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The Perfect Bag has Been Made!

21 Jan

I’ve been on a quest my whole life to find the perfect bag.  But what makes up the perfect bag is always changing so I’ve never found it.

Until now!

I’ve been collecting ideas on Pinterest. And making test bags and scouring my books, like Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders, One-Yard Wonders, BurdaStyle , Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, and looking at my Sweet Harmony Handbag and Tote pattern to gather pieces.

Requirements for the bag were as follows:

  1.  have a long cross body strap
  2. involves the Premier Prints ZigZag Yellow/White Fabric  from the Spring Chevron Coat
  3. exterior pockets to hold phone/keys/chapstick
  4. interior pockets to hold little things
  5. have pink somewhere on the exterior
  6. large enough to carry kid junk
  7. fit my ipad
  8. square or vertical rectangle shape
  9. not look dowdy or frumpy
  10. not be too large

Originally I thought more of a messenger bag style was what I was looking for but after creating the test bag, I realized that I wanted the bag to be able to be carried over the shoulder or on my wrist as well.  The cross body style is great for when I’ve got my kids b/c it’s easy to keep on while holding them.  But sometimes I just want to grab the bag and go. Also I needed smaller exterior pockets to hold the little stuff that I need to grab quickly without rooting through a whole bag or a deep pocket. As such, a complete overhaul was needed and I looked for some fresh perspective.

The lightbulb went off when I found this bag on Pinterest.

The Elessa bag from Milloo, image from Milloo on Etsy


It’s larger than I wanted to but the shape was right and the idea of side pockets instead of front pockets was perfect.

I had made side pockets with the Oliver + S Messenger Bag, and I had seen a pleated bag called the Folklore bag in One Yard Wonders. And so that pattern was the basis for my bag creation.

I added a zipper instead of a magnetic closure, and another interior pocket as well as exterior side pockets.  But the piece de resistance, was my brilliant (if I do say so myself) upcycling of the handles from my JPK bag! That gave me both of the handle lengths that I was looking for and added an element of pink.  To tie them in, I piped the yolk and pockets in pink as well.

The downer to the JPK handles is that the shorter handles have such thick leather that I had to hand sew them on, and the long, cross body handles are SCREWED into the fabric, so I had to do a little handiwork to affix them to the bag.

The Folklore pattern itself, was a BREEZE to sew.  There were only 4 pattern pieces plus the pocket to work with.  (If I had followed it exactly, I would have had to cut the straps too) And the pieces were all EASY PEASY to cut out.  The directions were clear as day and I bet I could have cut and sewn the exact purse in well under 2 hours.  Even with my additions it wasn’t very time consuming.  The zipper and the hand stitching were the hardest parts.

Now I can move on to MY own Spring Chevron Coat, I think I am going to take the Amy Butler Sandlewood Jacket pattern and turn it into a mid thigh length trench.  Either that or a collarless mid thigh coat that has 1 row of buttons.   What do you think?




The Lisa Tote

19 Jan

I worked my tail off on my first paid project and it paid off.

Lisa, my cousin, and I met at the store where she selected the fabrics and told me what she was looking for in a purse.  She wanted a large tote, with a zip closure and lots of pockets on the inside.  Per my recommendation, Lisa selected an indoor outdoor fabric for the outside and a duck cloth for the interior.  She wanted a little something on the outside, so we added one pocket and trimmed the tote and pocket in bias tape made from the interior duck cloth.

I based my construction on the Lands End multi-pocket tote and set to work. There were lots of things to think about especially the order in which each piece would be sewn. The pieces included, an interior bag, and exterior bag, interior pockets, exterior pocket, straps, trim, and zipper closure. In the end, I sewed the exterior bag and pocket first then the interior bag and pockets.  Inserted the interior into the exterior bag, sewed on the trim, then affixed the straps and finished with the zipper construction and sewed it to the bag.I used triple stitching on most of the bag to make sure that any amount of wear and tear could be handled.

The finished bag is 8 inches deep, 17 inches wide at the base and 22 inches wide at the top.  It is 12 inches tall and has 8 interior pockets and one exterior pocket. The straps are 36 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.

It is perfect for Lisa’s needs and lifestyle.  She’s a busy mom on the go who Nannies for an infant baby and is always there to lend a hand with her many nieces and nephews.


When I showed it to Isabelle she told me that she thought it would be perfect for a mom who has kids and that she thought that Lisa would give me a great big hug when she saw it. That’s approval enough for me and I hope Lisa is as happy with it as Isabelle thinks she will be 😉

Her wallet is the same as the wallet I made for myself, except that I used the fabric from the tote for hers 🙂

It’s got 6 card pockets on the curved side, and then two large pockets and a zipper compartment on the other side.  I’ve found that I use the card pockets for all of my cards, business cards and my cash ( I fold the cash into quarters).  Then one large pocket is for receipts and a tube of lip balm, the other pocket is for my checkbooks, and the zipper holds my change.  It works great, not just as a wallet, but as a clutch as well, because I can slide my phone into one of the large pockets or just between the two sides and the elastic closure holds everything in place.



My Serger’s in the Shop and Other News

18 Jan

I feel like a piece of me is missing. My beloved serger, hit a snag in the road when I sewed layers upon layers of midweight fabric together around the collar of the Spring Chevron Coat and so I took it into the shop for a little tuneup.  Sadly, I will be without it for at least a week.

Not all was lost though because, my shop is located with a Joann Fabrics store and so I took some time to do a little bargain hunting.  I cam home with 5 patterns that were only 99 cents a piece and a bunch of remnant material that was 70% off!.


I got this gorgeous embroidered light weight white cotton fabric that’s going to make a gorgeous peasanty O Tunic dress with a square neck for one or both girls.  And almost a whole yard of some heavier weight white linen as well as some navy and white poly knits to play with when my serger comes home.


That patterns are all for me! Like Simplicity 2702

image from


And this is going to be my adult version of the O Tunic: Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2147

Plus this way cool dress that I love for so many reasons, not the least of which is the oh so lovely maxi version!
Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2363



And finally, a Lisette pattern to try! Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2059


I’ve got big plans for these patterns!!! And the remnants!

Oh and I’m working on my first order EVER! Someone (my cousin, but still) is actually PAYING ME to make something! It’s a custom designed tote and wallet in fabrics that she chose! It’s really fun to do and I’m hoping to be able to finish it and share it by Friday!


Here’s a peek:








Test Bag

11 Jan

I worked all weekend making dresses for my girls, so I rewarded myself Sunday night by making something for me. I have been sketching a bag concept and pinning like crazy, to come up with my idea of the perfect bag.

This weekend I decided to test part of it to see how it turns out.  I took part of the Oliver + S Messenger bag from Little Things to Sew and part of the {LBG Studios} 2 in 1 convertible clutch and combined them to make this bag.  I used piping for the first time too!

I contructed this one properly, so there aren’t any exposed seams. I had to think about the construction and make sure I sewed everything in the right order.  Since I didn’t use binding, I had to sew right sides together, unlike with the Oliver + S Messenger bag.  There were no gussets this time around to get backwards, but I did have to remember which parts not to sew individually (like the flap) since you essentially sew two bags in order to construct a finished inside.

In the sewing journey, my lines are getting straighter, I can sew closer to the edge, and I’m really noticing an overall improvement in my skills.  It didn’t hurt that the project before this bag was the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress, and Holy Details Batman!!

As far as the final product goes, I’ve decided I need to make some changes.  It needs to be a bit wider from front to back and I’d like smallish side pockets, as the front pockets are a hair taller than I’d like for my phone and chapstick. I’ll carry it around for a couple weeks and see how it feels otherwise.


Outside pockets covered by flap


Inside pocket

Inside full of stuff


Adjustable straps using buttons




Oliver + S Messenger Bag from Little Things to Sew

3 Jan

Before we left for our weekend away, I spent Friday morning whipping up a purse for myself. I used leftover wool from my cape, and upcycled the strap from an old cross body bag that I had.

It was my first project from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew. I made the small messenger bag with a few changes. I left off the pocket covers and the inside pocket is sewn on the back side instead of the front.

That is due in part to the fact that I made some errors along the way and sewing it on the front became impossible. I sewed the lining incorrectly, so the inside has raw edges. I also must have cut a gusset out backwards, because I had two facing one direction instead of one in each direction.

The best part of the bag is the bias trim. I made my own tape as per the directions and I love it! it’s also the first time I have correctly sewn bias tape on a project. As it turns out the correct way is much easier than the way I had done it on the doll sleeping bags.

The bag is just the right size and fits my ipad nicely.  It’s the perfect thing to get me through the winter until I make a new one for our Florida trip. I’ve been designing the perfect bag in my head and it will take elements of this one with it!


I love {LBG Studio} Patterns and Tutorials!

22 Dec

The fabric I ordered from arrived the other day and I was anxious to knock out a couple of the projects I had planned.  One was the {LBG Studios} Convertible Clutch / 2 in 1 bag pattern and the other was a revised wallet based off of the {LBG Studios} Organizer Wallet which I had used to make my little Christmas clutch.

I decided that I would sew the clutch first, because I thought I might learn a thing or two that I could apply to the wallet. The pattern and instructions were spot on! I installed a magnetic clasp for the first time and really enjoyed working on the project.  Sadly, I don’t love the way the copper pleather looks on the finished clutch, but that just means that I’ll be sure and make another clutch in the near future!

{LBG Studios} Clutch standing

I love, love, love, the sturdiness of the handle, and the way in which it was attached to the bag….brilliant! When all was said and done the handle has about 4 layers of fusible interfacing and 4 layers of fabric, making it incredibly sturdy.

{LBG Studios} Convertible Clutch handle

The inside called for a pocket and the insertion of a magnetic snap.  Who knew that adding a snap would be so darn easy!!! Seriously simple.

Inside of the {LBG Studios} Convertible Clutch


Folded {LBG Studios} Clutch


As you can see in the above photo, I need some practice with closing up the openings left for turning projects right side out…..

{LBG Studios} wallet inside of clutch

This bag had four layers to it: Outside, Inside, lining and facing.  Based on the finished product, I decided to go with 4 layers for the wallet, but to switch it up, outside, inside, and face both the outside and inside layers.  The pockets got 2 inside fabric layers and 1 piece of facing. I used 9″ as the width and 10″ as the height of the open wallet before sewing. Finished it’s about 8.5″ by 10.5″ finished.

closed wallet

I used this tutorial to figure out how to add in my zipper, and like every other sewing task of which I’ve been afraid, it’s not nearly as scary as it would seem!

Open wallet, everything in it's place

I liked the overall size of my Christmas wallet and while I had originally thought I would make a trifold to accomodate the zipper, I realized that I could just turn the outside of the iphone pocket into the zipper compartment.

Everything peaking out from it's hiding place

The other change that I made, based on my Christmas wallet, was that I decided there was enough room for 3 vertical card slots, instead of two, and that I wanted the curved pocket to also have compartments.  Now my credit cards fit in the back and my money, business cards, and license sit nicely in the front.

I love how much room there is for my receipt stash and I love the way it feels size and weight wise in my hand when I carry only the wallet.

I can’t wait to use both for Christmas, and I can’t wait to start on my next project! But that will have to wait until after Christmas.



{LBG Studios} Clutch and Wallet


Christmas Baby Boy

22 Dec

My good friend had her third baby and second son on Tuesday, so I went to the hospital to meet him yesterday.  I didn’t want to go empty handed, and I wanted to make him something, as I had done for my other two girlfriends, sweet babies.  This girlfriend, is ever so practical and since she already has a boy, she has lots of baby stuff.  But her other children were born in the spring, and certainly nowhere near Christmas so I settled on a soft Santa hat and matching minky blanket.

I googled, newborn Santa hat patterns and found this one from  Both projects were fairly quick, other than the general PITA that is sewing with minky, and I’m happy to report that the items were well received.  The blanket is red on one side and white on the other, with a red trim, so it’s not overly Christmasy and can be used for the whole Winter.


Minky Newborn Santa Hat and Blanket