Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Boronia Bowler Bag

I recently got the Boronia Bowler Bag Pattern from Blue Calla. As soon as it was released and I saw it I knew I would make several of them. This is a shoulder bag with zipper opening and very nice shape.

For my first one I used Ripple in Navy Canvas Fabric as the main fabric and a solid navy twill as accent. I love how sleek it looks. I used some bag bling from Emmaline Bags.

 The bag uses a long 2 head zipper that runs the perimeter of the bag on sides and top. When looking for several colored zippers for the bags I would make I didn't realize there are two different kinds of double head. One of them will have the heads together when the zipper is closed (this is the one needed) or have the heads one on each end when is closed (these are for jackets). I ended up buying the wrong ones. So I did like Tim Gunn says in Project Runway: "Make it work." I just took the heads off and reassembled them to what I needed and voila!! Lesson learned. I liked the zippers because they are made with plastic formed teeth.

When the bag is open you can easily see all your contents. It has some accordion style gussets inside so things don't spill out on the sides. There is a zipper pocket and a slip pocket inside.

I should mention that the pattern is made so that you use leather or faux leather for the bottom and straps so the pattern piece for the bottom doesn't include any seam allowance. Since I was using fabric I added the seam allowance and some facing pieces for a clean edge.

This bag doesn't take that much time to make but you do have to be very careful when installing the zipper closure on top. I just used lots of pins and clips. The bottom is squared off and it has some bag feet.

Here are another couple of bags I made with the pattern:

The bags are available at my shop:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Harriet Expandable Tote

I've been meaning to post about my most recent bags for a while now. Life gets on the way. On April 5 my father-in-law passed away. He had been in the hospital for some weeks including some time at the intensive care unit because a bacteria he had in his lungs. Back on 1997 he had an accident and ended up a paraplegic. He used a wheel chair since, but then on 2012 he became very ill and after some months in the hospital he could just lay down on bed. He was a very brave man. He will always offer you a smile and was in good spirits when you visited. Is not easy to live like he did and he did it with the right attitude and great faith. I'm very sure he's in a better place now but he will be missed. He will always live in our hearts as an example on how to be patient, courageous and live with faith in God.


I got the Harriet Expandable Tote Pattern from Swoon Patterns a while ago. I found it to be a very stylish Tote. Here is the first version I made:

I used a purple canvas print from Premier Prints that I been holding on for a while as the main fabric and a black wash denim from Robert Kaufman as the accent fabric. Isn't that a nice curvy shape?

This Tote has some zippers on the side that when opened expands the top of the tote. Otherwise the tote has nice curvy sides.

I modified the flap a bit making it a bit wider and the corners more rounded. As you can see I also used some bag bling from I used Pellon SF101 and Thermolam Fusible for all exterior pieces.

Instructions are very well written and easy to follow. The result is a very professional looking bag. The size is smaller than I thought. I thought it was a larger tote. Good size for me and for those who want to carry all essentials but not carry a huge bag. These are the measurements:
13" wide at bottom
10" high
bottom oval is 13" by 4-1/2"

Here are some top views:


There's a slip pocket and a zipper pocket. After I was done making the bag I got excited about it and made a second one.

Both bags are still available at my shop:

Soon I will share with you a couple more bags I made. I recently made an Instagram account: @normasbagboutique to promote my shop and share. Feel free to follow me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Nora Doctor Bag

Some time ago I bought The Nora Doctor Bag Pattern from Swoon Patterns. I fell in love with the fabric combination they used in the Smaller version of the pattern. So I got the same main fabric and made the medium version with it. The pattern has three size options: small handbag, large handbag and traveler

I just love the unusual combination of gray and brown. It looks so chic!

So this is a doctor style bag but without the metal frame. It closes with a small flap and a twist lock.
This past week I made a second one with a print from the new Denim Studio Collection from Art Gallery Fabrics.

The interior construction of this bag is very interesting. The combination of interfacings results in a sturdy and nice shape bag. Look at it. My peltex is not fusible so I held it in place with some SF101 scraps.

A look from the top:

This is how it looks open.

 Some bag feet for a professional look.

 Both bags are available at my shop:

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Fold Over Crossbody Tote

I've been seeing the folded bag (fold over) concept for a while now. Combine that with the beautiful oval frames use as handles (like in the February 2016 Bag of the Month from Mrs H and on Chloe's Court Clutch by ChrisWDesigns ) and this Tote came to mind.

 I got the oval handles and bag bling from

It can be used as a crossbody purse but also grabbed by the handles as a Tote. I wanted to use some accent fabrics for interest since the main body area is big. In order to keep the interest on the handles, the top edge shaping and the foldover I kept the construction simple. No pockets outside.

The bottom panel continues from front to back with no seam at the bottom.

The strap is adjustable and is connected to the bag with swivel clasps and D rings on the sides of the Tote. Those seams that hold the strap tabs were really secured. When making a big bag you have to think that it's going to get quite heavy so you should plan for it.

It closes with a recessed zipper on top.

Inside I added a zipper pocket. Maybe on the next one I'll add a slip pocket too with pen compartment since I see this Tote being used as a book back for college students.

I think it looks nice in either of the two ways of using it. I chose a strong gray fabric print from my stash (upholstery) and a thick black canvas. I interfaced with Pellon SF101 and added Peltex to the bottom and the handle section.

So, what do you think? What feature catches your eye first?

Until next time. Happy Sewing!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another Epiphany Bag

Since I made my first Epiphany Bag from Chris W Designs, I've been meaning to make more. I just love this design. So I actually have a list of fabrics I'll use to make others.

Here's my most recent one.

I used a dark brown Twill as accent and a jungle print fabric from JoAnn's.

I chose to use the solid accent fabric on the top and bottom pieces plus the straps and the print on sides and main front and back. This is the same combination I made on my previous Epiphany Bag.

I just love this design. The result is always very sturdy and the bag looks very professional. I used some bag feet, rivets and a bag bling from Emmaline Bags which reads "handcrafted".

For the interior I opted for a simpler construction of pockets. It has two slip pockets (one of them with a pen compartment) and a zippered pocket.

This bag is available at my shop here.
Another Epiphany Bag is on my list but it will be for me and not the shop. I'm sure I'll be very proud to show it off and say I did it!

A Blue Calla Convertible Backpack

Sharing Time!

I sometimes think I have just a couple followers and I should just quit blogging. I'm not a good blogger since I don't post that much. If you are still following please let me know by commenting.  But here I am again.

I got the new pattern from Blue Calla Patterns for a convertible backpack. If you want a copy go here.
When I saw the pattern design it reminded me of a bag my daughter have that uses a similar method for converting from shoulder bag to backpack. Converters always get my attention. This one has an asymmetrical shape. So here's my version.

Here's the front, were you see it as a shoulder bag:

This view let's you see the long zipper opening. The zipper covers the top and one side.

Here's the back. There are two 1" rectangle rings at the bottom and two 1-1/4" D rings on the top. You can also see the two sliders that make the straps adjustable. All this rings makes it possible for the bag to change from a shoulder bag to a backpack.

When you want to carry it as a backpack you can either just pick the straps between the top and bottom rings that are at the back of the bag or disconnect the clips on the front rings and connect  them on the top back rings. There's even a video to show you this. You can see it  here. I must say that if it works for someone to just pick it up differently (without unclipping) when you want to change from one mode to the other just do that and is easier. But you still have the option.

This last picture shows the bag with the main zipper opened. There's an internal gusset to hold your things inside when opening the zipper. This long zipper allows for a clear view inside.

I did make a change on the front pocket. The pattern has a zippered front pocket that opens top to bottom as you can see here on the pattern's feature picture.

I'm too practical and thought that kind of zipper installation will make things fall if left opened by accident. So I instead created a flap closing pocket that closes with a heavy duty snap. I matched the fabric so well that you can hardly see the pocket if it weren't for the flap.

For the bag I used a blue denim as contrast and for straps. The main print I had for a while and is from the "Fusions Ombre" Collection by Darcel Phillips for of Robert Kaufman. I got this fabric in different colors and still have some left for a future project. Inside it's lined with a solid gray cotton and it has a zipper pocket and a slip pocket with a pen compartment. The bag is available for purchase here.

I must say that the pattern is well explained (like all the other Blue Calla Patterns I have) for you to get a great result. The main zipper installation it's a bit tricky because it needs to be precise and there's always some fabric shifting and stretching. So you need to use lots of pins or clips. I did rip some seams and sew again. That was the only hard part for me. I will use the pattern again and I'm already thinking on another modification. I hope pattern designers don't mind me making modifications. But that's the nice thing about sewing bags, you can customize.

So, what are your thoughts on this design?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My New Design (Fourth)

The last time I wrote a post I told you I was working in a design and will show it to you soon. So here it is.

I sometimes come up with ideas of different combination of features and I just draw them in my notebook and make a list of features I want on it.

The original idea evolved. It was to be a square shape crossbody bag with zipper closure. I wanted it to have a flap pocket and a zipper pocket on top. Then I thought of having the zipper covered like welt pockets.The flap pocket will close either with a twist closure or thumb catch closure (see the smudge in my drawing). I wasn't sure if I wanted a gusset or just to square the corners at the bottom.  But right with that decision was the one about how to install the top zipper. Those two ideas go hand in hand.

While I was playing with these ideas the Margo bag by iThinkSew came out. You can see it here. So I took a short cut and used the main panel shape for my bag. The Margo has a seam right in the center front and I omitted it in order to have the two front pockets I wanted. I also used the gusset piece but I added width for a bigger bag.

There's also another difference. For my first version I used the same main zipper construction, using a zipper panel. But then it required the type of construction that needs some bias tape to cover the inside seams. So I knew I wanted to change that on my second version. Here's the first version.

 And here the installation of the top zipper panel. It came out terrible since there was a matching problem. I did not wanted to have those issues if I wanted to sew several of this bag. To date I haven't sewn the bias tape inside. Urgh! LOL.

So for my second bag I made a sunken zipper panel added to the top of the lining and used the exterior fabric for the top of the lining as facing. I should've made the same thing for the gusset. Oops!

I do like the second version bag. Plus I want to use solid color fabrics only for this design of bags. This one is a beautiful teal twill that was very difficult to picture and show it's true color. Believe me, the true color is impressive.

The truth is it turned out bigger than I originally wanted so I might make another version. I would do it a bit more square too and maybe without gusset.

Another thing I realized is I might have to name the design since this is the fourth I make. (See first one here and Second one here) For now I thought I would just call it the two pockets crossbody. But then the last one I designed, the third (see here) also has two pockets and is crossbody; but rounded and relaxed hobo like. That one I call the two pockets hobo. So maybe this one should be the structured zippered crossbody. Who knows!! Names.....names....? It was even hard to name my daughters so I'll not name them at all. After all I'm the only one using the designs. LOL

Here they are all together:

I'm sharing this post in Sew Can Do Craftastic Monday's Link Party here.

More of my bag sewing adventures soon.