Thursday 25 June 2015

Pattern Test - Clover & Violet's Isabella Bag

Loving the opportunity pattern testing gives to discover new designers and their amazing patterns. When Clover & Violet put the call out recently, I couldn't resist - bags using patchwork - what's not to love when I can combine my love of sewing, bags & patchwork?

We had the opportunity to select which bag we'd like to test and whilst I would have been happy to test ANY of the wonderful designs, I couldn't go past the Isabella bag (my mum's middle name).
The Isabella is a fully reversible bag - thinking that will be quite handy when travelling to match to various outfits or colour ways.  One bag, two looks - how good is that. It has 3 external pockets and the 3 internal pockets have elastic at the top to help contain their contents.
The bag is approximately 12" wide by 13" high and with boxed corners about 4 1/2" across.
It is really roomy and the handle length means it sits comfortably against your side and has a button closing at the top.

Being an American pattern, I needed to do a google search to find out if we could purchase the interfacing used for the bag. How funny that my search led me to a post on Violet & Clover's own blog about interfacings and international options! Well worth a read here. Their post helped me discover that here in Australia, the Pellon brand has been released through Spotlight under the Legacy label. (Same product code numbers, just different letters and occasionally different names.)
When pattern testing, I like to follow the first pattern exactly as written to assist the designers with their instructions so was very glad I could get my hands on the exact interfacing needed. I really like the combined effect of using an interfacing and flannel (flannelette) for the quilted areas.
The instructions are clearly set out, showing exact requirements and measurements. There are lots of clear photos to assist you through the step by step construction. The bag also has two other fabric options for construction using one fabric piece or a set of fat quarters.
For this pattern I just knew I had to use the Snap Pop range by Sandy Gervais I had been hoarding for that 'special project'- so bright and cheerful.
For my second bag, I simply altered the quilting lines, using a serpentine stitch down the seams rather than the rows of stitching as per my orange version and the pattern.

For the lining on this one, I used the narrow strip left from the outer bag, adding a self patterned white fabric to sew a contrast pocket - loving the look against the strong pink of the lining. I also realised I didn't have any self covered buttons left as per the orange bag and instructions, so picked out two pretty flower shaped ones and sewed them onto the bag over a darning needle to give me a button shank - using button hole stitch to finish off neatly.
The only change I made was to stitch the two layers of flannel together before threading them through the handle, probably not necessary but I found this a helpful step.
The bag went together so quickly and easily, the longest step was the quilted lines but well worth the time given the finished effect.

I can see more Isabella bags in my future but firstly am off to Violet and Clover to choose a new bag to try..........oh dear which one to choose? So many wonderful patchwork bags and accessories. (Just popped back to say - there may be 3 new patterns sitting in my to make pile right about now.......)

Oh and you must go and check out their blog, not only are there many helpful hints, but there are heaps (I mean HEAPS) of free patterns and tutorials to try and lots of inspiring projects.

Until next time,

Thursday 18 June 2015

Pattern Test - Katie's Crossbody Bag

I love a good pattern test - a wonderful way to discover new designers, patterns and maybe some new techniques or fabrics & materials.

This week I have had fun testing the Katie's Crossbody Bag for Susan from Florida. How great is it that with modern technology I can test a pattern from the USA and meet some wonderful new ladies all at the click of a button and a quick download.
This is a cute, seemingly small bag but has lots of room with a phone pocket on the back and credit card pockets on the inside. The straps are removable giving the option to use it as a clutch purse.
Susan put the call out last weekend and even though I'm in the midst of another pattern test and my own pattern writing, I couldn't resist offering and am so very glad I did.

This bag is an easy and quick sew and the look can vary depending on your fabric choice, addition of trims or closing feature. 
Susan's PDF pattern was easy to follow, photos are included to show some of the steps if you are new to any of the techniques and the bag went together like a dream. Everything fitted where it should and with no need to make any adjustments.
Through recent pattern tests (all from the USA) I have been introduced to the wider range and variety of interfacings available to use in bags depending on the look and finish you want. Thankfully, here in Australia, our Spotlight chain (bit like Joannes for those in the USA) introduced the Legacy brand of interfacings last year. They are actually the same as the Pellon ones just under another name but thankfully the number codes are the same (different letters and occasionally different names but still the same range), meaning it is much easier for us Aussies  to follow USA patterns exactly.

I chose not to do the clip closure as per the pattern but instead went for the good old fashioned press stud. I also used a finer interfacing for the credit card pocket piece and am very happy with the result, it meant I wasn't sewing through the same degree of bulk that would be there if I had used the interfacing used on the exterior of the bag.
The blue bag was my first one, using piping as the feature as per the pattern (and a huge thanks to my amazing mum who recently cleared out some sewing supplies and offered me a whole roll of white piping, so glad I said yes!). My trusty blue bendy tool (can't remember it's real name but it's blue and bends so its my bendy blue tool) came in handy to mark out the curves on the bag and flap pieces.

I couldn't resist whipping up the pink version using the picot edge for a different feature. 

You can purchase the pattern for the Katie's Crossbody Bag here on Craftsy.

Until next time,