Messenger Bag from Little Things to Sew

At the same time that I was waffling between a few different bag patterns for a new bag I had promised my oldest daughter, the Oliver and S blog featured a new school bag for S.  I was reminded of how much I loved the Messenger Bag pattern when I first bought the Little Things to Sew book by Liesl Gibson.

messenger bag pattern little things to sew

What a clever pattern this is, with all of the little design details and great curves.  I’ve made several bags, but never used bias tape to enclose all of the edges like this. Liesl’s patterns are so well written and flawless in finishing details.

The main fabric is Mochi Linen Dots by Moda which adds some durability to the outer bag.  Also, since the dots are a natural linen color (vs. white dots), any dirt is nicely hidden! The lining is a fun print I picked up at JoAnn a year or so ago. I love the punch of color the lining adds when the flap is opened! For ease, I used pre-packaged bias tape and love the contrast added by the navy.

messenger bag handmade

As I researched pattern notes and reviews of several bloggers (thank you!), I followed the lead of Bartacks and Single Track blog to slightly enlarge the pocket flaps and am glad I did.  I chose not to apply any closures on the pockets or the messenger flap.  So far, that has not been an issue.  My daughter uses a backpack for school, so this is her weekend bag.  It is perfect for our library trips and I am amazed at how many books she can fit in this bag!  Not having a closure on the messenger flap allows the bag to stay flexible.

I made this bag over several days, so the time and various steps were spaced out. I wish I blogged right after I finished in order to capture some more details and notes.  I followed the pattern as written, other than enlarging the flaps.  I did add some fusible fleece that was not called for in the pattern to add some heft and body to the bag.  The pattern offers both large and small options, and I made the large size for my 10-year old.  The smaller bag would be perfect for my 3-year old!


Supertote in Anna Maria’s Ghostwing

The Supertote by Noodlehead is as super as you’ve heard!!  This is my first time using one of her patterns, and it definitely lived up to the reputation – quite thorough with nice details that make the bag special and functional.  I actually made this bag as part of a class at a local shop – SEWN Studio.  It was nice to have dedicated sewing time, especially for an intricate project like this.  I learned some great tips along the way from our instructor and tried some new skills such as making piping and installing a recessed zipper.  


My main fabric is the gorgeous Ghost Wing print by Anna Maria Horner.  It is a linen-cotton blend and the colors are just amazing.  For the gusset, I used a dark denim from my stash. I have seen some nice versions of the Supertote using Ghost Wing and a natural linen, which i contemplated.  In the end i went with the darker denim so the bag could be a little less fussy (read:  not as prone to picking up dirt).  The dotty lining is from Kaffe Fassett and I found it locally at Silk Road Textiles.

I don’t really enjoy making straps and wanted something sturdy, so I picked up some jute webbing.  Because I was only a day or two away from the scheduled class, I found this at Hancock in the upholstery section.  Next time I will shop online where it is much, much less expensive.  

The denim gusset was actually a redo.  Initially, I used a light brown linen-blend and just didn’t love it.  I doubted it all along the way, and only decided to start over once the gusset was fully attached.  Of course…  I should have listened to my gut sooner.  I used one of the aforementioned tips learned during my class to rip the seams  – my husband’s hair clippers ripped the seam right out.  Have you tried this?  Amazing!  Fast! And he didn’t know the difference after I blew away the lint 😉

I followed the pattern closely, but added just a couple of variations.  I divided the inner pockets – one into two sections (large enough to fit diapers and wipes) and one into three sections (great for smaller items).  I added an additional hidden pocket to the large outside pocket.  It’s a small slip pocket near the top to hold my phone.  I’m so glad I did. This bag is so large, I would never find my phone!  I may add a clip for my keys for the same reason. 

Initially, due to its size, I didn’t anticipate carrying this bag as my main purse/tote, but I have.  It is large, yes, but not bulky at all.  And it holds everything I need – regular purse stuff, plus my water bottle, toddler supplies, book, mail, etc.  A magazine slips perfectly in the outside pocket.  

I’ve carried this bag for over a month and have been happy.  I will add a key clip as mentioned.  One thing I will pay closer attention to next time is slightly increasing the size of the lining (top to bottom dimension).  I seemed to have sewn it slightly smaller than the outer bag.  When the bag is loaded up, the top of the bag sort of pulls inward as you can hopefully see in the photo below.   Adding a little length should solve that issue.

Next up, I plan to make a slightly downsized Supertote with a cross-body strap for my 9-year old.  

HUGE Pool Bag

My sister asked me to make a pool/beach bag. Her one request was that the finished bag be huge enough to hold all the neccessities for her family of four’s trip to the pool.

I knew that IKEA fabrics were the way to go, since my sister wanted a fun print and sturdy bag. Constanca inspired me with her beach bag made with the same Fredrika fabric. I drafted a pattern in a similar shape. For the interior, I used IKEA’s striped Sofia canvas and included a large pocket (12″x16″) and key fob. I added some interfacing to beef up the handles but did not add any to the body of the bag since I used the heavier fabrics.
The finished size is nearly 24″ x 36″! Yes, large enough for four towels, dry clothes, diapers, snacks, purse….or a couple of toddlers!

Secret Santa Shoulder Bag

I was commissioned to make a bag for a secret santa exchange. Green is the recipient’s favorite color, so I paired this green Robert Kaufman print with a chocolate corduroy. The bag is a simple shape and will be a good size for everyday use.
For the closure, I made a corduroy loop and used a large button.

Brown Rose Tote, take two

Stephanie asked me to make another of the brown rose tote that I took to the craft fair. Making the bag a second time allowed me to tweak a few things. Megan, the recipient of the first brown rose tote, gave me some feedback that the straps would be a bit short, especially when wearing a heavier coat. So, for this second version the straps are about an inch and a half longer. I added some additional pockets inside and a key fob.The tote design is fairly simple. I tend to like simple shapes and lines with a combination of solids and prints on the exterior. The outer print is Frippery Birds and Roses in brown. The solid is a home dec cotton and the lining is a quilting cotton from the wall at JoAnn.I’m still trying new interfacings. Here, I used a woven fusible interfacing to add some body to the Frippery print. I then interfaced the lining bag with fusible fleece. It is still a trial and error process. I picked up some cotton batting to try in a future bag. We’ll see how that goes.

After all these recent bags, I am anxious to sew something different. Next up is the soccer apron. I also picked up a new book Chic and Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes. I am anxious to sew some more clothing and work on my garment construction skills!

Stitch Spring Tote in Ginseng

Here is my second version of the Spring Tote from the Spring 2009 Stitch Magazine. This pattern is by Rashida Coleman-Hale of i heart linen. The exterior prints are Joel Dewberry’s Ginseng collection and the lining is his Blackeyed Susan. I love the rich colors and cotton sateen finish of the Ginseng home dec fabrics. The solid outer fabric is a woven home dec fabric that may be a cotton/poly blend.

The first time I made this bag in August, I worked up a sweat, pounding away at the eight grommets in a closed garage in 80+ degree heat. This time it was a cool 50 or 60 degree garage in November…much better! I love this mild weather we are having in Ohio. Look at that green grass, just a few days before Thanksgiving!

Chocolate Buttercup

I was commissioned to make another Buttercup Bag. This is the larger size that comes with the commercial license available on Rae’s blog. Since I was charging for this one (well sort of…I’ll get to that in another post!), I purchased the license. This makes a nice size bag, good for everyday use. I wish I took a picture of myself holding the bag to show the scale.
Megan purchased her outer fabric, a silky chocolate brown. She chose the lining fabric, lime and brown Robert Kaufman jacquard, from my stash. I love the punch of color the lime adds. I finished this one with a magnetic closure and two inner pockets. When constructing the bag, I used fusible interfacing with the lining and handle, but no interfacing with the outer fabric. This method seemed to worked fine.

The outer color reads so differently in this last picture because of the flash, but I like how the sheen and sharp pleats are highlighted. The Buttercup was a good first project with the new machine. So far, so good!