Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review: Pat Bravo Verona Bag

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

This guest post is from the fabulous Jessica from A Little Gray. Jessica has some great tutorials on her blog, my favorite of which is a recent one for a Chevron Circle Skirt that I saw on Pinterest before I even knew it was hers! Really creative, and go check it out!

 Hey, I’m Jessica from A Little Gray and I’m pumped to be in the Palooza today! I decided to try out a Pat Bravo pattern for the first time- The Verona Bag. The shape, size, and unique curved piping detail are what first attracted me to this pattern (I’m a sucker for piping on anything), but now I’m just crazy about Pat’s patterns. It is so clearly written and beautifully presented, everything you want in a go-to bag pattern.

And the Verona bag itself is fantastic to use. The Verona is large enough for toting your favorite summer beer to the neighbor’s cookout, and has plenty of pockets for listening to 80’s classics on your iPhone.

Fabrics: 

Outside is Lucy’s Crab Shack Cream and Deep Sea Cruiser in canvas. The contrast is Woodgrain from Joel Dewberry’s Aviary collection, and the lining fabric is from the old Max & Whiskers collection by Basic Grey for Moda. The great thing about this bag is that the main exterior only requires 1/2 yard of fabric. So I bought what I really wanted for that one and pulled the rest from my stash.

Interfacing: 

I used Pellon Decor Bond on the handles, flap, and the lining. I didn’t interface the outside since it’s canvas.  The pattern does not call for the lining to be interfaced at all, I just didn’t read very carefully. But that was user error, I cannot stress enough how well written the pattern is. It’s sturdy enough, though I wish I had just put Decor Bond on everything because I really like the feel of that interfacing.

Changes Made:

Besides the interfacing goof, I decided to lengthen the straps by 3 inches as a matter of personal preference. I also added drop-in pockets on both sides of the lining as opposed to just one. And I found it helpful to make my piping using Nancy’s Wrap ‘n Fuse Piping.

Pros:

  • It’s the perfect size for a large purse or smallish diaper bag, which was exactly what I needed. The boxed bottom makes it really roomy inside while the flap with magnetic snap keeps the top closed well and easily accessible. 
  • The pattern presentation is so beautiful. It comes in a nice booklet with the 4 pattern pieces in a pocket in the back. There’s a place in the front for you to make any notes, which I LOVE. I always think I’m going to remember any changes I made to a pattern the next time around, but I never do. Every pattern should have a note page. 
  • The pattern instructions could not be clearer. There are full color diagrams for every step. There are helpful hints along the way, and nothing is taken for granted about the user’s skill level. It takes the time to explain everything, like how to apply interfacing, the snap, how to make piping, even the basics of rotary cutting. (In fact, it was probably me thinking I was above reading such basic instructions that made me mess up on where to put the interfacing!)


Cons:
  • That curved seam with the piping is not very easy. It’s my favorite design element, but I did go too fast on it the first time thru and had to pick it out. She gives a lot of good tips for how to conquer it, but I would add a few of my own: Baste the piping to the bottom exterior piece first, rather than trying to sew all three pieces into the seam in one go. Then use a ton of pins to put the upper piece on, keep that upper piece on top as you sew the seam, go slowly, and use a 5/8″ allowance rather than 1/2.”  When I figured those things out, it got MUCH easier. But because of that seam and the lining construction, I’d say this is more of a modestly-intermediate bag.  

I loved the bag so much I decided to make it a second time for an upcoming tote swap at my Modern Quilt Guild. This time I used fabric from Ty Pennington’s first Impressions line and some Riley Blake Chevrons. I also went ahead and used exactly the interfacings the pattern called for, including ultra-firm fusible Peltex on the outside pieces. This bag is super sturdy, but it was not the easiest to turn right-side out. Definitely leave a very large opening in the bottom of the bag if you use the Peltex.

In conclusion, I cannot recommend this pattern highly enough if you have a couple other bag projects under your belt. I’ll definitely be making more in the future as gifts. Thanks so much for letting me Purse-Palooze with you Sara!

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