This bag is a BIG BAG. Yes, it is so big I actually had to type that in all caps. When I first saw the pattern release I knew I wanted to make it for Sarah of Georgia Girl Quilts for her birthday. When I printed out the pattern pieces and taped them together I started to get worried about the size of the bag. I worried about it all the way through construction, but by the time I was finished I loved it and felt that it wouldn’t be too big to send to Sarah.
I had a lot of fun picking out the fabrics for this bag. Sarah and I seem to be pretty similar in certain areas (understatement… she’s my quilty twin!), so I had a feeling she’d love the Typewriter Fabric by Melody Miller for Cotton + Steel’s Black & White line. Playing off of the typewriters, the interior fabric I chose was Cottage Newsprint in Grey from The Cottage Garden by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. Have you seen this print? It’s amazing! It has the greatest inspirational quotes. I also used a print from Tula Pink’s True Colors line, Making Waves in Ink, for the zippered pockets and for some of the other pocket linings. It’s also the print that gives the faux binding look to the pockets. I used a black faux leather/vinyl as another accent fabric.
I made several changes to the original pattern. The bag was designed with a smaller rounded, pleated slip pocket on the front of the bag. The back of the back had a wide pocket, the full width of the bag, which closed with a magnetic snap. I omitted the small pocket on the front and moved the wide pocket to the front and sewed a dividing line down the middle. I just felt the original design would have had a big flapping pocket if it wasn’t divided, and I didn’t like the thought of anyone having to go diving into a pocket to find something. On the back of the bag I decided to simply add a zippered pocket, rather than add another full width pocket. I thought it might be a handy spot to throw some keys or a cell phone.
The interior of the bag has another zippered pocket and a divided slip pocket. The opposite side of the interior has another full width divided pocket. An additional change I made was to give all of the pockets a faux binding. I like the look of that, so I always add extra length to my pocket linings so that I can wrap it over the seam allowance and the fabrics of the interior and exterior of the pocket will line up. I really like how it looks with this bag!
The gusset of the bag, the zipper bridge, and the top part of the lining are all made with faux leather/vinyl in black. This added more bulk in the seams, so instead of turning the bag right side out through the lining, I did a drop in lining. This was the perfect bag for it, since it was simply a big open circle at the top! I folded my seam allowances in 1/2″ toward each other, clipped them together with my wonder clips and top stitched around twice.
I also decided to use a new foam interlining with this bag. I wanted to try the Bosal In-R-Form double-sided fusible foam I saw on Amazon. It was on sale for a decent price, so I read the reviews to see if I could still use it even if I only wanted to fuse one side to fabric. Several reviewers noted it would be fine, just to cover the other side with a muslin or some other fabric and peel it away after fusing. Oh. Boy. Did I ever have ‘fun’ with this. I ended up crushing and wrinkling the foam so much that it wrinkled the exterior fabric too. I was pretty upset about them, but used some steam to try to release the wrinkles. That didn’t work, so I sprayed water directly on the fabric and pressed it as well. That helped quite a bit, but when I mailed the bag off it still had wrinkles. However, Sarah looked over the bag when I emailed her apologizing for the wrinkles and said she really had to look hard to even find where they were. So it seems they released over time. *Whew*!!
I was incredibly nervous to install these oval grommet handles. It turns out they were much easier to install than originally expected, but it’s hard cutting into a finished bag and hoping you won’t slip and cut wrong! It wasn’t until after I installed those handles that I fell head over heels for this bag. I hoped Sarah would love it as much as I did, and I was super thrilled when she let me know that she did like it!
This is a fantastic pattern, and I am getting ready to make another bag. I would classify this as a very confident beginner pattern. This pattern may seem intimidating to some (because of the grommet handles), let me assure you that it is not as difficult as it looks. The instructions are clear and detailed. The one thing I do love about the bag is that it is perfect for customization. So many things you can add or take away from the bag to make it just how you like it. I will note that I had an easier time installing the grommet handles on this bag than I did installing my first bag lock on another bag! If you like big bags (and you cannot lie… heh heh heh), definitely give this pattern a try!