Confident BeginnerA Jack of no Trades
Sandra Saddle Bag
MAN, are the days going by fast over here at Chez Natasha. Wake up, eat, work, sew, sleep, repeat and then BAM, two weeks have gone by.
Last winter, my parents were in-town for a few months hanging out in the cold Vancouver weather and doing some bits and bobs around my house (cough renovating my entire kitchen cough). Each day my parents would arrive, my mother would bring this sad little zipper side purse, filled to the brim with all of the things a mother stuffs into a purse, and it hurt my heart. That poor, little, dated zipper bag; why was it still a thing? It was 2016 and my mother needed a new purse. Boy bye black zipper bag.
I sent her two links: Swoon Patterns and Fabric Spot and said BUILD YOURSELF A BAG.
Editor’s note: at the time this was not a real thing, but daaaaayyyyuum did you guys know that Dinkydoo Fabrics now sells canvas?! Very into it (although my credit card is very not into it).
Anyways, being the smart and stylish woman that my mamacita is, she chose a delightful little purse pattern and canvas from the gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. collection (like mother like daughter AMIRITE PEOPLE)
And poof! A bag was made.
Juuuust kidding fam, that’s not how sewing works!
The pattern is the Sandra Saddle Bag by Swoon Patterns, and it is part of their vintage collection. The bag is a little guy, coming in at 9″ wide, 9.5″ tall, 3.75″ deep, but it still has a surprisingly vast storage space. The exterior contrast fabric used was Rosa Canvas by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton + Steel Les Fleurs Collection. For the exterior main fabric, I used the same vinyl/pleather from my Cooper backpack, which was purchased at Dressew in Vancouver. The interior was some mysterious shiny black stuff from my ever growing fabric stash (my mom wasn’t too fussy about the lining fabric). The bag hardware is from Emmaline Bags, which I cannot recommend enough. Girl, have you seen their copper bag hardware yet? I need that in my life.
This pattern is fairy straight forward, but I did make some alterations because that is who I am and ain’t nobody can rule me. The materials needed in this pattern only say 1/2 yard exterior fabric, but I wanted to have a contrasting moment like in the pattern photograph, so I kind of guessed around how much of each material I would need. Do I remember what I guessed? Absolutely not, what do you think I am a blogger or something? I purchased a meter (canadian hollaaahhh) of the canvas, and had <em>a lot</em> left over to make a few other projects. With that said, I laid out my exterior pattern pieces and decided whether or not I wanted them in vinyl or canvas and made my adjustments from there. Finally, I opted not to do the zipper pocket inside the bag. NOT THAT I COULDN’T DO IT or anything, you know, whatever. LEAVE ME ALONE WITH MY TALENTS.
For how scary it may seem to new bag makers, I actually loved working with this vinyl. You just have to know in your heart that you are doing the right thing, cutting the right piece, and sewing in the correct place, as it is as unforgiving as Aunt Gladys. Was that a joke? I don’t know. I’ve only had one cup of coffee today guys.
Anyways, as you can see above, on all of the pieces that were cut on the fold, I added the opposite side from loose paper to trace out the full pattern piece. Then, I placed them onto my vinyl using my DIY pattern weights and cut the whole lot out. I wasn’t going to fuss around with folding and wishing for the best, and this way made it mucho easy-o. Then it was time to interface everything, and boy golly do I mean everything.
The instructions for this pattern are very simple to follow. I know this still happens for me almost every time I sew, but it is truly crazy to have a stack of fabric and then all of a sudden you throw on some brass hardware and a few top stitching lines and you have a god damn bag. A bag people! Sewing is true magic and I am kween witch baybayyys.
Progress shooottttsss. progress shoooottttts. look at those dang progress shooottts.
Alright, you didn’t think this was going to be all roses and pie slices over here, did you? I did run into some snags creating the strap for this little guy. Issue one: deeefffs ran out of vinyl without even thinking that I had to make straps. To combat that, I did half canvas and half vinyl, and used interfacing on the connecting stitch lines to help them stay together. I think it looks pretty cute, and is a great way to get around this, er, totally unpreventable issue. Issue two: Sewing, what ends up being around like 6-8 folds of vinyl together is basically equivalent to dying, being reborn, and dying again over and over again for the rest of eternity. Hot diggity dog, was that way harder than I planned for.
I think next go around, I will a. probably do more research into making vinyl straps (books r good) and b. up my needle and thread game to ultimate fighter mode to battle through those layers of thick fabric. The end result is definitely not perfect, but I have give up perfection in sewing a looooonnnggg time ago.
And there you have it! A real bag! If you were curious, my mom absolutely loves it and everywhere she goes she tells people, ‘my daughter made me this bag’. Now, I just need to fill that bag with Confident Beginner business cards and then BOOM! WE’RE IN THE SHMONEY MAKING BUSINESS. 🤑💸🤑💰🤑
P.S. If you are sad for my mom because she didn’t get a zippered pocket, don’t you worry. She got a little detachable zippy bag because I know what being a daughter is alll about.