Three bags: two wins, one fail, learning all the time!

Phew! First of all let’s get the weather chat out the way! Of course it is the number one subject here in the UK ๐Ÿ˜€ After months of cool, very wet weather the temperatures have suddenly ramped up. Here in central southern England we have had a succession of days in the high twenties. The forecast is for rain at the weekend followed by a dry week with much more comfortable low twenties temperatures. My poor tomato plants have gone from being completely water-logged to being fried! Not sure there will be much of a crop to enjoy this year.

Anyho! Some sewing has been going on between sweaty trips to the allotment (we are harvesting raspberries, courgettes and beans at the moment).

I bought a metre each of these Debbie Shore fabrics a few weeks a go with a friend in mind. She loves nature and keeps Doves as pets so the combo was perfect. My plan was to make my friend a bag as her birthday gift.

The more I thought about her outdoor lifestyle the more I realised a cotton bag would not really suit – not waterproof or wipe-clean. I plumped instead for making a bucket style project bag as she always has a knitting or cross stitch project on the go. The bag pattern is by Kristen Link and I followed the tutorial downloaded from Craftsy.

My version of the Bucket Bag is a bit squishy but can stand unsupported. I should have used a medium weight fusible interfacing rather than a light weight variety and maybe a double layer rather than a single layer of the Hobbs 80/20 wadding. I did use foam for the circular base so with a few balls of wool in the bag it will be sturdy enough ๐Ÿ™‚

Using the same fabrics I cut out the pieces to make a Sunshine Crossbody Bag (pattern is a free download from Bagstock Designs). I’ve seen loads of these bags on-line with even novice bag makers like myself achieving highly acceptable results. Hum! As I have some sew-in foam interlining in my stash I chose to follow the version of the pattern using that rather than fusible foam interlining. The difference between the two versions is the sew-in foam is taken up in the seam allowance whereas the fusible is cut smaller to miss the seams. This caused me and Julie the Juki (a straight stitch, semi-industrial machine) no end of problems ๐Ÿ™

It was one of those projects where the further I got into it the less convinced I was that all would turn out well. I don’t think it was a self-fulfilling prophecy more a realistic assessment of the situation. I persevered to the bitter end. The final bringing together of exterior side seams, interior side seams and the top zipper produced a very thick seam and poor Julie just couldn’t get over the hump without producing teen tiny, wayward stitches. Once turned right sides out I could see the stitching fails at the top of the sides seams and an issue I’d been having with the lining led to a mass of pleats in the interior of the bag *SIGH*


I went back to the sewing room next day to inspect the bag with a clear head. I concluded making it had been a useful learning experience: I’d managed to attach zipper pulls to lengths cut from a continuous zip :-); discovered there’s a time and a place for sew-in interlinings; understood better the limitations of using a zipper foot as opposed to a standard foot to top stitch and sew seams; enjoyed feeling confident re. installing zippers; and could accept a ‘fail’ in my bag-making learning journey. I’ve decided to disassemble the bag in order to retrieve the hardware and some of the materials. I have since discovered a tip for flattening thick interlining: use a zig-zag stitch within the seam allowance to attach the interlining to the fabric of the bag.

With a ‘can do’ state of mind I searched the internet and found a crossbody bag pattern that seemed to fit my skill level and the materials and equipment I had to hand. A blog tutorial for The Convertible Cross Body Tote by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield can be found on her website, There’s also an option to purchase a printer-friendly download for $2. I choose to have the download to save having to keep refreshing my laptop screen as I rather s-l-o-w-l-y followed the instructions.

This pattern is definitely patchwork-quilter friendly with the prep being done using rotary cutting equipment rather than templates. I felt confident enough to make a couple of changes including stitching the D-ring tabs to the top edge of the bag rather than the sides. The bag can be made with fusible interfacing or fusible fleece. I used fusible interfacing so the bag doesn’t have much structure although it can stand unsupported. I guess the bottom will sag a bit with the weight of a heavy purse, phone and keys. I think I will try making a version with fusible fleece – taking care to keep the fleece out of the seams!

All this bag making is just a condensed period of learning and I will be returning to patchwork quilting very soon! I may get there via the making of a patchwork bag or two ๐Ÿ˜€



2 thoughts on “Three bags: two wins, one fail, learning all the time!

  1. We can definitely learn to improve from our mistakes! Thank you for sharing the mistakes and tips. I think your bags look very nice! ๐Ÿ™‚


Leave a Reply to Allison Reid Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to the newsletter to receive:ย 

  • Links into the Worldwide Quilting Community.
  • Links to tutorials and patterns.
  • And be the first to see new listings in my Folksy and Etsy shopsย 
%d bloggers like this: