Several weeks ago, I was fortunate to win a purse pattern from Janelle over at Emmaline Bags & Patterns blog. The pattern I won was her Emmaline Bag pattern found for sale here on her website. I was absolutely excited to get the chance to make this purse! I had had every intention of making it right away, but I couldn't make up my mind about the fabric I wanted to use. And quite honestly, I was feeling a little intimidated by the interior zipper pocket!
Fast forward to this past week, and I decided I was up for a challenge. I picked out my fabrics, finally choosing to go with Amy Butler's Lark collection. I used Floral Couture in Berry for the exterior shell, Souvenir in Persimmon for the lining, and River Shine in Charcoal for the straps. I just love these bold colors for summer! Don't you?
I don't consider myself an advanced sewer, and although the bag is full of details making it a more challenging project, I really didn't find it difficult to make. But it did take me a lot of time, especially since this was my first attempt at making it! I worked on the Emmaline Bag over the course of at least three days for a total of 8 to 10 hours in all. That may seem like a lot of time, and it is, but I worked slowly and carefully because I really wanted this bag to turn out well, and I think it did.
And to think that I was afraid of attempting that zipper pocket! Ha! Janelle's pattern has so many pictures and such well written descriptions of each and every step that I had absolutely no problem making it! The zipper pocket is perfect if I must say so myself! In fact, the pocket was so easy to make following her instructions that I actually had fun making it! Janelle even offers on her website two tutorials on how to make a zipper pocket. Plus, she has several other useful tutorials for making other bag components. You can find her tutorials here.
If you look at the bags Janelle has made on her blog, you'll see she used some lovely rectangular rings and O-rings to add a more decorative touch to the straps. I searched everywhere locally for these to use on my bag and couldn't find any large enough. The largest rectangular rings I could find were only 1" and the largest O-rings were only 1.25". I finally decided to use some 1.5" D-rings that I came across at one store, but honestly, they just aren't thick enough to stand out like they should. I've seen a couple of Etsy stores that sell purse supplies, so I suppose I'll have to just order them online if they have them! If anyone knows of a good source for such things, please let me know!
Janelle recommended using template plastic for the bottom support. I found it in the quilting supplies at Joann's. I guess I expected it to be something more rigid like a thin plexiglass, but it's not. I doubled the template plastic, so I'll see how well that works for now.
And finally, to me the most difficult part of sewing this bag was top stitching the two rows around the top of the finished bag. I didn't use my seam ripper until this part--the next to last step in making the bag--because I just had a hard time getting the rows evenly spaced around those curves! If I knew how to use a double needle, maybe that wouldn't have been an issue! Anyway, after a couple of attempts, I did get it right!
In all, I am so happy with how the Emmaline Bag turned out. It is so spacious and modern looking! I can't wait to start using it. And I'm already thinking about making another one in a solid color. I'm pretty sure the second bag will be even easier to make than the first!
If you like this bag, I hope you'll visit Janelle at Emmaline Bags and Patterns and consider purchasing the Emmaline Bag pattern or perhaps the Teardrop Bag pattern. Oh, and she is working on a new bag pattern, called the Steph in the City Bag, that is to be released very soon (update: it's available for sale). Thanks again for the pattern, Janelle! It's one of the best detailed patterns I've ever seen! (Update: For a limited time, you can use coupon code Palooza on her website to get 20% pattern orders! I just purchased the Teardrop Bag and Steph in the City Bag patterns, too!)