The Bella Bag pattern is ready! You can finally buy it! Thank you all for your patience, support, encouragement, enthusiasm and for holding me accountable.
First, let me tell you what an adventure in procrastination this was. I decided to make this bag in March, right? So I asked Grandma G, my wonderful tester, if she'd be interested in testing a bag pattern for me and she said yes. Lovely. So I was all set. Then, immediately after making Sample #1, I was overcome by the urge to procrastinate. Nothing unusual, since this seems to be my modus operandi anyway. Except I procrastinated by making a completely new pattern - the Lunch Bucket - just to avoid making this one. It is a fact, people - when I am determined to procrastinate, I will stop at nothing to succeed at it, even if it means doubling my workload. So then I had to inform Grandma G that -guess what - she was not going to be making the bag she thought she was going to be making. Imagine her bewilderment when she discovered that she'd been had. Do you remember how I finally decided to get back to this pattern? By procrastinating sewing the dress-for-the-wedding. It seems that I don't get anything done around here unless it's by procrastinating at the expense of something else. Now, by that same rationale, I will probably finish that wedding dress the day before Halloween, just to avoid sewing costumes for the girls.
Just thought you'd like a look inside the mind of someone who's truly and incurably idiotic.
So anyway, let's talk about this pattern by interviewing myself:
I'd say people who are intermediate-ish. You don't need to be advanced. This is not a whip-up project because it has many parts, but it is not difficult. The pattern also has suggestions for ways to simplify the bag further (e.g. omit certain pockets). In addition, I explain a lot of things in this pattern, for example
- the difference between topstitching and edge-stitching,
- the anatomy of a pocket,
- the parts of a zipper and how to attach a zipper,
- how to construct a lapped zippered pocket,
- how to construct a zippered welt pocket,
- how to do a hem-facing trim,
- how to make and attach piping,
- how to insert a base sleeve,
- how to make those tubular straps.
Here is the list of skills you will need to already have in order to be comfortable with the pattern:
- Sewing straight seams
- Sewing curved seams
- Pressing - to open finished seams and fold in seam allowances
- Attaching straight edges to curved edges
- Snipping and notching seam allowances to reduce bulk
- Back-stitching (how to, why and where to use)
- Basting stitches (with sewing machine)
- Threading elastic through a fabric casing
- Attaching a zipper with a zipper foot (instructions will be provided, but previous experience is an advantage)
Q What special materials and equipment do you need?
No special equipment, other than your sewing machine, its regular presser foot and its zipper foot. You do not need a piping foot.
Here's the materials list (I highlighted in red, the materials I think might be a bit unusual):
- Home-DEC or similar-weight fabric for outer body and strap (1 yd).
- Home-DEC or similar-weight fabric for lining and pockets (facing and lining) (1 yd).
- Craft-weight/medium fusible interfacing (about 1/2 yd of 20” wide or wider).
- Coordinating cotton/home-DEC weight fabric for pocket facings and accent details: piping, trim, fabric stops etc (about 1/2 - 3/4 yd, depending on usage).
- Muslin/light cotton fabric for base sleeve, any color (this will be hidden), 14.5” x 16”.
- One 9" zipper and one 16" zipper
- Piping cord (about 2.5 yd, 1/4” wide).
- Drawstring cord (14” long, variable width).
- One button, about 2" diameter, but not smaller than 1.5”
- 1/8” piping for trimming outer pockets (1/2 yd) - can be bought from fabric stores or homemade.
- All-purpose polyester thread in coordinating colors for machine-sewing.
- Heavy-duty or topstitching thread for attaching the button by hand.
- Vinyl tubing: 3/8” outer diameter, 18” long; cut into two 9” lengths. This can be bought at hardware stores.
- Template plastic: 12” x 6” - a 12” x 18” piece from fabric stores can make 3 bags.
- Elastic: 2” wide 15 long”; cut into two 7.5” lengths. Stiffer elastic gives better results.
- Sticky tape for assembling template pieces.
Q Details, details - how many pages? What about photos? Are there templates?
There are 36 pages to this pattern - 1 cover page, 4 pages of full-size templates and 31 pages of instructions. There are about 70 full-color instructional photos and 12 hand-drawn illustrations. In addition to the templates, there are also instructions and dimensions for you to cut out the other required pieces, which are simple rectangles.
The file is about 18 MB. The pattern costs $12.
Q How big is the Bella Bag?
It is 15" wide, 13.5" high and 7" deep. The straps are 20" long.
Q And it's a pdf pattern, so the postman delivers it to my mailbox along with my bills and election flyers in 3-5 business days, right? Just like amazon?
SCREAM! NO! It's an instant pdf pattern so you get an email seconds after paying for it via paypal. The email contains a link which you click on to download the pattern file to your computer. The link has an expiration date so it's best to download it within a day or two after buying it. The link will also only work once, to prevent fraudulent downloads. If your computer hangs or the download crashes while downloading, clicking the link again will result in an error message, in which case simply email me and I'll either reactivate the link for you or get you the file some other way. Just make sure that
- you have decent internet speed (avoid dial-up modems),
- you have adobe reader or some other program that allows you to read pdf documents,
- you have a printer to print out the pattern.
You can read more of the technical stuff on this post about the Lunch Bucket Pattern or on the Patterns For Sale Page.
Just one more thing to say about this pattern. I mentioned that the pattern includes suggestions for variations on the design. This includes fabric choices - I've used as few as two or three in this bag
and as many as 13 in this one.
The pattern also suggests two different strap positions:
I tried out both positions while making my sample bags and I personally prefer the straps in position B. The photos in the pattern demonstrate position A but there are instructions for both in the pattern, so you can pick whichever you like.
Q Quit stalling already and tell us how to buy the pattern!
Okay, okay! Go to the Patterns For Sale Page and locate the Bella Bag pattern. Click on "Buy The Pattern" to go directly to the shopping cart page.
Now go over to see Grandma G's absolutely perfect Fireworks Bella Bag and read her review of the alpha version of this pattern.
In a couple of days I am going to have all the Bella Bags - including the Fireworks Bella Bag - listed in the shop. After looking into fees and other things, I've decided not to host the auction for the Orla Kiely Stem bag on ebay after all. I'll run a silent auction manually on etsy instead. More details to come in a later post. I've also received some pre-listing offers by email for some of those Bella Bags but as I hadn't decided on the specifics of the price/shipping/sale-vs-auction option, I haven't responded to any of you. I feel bad about people rushing to or stalking the store just to snag the bags because there will be some of you in some parts of the world who will be asleep (and thus disadvantaged) when the listings go live. I'll address this in that later post, too.
Again, thank you for your interest, patience and support through all these months of pattern-writing, sample-sewing and testing. I hope the wait has been worth it!