A few weeks ago I volunteered to pattern test a new bag pattern by Nikki Mallalieu of You Sew Girl and I jumped at the chance because a. her patterns are great b. the bag was so cute and c. I needed a change of sewing scenery.
I sat down to get stuck into it on June 21st as I had just got home and was really in the mood for something different to sew. So I cleared off the work table and started looking around at what fabrics to use. I actually have the same fabric as featured on the bag in the pattern photos so I was tempted to use that but then it would look too similar to the bag in the pattern. I looked at some of the other 300+ fabrics and couldn’t make a decision (one of the cons of having too much fabric and a problem with decision-making!) and then I spied a bag with lots of newly acquired fabrics and knew which one I wanted to use. It’s a home décor weight and a bit tweedy and I thought it would make the perfect fabric for Autumn/Winter. The pattern said you could use either quilt weight or décor weight but I think this fabric is even heavier than that.
Realised that before I starting cutting.
Didn’t stop me.
The pattern itself is very straight-forward and easy to follow (as usual) and the instructions are very clear which is something you can expect from one of Nikki’s patterns. Everything was going swimmingly well during construction of the bag until it came to attaching the handles and there I came to another decision-making dilemma – which handles to use? Honestly, I have no excuse except maybe I’d had a bad day but I just wasted so much time trying just about every handle known to man before finally settled on FABRIC handles made from the SAME fabric as the rest of the bag! How easy was that? Why did it take me nearly an hour to reach that decision lol.
Anyway, moving on, smooth sailing through making the snap tabs which pull the sides of the bag in and add a bit of extra security, then adding and understitching the facing. (I love facings in bags, looks so much more elegant) And then, I hit a snag when it came to topstitching the bag due to the thickness of the fabric that I used, the areas where there were seams ie side seam/facing/snap tabs/fabric handles that had several layers were more than my computerised machine could cope with and it threw a wobbly and refused to continue. Luckily old faithful stepped in and finished the job but it was touch and go there for a minute and it all could have been avoided if I had just given more thought to the actual construction of the bag and realised how thick some of those layers were going to be if I used that fabric. Near disaster avoided, I moved on to the lining, which was a piece of cake and I used pretty pink Duchess Satin for my lining as there are hints of pink in the exterior fabric. One more magnetic snap and some hand stitching to close the lining and we have a winner!