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Saturday, November 1, 2014

A year long Journey Bag

I had a pretty exciting finish today and it has a little back story.

I have been sewing on and off for years. I was really into my sewing of clothing during my teens and 20s, then pretty much abandoned my machine while I was working through pharmacy school. I started sewing again after my first son was born, as a way to relax and get my creative juices going again. I got frustrated with clothing as it never seemed to fit right and I had such limited time to sew - I really wanted finished items that I I thought I might try making some bags....HELLO, light bulb moment!!! I really loved it, A LOT. One day, I stumbled across Craftsy and a little bag pattern from Emmaline Bags called Steph in the City. I had no idea PDF patterns even existed! Can you imagine a world without PDF patterns??? I purchased that pattern and a few days later, I got an email with a link to info about Purse Palooza 2013 on the Sew Sweetness blog. I followed that link and the rest is really Bubblegum history.

Purse Palooza and the various blogs that I began to follow from that event have taught me so much. I look back at where I was last year and I can't believe how much I have learned, friendships I have developed, and fantastic bags I have made!! I knew very little about interfacing, zippers, and even fabric choices a year ago.

My revelations:

1.) I thought all fusible interfacing was the same! I had never even heard of Soft and Stable or Shape-Flex.

2.) I thought all fabrics would sew up the same for any pattern! I thought cotton, canvas, and denim were pretty much equal and I had never heard of Tula Pink, Art Gallery Fabrics, or Pink Castle Fabrics. I don't care to admit how often I visit these sites now.

3.) And I had never made a zippered pocket (the horror!)! I had never installed a zipper closure of any kind! The world of bags really changed when I got over my fear of zippers! Wo-hoo for zippers!!

Things are a little different today. I wish I could thank every blogger out there that has ever posted a tutorial, created a pattern, worked through a problem openly,  or linked to a great crafty notion. My crafting has improved so much over just one year because of the goodness in the online crafting community. Truly, you folks are amazing!

Ok, back to today's post. Part of Purse Palooza is a contest that lets you link up handmade bags for the chance at great prizes. Last year, I entered some very simple bags, as that was all I was really making at the time. I also cut this "Journey" bag out. I didn't finish it then because it had a zippered top (scary!) and binding (also scary and new to me at the time). So it sat in a drawer for a year waiting for it's day in the sun. Well, Purse Palooza 2014 is here and I felt it was time to give this bag a life! It's pretty fabulous too and I am thrilled with the final result.

This pattern is a commercial McCall's pattern, but was designed by Kay Whitt.. Kay is a bit of a genius. She writes patterns for bags and clothing and has awesome style! It's simply called "tote bag" in 3 sad that it doesn't have a clever name like most PDF patterns do. I'm calling it the Journey Bag, because of my journey and because it's huge! It would be great for a long day out with all the things I always need to carry along.

I only made a few modifications. I interfaced with Soft and Stable because it's really the best stuff ever for making a bag with structure. Kay recommends fusible interfacing with "buckram". I honestly don't know what buckram is, but the Soft and Stable worked perfect. I used Shape-Flex for the lining where I also added a zippered pocket. I can't live without a zippered pocket somewhere in my bag anymore. Then I made a 2 3/4" binding for the top of the bag. The pattern has a piece that is to be used for the binding, but I didn't care for it.. It's only a single layer with folding over 1/4" for the finish.  I also wanted to show off the print a little more, so I wanted something wider. I added it the same way you would bind a quilt or mug rug, etc. It's double layer and I love how it all came together. This bag looks a little more suited for spring, but I'm going to bust it out now. I think it will be my new favorite! And appropriately, I'll be linking up to Purse Palooze 2014, a year in the making of a great bag!

Inside view, lined with Domino Dots!

Zip Top Closure

Front View, shows off the contrast on the straps
See the great shape! LOVE!!!


  1. This bag is fabulous! I love the shape. And your fabrics too!

  2. Your "history" sounds incredibly like my I can definitely relate. Great looking colours on this bag - definitely makes me think of Spring and Easter time. Nice job!

  3. Thanks for sharing this post! I really like your bag. I'm going to try to make one too. Your colors are fun and cheerful.


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