Well, Janelle's latest pattern for the Boyd St. Bowling Bag does not disappoint. She teased everyone about a month ago with a picture of her test bag, and I knew immediately that I had to have it!
At some point this past year, Janelle and I started exchanging emails about bag hardware, fabrics, and other sewing related things. So when I saw a message in my inbox from Janelle a few weeks ago, I wasn't surprised to hear from her, but I was surprised that she wanted ME to test out her pattern for the Boyd St. Bowling Bag! I was so excited!
Immediately, I knew I wanted to the handles out of faux leather or vinyl. I had never sewn with that material before--until now! I was also drawn to the shape and style of bag which is a departure from all the other bags I have ever made. I'll discuss my experience with sewing vinyl a little later in the post, but first, let's go over more of the actual bag details.
After making the Teardrop Bag, another pattern I purchased from Emmaline Bag & Patterns months ago, I knew I wanted to use canvas or duck cloth again for the lining. I really like the way the duck cloth holds up without adding any interfacing to it, and it's not difficult to sew with even when layered with the outer bag fabric.
The inside also has a slip pocket and a zipper pocket both made from quilting cotton lined with a medium weight fusible interfacing. I sewed down the middle of the slip pocket turning it into two smaller pockets perfect for holding my cell phone on one side and mints and lipstick on the other.
For the exterior of the bag, I used two different printed duck cloth fabrics in shades of off white, yellow, and gray that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. This duck cloth is considerably thinner and softer feeling than the utility grade duck cloth I used for the lining. I did apply interfacing (Pellon SF101) and fusible fleece to the wrong side of the exterior fabric to help give it more shape and support.
Another feature of the Boyd St. Bowling bag that I love is the zipper closure across the curved top with a zipper pull on both ends to make opening and closing easier. Janelle even shows you a super easy way to cut the fabric for the gusset so that your fabric pattern matches up. See how the chevrons are all lined up properly in the photo below?
The pattern provides an option and instructions on how to construct a detachable adjustable strap that would hook onto the zipper pulls on either end using a swivel hook and D-rings. I didn't think I would ever use the strap, so I chose not to make one.
The bottom of the bag is reinforced with a piece of Pellon Peltex 71. This was my first time to use this type of interfacing, and I was quite pleased with the results. Again, Janelle's instructions made sewing the bottom together a breeze! The bottom of the bag is firm and sturdy and has six metal purse feet to not only help protect the bottom from wear and tear, but to also give it that more professional look.
To construct just the bag portion of this purse, I sewed on and off over the course of a day and a half. Not bad considering I had lots of interruptions from Ella and had to run errands and get my son at school!
Now onto the vinyl handles and tabs. As I mentioned above, this was my first time to ever sew with vinyl, and I was so excited to try it on this bag! I found some really nice marine vinyl in the remnant bin at Joann's. This type of vinyl is so soft and supple compared to the normal utility vinyl that I think of when I hear the word vinyl.
I love how my vinyl handles eventually turned out! They really make the bag look store bought and professional! Don't you agree?
Anyway, Janelle gives very detailed instructions with lots of photographs on how to construct the strap tabs and handles--in both fabric and leather/vinyl! Again, she taught me several new things and introduced me to some new sewing notions (like double sided wonder tape, upholstery thread, and a sewing needle for leather) that I had not tried before. I always know that after I finish one of Janelle's patterns, not only am I going to have a terrific new bag to use, but I'm also going to be a much more experienced and knowledgeable sewer!
In order to sew the vinyl on my machine, I sometimes used my walking foot, my regular sewing machine foot, and my regular sewing machine foot with scotch tape on the bottom. I also used a long stitch length of at least 4. This part of my bag construction was definitely a challenge, but only because my old Bernina Record 830 from 1974 just doesn't have the power needed to sew through multiple layers of the vinyl. I had to hand turn the wheel often just to get the needle to sew especially when I sewed the strap tabs to the bag body. I also had to put a piece of stabilizer on the underside of the bag because the fleece was tangling the bobbin thread and not advancing the stitches properly.
After some lengthy email discussions with Janelle, I believe she decided to rate the Boyd St. Bowling Bag Pattern as suitable for an intermediate to advanced sewer with a note stating that prior experience and knowledge of sewing with vinyl or leather is recommended for those who want to make vinyl handles. If you have a heavy duty or commercial grade sewing machine, then I would think sewing multiple layers of vinyl would be no problem for you!
Of course, her pattern gives full details on how to make the exact same strap tabs and handles using regular fabric which I know I will use the next time! My machine should have no problem tackling multiple layers of regular fabric and interfacing.
I'm so looking forward to using my new Boyd St. Bowling bag. It's gonna hold a lot of stuff since it's so big (roughly 16" L x 10"H x 5"W)!
So, what do you think? Do you want to make a Boyd St. Bowling Bag for yourself? Well, as of Monday, it's officially for sale at Emmaline Bags and Patterns along with hardware kits to make the bag in case you don't want to run all over town (like me) to find the supplies!
Janelle is also hosting a contest and offering up a copy of the Boyd St. Bowling Bag Pattern and hardware kit to two winners! How awesome is that?! You can enter the contest below and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, April 17th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Oh, and in case you'd like to see all the other bags I've made using patterns from Emmaline Bags and Patterns, just click the links below. And Janelle just released another cool pattern for the Necessary Wallet Clutch that I purchased immediately! Can't wait to try it out, too!
My Boyd St. Bowling Bag has been featured over at The Train to Crazy today! Thanks, Andrea!