finished size of 12″ x 8″ x 6″.  I haven’t made that one yet but will be – I have already bought more frames of both sizes.

2015-09-04_CompanionCarpet

I made this one out of scraps of upholstery and lace, and made the lining from an old man’s shirt.    Aside from the hardware (tubular frame, feet, snaps and strap rings) I acquired everything for this one from the local Value Village thrift store.  It will be a great one to customize.

Additional Resource for Bag Makers

Emmaline Bags and Sewing Patterns – bag hardware and patterns at reasonable prices, with great service.   Check out the bag bling.  I love the variety of ‘handmade’ tags.  Based in Canada.

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That is it for this week.  Do you sew bags?  Do you have a favourite designer – or design your own?  What features would you like to see in a customized bag?  Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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