I was super-excited when I received the Junia Bag pattern to test from iThinkSew. The great thing about iThinkSew patterns is that they are available in the regular version, and the ‘sewer friendly’ version. The difference is that the sewer friendly version is less instructions (and half the price!). If you already know how to sew, and especially if you have made a bag before, you would be able to get by on the sewer friendly version no problem. I know others who have tried this version before and they also said that they were a piece of cake.
The Junia Bag can be made in two different sizes; the large is 31″ x 45″ and the small is approx. 18″ x 14″. Since I recently made a humongous bag (the Cosmo Bag from Amy Butler’s Style Stitches book), I was more than happy to make the small bag. And let me tell you, it is plenty large!
Fabric – I used some fabric from my stash that I combined in a half-and-half patchwork effect: Alexander Henry’s Lou Lou in the pink and in the blue colorways. The pattern calls for 1 yard of exterior fabric for the large bag and 1/2 yard for the small bag. For the interior fabric, I just used a fabric that I got on clearance at Joann’s. I find that it’s easier for me to justify spending money on pretty fabric if I use something cheap for the inside.
Pattern pieces – There are only two pattern pieces to print and assemble, just choose your size bag. This bag definitely couldn’t be easier! You know I always love those .pdf sewing patterns. 🙂
Illustrations/Instructions – There are many photos for each step, and I could pretty much assemble the bag from only the pictures, it’s that easy. The instructions contained a new way to make a gusset that I have never used before, but I really like it. The assembly was very smooth. The bag has a magnetic snap closure, and a pocket on the inside. This bag literally only took me 3 hours to make (including cutting and ironing). If you are new to making bags but don’t want a simple square tote bag, I recommend you start with this one. You could easily play with the patchwork or just have the exterior be one fabric.
I have made a bunch of bags, and most stiff bags call for Pellon Peltex fusible interfacing. I had a hunch that this bag was going to be pretty easy to make, so I decided to use this time to experiment with using the sew in Peltex instead. My reason is that the fabric always looks so smooth and pretty when you first iron it onto the interfacing, but once you sew it, turn it inside out, squish/maneuver it through your sewing machine, then push it back through the opening in your exterior, it always ends up looking somewhat crushed, and ironing at that point only helps a little. So I basted each piece of Peltex to the exterior fabrics after I had cut them out with the pattern pieces. I’m happy with how it turned out and I’d probably do this again on my next bag.
That pattern also calls for two 15-3/4″ leather straps. I thought about what to do and finally decided that I just couldn’t afford to buy new purse handles online. Instead, I took a (really ugly) purse with fake leather handles and cut the long strap off. It was perfect because I ended up with two straps that I was able to machine sew onto the finished bag.
Conclusion – This bag caught my eye because it is unique-looking (especially with the leather handles). Once I saw the pattern instructions, I realized that it is one of the easiest patterns that I’ve ever made. When I first started making this bag I wondered what to do with the finished product, but it’s definitely growing on me. What to do with all these bags?! 🙂
P.S. I participate in Amy Lou Who’s Sew and Tell Friday! Come on over and see the other projects!