Although the part of the process that includes drafting and cutting the pattern pieces, cutting fabric, and interfacing everything should not be underestimated. Especially, if you — like me — are not really that used to making bags. The bag is big with a nice rounded shape, it has three pockets on the inside, and it hangs nicely on your shoulder. Before I started it, I checked the internet for good advice and I found a few helpful resources. This photo tutorial over at Indie House was great for just looking through the project before starting my own.
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It felt so great to finish a project! Little sessions at the machine interspersed with reality. The Birdie Sling by Amy Butler is a fun design. This is a very simple pattern to make and I highly recommend it for beginning sewists. Very useful bag making techniques that are easy to accomplish make the process enjoyable. A few thoughts: I used a directional fabric for the straps.
This required me to alter the pattern by adding a seam at the top of the strap. I just cut out 4 of Pattern Piece A and sewed them together to form the pair. The instructions call for some very intense interfacing. I followed the directions and interfaced both sides of the straps and the upper bands with fusible. Same for the pockets. I deviated from the instructions and used a woven, sew-in interfacing for the both the lining and the exterior. The drape of the Echino linen is way too beautiful to ruin.
If I make this pattern again I would consider dropping the sew-in interfacing for the exterior. The instructions specify fusible fleece for the lining interfacing and fusible for the exterior. The band has the wrong orientation in the pattern even though the written instructions are correct. The curved gussets were a new technique for me. It adds a jaunty shape to the bag bottom, very fun. I found pinning and sewing the handles to be fussy.
I skimmed the reviews at Pattern Review and took the suggestion to add a magnetic snap to the band. It was good practice for figuring out my buttonhole foot and I like the stability it adds to the fastener installation.
Next time I would hand stitch the opening on the handle closed before topstitching. I slip stitched it closed after topstitching but it never looks as nice doing it after the fact.
A or greater sized Topstitching needle is a must have. There are a LOT of intense layers to sew through when finishing the bag handles and band. I also sewed the entire bag with my walking foot attached to the machine.
Be sure to have matching thread on hand for all of your fabrics. There are steps where stitches will show on all fabrics. Now off to try and get the next project on track!
The Birdie Sling Bag – PDF Sewing Pattern
This is the first bag I have ever made, and apart from starting a basic quilt and never finishing it! Great for beginners. Modern styling and dynamic proportions will make this one of your favorite carry-all bags! If I were to make this bag again, I would maybe just use designer fabric for the outside and use cheaper fabric for the lining, or even just use cheaper fabric for all of it. Having never made a bag before, I was extremely pleased with the result. The pattern was extremely easy to follow and even though I have never sewn pleats or gussets, with the help of the instructions I managed to!
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