Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review: Left Bank Granny Bag

This post is part of Purse Palooza 2012.
For full schedule of guest post pattern reviews and prizes, click here!

Michelle from I Like Orange has had some technical difficulties with her blog, but it should be back online again soon! For now, please check out her Paisley Pear Patterns shop on Etsy to find her immensely popular bag pdf patterns!

Hello there!  I’m Michelle from I like Orange (blog currently down) and Paisley Pear Patterns.   I’m a huge fan of bag-making and am very excited that Sara invited me to participate with all of these awesome bag makers!

Today I’ll be reviewing the Left Bank Granny Bag from the book, Carry Me: 20 Boutique Bags to Sew, by Yuka Koshizen.  Before I begin about my bag, I thought I would mention that this book is very well composed.   The illustrations are of a typical Japanese craft book style, but all the directions and notations are in English.  The projects range from simple drawstring and bread bags to more complex luggage pieces.  The bag I chose is somewhere in between and perfect for just about anything!

Required Materials:

You will need 2 cuts of fabric, roughly 1.25 yards each.
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Typical sewing notions.

My Actual Materials:

Exterior – Kokka, Luluca floral in black. (light linen blend)
Interior – Anna Maria Horner, Garden Party, Polka Line, Raspberry
Pellon SF-101 ShapeFlex, fusible woven interfacing

Pattern Pieces:
Some of the patterns in this book are included as full size sheets.  However, this bag does not require any actual pattern pieces.  Everything is cut with your rotary cutter or scissors.

Illustrations/Instructions (were the instructions easy to understand? Were there step-by-step photos or graphics? Was anything unclear?)
The instructions for the book are very simply written (6 steps written in the book) and are probably geared toward sewers that have made bags and are familiar with their construction.  There are also 6 detailed diagrams that correspond with the directions.  Think IKEA directions for this; they’re simple and to the point.  They’re actually my favorite type of directions because I’m not that good at just reading verbiage and translating it to fabric.   There are no actual photos except for the photo of the finished project.
The only part that seemed unclear to me was making the pin-tucks/pleats at the top of the bag.  There are no instructions or measurements for it.  You simply have to know how to do them on your own, and make 23” of fabric fit into an 11” space.  No biggie!  I figured out (using my highly unscientific math skills) that 8 pleats folded using 1.5” each worked nearly perfect.  There was some finagling, but I made it happen!

I didn’t make any modifications, but I can suggest a few:
Use fusible fleece or a mid-weight/thicker interfacing for the top band above the pleats.   My fabric was a very light-weight linen blend paired with quilting cotton and it turned out a little wimpy on the top band.  It looks alright, I just expected that part to have a little more structure.
Use a non-directional printed fabric. The Kokka Luluca print worked perfect because it has no definite direction.  The bag has no bottom seam, so if you use a direction print, you will need to modify the cuts of fabric and add a bottom seam.  This is so your fabric will face correctly on both sides of the bag.
Also, I did not add the zippered pocket to the interior, simply because I didn’t feel I needed it for this bag.  However, the directions and construction for the patch-on zippered pocket are the easiest I’ve read and I’ll probably use them for another project.

Difficulty Level:
I would rate this bag as a low intermediate.  If you’re comfortable with making pleats and topstitching you can make this.  The construction itself is VERY simple; it’s just that top pleated portion that is tricky – but very doable!

I highly recommend this bag (and book).  It’s large enough for the beach, but also a good size for everyday use.  It’s really easy and quick to make, too!  Hello?  6 whole steps!

Minus the math for the pleats, I busted this out in about 2 hours with cutting.

Thanks again Sara for having me here today!

Share this post

10 replies on “Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review: Left Bank Granny Bag

  • Pam

    The fabric combination makes this bag sing, I have never made a bag from a pattern, I tend to draw what I want and then try to replicate it with fabric, mostly it works. however I feel that it is time to get brave and buy some patterns, I am so impressed by the wonderful bags and purses I see in blogland.

  • elnorac

    Thanks for the lovely, lovely review! Very helpful, and it’s so great that you pointed out how few steps there are to this bag and how short a time it took to make. Your bag looks awesome!

  • Ramona

    I’m excited to see this book reviewed. I bought it a few years ago and think it is awesome. Some great bags in it. I also made the Left Bank Granny bag and have really enjoyed it. I totally agree with your review…particularly on the interfacing. I’ve decided I will add more stabilizer to the main purse pieces as well as the band. I definitely want more body in the next version…which is coming soon. Bought fabric today to make this purse for my daughter.

    Love the fabric you chose.

  • mara

    Thank you so much for your review. I bought this book solely because I loved this bag and am excited to make it. I was a bit intimidated by the instructions because, although I am not a novice sewer, this seemed a bit out of my league. But a few tips you gave just cleared away my doubts and I will definitely make it this week, as soon as I buy my inner fabric (have the outer one all ready!!) Thanks again.


Comments make my day and I love to reply!