It came with super easy to make, pattern free instructions, as it all comes out of a few simple rectangles. It looks super cool as it features proper leather straps. This particular kit is the first one I bought from U-handbag that includes the fabric. The outer fabric anyway, I just love the illustrations of the fox and the woodland motifs. And it is a lovely heavy weight lineny fabric. I had to find my own lining fabric and I had in my head the exact green fabric I wanted to use which I knew I had some left over from a previous project. It took a bit of head scratching to work out how to cut it out as there was barely enough left but with some imaginative angles for cutting the rectangles it worked – just. And I am really pleased because it is the perfect shade of green to go with the pattern on the outside.
I love the pleats and I love the shape of the bag. I like a ‘bung it all in and rummage around in there to find stuff later’ kind of bag. I was considering adding some pockets and a magnetic snap closure but it doesn’t really need the closure as it stays shut pretty well on its own, and pockets may be challenging due to the shape.
The one thing that makes me sad about this bag is that you have to sew on the handles by hand with embroidery thread which is very hard to do and painful on the fingers and although it looks good on the outside it looks rubbish on the inside.
This could of course just be due to my inept hand sewing skills, but I think the next one of these I make I might try sewing on the handles before I put the bag together as then I can lose the inside stitching inbetween the exterior and interior layers. Or I might try machine sewing it on with normal thread.
I already have plans to make this bag again for my college course. I don’t have much time now between now and the course starting but I am going to need some cool bags to lug my sketch pads and lunch and stuff in and out. I have some very cute dog and bone fabric that I’d like to try out and I might try making the rectangle a bit larger so I can fit in an A4 pad.
I also have plans to make myself a big roomy pockety messenger bag for the course, but this might take a little longer… I have the fabric on order though and am determined to keep my eye in with a little sewing over the coming months either at weekends or in the evenings. Hopefully I won’t be too shattered!
Next up is my little Elephant bag. This was another kit from U-handbag but without the fabric this time. Construction-wise this went together really well, the instructions were a little hard to follow in places but it worked out really well in the end.
There were SO many pieces to cut out for this one… the cutting phase alone took about an hour and there were a few fabric casualties along the way as I misunderstood some of the instructions! I think it must have been an early pattern from Lisa as well as the way it prints out is really hard to keep track of too – it doesn’t quite go together like a book and it doesn’t just read in order either…
I love all the pockets:
And the contrast red elephant fabric in the pleats at the front.
And I love the big long zip close at the top with the tabs on the ends.
My only gripe with this bag. Is my fabric choice. I thought this blue elephant fabric would work really well with the red one, and it was a nice thick weighty fabric, but now the bag is made, and standing back to look at it, I don’t really like the effect, the elephant fabric is a bit too busy. I wish I had used something more plain on the outside and saved the jazzy fabric for the inside.
I find choosing fabric the hardest part of bag making, a good or bad fabric can really make or break a bag.
And talking of fabric… let me introduce you to my favourite fabric… I ordered this lovely Japanese print from an online shop months ago as I just loved it. But they emailed me to say they only had a tiny scrap left. Less than half a metre I think. I said to send me what you have, but it has sat in my stash for a while with me not knowing quite what to do with such a small amount.
Then I came across this kit from U-handbag to make a cute little clutch and I found a really nice contrasting mustard yellow fabric for the lining that went really well with the yellow on the outside and so set about making this lovely versatile clutch.
What I love about this bag is that it folds over small to be a handy little clutch but then you can move where you clip on the strap and make it into a much bigger handbag for those nights out when you end up accumulating more stuff than you set out with, birthdays, leaving do’s, christmas and the like!
What I don’t love about this bag is that I thought I would be clever and add in some gold ribbon to the join to jazz it up a bit. In the pattern they suggest using three different fabrics, one for the top half, one for the bottom and one for the lining. I decided to use the same fabric for the whole outside (as I love it so much) but thought the gold line of ribbon would break it up a bit and make good use of the seam that I had to put in. Sadly my execution of this was not great and the ribbon sticks out much further than I would have liked on one side. I was tempted to cut it off completely. (I leave this decision now to the bag’s new owner – I won’t be offended at all if you don’t like the gold ribbon and want to cut it off!)
The other thing I do not like is the handsewing again! You have to hand sew on the frame with embroidery thread and it is really tricky – especially as I realised too late that when following the pattern you need to be religious about things like seam allowances to get an exact fit. Mine was a tinsy bit on the small side for the frame and so I had to really wrestle with it to get it to reach the frame all the way around. And so in consequence you can really see the stitches on the inside too.
If I make this clutch again I would be more careful with my measuring and err on the side of being too big rather than too small. I’m always a bit devil-may-care with my measuring and cutting and seam allowancing, this is why I love making bags rather than clothing as it is much more forgiving, but note to self – when dealing with a frame, you need to be much more accurate!
I was really delighted with the strap though, I got my topstitching right on the edge and it turned out really need and professional!
I know I am really bombarding you with blog posts this week! I’m sorry about that – don’t worry things will calm down a bit more now, I just have so much to tell you and will have so little time from next week.
I think I will aim to write up the last few posts about what I got up to in December and then post them throughout the rest of the month so you don’t miss me too much! 😉
It’s like feast or famine at the moment isn’t it!
Best wishes to all. And thank you for reading. I always like reading your comments and thoughts – so please do post a comment and let me know what you think, or tell me a joke or just say hello! It’s always nice to hear from you guys. 🙂