Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review : Michelle Patterns Messenger Bag


This post is part of Purse Palooza. For contest rules, full details, and schedule, please click here! Today’s post is from Sonia of Fabric & Flowers.

Hi everyone! I’m Sonia and I blog over at Fabric & Flowers.  Like many others, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sara for including me in Purse Palooza, it’s lots of fun seeing so many different bags, although it’s not exactly helping my to-do list!!!! So, shall I try and add to your list?!

I’ve been hankering after a new bag for a little while now…..the Small’s have gotten big enough that I’m quite often chasing after them whilst needing to stash sweets, superheros, cars and hair clips! I started thinking that a cross-body bag would be perfect and when I came across Michelle Patterns Messenger Bag pattern I was smitten – it looks super sylish with the buckle, has useful pockets, is roomy and having made the dumpling pouch I felt confident that the pattern would be well written and easy to follow.

The bag is a good size coming in around 11″w x 10″ h x 3″d (28 x 26 x 8cm) and you can also purchase an add-on pattern for two smaller sizes if you wish to make a whole wardrobe of bags for different occasions!

The pattern is sent through as a PDF which gives the option of just printing out the pattern pieces and reading the instructions on a computer/tablet, which I always like. The materials are clearly noted both on Michelle’s website and in the pattern. To make this bag you will need;

  • 1 yard 42″ exterior fabric
  • 2/3 yard 42″ lining fabric
  • 2 yards 20″ woven fusible interfacing
  • 1/2 yard 42″ fusible fleece
  • 1.5″ cinch buckle
  • 1.5″ slide
  • 1.5″ rectangle ring

The only bit of hardware I struggled to find was the buckle – cinch buckles don’t seem to be readily available in the UK (if you know of any suppliers, please let me know!) although they can be ordered through Michelle’s Etsy shop. I eventually managed to find one here – if you do use one different to what’s recommended then do compare finished buckle height against the pattern as you may need to alter the length of the straps.

Michelle states that the bag can be made up in three hours. I’m not the quickest sewer, but I can see that this could be possible – the bag is straight forward to piece together and probably the longest part is cutting out the bag pieces and ironing on the interfacing/fusible fleece. This bag took me longer, but that is mostly because I (foolishly!) chose a fabric that required lots of pattern matching!!! Having said that, even with fussy cutting I still managed to cut the bag out of 1 yard of fabric which was a bonus!

One of the features that I loved most about this bag is the front panel – five pieces of fabric are used to create a slip pocket, with a top band to finish it off. It provides a great feature (as well as being practical!) and looks really professional when it’s done. The outer and the lining are both constructed in the same way, the only difference being that you add buckles to the exterior. There is also an option on whether or not to add a quilted base to the bag which I did as I think it helps the bag structure.

Michelle has written the pattern in a clear way with lots of pictures for any sections which might seem tricky eg. making the strap and attaching the hardware and I would say that it could be made by sewers of any levels.

This bag was made as per the pattern and I really do love it! When I make this bag again there are a few little changes that I would like to try out: firstly, I will attach the bottom buckle strap to the exterior panel. At the moment it is only secured within the bottom seam of the bag so when the buckle is undone it flaps around so I think by stitching it to the exterior panel along the side stitching it will hold it securely in place without ruining the look of the bag; the main shoulder strap is very generous at 61″ which means there’s quite a lot of overlap for me, so I might look to shorten it by a few inches next time; and finally the other thing that I would add is a zipped pocket on the back of the bag because I can never have too many pockets!!!

I can see myself making more of these, probably in different sizes – I think the pattern lends itself to lots of fun personalisation: feature fabric on the front; piping between the segments;  accent stitching; playing with different closures…….these are just some of my thoughts. So much fun to be had!

I hope you’ve found my review helpful and have fun working on your next bag. Thanks for having me Sara!

Happy stitching!

Sonia x

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