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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Miss Independent Bag

This month at the Big City Bags SAL over at Sewing With Squeak, we are celebrating Miss Independent! I started out very excited about this bag. It looks fun and functional in the photos. I noticed that there is binding on the outside of the bag, which I don't really care for, but figured I could manage to put that on the inside and still have a great bag. Unfortunately, once I started this bag, I realized that it has more issues than ugly outside binding.

To recap my experience the cons:

1. This bag took an eternity to cut and interface. Not necessarily a fault of the pattern, but annoying none the less. Cutting and interfacing are far and away my least favorite things. It is a huge bag in the end though, more about that later.

2. The outside pockets: Great concept...pockets with panels, so they "puff" away from the bag to give you more space and character. Bad construction on the author's part though. I have made these type of pockets before and they worked out fine. First construct the outer, then the lining, use less than normal interfacing to reduce bulk and sew together at the top. For this bag, you construct each piece separately, then sew them together. And the author recommends a ton of interfacing, which makes your seams so bulky, they will barely bend around the curves. Plus, now on the inside you have open seams in the way. They are finished, but still open and ugly in my opinion.

Luckily, I was able to recognize that this design just wasn't going to work. So, I just left the panels off and made simple patch pockets with flaps. They look fine, and really, how much would I put in an outside pocket like that anyways?

3. I did not have a separating zipper on hand. I made a traditional zipper panel with an extra long zipper so that the bag opens fully. Only problem was that without a separating zipper, you can't construct this bag as written. I do regret that I didn't wait for the right zipper. I was able to modify a little bit and get the bag together, but it *may* have looked a little nicer with the side panels put together as originally intended.

4. This bag is huge! It's really too big for everyday carry, but not really big enough as an overnighter. I have no clue what I will do with it. But, for being so huge, it has one tiny zippered pocket in the lining, that's it! I put a patch pocket on the opposite side, but I fell it could really use more organization. Also, for a bag this big, who wants just 2 leather shoulder handles to carry it around? It's going to be heavy if filled up. I added an adjustable shoulder strap, just in case I do find a proper use for it.

So now for the pros:

1. The fabric choices I made...LOVE! I love the background with the pop of the black and white pockets. Plus I quilted my main panels with a variegated thread and I think it really looks cool. For the lining I used the text print from the Jungle Ave. line and it is fabulous. I must get some more of that before it is gone forever, really love the color and words.

2. The leather handles! I have been very reluctant to use leather handles for bags, but I actually loved how easy they were to sew on and how they look on the finished product. They are a bit hard to find locally, but I have found some sellers on etsy that carry a nice variety. So I am excited to have something new to add to my repertoire of handles

3. I feel smart. I was able to work through some problems with the bag and still end up with a nice finish. It's not exactly what I had pictured, but it's still fun. There was a time when I would run into a problem and just throw the project away! No joke. I trashed a lot of WIPs. My sewing has grown and I now know how to fix things, sometimes even improving them! So yeah me!

Now for the pics, please forgive the shadows. We are redoing our entire backyard right now, and there is just no where to take a decent picture. (I may be an awful photographer too, just saying)

So overall, I am happy with the finished bag. I know it could be better though, and I may play with the design at some point. I have more swapping insanity to get to though, so the next bag will have to wait.


  1. this bag looks lovely…great fabric and I really like your addition of the longer handles. I think this suits the shape really well and certainly looks more useable :-)

  2. After reading your review I'm almost glad I didn't have time to make it! And I actually laughed out loud when I read your pro #3 :)

    I'm glad you ended up liking it in the end.

    Oh, btw, you are our winner by default this month since no one else was able to complete the bag (YAY!) I'll be sending your e-mail to Sew Me A Song and they should be contacting your shortly.


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