Jack Bauer Messenger Bag

It’s hard to find bag patterns that are suitable for men, so I decided to create a replica of the trusty bag that Jack Bauer always carries on “24.”  Jack’s bag is basically a green canvas army surplus bag (although in later seasons he may have upgraded to something leather).

Messenger Bag - Front

I haven’t written up this pattern yet, but I have all the notes for it (someplace).  This is one of the first patterns I plan to write up to include in my line of patterns I am developing.  This bag has several exterior pockets, roomy interior, and a small zippered pocket in the lining.  I plan to revise the pattern so that the handle is adjustable, and maybe add two front  closures to it (instead of just the single one).

Messenger Bag - Interior

This bag is made out of black canvas, and I used a light black cotton for the lining.  I broke at least two needles sewing the bottom seams where all the pockets, lining, etc. come together (the thickness is about 8 – 10 layers of fabric).

Messenger Bag - Side

This would look great in leather or any type of canvas.  If making for a woman, you could even use some of the funky oilcloth with the super-saturated colors.  I hope to have the pattern written up sometime in the next few months – so stay tuned!

Keep it thimble!

Kid’s Backpack

Someone gave me this Backpack Pattern and I thought it seemed like the perfect thing for my son (which more masculine fabrics of course!).  I had some really cute fabric in my stash called “Creatures and Critters” that was designed by Amy Schimler for Robert Kaufman fabrics (alas, this was from a line she did a few years ago, so you can’t find it at retail shops now).

Creatures and Critters - Chameleons

After making this pattern, I learned that sometimes you want to use batting instead of fusible fleece.  The pattern calls for you to use batting and do some quilting on the exterior, but I used fusible fleece since I didn’t feel like quilting it.  However, the fusible fleece is much stiffer and has less give, so it was difficult for me to get the outside pocket to lay correctly, and the main bag was  “sturdier” than I wanted it to be.   As a result, I just made a traditional pocket with a flap and it is too large, and you can’t see much of the cute fabric unless you look at the back.

Kid's Backpack

I must confess I was really excited when to make this pattern because I wanted to learn how to make the outside pocket, so I was not pleased with the final results.  In general, the pattern is easy to follow, but there are a few steps that need more information (such as how to construct the exterior pocket) and there are some steps that I would do differently for a more finished look (such as how to make the interior pockets).  I am going to try this again, with a few modifications (and try batting instead of fusible fleece).

I do think this is a very cute pattern and it is different than the traditional backpack you see.  It is easy to open and can easily carry a few books, art supplies, and a small toy or two.  The straps are too long for my son, so they will also be shortened for the second attempt.

Keep it thimble!

Traveler’s Tote

In a few weeks, I’ll be teaching a class at the Whistle Stop Quilt shop.  The owner is interested in having someone teach some classes on how to make bags, so I went in and talked with her.  While I was there, she showed me this cute new pattern by Anything But Boring called “The Traveler’s Tote.”  We both agreed this would make an excellent class for me to teach :).


Traveler's Tote

A sample was needed to promote the class, so yesterday and today was spent making it.  This tote is very sturdy because fusible fleece is used on the exterior and Decor Bond is used on the lining.  The large flap is a great way to show off a favorite piece of fabric or focus fabric.  It has tons of pockets (you can never have enough) – two on the outside and pockets all the way around the inside.


Traveler's Tote Interior

I was only one seam away from being finished,when I realized the lining pockets were wrong.  Instead of the pockets opening at the top, they opened to the bottom – not very useful at all!  I had to rip out the sides and bottom of the lining in order to get to the mistake and fix it.  When I realized the mistake, I gasped and said “Oh no!”.  My five year old said, “What’s wrong Mommy?  Did you sew your thumb?”.  He was glad to see I was okay!  That detour took about an hour, but I was really happy with the end result.

Be careful when you sew.  Keep it thimble!

Sewing Crow Purse

Here’s a project I started over 2 years ago (!) that I finally finished.  I saw this purse in an issue of Quilt Sampler – it was in a photo of one of the shops that was featured – and fell in love with it!  Through the power of the internet, I googled “Sewing Crow” and quickly found the pattern by Kindred Spirits

Sewing Crow Purse

I picked some bright colors for the applique, and when I was done stitching I sprayed the piece with distressing spray (walnut crystals mixed with water) to tone down the colors and give it a more aged look.  I am very happy with the results.  The handles were painted a glossy black, and two buttons were added for decoration.  I will paint some gold stars on the handle, and also make a small wool strawberry to hang from one button, and find a little pair of scissors to hang from the other.  Then it will be the perfect sewing bag!

The bag is roomy – the finished size measures about 12 X 15 – so it is big enough for most any project you want to take on the go.  You can easily fit a full-size pattern, several yards of fabric/wool, and other accessories.  I used a nice piece of orange Jo Morton fabric for the lining, and added two interior pockets (one in yellow and blue – Jo fabric of course).

I briefly considered embroidering something on the other side (“Keep it Thimble”), but instead opted to finish it up for now just to get it done!  I can always go back and add the embroidery later.  I’m so happy to finally have this finished!   Are there any projects you’ve been meaning to finish – pull out one of them and see if you can finish it before the end of the year :).

Handbag Retrospective

Still here!!  It’s taken awhile to get back on track after the porch sale.  I am working on some new things, but nothing ready to post yet.  In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to post a retrospective of some of the handbags I made a few years ago (before I started blogging).  Bags are one of my favorite things to make, since you don’t need a ton of fabric and you can usually complete on in a weekend.

Messenger Bag

This is a messenger bag I made for my husband.  This is my own pattern – but I was inspired by the bag Jack Bauer carries on “24.”  It’s hard to find a basic bag that a man would carry, so that’s why I designed my own.  I used Black Canvas for the outside and a lightweight black cotton for the lining.


Black Forest Bag

This is the Black Forest bag (pattern by Melly and Me).  This is a great fall purse, although it would pretty in Spring/Summer colors.  I downsized the original pattern so it is more like a handbag than a tote bag.  I love the little green buttons – they are the perfect accent!


Birdie Sling

This is the Birdie Sling (pattern by Amy Butler).  Her patterns are always well-written and the bags are very stylish.  Her bags tend to be rather large, so I reduce the size so I don’t get overwhelmed when carrying them (I am about 5 ft tall).  I used Decor Bond as the interfacing for this, but it is way to stiff.  The hand doesn’t fall right – but hey, that’s how we learn.  After I made this bag, I found out about interfacing called “Shapewell”.  It is sturdy but it is not stiff like Decor Bond.  When used in this type of bag, the fabric drapes nicely (I saw some bags that used it a a fabric store).


Chelsea Bag

This the Chelsea Bag (pattern by Amy Butler).  The notched handles were fun to make – they are note as hard as they look.  I really like the simplicity of this design and when you use very bold and graphic fabric, you get something that looks tres chic!  This bags uses an very stiff interfacing (almost like poster board) called Timtex. It was interesting to work with, as it does not have much give.  It also is pretty thick, so you really have to take your time when sewing it.


Parasol Purse

This is the Parasol Bag (not sure of pattern, maybe Pink Sand Beach?).  This was made with some delicious looking Batik fabric!  This is a great stash-buster and also can look very different depending on what types of fabrics you use.   You can also just use one fabric on the outside, instead of doing the different panels, which is another way to change up the look.

I hope you enjoyed my virtual purse show!  More new projects will be posted soon :).

Porch Sale!

OK, I have been talking about it for a few weeks, and the Porch Sale is this Saturday, Oct 23rd.  Lots of ladies have been working hard to make some neat things for you to buy, including Jennifer and Sharon (check out their blogs for some sneak peeks).  The porch sale is here (thanks to Jennifer for the idea to use a Google Maps link) from 10am – 3pm.

I am still working on a few more last minute items.  I didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted, but I had a lot of fun preparing for it.  I will say it will be good to get this off my plate so I can focus on other things.

One more sneak peek – these are cute little Snap-it Bags (sorry the picture is a out of focus – I was in a hurry).  They are about 3″ x 5″ and are the perfect size for carrying extra cash, sewing notions, coupons, etc.

Snap-it Bag

They “snap” open when you open them with the prairie points.  You use metal measuring tape to create the “snap” frame.  It’s  a pretty clever idea.  You just cut off a length of tape and creating a casing  to slide it in.  The pattern I used is called “Snap Happy” and they are really fun to make.  You can use all different combinations of fabric.  These would make perfect little gifts for anyone!

Sewing Kit

This weekend I designed a travel sewing kit for carrying all the necessities you might want to tuck in your purse so you could do some handwork on the go, or be have a nice organizer for any supplies you might need to take to a class.  This is version 1.0 and I plan to make a few tweaks/improvements as I use it and see how well it works.

Sewing Kit (Closed)

When closed, it is approximately 9″ x 6″ and depending on how much you have in there, could be about 2 – 3″ thick.  I used fusible fleece AND decor bond on the exterior to give make it nice and sturdy – and then the lining piece has decor bond.  I opted not to interface the zipper pocket or interior pockets because I didn’t want it to be too bulky.  I will probably use some light interfacing in version 2.0 as I can see already that the pockets will have a lot of wear and tear.

Sewing Kit (Open)

When it is open, it is about 9″ x 18″ and can hold quite a bit of stuff!  There is a slip in pocket behind the zippered pocket that can hold a pattern and a small cutting mat.  In the zippered pocket you can carry pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, etc.  The pockets hold a pen, notepad, scissors, small rotary cutter, and seam gage.  I will play around with the pocket sizes to get the optimal combination.  I included some elastic to hold spools of thread, but will probably remove this in the next version.   I figure it is easier to carry thread in the zipper pocket, and to use the space for a needle/pin holder instead.  Once I get the design perfect, I will make a few and try to sell them on Etsy or at one of the local shops.

Any comments/suggestions on what to change?  I would love to hear what you think!

Kaffe Fassett Professional Tote

Wow!  It’s hard to believe that it’s already mid-September.  I have a whole list of things I want to complete by the end of October and I am slowly working my way through it.  I finished yet another Professional Tote in Kaffee Fassett fabric.  This will be used as a class/shop sample at Elegant Stitches.

Professional Tote – Kaffe Fassett
Professional Tote – Kaffe Fassett – Interior

I’ve also compiled a few items for a Fall craft show in which I am participating.  It’s pretty close to Halloween (Oct 23) so I won’t have  a lot of Halloween things.  Instead, I think I will focus on Christmas stuff and things that people can give as gifts.  It’s exciting to plan for, as this is the first show I’ve participated in!

Grommet Purse

This is a quick and easy purse pattern called “Wallet and Grommet” that uses large 2.75″ grommets. It’s a nice size to carry around town and the handle is made so that you can easily keep the purse closed.  The handle is in one piece and you thread it through all four grommets and tie it off.  This allows you to open the purse as wide as you need to, and then “zip” it closed as you throw it over your shoulder.

Grommet Purse

The pattern is very versatile, especially in fabric choice.  You can also quilt a lot or very little on it (I did just the seams on mine) and you could add some fun embroidery or trim embellishments to dress it up or down.

The grommets are easy to install, even though I had some initial trepidation about cutting out the large circles in my almost finished bag!  I suggest making a paper template of the circle size you need to cut, and then using a chalk marker to draw around the template.  The pattern provides the specific measurements for where you need to place the circles, so you can just plunk down your template, trace around it, and that will remove a lot of the nerves.  This also gives you a chance to make sure the circles are even with one another before you cut.  I confess that I did not make a paper template, and instead just traced around the inside circle of the grommets directly onto the fabric.  As a result, one of my grommets is slightly lower than the other one (can you guess which one?).  After you cut out the circle, the plastic grommets just snap right in!

Beach Bag!

As you know, I am a huge fan of Creative Thimble’s Professional Tote pattern.  I’ve probably made at least 20 of these in different fabrics and I love how they all turn out.  I decided it was time to make myself one to take the beach – with a few modifications.

Beach Bag
Professional Tote Beach Bag (Exterior)

This bag is 2 inches higher and wider than the pattern, which provides extra room for towels and other beach supplies.  There is no center zippered pocket – again to provide more room for the supplies.  The idea is to have enough room to roll up three beach towels so they can stand on end inside the bag (thanks for the idea Amy :)).

Professional Tote Interior
Professional Tote Beach Bag (Exterior)

I thought about creating a water resistant pouch with some oilcloth, but figured it would be too bulky.  Anyway, a grocery bag works fine for storing wet bathing suits.  Of course I had to select beach themed fabric for this – I love how the lining turned out with all the shells!