So, I absolutely love this pattern. I really, really do. It cuts out (relatively) quickly, and goes together pretty quickly once you get sewing. It isn’t overly complicated, and Erin’s patterns are always so detailed that a beginner could make this bag (assuming that beginner goes slowly & reads directions carefully), although its probably not the best purse to start with if you’re a purse making “virgin” because there are a few tricky steps.
So why do I love this bag so much? Because at 11.5” wide x 3.75” deep x 7” tall, its just the right size for my “go everywhere” bag. I’m a PhD student and undergraduate statistics instructor by day, and sewer by night (come visit me at AuntieMatterShop.Etsy.com), so I always carry a backpack at work with my laptop, textbooks, papers to grade etc. But my Date Night purse holds all the rest of the essentials—glasses, contacts, wallet, makeup, ibuprofen, 2 sets of keys, and an assortment of pens and pencils. What I’m trying to say is, that I’ve never wished it was bigger. I always manage to fit everything I need in it.
I love that the top zips shut to keep everything secure inside. And the strap is exactly the right length—I can put it on my shoulder, but it doesn’t hit the ground if I’m holding it in one hand.
So, the pattern? Great. “Excessively detailed” as Erin says. Lots and lots of pictures showing each step in detail, along with Erin’s suggestions on how to master more difficult steps and tips on trouble-shooting common problems (like puckering around curves). If you’re newer to sewing purses, DUMD patterns are great to start with because the steps tell you to do all the little things that a more experienced purse-sewer knows, like trimming batting out of the seams to reduce bulk.
- Main fabric: 2/3 yard
- Lining fabric: 2/3 yard
- Woven fusible interfacing: 3 yards (I used Pellon SF-101)
- Foam batting alternative: 18” x 36” package (I used Bosal In-R-Form)
- 14” or longer nylon zipper – This pattern is written using a YKK 1.25” wide, long pull purse zipper, and I STRONGLY recommend using a 1.25” wide zipper. I’ve made at least 6 of these bags, and I can’t imagine using a standard 1” wide zipper.
- 90/14 Microtex/Sharp or Topstitch, or 100/16 Denim needles (I actually used a 70/10 Microtex and it was just fine)
- Marking tool such as chalk or an air erasable marker
- Hand sewing needle
- Point turner
- Pins or binding clips (I think binding clips are almost a necessity for this pattern. In a pinch I’ve used paperclips or those actual binder clips.)
- Rotary mat & cutter
- Fray block or fray check (I actually don’t know why this is listed in the materials, its never mentioned in the pattern—I just double-checked—and I’ve never used it for this pattern)
So, onto the nuts and bolts of making the bag. As far as supplies go, have some extra interfacing on hand to block interface the pieces. The curves really need to be precise for the bag to come out just right, and the block interfacing helps with that. This does mean that you use a little more interfacing, but the end result is really worth it.
If you follow the instructions carefully, and read through the pattern ahead of time, you should be fine. The only step I find a little tedious is hand-basting the zipper to the top, but I tried skipping that step, and I ended up pulling out my machine basting stitches, and going back to hand-baste it. So, learn from my mistake, and just take the extra 5 minutes to hand-baste the zipper. Also—don’t pin it before you baste it, I found that my zipper curves better when I don’t. I guess I warped/stretched it by trying to pin it to the curve.
The only other tricky step is at the end when you’re finishing the bag. You have to line up the zipper, the lining, the bag exterior and the strap. In addition to it being a little bulky to sew through, it can be challenging to get the interior and exterior seams to line up just right. Go slowly, clip and pin it as securely as possible, and you should be ok. Erin has a lot of pictures of this step, which is extremely helpful.
I made a few minor modifications to the pattern based on my own personal preferences:
I really like the look of piping on the exterior pocket; I think it’s a nice finishing touch. If you want to add piping, you only need maybe an 8-10” scrap. I used some I had leftover from something else.
I added an extra zippered pocket on the inside. I put it on the same side of the bag as the front exterior pocket, and the patch pocket on the opposite side.
So, that’s the Date Night Purse! I love it; it’s a well-written, very detailed pattern, and it’s the perfect size for a bag to take everywhere.