This post is part of Craftsy Review Month on Sew Sweetness. To see a schedule of all posts, click here! This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Today’s post is from Christine of Stitch All the Things. Please check out Christine’s blog and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!
Hello, Sew Sweetness readers! I’m Christine and I’ve been a quilter for almost 5 years and a bag maker for about 2 years. I was thrilled when Sara asked if I would write a Craftsy review and I chose a class I had been wanting to watch since it’s release: Mix and Match Clutch Bag Techniques by Janelle MacKay. When I started bag making, I found Janelle’s website selling hardware, and most importantly, bag bling! I fell head over heels in love with her metal tags for bags and I use them on bags I make. Before this class I had not made a clutch bag, so I was excited to get all of the bag trim and hardware ordered from Emmaline Bags and get started.
Mix and Match Clutch Bag Techniques is about two hours and twenty minutes, broken into 7 lessons, each lesson being 14 to 22 minutes long. I usually have a lot of things I am getting done in the evenings, but the way the lessons were broken up I was able to watch the entire class over the course of two evenings while waiting for the hardware I ordered to arrive. One thing I noticed is that Janelle has a very kind tone and it never felt like she was talking above my level nor dumbing things down for me. She explains things fully, never assuming that the viewer already knows certain steps throughout the process of bag making.
Lesson 1 is over 14 minutes long and is the class introduction. She succinctly covers a lot of information so you’ll be able to make decisions about what kind of bag you want to make. She spends time explaining the many bag variations and options you have when creating your bag. She discusses fabric choices, flap designs, options for the front of the bag, closure styles, and strap types. Several different bags are shown to help you visualize all of the possibilities for different bag styles. Janelle encourages the viewer to try and use formal fabrics. She helps understand the types of formal fabrics to look for, as well as those to avoid. A great tip is given for how to cut those slippery fabrics. Janelle also covers the different interfacings to use for this bag and why specific types are preferred over others to help you create a beautiful bag.
Since I live in Lake Havasu City in Arizona, it’s safe to say that our town is very casual and I would not have a lot of use for evening bags. We even wear shorts and flip flops to church (I’m sure there was a collective gasp and a “noooo!” from the church-going readers). Yep, it’s true. It’s a vacation destination, and I don’t have an occasion for the fancier fabrics. I chose to make clutches that can be used during the day, and converted to a casual evening bag should I find an event that requires more than me sitting in front of the TV in my pj’s after 8:00 PM. For my first bag I chose to use a home decor canvas fabric in natural that had silver strands running throughout and I used Mirror Ball Dot in silver for the interior. For my second bag, I chose quilting cottons and used the glittery skull on black with a solid red interior.
Lesson 2 is just over 21 minutes, and in it Janelle teaches you how to create a slip pocket with credit card slots and a lipstick pocket. Her use of a pleat board template is genius. It made making my second bag so much quicker having the pleat board already made and ready to use. This was the first Craftsy class that I have watched while actually making a project, and I found that I really enjoyed being able to work along side Janelle, uh… the video, and being able to pause it while I finish a step and then continue on with the class.
Lesson 3 is about 20 minutes long and it is all about making the zippered pocket. If you haven’t made one before, do not worry! Janelle walks you right through it and makes it so easy. I conquered my fear of zippered pockets a while ago, but her method was different for me and is now my favorite way of inserting a zippered pocket into a bag.
Lesson 4 is almost 21 minutes and in this lesson you will prepare all of your pieces. You will finish the lining (including adding anchor straps and a magnetic snap). Janelle shared an amazing tip here to keep you from damaging your fabric when inserting a snap that I will always use from now on! You’ll sew the side pieces, and while they look like you’ll be sewing on a curve you are actually sewing straight lines. The end of this lesson shows you how to make the front pieced panel if you choose that option. She notes that she made that option specifically for quilters, because we like to piece. She wasn’t wrong; I chose that option for one of my bags!
Lesson 5 is making the bag body and it is about 19 minutes long. I learned a new technique on how to add a foam sew-in stabilizer without sewing it to attach it to the fabric piece. This is a fantastic method and one I will be using in the future. You will also add the lining to the bag body, do some top stitching here and add the side pieces.
Lesson 6 is almost 23 minutes and is all about bag hardware. My favorite part! Janelle shows you how to add the other half of the magnetic snap. I’d highly recommend paying attention to her advice about how to not poke a hole through your lining. Yeah… Moving on, the lesson also covers bag locks. If you haven’t inserted a bag lock before, Janelle takes the time to show you how to do so successfully. Metal edge trims are also covered in this lesson, as well as how to adjust your pattern if you buy metal trim that does not match up with the pattern piece.
Lesson 7 is about 22 minutes and is about putting the finishing touches on your bag. The different strap options are discussed, and I chose to make both the adjustable strap and the wrist strap. I also purchased a chain to bring either of my bags from day to evening. Janelle also shows you how to make a ruched front flap and gives you a great tip on how to turn the ruched front into any of the flap designs; rounded, pointed or even asymmetrical.
In conclusion, one of the things I enjoyed most about this Craftsy class were the funny little comments Janelle makes along the way. My favorite was when she was identifying which side of the magnetic snap (the male side) to use during one of the steps: “You can tell it’s the male because it has the sticky-outy part.” I burst into laughter at that, and felt like Janelle was actually in the room with me while I was sewing. Every lesson had a great tip to help you succeed in that particular step, and I will use many of them in future projects. If I had a question, I’d go to the question and answer section and find the question already asked by a viewer and answered by Janelle. The course materials are excellent, and I appreciate that they include a fabric cutting diagram. Craftsy classes are a great way to learn a new skill or complete a project, and I like that I am able to view them from my computer or my cell phone app any time I want… Forever! Thank you, Sara, for the opportunity to review such a great class!