ere is my first bag designed and sewn totally by ME! I failed miserably a long time ago at the Buttercup bag and since then, have successfully sewn the Birdie Sling, the Cosmo and the Bias Tape bag, but no other bags and I've never tried designing a pattern. There's obvious inspiration from Amy Butler and other sources, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere.
My brand name is MollyBlossom and you can read my first post about it here. It was originally intended for clothing, but you never know when doors will open.
A shop owner in the area said she loved the Cosmo I made and wanted to sell them. I wasn't totally comfortable selling the Cosmo since Amy Butler requests you not use her patterns for commercial use. I wrestled with that moral issue for a bit and then decided, with some encouragement from friends, to just try and see if I could make a similar bag, but different enough to call my own (and with not as many freakin' pattern pieces to cut out!!!)
So I introduce to you my Molly Bag. Half as many pattern pieces and just as much style... hopefully. See what you think.
She can stand up on her own.
There's plenty of room inside and a few pockets too.
It's Cosmo-ish (Style Stitches) in shape with gussets and pockets from the Birdie Sling, a ruffle reminiscent of the Maven (Style Stitches) and handles I saw when browsing the web.
I just hope the store owner that I want to sell them to likes her as much as I do.
n my laptop I have a TON of bookmarks for crafty things and one of them is entitled "Inspiration." It's stuff that I might want to go look at again later to get ideas for things to make. There are lots of tabs in there that will take you to the Anthro website (imagine that), but my most recent addition was a link to Magpie Lovely, a clothing and accessory store that could send my copy-cat creativity into a frenzy if I didn't limit my time there. It's the kind of place where I love so many of the things they have, but I wouldn't feel right buying them because they are the kinds of things I just KNOW I could figure out how to make myself!
Sometimes, if you don't have the time or just plain can't quite figure out how to make something and you love it enough, then it's ok to buy it, but I'm not ready to do that yet.
I haven't gotten around to fiddling with any ideas yet because I'm in the middle of trying out bag design. I'll certainly post when my first mock-up original MollyBlossom bag is completed! (yep, I'm selling bags under the MollyBlossom name instead of children's clothing. Who knew?)
ver since I held my first Matilda Jane trunk show last season and got to try on the Big Brown Ruffles, brown knit capri-length ruffle pants for ladies, I have wanted a pair. MJ is not typically in my budget, but I've been saving my Christmas money so that, if, perchance, there is a pair of ruffle pants I want for myself in the spring line (dropping Feb. 1st) I will be able to get them.
I have toyed with the idea, off and on, of trying to make my own, but there is no really quality knit in town for me to get and, besides, the quality stuff is $15 a yard and it would take at least two and a half yards to make pants. Then there's the risk of not being able to make them look right and wasting that $40 or so. I can buy them from MJ for about $60, so I just decided to hope for something for spring.
Last night, as I was reorganizing my pants drawer, I discovered, in the very bottom, a pair of super wide leg knit pants from Deliah's. I never really wear them much because their voluminous nature doesn't really suit my thick thighs and short legs. In that moment last night, I realized that I could try out some knit ruffles for me without much risk.
Here they are!
Now I think I have a pretty good pattern to use for other pairs if I ever want to invest in the knit to make them. It only took a couple steps to make these, since I was just altering some pants I already had. I cut off the bottom eight inches from each leg, narrowed the legs to go straight down from the hip and then reattached the bottom part I cut off as the ruffles.
I'm very pleased with the results!
Here is the finished bag! Hooray! Here's some pictures and my assessment/review of my own bag as well as a review of the pattern and instructions.
I didn't bother with the side pockets because I really didn't know what I would use them for. I can see, though, how they might stiffen up the side panels and help the bag keep it's shape.
Here's one inside pocket and a key loop I added (because there's no way I'll ever be able to find keys again if I throw them into this monster bag.)
I did a different fabric for each side pocket because I couldn't limit myself to just a couple fabric choices. I spent Christmas money on this bag and I was determined to pack it full of designer goodness. I think it was a great idea, but to make the prints more enjoyable to look at and less overwhelming, I wish I had picked a smaller-scale, more repetitive pattern for the inside and something solid or that gave the impression of a solid for the handles.
The yellow I had originally picked for the handles kept calling to me from my scrap bag, so I pulled it out and used it for the key loop and as a couple of pieces in a patchwork panel for the inside bottom of the bag. I don't know if I'll ever see the bottom of the bag again after stuff get's in it, but it was a fun mini-quilt project and made me feel like the yellow wasn't a total loss.
I chose not to do the fabric covered button, because I don't know where they carry the kits. I like this choice instead of a big colored button that I would usually gravitate toward. I thought the wood would ground everything a little bit.
Now for my beginners opinion on the pattern itself.
Difficulty level according to Amy: Easy
I totally disagree. I have only been sewing about a year. I have made basic kids clothes; peasant dresses, ruffle pants, knot dresses and a few slightly more advanced patterns (not that they are advanced, but just more so than a ruffle pant) like Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress and Sew Sensible Sunday Dress. My first bag was Amy's Birdie Sling Bag and I thought I would be traumatized for life from all the curves and feeling like I was sewing blind at the end when sewing the inside and outside together. It was the first time I had done a lot of the sewing needed to create that bag.
When I started looking forward to making the Cosmo Bag, I was prepared for another challenge. But then I began reading reviews and seeing pictures of other people's bags and seeing folks that had completed one say that it came together easily or was a breeze... then I got excited. I built up this picture in my mind of how easy it would be compared to the Birdie Sling. Not so much.
As far as fabric yardage. I needed a yard for the exterior, half a yard (with creative cutting) for the handles, a yard for the interior and 3/4 of a yard for the pockets.
I paid no attention to the instructions for folding the fabric. You might want to, but I wanted my pattern to fall in very specific places on the front and back. The side panels were just what was left...
I got through the pleats and attaching the straps without incident.
I learned after a couple of side seams that it was easier to match and curve them in the machine instead of bothering to pin first. I did have to pin all the other curved seams.
Skip to step 12, the button loop. Pretty cool idea and one that I've added to my Birdie Sling so that it could have a closure. I failed in the pin wrapping trick to keep the gathers and I still do not understand the machine basting of the loop onto the top edge of one of the bands. I had to take it off again and reposition it when I was pinning the inside and outside of the bag together after I turned it inside out.
Side note: She says "slide the lining over the exterior..." I laughed out loud after trying to do that. It should say "stuff the exterior into the lining." Less elegant, more accurate. :)
I got bumfoozled for a second about the instructions in step 13 to sew around the "outside" of the handles. I looked at the bag again and again trying to figure out which side of the handles was the outside. When you hold the bag on your shoulder, the part this step intends you to sew face the INSIDE of the bag and touch or cross over one another at the center of your shoulder. The seam that faces the OUTSIDE of the bag when hanging on your shoulder is the one you sew at the end which she calls the "inside" of the strap. I just thought it was a bad choice of descriptors because it could be interpreted differently to different people. It was obvious after it was completed, but without a completed bag to see in person and without having done one, it wasn't easy to decipher.
I'm sure all these instructions would make more sense with pictures, but that's part of the challenge of writing instructions, they have to explain enough for someone to follow them all by themselves and without pictures or video. This pattern called for only beginner knowledge and I don't think the instructions are quiiiiiite detailed enough to take someone with little experience from start to finish of this bag.
I never imagined my daughter's closet would look like this.
In order from left to right: Matilda Jane, Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress pattern, Heidi and Fin Girlie Blouse pattern, Brownie-Goose, Sew Sensible Sunday Dress pattern, ack, can't remember the name, but a tiered peasant dress, Matilda Jane, my own knot dress creation, Whimsy Couture Peasant top/dress pattern.
Begin assembling the bag and only cut out and iron interfacing pieces when you are about to use that piece because you hate to have to cut out aaaaaaaaaall the pattern pieces again just for interfacing and really just want to get to the sewing.
Assemble the outside of the bag and take pictures.
Remember the handle fabric debacle? Well, I still don't like this fabric nearly as well. It's too much of a blue-green to work with the yellow-green of the main fabric and I dislike that it's also a large-scale print. It should have been a small scale print and I KNEW it, but I just couldn't find anything at the fabric store in town that REALLY worked. Double Arg.
Go to bed because it's really too late to finish up the bag tonight like you thought you would. Yeah, that would take waaaaaay too long and more and more brain cells begin to turn off the later it gets, which is dangerous when working with needles.
Cut out all pattern pieces.
Disregard instructions on how to fold fabric to cut pieces because it seems as though you sometimes waste fabric that way.
Realize in the early morning hours that because you did not read the directions, you now have to find another 1/2 yard of yellow fabric to cut out 4 more handle pieces.
Follow up to the above post - There exists none of the said yellow fabric in stores in my city. I am NOT ordering a half yard of fabric and paying shipping. I sucked it up and bought some different Heather Bailey fabric, but I am not nearly as pleased with my choice as I was with the original. :(