Category Archives: Fabric – Linen

Brooklyn Bag by Swoon Patterns

I purchased this pattern recently when attending the Bag Retreat in South Wales. When attending the Sewing Day organised by Sprat & Winkle Quilters I decided that making up the Handbag sized version for the first time would be a good project to concentrate on during the day. However, as it turned out, I did not get a lot done during that day and the bag had to wait until I returned from visiting my sister in North Wales before I could continue with the project.

For this first iteration I chose some Neutral-toned linen with an Oriental blossom-style floral motif from my stash of ‘landfill’ fabrics, whatever nickel hardware was in my stash plus some pretty multi-coloured cork bought from Purple Stitches that has long been in my bagmaking supplies.

I had not had much time to examine the sample bag thoroughly so this was pretty much an ‘exercise in the dark’. The Swoon instructions were comprehensive but as I have not made the style/type of bag before this was also a learning curve.

After several ‘false starts’ I finally managed to spend a couple of hours concentrated work on the bag. I used some remnant quilting cotton for the lining and added an extra slip pocket plus a long key keeper.

Quilting Cotton lining & long key keeper

I have learned a lot! The bag came up a little smaller than I expected though it is a good size for my personal requirements.

The Brooklyn Bag by Swoon Patterns

I will definitely make another using all quilting weight cotton fabrics and this time will order up hardware in the specific sizes as directed on the pattern. I will also adjust the length of the handles to my preferred dimensions as I found the ones cut according to the instructions to be a little short.

Project #052 completed 21st November 2022

Companion Carpet Bag – re-cycling landfill fabric

Having just completed two versions of the Morgan Messenger Bag by Mrs H patterns I wanted to revisit my favourite Mrs H pattern – the Companion Carpet Bag. I had spied some lovely Lime Green Linen in the ‘proposed landfill’ stash and was determined to use it for an unusual bag! I already had an 8½ inch bag frame in my stash and together with co-ordinating fat quarters for the lining, this would be a ‘bag for free’.

I took the fabric, frame and pattern with me when attending the Bag Retreat in Wales but unfortunately did not manage to complete the construction whilst there. Also, I was seduced by the beautiful fabrics displayed by ‘Sew Hot’ in their pop up shop and purchased a metre of a contrasting cotton print (Nantucket Summer by moda ® Sail Check Plaids – Cream and Navy #55265 21) to use for the lining.

Nantucket Summer by moda

According to the pattern description The Companion Carpet Bag features a full width front pocket, which you can trim with piping or lace, bag feet, leather handles and optional leather snap tab. Inside there’s a zipped pocket and a slip pocket. The pattern uses an internal tubular frame, either 8.5″ or 12″.

Construction notes: Due to the thickness of the linen fabric I was able to omit fusible interfacing for the outer fabrics, but it was used on the linings and pockets. Bosal ® one-side fusible foam was used for the stabiliser to give structure to the bag, together with some plastic mesh bag base and some nickel bag feet from my stash of bag-making hardware.

Colourful zip and tassel on the internal pocket

For the internal zip pocket I used a Yellow zip with Cerise pink tassel for added colour.

External pocket trimmed with Nantucket Summer

The external pocket is trimmed with piping using the Nantucket Summer printed cotton.

Flap with magnetic snap underneath

I added a flap with magnetic snap fastener to go over the top of the frame and ensure that the bag is closed up. I also added my long zip keeper but this time it was not elasticated.

Long length key keeper

The linen fabric handles were made extra long so that they can go over my shoulder, they were padded with strips of Bosal for additional comfort.

Long padded handles for use over the shoulder

Conclusion: This pattern is definitely my favourite style of handbag and so far each one that I have made has something a little different. So after making 3 bags ‘on the trot’ it is time to return to dressmaking as I am in need of some new ‘Autumnal’ dresses and blouses…..

Project #46 completed 9th October 2022

Annette handbag #1

By way of easing myself back into the process of bag making, I decided to ‘have a go’ at the Annette bag. I have had the pattern for a very long time but simply never got around to it.

Screenshot of the Annette bag by Swoon Sewing Patterns

According to the Swoon website the Annette bag is perfect for all occasions. The tote is stylish and practical with a sleek and classic look. The bag features handles, a removable shoulder strap, two exterior pockets and optional decorative feature. The bag can be made in fabric or vinyl/faux leather. Bag dimensions are listed as width: 13″ (33 cm), height: 9″ (22.9 cm), depth: 5″ (12.5 cm).

This bag pattern was the project undertaken at Kittenish Behaviour’s most recent Sewing Retreat but unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, Sian has released a vlog demonstrating how to add an internal zip closure to the bag rather than a zip at the top of the bag and this was the prompt for me to try the pattern.

As this was going to be a ‘trial run’ of the bag, I chose fabric from my vast stash of ‘landfill’ furnishing fabrics. I had a small piece of print featuring birds in autumnal shades plus some geometric print in a coordinating colour. I decided to use nickel hardware as there seemed to be plenty of that in my bag-making stash.

Construction notes: I used fusible interfacing to stabilise the furnishing weight linen and ‘headliner’ stabiliser. ‘Headliner’ is a foam stabiliser (an alternative to Bosal ®) that is used in the car manufacturing industry to line the insides of cars e.g. roof and door panels. As it is not fusible I machine basted within the seam allowance to the interfaced pieces of the bag. Inside the bag I added a zip pocket, a divided slip pocket that is specially sized for my ancient mobile phone and an extending key keeper. I added 6 bag feet and my own ‘Carousel Cottage Crafts’ label.

Internal pockets
Extending Key Keeper

Conclusion: Unfortunately constructing this bag was not a particularly pleasant experience especially as I made so many basic errors during the process it has rather coloured my view. I don’t think that I will use it very much, if at all.

Small Bird Panel

It all started to go wrong when I realised that I had cut the outer of the side pockets in the wrong print and by the time I realised the error, there was insufficient of that print fabric remaining. When attaching the D rings for the handles I did not notice that I was blocking out the head of the large bird print on the panel.

Large Bird Panel

I was impatient to get the internal zip fitted and did not take the time to check online for instructions. I now know better! I took on board Sian’s suggestion to leave part of the side panel lining unstitched so that I could turn the bag right side out through that larger opening. It was still a wrestling match. Had I taken the time to layer and clip the seam allowances the top edge of the bag would be neater as would the top stitching. Although I was aware of the dimensions of the finished bag, to be honest it is larger than I like. I cannot envisage that I will ever use the external pockets as I don’t consider them to be secure enough, except perhaps for a water bottle. I have a strong suspicion that my next bag will be the Carpet Bag by Mrs H. I have previously made at least 3 versions of that bag and it is definitely my favourite!

Project #41 completed 7th September 2022