Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review – Swoon Betty Bowler


This post is part of Purse Palooza 2014. For contest rules, full details, and schedule, please click here! Today’s post is from Cyndi of The Nosy Pepper.
I’m super excited to be a part of Purse Palooza this year and I’ve picked the Betty Bowler by Swoon Patterns to review. This pattern has been on my to do list for quite a while and is my first Swoon Bag. I absolutely love the look of Alicia’s patterns but the Betty Bowler has stolen my heart!


The Betty Bowler is designed to be a small overnight bag or carry on. At 16″ W x 11″ H x 6.5″ D it’s a generously sized bag but not so ginormous that you couldn’t carry it as an every day bag (if you love over sized bags as much as me). This would also make a fab diaper bag, as adding additional pockets would be easy peasy on this bag.


I loved this bag but, I don’t think this is for a beginner bag maker. It’s listed as a difficultly rating of 3/4 on Swoon Patterns and I think that rating is spot on. I don’t feel that any step was particularly difficult at all, but the directions do assume that you are familiar with such techniques as zippers and piping. . That’s not to say there isn’t some explanation, but if you have never done it, you may struggle and need more pictures to help you along the way. With that said, Alicia’s technique of adding a recessed zip top is freaking GENIUS! I’ve never done it the way she instructed but OMG was it a dream!
The materials list calls for:

  • 1 yard 44” wide exterior fabric
  • ½ yard 44” wide contrasting
  • 1½ yards 44” wide lining fabric
  • 3½ yards 5/32” cotton cording
    (or premade piping)
  • 1 yard fusible fleece (i.e. Pellon
  • 4 yards stiff interfacing
    (Pellon Craft-fuse 808)
  • ½ yard fusible stabilizer
    (Pellon Peltex 71f)
  • 6” zipper (zippered pocket)
  • 22” zipper (main compartment)
  • Four 1” metal loops (optional)
  • Coordinating thread

The pattern calls for fusible fleece and craft fuse, but those aren’t my favorites to work with so I opted for By Annie’s Soft and Stable and Shapeflex and was happy with the results. The bag is nice and structured and it wasn’t too bulky in the seams. The Soft and Stable also made it stiff enough I was able to forgo the Peltex for the bottom.


I also skipped the contrast pieces, only because I absolutely adore this print and I wanted to see as much of it as possible! The pattern has a cutting layout, if you like to see how to layout your pieces, but by cutting mine without using the layout, I was able to save a significant amount of fabric and used less than 3/4 of the exterior print.


The interior has a LARGE slip pocket that is the entire width of the bag, that I ended up adding a snap to so it’s more secured, you could also divide it up as well with a line or two of stitching.

Overall this was a fun bag to make, and if you are comfortable making bags I’d highly recommend this pattern! Those who are still getting their feet wet or who are very visual learners, who rely a lot on photos may struggle a bit with this one but it’s totally doable! I was absolutely giddy about how well the pieces lined up, as I find that rounded bags usually give me more grief distributing the fabric in the curves but this lined up like magic!

The only thing I’d change the next time I make one is the handle length, other than that I heart this bag!! I can’t wait to make another! Thanks Sara for putting together another year of Purse Palooza, this is like Christmas for us bag lovers!


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