Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review: Green Bee Vera Bag

This post is part of Purse Palooza 2012.
For full schedule of guest post pattern reviews and prizes, click here!

My name is Katie Blakesley.  I blog at Swim, Bike, Quilt and just launched the 3rd Annual 100 Quilts for Kids charity quilt drive on my blog. I’d love to have you check it out, spread the word, and participate if you feel so inclined.

Swim, Bike, Quilt


I am excited to participate in Purse Palooza and try something new.  My experience sewing items other than quilts is pretty limited. I chose to make and review the the Vera Bag pattern by Green Bee Patterns.  You might have seen pictures of Green Bee’s beautiful booth at Quilt Market last month–I’m excited to see what they come up with next.
Vera Bag pattern review

Materials Needed

1/4 yard Strap Fabric: DS Quilts

1/4 yard Pocket Fabric: DS Quilts + Heather Ross Mendocino [not shown below]

1/4 yard Upper Section Fabric : Sweetwater’s Lucy’s Crab Shack Plaid

3/8 yard Main Bag Panel Fabric: Linen

3/8 yard Lining: Sweetwater’s Lucy’s Crab Shack Plaid

1 Yard Fusible Interfacing: Decor Bond recommended

Interfacing

The pattern calls for Pellon Decor bond (fusible) interfacing; I substituted Pellon’s fusible Featherweight interfacing as my local shops didn’t carry Decor bond. I bought the interfacing and cut out my purse a day before Sara’s great post on interfacing. If I had read the post before, I might have tried something different. However, I like the weight of the finished bag. [Note: Featherweight does not equal light weight. I learned that the hard way once.]

Pattern Pieces

The Vera Bag includes 2 pattern piece templates: one for the body & lining of the bag and one for the bag’s upper section.  Additional cut pieces include straps, pockets, and interfacing for all pieces except the bag’s lining.

Pattern Pieces

The pattern includes a helpful diagram that shows how to arrange the pattern pieces on the fabric for those of us who may need a refresher on grain, etc.  Note:  I recommend photocopying or tracing the two pattern template pieces instead of cutting them out and using them like I did. I’m pretty sure that is covered in Patterns 101 somewhere.

Directions

The Vera Bag Pattern includes helpful illustrations in addition to a lot of text. There were a few steps that I had to read multiple times in order to understand what I was supposed to do, especially when making the pockets. It is entirely possible that my unfamiliarity with patterns in general and the lateness of the hour had more to do with this than the pattern writing.

Vera Bag pocket shot

I followed the directions pretty carefully; I used the same fabric for the bag’s lining and outside upper panel because I really like the Lucy’s Crab Shack plaid print. I also added an extra, off centered pocket.  I had a little trouble initially figuring out the pocket, but once I did, I really liked how it was designed.  I don’t recommend placing the pocket off centered; if I were going to make the bag again, I would have put both pockets in the center of the bag as the pattern directs. The pattern calls for a  magnetic closure; I prefer the sew-in kind, shown below.


sew in magnetic closures

Conclusion

Although my bag is imperfect in the details; it is the details, including pleats and the shape of the bag, that drew me to this pattern in the first place.

Vera Bag detail shot

 I would love to make this bag again; things always go more smoothly for me the second time around. Green Bee Patterns categorizes the Vera Bag as “easy”, I would say that if you are comfortable with a sewing machine and have a few bags under your belt, then this pattern is appropriate for an experienced beginner.  Even with it’s imperfections, I’m excited to load my bag up with snacks and other essentials for our summer adventures.

The Vera Bag finished
Want to make a new bag this summer? Green Bee Patterns is offering three copies of the Vera Bag pattern to my readers. Head over to Swim, Bike, Quilt to enter.  
And thank you, Sara, for organizing Purse Palooza. I certainly have my eye an a few new bags I’d love to sew this summer…
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