I made it up in vintage tea towels, you can see what they used to look like on my flickr. One was a calendar tea towel from the bicentennial, the other a souvenir tea towel from Massachusetts.
This bag marks my first serious foray into both online sewing contests and bag making, save random totes (one of my first three sewing projects as a little girl was a tote) and one "purse" I hand sewed about 15 years ago from fake cow print fur, nylon straps, and dice print flannel lining. I got lots of compliments on that monstrosity, but I think it was more like those kinda compliments you get when someone doesn't know what else to say.
I pinned this pattern as soon as it was released, as I prefer messenger bag style purses that I can wear cross-body, but hadn't really planned on sewing it up for quite a while. It took the announcement of the Sew Sweetness Bag Contest to really push me into trying it out! I thought it would be fun to start joining some online sew-alongs and competitions next year, so now seemed as good a time as any.
I knew from the get go that I wanted to use some of my vintage tea towels to make the bag and settled on two with a similar feel and color scheme, and also chose some quilting cotton for the accents and lining.
I really enjoyed sewing my first bag and would make this again if a family member asked for one, and possibly one more time for myself with leather accents. The changes I made include:
- Accent fabric on the bottom instead of using a tea towel
- No flap accents; the main reason being that I didn't want them covering up "Precious Moments Betsy Ross" as I've come to call her. Also, I wanted to get the bag done on time to enter the contest and have tons of other Christmas projects, so I left them out to save time. And all that hardware was getting a little cost-prohibitive and making the bag heavy. I may include them on any future renditions made up in a more plain "main fabric" as I do think they add something to the bag.
- I left the hardware off the side accents as well, for the same reasons as above. I didn't stitch the accents down so I can clip pens to them and to keep it from looking pieced together.
- I left out the interior zipper pocket; I never use those.
I learned a lot about bag making from this pattern. Mostly, interface the crap out of your bags and they turn out much nicer!
I only made one mistake when sewing up the pattern, a record for me: the part about sewing the side accents didn't really mention a seam allowance, so I went ahead and used the .5" called for in the rest of the pattern. I knew it was wrong as soon as I sewed up the first seam, but did the next three anyway. I finally gave up when I couldn't turn them, and cut new side accent pieces rather than bothering to unpick them. I used the quarter-inch SA mentioned a few steps back, that time they looked like the picture and I could actually turn them! Also, the pattern said to sew the divider line between the two interior pockets at 6" in, but the halfway point is actually 7.5", so either I was doing something wrong there, or it's a typo.