Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review : Betz White Sidekick Sling Bag

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This post is part of Purse Palooza. For contest rules, full details, and schedule, please click here! Today’s post is from Bree of My Crafty Crap.

Hey there!  Bree here from My Crafty Crap, which unfortunately has been very quiet for a while now, but you can find me over on Instagram these days.

Today I’m sharing the Sidekick Sling Bag from Betz White.  The Sidekick Sling Bag is available as a printed pattern or pdf download, my favorite kind of pattern!  It’s so great not to have to wait for a paper pattern to be mailed to you.  Plus it’s nice to have the directions and new pattern pieces at your disposal at any time, just in case your pieces get worn out (or the baby spits up all over them…).  I like to print all my patterns & pieces & keep them in a three-ring binder so I can easily find what I’m looking for.

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The Sidekick Sling is listed as a pattern for a Confident Beginner: “You are familiar with your sewing machine and have taken a sewing class or have learned to sew from a book or video. You have successfully sewn a few small projects and are ready to learn more.”  I agree this is definitely a beginner project, but the shape & style of the bag are fun even for someone who is used to more complicated bags.  I actually had a hard time following through the instructions, not because they are difficult but because I’m used to making things my own way, so it was easy to get on auto-pilot & forget to check the instructions.  That being said, it’s still a great pattern to have for its fun & unique shape.

Sidekick Sling Bag

The pattern calls for 3/4 yard each of exterior and lining fabrics, 1 3/4 yard woven cotton interfacing, 1 3/4 yard 1″ cotton webbing (I used nylon), 2 curtain grommets, and a magnetic snap.  I actually happened to have the grommets already on hand from another project, but you can pick them up at JoAnn Fabrics, WalMart, Target, and maybe even stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

I used a decor weight fabric for the exterior and a solid quilting cotton for my lining.  Here’s a little tip for finding cheap decor weight fabric – clearance table cloths!

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I love Target clearance tablecloths for cheap (and cute!) home dec fabric!

 

I’ve made a few other projects from table cloths I’ve found for great deals, so I always make sure to check whenever I’m in Target.  The one I used for this bag (not the one shown above) was only $4.48 for a 60″x104″ table cloth.  That’s only about $1.55/yard for 60″ wide fabric!  Even the one above that was a little more expensive for a smaller table cloth was just over $6.00/yard for 50″ wide fabric, and it’s a little better quality than the cheaper one.  You just can’t beat that!
Sidekick Sling Bag
 The Sidekick Sling Bag pattern includes four pages of instructions and illustrations.  Personally, I prefer actual photographs, but the illustrations are helpful.  There is only one pattern piece included with the pattern (it is two pieces that must be taped together) for the top curve of the bag.  This piece is added to the top of a rectangle to make the full pattern piece.  All other cuts are rectangles for the pockets.  I traced the curved piece onto freezer paper with the rectangle measurements so I could have a full pattern piece.  I prefer to work with full pieces rather than just using measurements to cut directly from the fabric because I’ve had the bad luck of messing up the measurements once & didn’t realize it until I was trying to sew everything together.  Since then I have always made my own pattern pieces so I only have to measure once, and if it’s wrong, at least it’s consistent!
One thing I did not care for on this pattern is that Betz uses a 1/4″ seam allowance for the entire bag.  Personally I do not feel this is adequate for a bag, I worry about it not being strong enough once the bag is loaded up & the last thing I want is a seam ripping out while I’m carrying my bag.  Usually I just sew with a 3/8-1/2″ seam allowance no matter what the pattern is, but to get a smooth curve at the top of this bag where the front & back pieces match up, you must use a 1/4″ seam allowance at least at the very top.  Also, I prefer to make my linings with a slightly larger seam allowance (1/16-1/8″ larger than the exterior) so the lining sits snugly in the bag without being baggy.
I think my favorite parts of this bag are the curvy top & the way the strap attaches through the grommets.  The grommets are easy to install, but will differ depending on the style you get.  Make sure to hold on to the package instructions until you are ready to install them.  The pattern mentions using pins to hold the layers in place before cutting the hole, but I prefer to add a few stitches around the marked area.  This will hold the layers together while you are cutting, but will also keep things from getting too stretched & out of place when installing the grommet.
Adding a grommet
My other tip for installing the grommets – start small!  You can always cut your opening bigger, but you can’t go back & make the hole smaller.  I actually ended up sewing a new line & cutting a little outside the line of stitches above.  I don’t sew all the way around, just a few stitches (making sure to backstitch, you want these to hold!) every 1/8-1/4″ around the circle.  I would also recommend adding a bit of Fray Check around the hole, as well as on your cuts for the magnetic snap.
I did stray from the pattern in a few small ways.  The pattern calls for an exterior pocket on both sides, but I only added mine to one side.  I also sewed a line of stitching across the bottom of my pocket to keep things from falling all the way into the bottom of the bag.  I just pinned my pattern piece in place, then lifted up the top half of the pocket & sewed a line across about two inches up from the bottom.
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Then I decided I wanted to split the pocket in half so I would have two separate pockets on the front.  With the top part of the pocket still flipped up, I drew a line & stitched to split the pocket in half.  Normally I would just do this from the outside of the pocket, but decided I didn’t want to see the stitching from the outside.
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The other thing I did different was my interior pocket.  Instead of the slip pocket, I added a pocket between the exterior & lining layers.  I like this type of pocket because it can hold more than the standard slip pocket, is a bit more secure, and doesn’t take away from the space inside the bag.  Most times I would use a zipper pocket, but I felt like keeping it simple with this bag & used a fun, curved opening.  I love this type of pocket opening because it’s easy to reach into & allows for a glimpse of the pocket material.
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The pocket looks a little wonky in the corners, but gets stretched back out when you sew the lining pieces together.

Sidekick Sling Bag

Here you can also tell that my outer pocket is split in half.
Overall, I really enjoyed this pattern.  It’s a smallish bag that is perfect when I’m running out on my own without the kids & just need a few things with me.  It perfectly hold my Necessary Clutch Wallet, phone, sunglasses, & keys with room left over.

Sidekick Sling Bag

Thanks again to Sara for having me today!

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