Hi everyone! It’s so great to be back again as a participant in Purse Palooza. I have been a long time pattern tester for Sara and am so honored she has asked me to join again this year!
For my review this year I wanted to try a pattern and designer I have never worked with before. This lead me to Alicia, creator of Swoon Patterns. After a few days of going through her huge selection of patterns I chose Donna, which is part of her Vintage Handbag Pattern Collection.
Inspired by the 1960’s era, Donna is a petite purse, finishing in at 7” tall, 11” wide, 5” deep. The handles have been designed to hold by hand or the crook of your elbow. Don’t let the small size of this bag fool you though. Donna can store a ton of stuff, trust me! The wide gusset and zippered opening create plenty of space for all your essentials.
For my Donna, I used Koko Lee’s (JoAnn’s) Flower Garden On Blue for the exterior, and Blocked Shapes for the interior and handles. Here is the rest of the materials you will need to complete a Donna:
- 2/3 yard 44” wide exterior fabric, quilting weight
- 1 yard 44” wide lining fabric, quilting weight
- 2 1/2 yards 4/32” cotton cording (or premade piping)
- 1/2 yard 58” wide foam interfacing (Soft & Stable, or 1 yard Pellon FF77)
- 1 1/2 yards fusible woven interfacing (Pellon Shape-flex SF101)
- 14” handbag zipper (Main Compartment)
- 6” all-purpose zipper (Zippered Pocket)
- Four 3/4” rectangle rings or 1” o-rings
Alicia includes directions on how to make your own bias tape for the piping in the pattern (which I did), but you can use premade if you want as well.
Donna is rated a 3 out of 4 in difficulty. If you have sewn a few bags, this may be easier for you. But with the piping and zipper installation, newer sewist may need assistance.
I strongly suggest the use of a piping foot and walking foot in this pattern. The piping foot will help the 4/32″ cotton cording attach smoothly while the walking foot will help sew through the layers of fabric, foam and interfacing. Also, I always baste the foam interfacing to the exterior pieces to keep things from sliding around as I sew. Something I also did was to make sure all curves were given slight clips to allow some give. (Directions in the pattern)
Alicia does a great job describing sewing steps by using both precise wording and unique computer created illustrations. She has a color code at the beginning of the pattern that assigns a color for the exterior fabric, interior fabric and wrong side of a fabric. I really enjoyed seeing this and it was helpful as I went through each step.
One of my favorite parts of the Donna is the zipper. If you take a look at my photos you’ll notice that the zipper is hidden when closed! This was the first time I had created a closure like this, and it won’t be my last. I love how it turned out and really think it gives Donna a polished look.
Interested in more Donna info? Alicia’s site has a completed Sew-Along series on the Donna if you own the pattern and need some more visuals to help as you sew. She also has an amazing Facebook page with a large following of very skilled and kind sewists that can help as well. Happy Swooning!