First of all I would like to wish all my readers a very happy new year! I hope 2014 will bring you more than you expect. This year promises to be a busy one for me as I intend to finish this thing called a PhD thesis so that I can defend it in 2015. I also want to spend plenty of time crafting though as I find that this helps to keep me sane and happy.
I was lucky enough to be one of the pattern testers for SeamstressErin’s first pattern, the Presidio Purse. This was my first time testing a pattern and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Usually I make my own pattern when I want to make a bag and then I mostly use rectangles, so it was fun to make a bag that has some curves to it.
Erin describes this bag as an oversized hobo style handbag and it certainly is huge. It is the largest bag I have ever made and you can stuff almost infinite amounts into it, like Hermione Granger’s bag in the last of the Harry Potter books. In December I spend two nights out of town to visit a conference and this bag was all I took and it was nowhere near full. The bag is carried over the shoulder and has a top opening zipper. The front has two options for insets and there are also two options for the shoulder strap, with and without D-rings. On the inside there are two pockets, one with a zipper and one patch pocket that is divided into 3 separate pockets.
The pattern comes as a PDF, so you have to do some assembling before you can start sewing but I think it took me less than 30 minutes to piece the sheets together and cut the pattern pieces out of the paper. Alternatively, you can take the printshop version to a printshop and have them print it for you on one large piece of paper and avoid assembling. The 1/2” seam allowance is already included in the pattern. I’m not really a fan of a 1/2” seam allowance because it doesn’t translate as well to a metric measurement as 3/8” or 5/8” but I had no problems assembling this bag and I can’t remember unpicking anything during the construction. The instructions in the test version were already clear enough for me to make this bag without issues but in the final version they’ve become even better, Erin clearly took all our advice to heart. I really like the drawings that illustrate the more challenging construction steps.
Because there is a bit of time pressure when you’re testing a pattern I decided to just get started as soon as possible and use materials from my stash instead of going fabric shopping. For the outside I used left-over fabric from my living room curtains that I interfaced with medium weight fusible woven interfacing (according to the sewing instructions I didn’t need to interface but I did it anyway because I don’t like floppy bags, call me a rebel). For the lining I used an Indonesian batik that was a gift from my mother. I am glad I was finally able to use it in a project and I think it works very well with the curtain fabric and the pink zippers. I also used it for the bottom of the handle and the zipper tab because I wanted to add some additional interest to the exterior.
If you want to dip your toes into bag making this bag might be just the ticket because Erin is going to host a sew along on her blog so you’ll be able to follow each construction step and ask questions along the way. She will also show some extra options that are not included in the pattern such as how to add piping and extra pockets.
I plan to make another version for myself with an adjustable shoulder strap and more pockets. I prefer to carry my bags across my body because that way they stay put when I cycle at top speed. I know some people are going to laugh about this because I’m not very fast, but hey, I meant my top speed, so stop laughing! I’d also like to play a bit with the insets because I think those offer a great opportunity for customisation.
Erin released the pattern for this bag today so if you want to know even more, please hop over to Erin’s blog!
Happy New Year to you too, Emmely and very best of luck for your PhD. This bag is lovely and looks very swish. I’m bookmarking the pattern for later in the year. I like the information you give about using up stash or left over fabric – it helps me learn more about what is possible.
Thank you! Using stash and left over fabric is the best because it creates more space for storing new fabrics! 😉
I love your lining and fabric combo. Great idea to use fabric form curtains…using fabric you had on hand.
Thank you. I am always happy when I can use something from my stash. Like most sewers I have too much fabric for the space that was originally dedicated to fabric stashing…