The Amy Butler Birdie Sling was the first bag I ever made. Well, I tried the Buttercup Bag, a free pattern from Made By Rae, but I failed utterly and pretty much don't even count it.
I had no knowledge of bag making and didn't really aspire to make one until I saw this big beautiful bag someone was using as a diaper bag in the signing class I was taking Eden to. I simply had to know where it came from because the shape was just so striking to me. She said she made it. That blew me away. She told me what the pattern was and I told her maybe I'd get to it someday. Then the best thing happened. I didn't really know her at all, just another mom in the class, but she offered to help me through and explain the tough parts if I needed help. That offer of back-up was all I needed to try and tackle it. It took me a year, but I tackled it.
I ended up just using some helpful blog posts to get me through the confusing parts. There were times when I thought that it was waaaaayy too much effort (like cutting out what seemed like a million pieces of fabric and interacting and like standing over a hot iron forever ironing on each piece of interfacing... so, pretty much the very beginning steps of making it!), but thinking about being able to carry a bag just like hers kept me pushing through.
Here's how my first one turned out.
The second time around I have a whole lot more experience sewing bags, even drafting my own patterns. I have more experience with interfacing and I know my own preferences. If you want all the details of what I chose to use where, I can tell you, but for the sake of the readers who would just like to see the bag. Here are some pictures.
The above picture is right before the last step. You have an outside and an inside and a strap. I remember being so scared the first time around that after getting this far, I would totally mess it up putting these three together. It's counter intuitive how the pieces get sewn together and you feel like you are sewing blind (unless you've made other bags, in which case you've already done something similar to this).
You may see that I've upgraded to a zip pocket instead of the small interior pocket.
There she is. I was almost too lazy to add this because I'm still not that good at it, but I'm glad to have it now for my phone and lipgloss and hair bows that get pulled out of little girls' hair.
One other thing I did differently was to baste the strap on before putting the bag together. I just pinned last time and that was really difficult and also made turning the bag right side out a bit treacherous.
I also left the hole for turning in the side of the interior instead of the bottom, just because the bottom holds all the weight and the stitches used to close the hole are less obvious in the side.
I literally wore my last one out and I hope I enjoy this one just as much. I got compliments EVERYWHERE I carried my last one, so I'm looking forward to that again too. :)
This is not a simple pattern. The bulk of the interfacing, the curved seams, the gusseted bottom and other things make it a challenge, but if you love it as much as I did when I first laid eyes on it and are too afraid to try it...
I'll give you the same gift that the mom in my daughter's signing class gave me.
I'm just an email away. Let me know if you need help and I'd be glad to work you through it. Comment if you need help, leave your email address and I'll contact you.