This was my first time joining the Bag of the Month Club. I really enjoyed learning some new skills, as each pattern featured a few new techniques to try. The Bag of the Month Club (BOMC) is a subscription based pattern club. The club provides members with 1 new sewing pattern on the 1st of each month, plus interaction with designers and members in their active Facebook Group. There are many wonderful YouTube tutorials showing how to sew the patterns step by step. PLUS their are opportunities to win prizes upon bag completions!
I am part of the SPD Color Collaboration, an international group of surface pattern designers that creates color coordinated collections of fabrics. This year we created the Spring Garden Collection, in a palette featuring coral, peach and sage. My hero design for this collection was New York State Flower Roses, but I went a little rogue, adding muscat, purples and lavender to the limited palette. This design was illustrated from reference photos that I took of some beautiful roses that I found growing over a wall in a parking lot last summer. I started the design process in August of 2022, and published it 7 months later. My goal was to finish the design in time to use it for the BOMC projects, sometimes it takes a while for the art to land!
The first Bag of the Month Club 2023 pattern by Sewing Patterns by Mrs H was the Happy Handbag. I enjoyed this project so much that I made two! For my first handbag, I pulled fabrics from my Spring Garden 2023 Collection. I made the exterior of this bag using Recycled Canvas in my Dalarna Floral and Ocean Linen Blender designs and the lining is Macadamia Tree, Peach Dawn on Cotton Poplin.
For my second Happy Handbag, I created quilted fabric, for the exterior, using a hand-stitched English Paper Piecing technique, and replaced the hardware with brass bangles.
For my Grace Bag I used my Scarlet Macaw Tropical design on Spoonflower Recycled Canvas, paired with Chevron Watercolor, Emerald for the exterior and Feathered Chevron Watercolor, Mad Hatter on Cotton Poplin for the lining.
I omitted the handle and flap straps, and used a snap closure, to better showcase my design, but I’m looking forward to trying those features with a more understated fabric.
I used 2 layers of woven SF101 interfacing for the exterior pieces, and a fusible fleece for the stabilizer. For the base I used 3 layers of heavy felt, sandwiching the prongs of the purse feet with fabric glue between two of the felt layers.
It has become a tradition for me to make different bags each year for my daughter’s teachers. This Duncan Sling is a gift for her grade 3 teacher. This is my ‘New York State Roses‘ design in Coral and Sage, with a coordinating ‘Ocean Linen Blender‘ in Sage. This bag is constructed with Spoonflower Recycled Canvas for the exterior and the lining, with salvaged faux suede accents.
The Duncan Sling is a great bag to make for a special teacher. The bag measures about 11″ wide x 15″ tall, and has an adjustable strap that can be hooked to the right or the left. The main feature of the bag is the unique assembly of the front zipper pocket. There are some great sewing tutorials available on youtube that explain how to place the pocket. Speaking of pockets, this bag has seven!
I started by block fusing the fabric, reinforcing the exterior pieces with two layers of woven SF101 interfacing. I used a fusible fleece as stabilizer throughout. To prevent the recycled canvas from fraying, I used a dab of fabric glue when installing the magnetic snaps and rivets. I backed the hardware with extra scraps of fleece. I also used clips and quilters tape instead of pins. The whole bag was sewn on my vintage Pfaff 360. I switched from a universal to a denim needle for the final construction. From cutting to finishing the project took 3 work days.
This project was a bit daunting at first, but I’m really pleased with the way it turned out!
One tip for cutting this pattern with thick, slippery, block fused fabrics is to print the pattern pieces twice and glue both pattern sides together, using the whole pattern piece, instead of cutting along a fold.
I used my zipper foot to sew the gussets to the front and back panels, as well as the lining. I reinforced stress points with lots of back tacking. For the straps I used polyester webbing, and melted the ends using a match before sewing them in place.
The Duncan Messenger Sling is definitely a project that requires patience, but is totally worth the time, and a pleasure to sew.