This week I made this bag and I love it!
First of all, the fabric is FANTASTIC. This is a brown wool tweed with lots of flecks of various colors. It came from Mill End Store and was labeled Betsy Johnson. Besides selling fabric like any other fabric store, one of the things the Mill End Store does is buy left-over fabric from designers.
The way I understand it, the owner goes to NY regularly and visits showrooms to purchases fabric the designers no longer need. Maybe their collection is done, or it was just for testing, or whatever. Some of the left-overs end up in Portland, where I do my best to snatch them up. I bought what they had left of this wool because I loved it so much.
The last time I sewed this bag, I was having printer problems and didn't print out the pages for the pattern pieces. It wasn't difficult to use the measurements for the pieces provided and the cutting diagram, but I did have to go back and forth a lot trying to remember the lengths I was supposed to be measuring. Oh short term memory, where have you gone?
Then, even though I put a scrap of paper with the letter on top of the pieces, it got confusing trying to keep them straight! The scrap of paper would get blown around, and they were just so small I had to really LOOK hard to figure out what was what.
So this time, I made chip board pattern pieces:
To make this bag it only cost $9 in fabric + $4 for notions! That doesn't include my time, but the supplies cost was very reasonable for a bag. Making it in wool and using canvas for the lining meant it didn't need to be interfaced, so that reduced cost and cut my sewing time in half.
If I were selling this bag, I'd definitely make it in wool or canvas/home dec weight fabric. It takes too many supplies to make it from quilting cotton to make it profitable. But in a heavier fabric with a higher perceived value than quilting cotton you could sell these and make some money. It's a sweet bag, very useful, and the clean style works for both women and men.
For this bag, I didn't use a zipper on the top.
I used this bag several times this summer, and never zipped up the top. So this time I just skipped the top zip. If you want to do this too, cut all pieces EXCEPT the 2 lining pieces G, and then just make the bag without the zipper. Super easy and it worked out perfectly since the top 2" of the lining matched the exterior. I like bags like that.
The strap was made using two pieces of fabric 2" wide and then turned using this strap turning method. It works great--even on a super long strap like this and with thick fabric.
The key is to get it started some by hand and then be GENTLE turning. When the fabric gets bunched in the tube is when the problems start, so just be diligent about not allowing any bunching. I know, I know...easy to say, hard to do. But it is possible.
I used the black plated slide and rectangle ring set for this bag: