This weeks Crafty Bloggers' Club post is from Pippa. You can find more of her makes on Instagram @sewpippa
Hi everyone! I'm Pippa. I spotted the opportunity to be part of the Crafty Bloggers' Club in October 2020* and I was delighted when Kim at Crafty Sew & So invited me to write a blog post for February on one of their patterns. I've been picking up new crafts left, right and centre through lockdown, including knitting, so the Crafty Sew & So Carry-All Bag was ideal - it's perfect for storing big knitting projects. And when we are able to go out and about again, it will be a great bag to take with me on day trips (I like to pack everything but the kitchen sink, so large bags are a must!). The Carry-All is a lined holdall type bag with a zip and two pockets.
I picked out the Swing Mosaic Cotton Canvas fabric for the outer as I'm a big fan of bold prints and geometry. This pattern suggests you use another fabric for the base of the bag and an outside pocket (though you could use the same fabric for both). Kim was super helpful in recommending fabrics to go with my mosaic cotton canvas and found this Aegean Blue Super Chunky Corduroy that matched the blue in the tiles perfectly. I wouldn't have thought to use a corduroy fabric for the base, but it goes really well! I then picked the Taupe Flurry Craft Cotton fabric for the lining. Besides that, you also need fusible medium weight woven interfacing, cotton webbing for the straps, and a 22" zip. Everything came in a lovely Start as you Mean to Sew On Tote Bag, which was also great for keeping the materials together during the making process.
The pattern is very simple - it's three pattern pieces and you simply fold the main bag piece down a marked line in order to cut the base pieces. This saves on paper, which is a nice touch - I'm trying to be more sustainable in my sewing and this was great to see integrated into the design of the paper pattern. (The pattern is also available in pdf format.)
Although the pattern says it requires 50cm of the main fabric, and 60cm of the fabric for the base and pockets, I found I had quite a bit left over (even with cutting the mosaic fabric to be identical on each side and matching the texture on the corduroy) because the fabrics were wide. I interfaced the canvas with the medium weight woven fusible interfacing; I imagine it would be possible to use a lighter fabric but would need a heavier weight interfacing to give the bag some body.
Onto assembly! I consider myself a "confident beginner" with sewing clothes, but I've only made one tote bag before so bag making is pretty new to me. I've also only sewn a zipper in once before, and that was many years ago!
Construction was pretty straightforward. You attach the pockets first; the inside is a simple patch pocket and the outside pocket is made by sewing the straps over the sides of the pocket piece, and then attaching the base piece over the bottom of the pocket piece. Once you have assembled the outsides, you then attach an outer shell and lining piece to each side of the zip. You also create some tabs for the ends of the zip. I'd never done this before but the instructions walk you through it. Once that's done for both pieces, you sew up the sides and base, topstitch along the opening of the bag, and then "bag it out" through a hole in the lining.
I did make one mistake, which was purely because I didn't think everything through - I'd not sewn with corduroy before and it has a nap. Although I cut all of my pieces with the nap in the same direction, by the time I got round to sewing, I'd forgotten about this and sewed the outside pocket in with the nap running upwards, whilst the other pieces were sewn with the nap running down. Luckily I had some extra chunky corduroy fabric left over, so I was able to unpick my straps and cut a new outside pocket piece.
My corduroy fabric was made of 97% cotton and 3% elastane. You may notice that the lines don't line up perfectly, because during sewing it stretched a bit, making the matching slightly off. My outside pocket stretched a bit too, so it is placed slightly higher than it should be. If you choose to make this bag with a stretch fabric like I did, I would recommend that you interface it.
If I were to make this again, the only other thing I would change is to line the patch pocket on the inside, just to avoid having any raw edges, but that's me being fussy.
The instructions are clear and straightforward. I found them particularly good when explaining how to attach the zip to the lining and outer shell. Even though I'd never done this technique before, it went smoothly and my success has made me more confident about sewing with zips (to be honest I’d been avoiding projects needing them!)
Overall, I think this is a great bag pattern and I can see me making it again, particularly as gifts for family and friends during the holidays. I think it will go down very well! I think it would also be a great project for someone who is a beginner to sewing who wants to tackle things like linings and zips on a simple project.
Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you get to enjoy making a bag as lovely as mine! Happy sewing!
* If you would like to be part of the Crafty Bloggers' Club, click on this link and get in touch! https://craftysewandso.com/pages/crafty-bloggers-club
“Crafty Bloggers' Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew&So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”