A HUGE Thank You to Sara for putting on another FANTASTIC Annual Purse Palooza event, and especially for inviting MEEEE to participate!! I am so honored to be asked to participate this year, since I don’t yet have a blog to call my own, but Sara said she knew I was a Serious Bag Person!! She’s right!!
I’ve been sewing since about 2011, and became accidently obsessed with making bags (and totes, and wallets, and backpacks, and, and, and… you get the idea) at the beginning of 2013, when I made my first Amy Butler pattern (the Blossom Shoulder Bag). Need I say more!?
The pattern I’m reviewing today is the Megan Everyday Bag from Modkid, by Maria Prann (http://modkidboutique.com/Megan.html). This bag was a special request from my auntie, who picked the pattern, colors, and fabric for a completely personalized and one-of-a-kind purse.
The Megan measures 12” w x 10.5” h x 4” d when complete, and includes an interior zippered pocket that divides the inside into two separate areas. There are also two different sized slip pockets in the interior. And, if you’re the type who likes to modify patterns, this one has endless options!
Possible modifications that I noticed while making this bag:
- Adjustable strap length, for shoulder or cross-body options
- Purse feet
- Exterior zippered or slip pocket(s)
- Additional interior zippered or slip pocket(s)
- Flap security options: thumb catch, twist lock, or double snaps
- Last but not least, there are roughly one million ways to create a flap that is everything you’ve ever wanted! Ribbons, grommets, rivets, piping options, stabilizing/interfacing options, flap shapes, logos, photos, etc…
I chose to make the pattern (mostly) as written, and the end product is both sturdy and functional, and has enough detail, even without the extras listed above. This pattern is not available for instant download (what?), but I was still pleasantly surprised to receive my snail mail and find the instructions in a colorful and bound 10-page booklet, with plenty of photographs in the back section entitled “Inspiration Gallery”. (Actually, I referred to these photos quite a bit during construction, which helped me visualize and work through any tricky steps.) I’m slightly disappointed that I had to cut out my pattern pieces, even though I had to waaaait (exaggerate much?) for the printed pattern in the mail. I think the benefit of ordering a paper pattern should include pre-cut pattern pieces (and saving a ton of printer ink).
- Fabric #1 (exterior): 1/3 yard
- Fabric #2 (flap): 1/3 yard
- Fabric #3 (lining & pockets): 3/4 yard
- Fabric #4 (strap & ring loops): 1/6 linear yard (or 6” fabric)
- Fusible heavy-weight interfacing (i.e. 44” Pellon Décor Bond): 1 yard OR fusible woven interfacing (i.e. 22” Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex): 2-1/4 yards
- 44” Fleece: 1/2 yard
- 1 yard ready-made piping (or make your own with cording & fabric)
- 1 piece of plastic canvas: 4” x 12”
- 12” non-separating zipper
- magnetic snap
- 2 purse rings: 1.5” – 2” wide
The hardest part of this pattern was determining what interfacing to use in each piece, and deciphering the somewhat unclear cutting instructions. First of all, the pattern calls for EITHER:
- 1 yard of heavy-weight interfacing (think Pellon 71F), OR
- 2 ¼ yards of woven interfacing (think Pellson SF101)
In my world, those two interfacings have not ever been interchangeable, or yielded even close to the same results! Plus, when I see fleece listed on a pattern, I instantly modify to Soft & Stable, or equivalent. (I seriously love sew-in foam interfacing/stabilizer, and it’s been making more frequent appearances in my bags for the last 6 months or so!)
Bottom line: I ended up using my personal experience and knowledge in order to make decisions about types and placement of interfacing. Basically, the exterior is lined with Soft & Stable, the flap & strap are lined with fleece (which worked awesome for this particular context), the bottom is lined with both foam and 71F heavy-weight pellon, and every other piece (lining, ring loops, and pockets) are lined with SF101.
Although this pattern is not rated for difficulty, the interfacing AND cutting decision-making process that I went through lead me to label this pattern intermediate. I would not suggest a beginner use this pattern for their introduction to bag-making.
I wouldn’t change anything about the interfacing choices that I made, but I would make one change to the final product. The interior zippered divider pocket is … NOT LINED! Seriously? I must have been tired the night I was sewing, because I didn’t realize until I had made the ENTIRE pocket (embarrassing!) that it wasn’t lined and the seams were showing on the interior of the pocket!! Again… What?
Luckily, I had chosen SF101 for the interfacing in this pocket and in all reality actually looks like (is) white, woven fabric, so I decided to sew a line across the bottom to enclose the seams. Otherwise, I can imagine in a few months, the seams would be unraveling and leaving strings after regular use. Don’t forget to add a lining to your interior zip pocket when you make your Megan!
My favorite parts of the pattern were making and attaching the flap piping and adding the interior divider pocket (both new techniques for me). I didn’t want ready-made piping for this bag because the chosen fabrics already worked so well together, so I decided to make my own with the strap fabric.
I didn’t have enough fabric to cut a bias strip, so I just cut the recommended length on the grainline, and it worked great! I increased the cording to 3/8”, since 1/4” piping is near impossible to find, and I used my zipper foot to sew as close as possible to the cording. I imagine a cording foot would be a great tool here, but the zipper foot worked like a charm.
My buddy, Jack, sat in my lap to assist while I made the piping…
Or rather, he just sat in my lap. Frankly, he’s not a very useful assistant while I’m sewing…
One helpful tip that is not included in the pattern: make sure to snip the corners slightly when lining up the cording around the flap. Since the corners have sharp angles, this trick will help the piping to lay flat and will avoid warping your finished flap.
Other tidbits: The instructions suggest cutting and interfacing at each step along the way, but I prefer to cut everything, then fuse or baste all of the innards, and then sew the whole bag (kind of like saving the best for last). Also, I would suggest labeling your pieces with post-it notes after cutting – many of the pattern pieces are similar in size and shape.
I thought the divider pocket would be taut after sewn into the sides, however it is sewn in loosely. I now realize this serves the purpose of allowing the pocket to actually hold items (a pocket that can hold something – brilliant).
The pattern also calls for plastic canvas to firm up the bottom. However, a layer of foam with Pellon heavy-weight 71F, both of which I had in my stash, were perfect for the job.
Finally, I’d be lying if I said turning this bag out isn’t tricky. Because of that great divider pocket, you’re required to stuff the whole exterior (foam interfacing and all) into one side or the other in order to combine the exterior and interior pieces. Be steadfast – it will work out in the end! You gotta be tough to be a bag maker!
Thank you to Sara for hosting another great event, and thank YOU for reading! Who knew I had so much to say about one, single bag?! Maybe I should get a blog after all! Find more pictures of this bag (and others) at my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98217175@N05/sets.
Flying Sewlo by bb