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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Satchel Bag for Selfish Sewing Week

I love the idea of Selfish Sewing Week. It's a reminder that sometimes we just need to make ourselves a priority and sew something that we get to keep and enjoy!

When sewing for myself, I almost always prefer to sew a bag or purse. For Selfish Sewing Week, I chose to make myself The Satchel Bag from Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H. This was the first pattern from Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H that I had tried, but I have been admiring The Satchel Bag design for some time now. So glad Selfish Sewing Week gave me the nudge I needed to try it!

The Satchel Bag pattern includes a convenient cutting sheet that lists all the pieces for the bag by dimensions. There is only one actual pattern piece (for the purse flap) to print out.  I used the cutting sheet and checked off each item as I cut it out!

For my Satchel Bag, I made a few substitutions in the interfacing requirements specified. I decided to use automotive headliner fabric instead of the fusible fleece and Pellon Shape-Flex SF101 in place of lightweight interfacing called for in the instructions. Also, since I constructed the flap of my bag using a gold lambskin leather, I fused two layers of Pellon 420 Fashion Fuse to the back of it to keep it from stretching and to add a little bit of support to the otherwise super supple leather. The pattern also called for buckram in a few places, but since I have no idea what that is, I used Pellon 72F Peltex to add support to the purse handle and the bag bottom. I'm pretty pleased with all the substitutions but might just stick with the fusible fleece on the next one I make.

The front and back fabric panels of the bag are Melody Miller's Ruby Star Polka Dot - Handbags that I bought at the fabric shop Crimson Tate while on a trip earlier this year. The purse sides, lining of the flap and strap, as well as the tabs on the side were made using the coordinating Melody Miller Ruby Star Daisy Dots - Teal. The lining of the bag is constructed from a neutral color duck cloth. The gold is lambskin leather I purchased from the Etsy shop Peggy Sue Also.

The pattern instructions were fairly easy to follow; however, I at times found the font style and size a little difficult to read even when I zoomed in for a closer look. The photographs were quite helpful at times in making a text description easier to understand. Oftentimes, there were additional notes on the photos that were useful, but again, the size and style of font made those notes a little hard to see without zooming into the image a lot.

Since I was using the gold leather for the flap to coordinate with the gold polka dots in the fabric, I used gold toned d-rings for the purse handle and strap and topstitched the bag using a gold metallic thread.

Because I didn't have any gold adjustable strap sliders, I simplified my purse strap by making it a fixed length of 22". A strip of gold leather was used for the top of the strap while the bottom was lined with the fabric. I rounded out the gold theme by using two vintage gold buttons on each side for the button tabs. The design in the buttons reminds me of the floral pattern in the flap lining fabric.

The quilted sides give the overall design more detail and visual interest, plus the gold metallic thread really stands out here. The inside includes a single zippered pocket using a brassy metal zipper I recycled from an old purse. I thought about making a new gold zipper pull, but I'm happy with the brown leather one that came on it!

My favorite detail to the bag is the purse handle on top of the flap. For this size bag (finished size roughly 10" x 6.5" x 5") I think the purse handle comes in quite handy at times. It's easy to grab and go and then slip the strap on your shoulder later. However, the Satchel Bag would look just as lovely without the top handle and just a purse strap.

A couple of other minor changes I made to the original design were to leave off the second set of buttonholes on the side tabs and to only use one magnetic snap right in the middle of the purse flap. I felt like the second buttonhole was distracting and would never be used. I love how the bag looks from the side with just the one button. Also, I felt like having a magnetic snap on each side of the flap would make it more difficult to open and especially close. The single snap holds the flap closed just fine and makes for easy access to the inside of the bag.

I have loved using my new Satchel Bag for the last couple of weeks, plus I've had several compliments on the design and the fabrics. It might be a little flashy with all that gold, but because it is a smaller sized bag, it's not too much. It's the perfect size for holding my wallet, phone, and a zipper pouch I use to keep all the little items I carry nice and organized.

Oh, and I made myself a new matching keychain, too! I used a few pieces of scrap fabric and leather and sewed this one together in a matter of minutes!

The Satchel Bag overall is a well-written and detailed bag pattern that I would definitely recommend to an advanced beginner or intermediate sewer. I know I'll be making more in the future! Plus, Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H has several other bag patterns with unique designs I might just have to try soon.

The rest of Selfish Sewing Week promises to be out-of-this world!

Follow along with all the other featured stitchers for tons of new projects and inspiration! Rachel at Imagine Gnats has done a terrific job of organizing the line-up. Read all about the even on her blog, HERE

Amazing Featured Stitchers
Call Ajaire      The Crafty Kitty      Max California      the quirky peach     Sewbon      Swoodson Says sewVery     a happy stitch      sew a straight line      Sew Caroline      Our Chez Nous      Casa Crafty verypurpleperson      Flamingo Toes      Sewing Rabbit      justmejay      groovy baby and mama     you & mie      oona balloona      sew Amy sew      Idle Fancy      miss matatabi      Dandelion Drift Modern Handcraft      Buzzmills      u&mii      B.Yazoo      A Quilter's Table      lbg studio               Diary of a Chainstitcher      Compagnie M.      Sew Chibi      la inglesita      Modern Handmade   

Also be sure to check out the awesome indie pattern designers behind the Selfish Sewing Week celebration! You are sure to discover a new-to-you designer or two!

Amazing Featured Indie Pattern Designers
April Rhodes      Blank Slate Patterns     Bluegingerdoll      By Hand London     CaliFaye Collection Chris W Designs      Christine Haynes      Closet Case Patterns      Clover & Violet     Deer and Doe Delia Creates      Emmaline Bags      Go To Patterns      grainline studio      GreenStyleCreations      Hey June Handmade      imagine gnats      In-House Patterns      Kate & Rose      Kitschy Coo Megan Nielsen Patterns      Mouse House Creations      Named Clothing      Noodlehead      Papercut Patterns      Pauline Alice      SBCC Patterns      schnitten      Scientific Seamstress      see kate sew Sew Caroline      Sew House Seven      Sew Sweetness     Sewaholic      Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H SUCH Designs      True Bias     Victory Patterns      Violette Field Threads

Finally, don't forget to enter the Selfish Sewing Week giveaway for a chance to win something just for you! 

Have FUN sewing (for yourself)!


  1. that is so cute! bags on your bag, and shiny gold!!! love it :)

  2. This is darling! I love your use of the gold leather - makes a statement, and how it coordinates with the other fabric and your hardware is just really nice. Perfect use of fabrics overall to make a very striking bag!

  3. So awesome! That gold is perfect for all those accents! Great idea on using interfacing with the leather so it doesn't stretch!

  4. Love your mix of fabrics. Looks like yet another great pattern by Mrs. H. I've made her 'Convertible Bag' x 2 and her 'Nappy/Travel Bag' x 2 as well. Well written instructions for super bags. Your work certainly compliments The Satchel Bag pattern as well.

  5. It's really a beautiful bag. Don't you fear your daughter will pick it ? Reagrds from France

  6. I super love this bag - such great detail, as always!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! I've really enjoyed using it!


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