I need to make two bags for the local show in May, when I was looking round for inspiration and ideas I found this Butterick pattern (5006) on Minerva‘s website, even better they had a big sale on! I thought it looked pretty roomy, I liked all the pockets (nine altogether!) and I also liked the accessories that went with it, I’m hoping to make a couple of them in time for the show.
I decided to use the range of cotton sateen that I used for the backing on my friends Moorland quilt, it’s slightly heavier than quilting cotton and I think it looks pretty and ‘spring-y’. I bought the pattern with just trees and flowers on for the main bag and a geometric pattern for the lining at B&M Fabrics in Leeds. I decided it needed a darker fabric for the base for practical reasons and I found this quilting cotton at Samuel Taylors.
I wanted the bag to stand up on it’s own, I found a roll of very stiff interfacing whilst I was moving sewing rooms. I cut it out so the seams weren’t interfaced but I must admit it is so stiff it did make life a little difficult…
The pattern also called for iron-on fleece, I did have a momentary panic as I haven’t any, until I realized I have lots of batting and a can of spray basting…who needs iron-on!!
Being a Butterick Pattern the instructions were straight forward, there’s just rather a lot of rectangular pieces, so I did have to be pretty methodical so as not to mix things up! I fussy-cut the pockets so a tree appears in the centre of the middle pocket. The bag was made using a different method to what I’m used to, so it was nice to learn a different way. I was trying to work out why the bottom wasn’t interfaced, it’s because the front and back together form the base and the bottom fabric is effectively laid over it.The side panels were a bit fiddly, not helped by the stiff interfacing! I had to make sure the pockets and the bottom pieces were all lined up as well as negotiating the corners and making sure the pocket pleats didn’t get in the way.
I used a medium weight interfacing for the handles and also put a strip of batting down the middle to soften the hold. I cut the handles a bit wider as I prefer to fold the fabric in half and then fold the edges into the crease, so it’s four fabrics thick. I think it gives a neater finish. The tab was meant to have velcro on it but I’ve never managed to get a neat finish with velcro so I used a magnetic catch, they’re so easy to fit too.
My biggest problems came when it was time to do the lining. The instructions called for the lining to be stitched in with a gap left for turning…I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to get that bag turned through any hole I could leave in the side seam. I stitched the facing in whilst I thought about it…for a long time!!! In the end I left one side open and stitched the lining in effectively through the side seam, it was fiddly but doable. I then just hand-stitched the side seam.
I’m really pleased with my bag, I have to confess to major doubts half way through that it would come out good enough to enter a show, but I’m happy with it now. It’s bigger than I imagined but it will come in useful for my ripple blanket as it gets harder to carry around the bigger it gets!