I love making purses, wallets and totes – bags! I started making bags about five years ago; one of my mother’s favorites was a ‘jean’ jacket and purse made of matching canvas fabric for her. It is now hanging in my closet and the purse doesn’t look as good to my more experienced eye. The stabilizer isn’t evenly bonded to the fabric, stitching is wavy and uneven but the fabric is lovely. I have improved my skills by watching classes on several websites and tried lots of patterns. Today I’d like to share a couple of new patterns that I really like and are pretty beginner friendly.
My favorite bag designer is Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness. Her designs are clean, her instructions are understandable and most of her patterns have available instructional videos to visually demonstrate how to complete the project. I have been using her patterns for about a year now and I really like them.
Last month, Sara was coming out with a new set of patterns, her Minikins 2, that included three wallet patterns. I have been looking for a wallet pattern that I really liked to make for my Etsy store, so I was impatiently waiting for these to appear. While I waited, I thought I’d try my hand at designing my own pattern. I have a new appreciation for what Sara does as my wallet attempt was not entirely functional.
I now have the new patterns and have made one of the wallets and one of the wristlets. Love, love, love them both and can’t wait to make the other two wallets to road test them.
The first pattern is called the Turnpike. It is a convertible clutch/wallet with a shoulder or cross body strap that snaps on. It can be removed to use the wallet as a clutch. The pattern is a tri-fold design with the center section having an applied cell phone pocket and a snapped flap to secure the phone. The bottom section has a zipper pocket and credit card slots. The strap snaps to the clutch just above the cell phone pocket and can be removed if you prefer not to use the strap. This is a perfect design for going out to events where you want a small purse that can be easily carried.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow. There is also an instructional video that comes with each pattern; the videos are available on the website.
I would call this a beginner friendly pattern. I didn’t notice any particularly challenging construction steps. Maybe the hardest part was lining up the cell phone pocket so it stood away from the body of the pouch.
I made two versions of this pouch. The pattern calls for sewing the prepared front and back pieces together with wrong side out, leaving a gap in the seam, then turning the pouch right side out. The gap in the seam is closed when the topstitching around the edge is done. I followed the instructions exactly for one pouch.
For the second pouch, I basted the prepared front and back pieces wrong sides together, right sides out, and bound the unfinished edge with bias tape. Both finishes look very nice; I like the bound edge because it doesn’t mess up the fusible foam or interfacing by scrunching it all up to turn it right side out.
The second pattern I made is the Metro Double Zip pouch. This isn’t a wallet but is designed as a wristlet with two zipped pouches. Again, this is a beginner friendly pattern. The only tricky part I found in this pattern was connecting the front pouch to the rear pouch and I realized I misread the instructions when I made the first one. It wasn’t really tricky; I just needed to read the instructions more closely.
The Metro Double Zip pouch comes in three sizes. I have made the small and the medium so far. The pattern comes with a wristlet strap. My sister suggested to me that it would be really handy to have an over the shoulder strap because it would be a great little pouch for traveling. Passport, phone, money and other important items to have handy would fit in the pouch easily. So I added a second tab and D-ring to the medium size pouch and made a shoulder strap as well.
If you are interested in these patterns, they can be found on the Sew Sweetness* website. The two patterns I discussed are part of the Minikins 2 set of 13 patterns but there are free patterns, individual patterns for sale and free instructional videos as well. Sara also carries an inventory of fabric and notions for sale.
One of the things that I love about Sew Sweetness and Sara Lawson is that she started making purses for craft fairs before she started selling the patterns. So she allows others to use her patterns to make items for sale as long as Sew Sweetness is given credit for the pattern. If you sew to make items for sale, this is worth knowing because not all pattern makers allow that.
As I said, I am a ‘bag lady’. That is a term that Sara and her husband, Danny, came up with to describe the community of sewists who belong to their Facebook group. Bag ladies and bag dudes! It is a very supportive group and I really enjoy both the sewing and the community. The more I connect with various sewing groups, the more I see what a supportive, creative community we are part of. Whether you sew apparel, quilts or bags, or all three, the sewing communities provide positive learning and support in a very caring environment.
* Disclosure: This is an affiliate link, which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase via the link.