Happy Birthday, Mom! | The Epiphany Bag

Today is my mom’s 30th x2 birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!!
Mom at the Ahwahnee Hotel photo by S.L. Morgan, used with permission.

Mom at the Ahwahnee Hotel photo by S.L. Morgan, used with permission.

Several months ago I decided that I wanted to make a special purse for her birthday present. My mom is a violinist in the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra, so I went on the hunt for musically themed fabric. I found Kanvas Concerto Tossed Instruments in Cream and Timeless Treasures Music Words in Linen and knew they would be perfect for a bag along with some black vinyl.

Front of The Epiphany Bag

Front of The Epiphany Bag

It took me two weeks to find the right bag pattern. After searching through several of my favorite bag designer websites I found The Epiphany Bag by ChrisW Designs. When I saw it I knew it was the one!

The Epiphany Bag Back

The Epiphany Bag Back

It took me a bit of time to read through the pattern and understand all the various parts and figure out which fabrics I wanted where. It took a day to cut all fabrics and interfacing out and then another half day to fuse the interfacing to the fabric. I made sure to sew slowly and carefully, because I wanted this bag to look as perfect as possible.

Side View

Side View

My only real issue, other than sewing the bottom, was the top stitching. This bag broke two titanium top-stitching (100/18) needles! That was more user error as I would get a little too quick with putting my machine into reverse and the thickenss would skew the needle to the side. Needle breakage was inevitable given my carelessness in that regard. I was having a difficult time when trying to stitch over the strap tabs. Not even my walking foot, with full pressure, would give me good stitches. I tried every trick I knew to sew through bulky material. I was sewing through 4 layers of soft and stable, 4 layers of SF101, 1 layer of Peltex, 4 layers of fabric, and 4 layers of vinyl (where the strap tabs were). I was in tears over all of the skipped stitches. I decided to pull out my tiny zipper split hinged foot as a last resort. There’s hardly any surface area to the foot, so I had a feeling it wouldn’t press the fabric down enough for the needle to go all the way down and have the hook catch the thread. I WAS WRONG. And so glad for that too! That zipper foot worked fantastically! The only trouble I had with skipped stitches was when my foot came down off of the strap tabs. I would stop stitching, tie off my thread tails, bury them, and then turn the bag around so that my foot would sew up the strap tab and meet my completed stitches. It took several times to get some of those stitches right, and there are a lot of buried threads in that bag. All in all, I think the top stitching was a success! Thank you tiny little foot!

Top of the Bag

Top of the Bag

The pattern came together nicely. The instructions were easy to understand, however I would recommend that you have some bag making experience before tackling this pattern. My previous experiences sewing with vinyl and sewing through thick seams really came in handy with this bag.

The Epiphany Bag Bottom

The Epiphany Bag Bottom

I had a particularly difficult time sewing the bottom piece to the body of the bag. My problem here was the vinyl was several layers thick and I used some Wonder Tape that the needle had to go through. In retrospect, I should have used a rubber mallet to flatten the whole piece. I ended up with skipped stitches in several spots, and after attempting to fix them three times I decided it was good enough as it was. It’s the bottom of the bag… Who is going to look there and critique my work? Definitely not my mom. If she notices it she’ll pretend she didn’t see it! That’s what moms do!

Inside Front

Inside Front

The inside of this bag was pretty detailed. I love the three pockets plus the pen pocket. I did forget to put my “Stitch ALL The Things” grosgrain ribbon tag on it and had to undo half of the pocket to fix it. It’s just not a Christine bag if I don’t forget something and have to rip work apart!

Inside Back zippered pocket

Inside Back zippered pocket

The pattern was written to put a zippered pocket either on the outside back of the bag or on the inside lining. I prefer my bags to have an inside zippered pocket, so that’s how I made this bag. The outside of the bag already has a slip pocket on the front panel, so I thought that would be good enough to toss either keys or a cellphone. It’s roomy enough for both, actually.

Custom Made Musical Charm Fob

Custom Made Musical Charm Fob

One thing I spent quite a bit of time on was making Mom a charm fob for the purse. I found lettered charms and put M, S, O on the chain as well as a violin. I attached a keyring that has a dove, a cross, and the word “Love” on it. The bottom of the fob is a large treble clef. I wish the letter charms could have been bigger, but it was difficult to find the letters in a gold tone. The whole fob blends together, but I think it may something neat for someone to discover about the bag.

Emmaline Bags "Handmade" Hardware

Emmaline Bags “Handmade” Hardware

As usual I used Emmaline Bags hardware and bag bling. I can not say enough about what her hardware adds to a bag. It really gives it a professional look. Emmaline Bags added these new “handmade” tags a month or so ago and in gold tone. As soon as I saw them I knew they were going on the bag. She also had matching gold tone “handmade” zipper pulls in stock, so I put one on the main zipper and one on the inner zipper pocket. I also used her gold purse feet on the bottom of the bag.

Rivets!

Rivets!

This bag has actual rivets in them! This was my first time using rivets, although I didn’t install them. Let’s just say I was a little freaked at ruining what I worked so hard to make, so I asked the Mister to install the rivets. First, we tested them out on a scrap piece of vinyl the same thickness as the strap tabs. He put one rivet in and then I asked him to try his hardest to rip it apart. I was worried the rivets wouldn’t hold and was thinking I should add stitching to reinforce the handles and the tabs. The single rivet held. Color me shocked! I then marked out all the rivet spots and punched the holes for them. He set all the rivets for me. After using them in this bag, I am definitely going to add them to all of my bags. They really add strength to the bag as well as make it look store bought.

Emmaline Bags Zipper End

Emmaline Bags Zipper End

One other thing I added to the bag was this zipper end that I purchased from Emmaline Bags. It is the only thing that is silver toned on the bag. She doesn’t have them in gold tone, but since it tucks down into the bag and isn’t really seen, I figured the different metal color would be okay. Plus… professional looking, right?!

My mom called me about an hour and a half ago. All she could say was… “Oh MY Gosh.” “OH. MY. GOSH.” “OH MY GOSH!!!” I take it she liked it! Also, I’ve been instructed to hurry up and start selling handmade bags. I guess that means I need to start sewing some purses right away!

Happy Birthday, Mom! I am glad you like the bag! Love you!!

8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Mom! | The Epiphany Bag

  1. I know I’ve already said it; but I’ll say it again: this bag is awesome, beautiful and seems like a perfect gift for you mama – who, by the way, is beautiful!

    1. Wow… Thanks!!! My skills certainly have a long way to go, but I really enjoyed making this bag! Mom really loves it, and so I am very glad for that!

  2. I’m with your mother on this one! Oh. My. Gosh! Christina! Your purse making abilities are awesome! Love all the detail and extras you put into this purse! Congrats to you, and Happy Birthday to your mom!

  3. Well, blame my age on this one because I just now found this website. DOESN’T MY DAUGHTER ROCK… She made me the most beautiful purse EVER…. I TAKE IT EVERYWHERE…. I need some business cards with your name on it to give to my orchestra buddies…. they LOVE MY PURSE TOO.
    I feel so blessed.

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