July 24, 2012

Satchel sewing pattern review

My mom, known to you guys as Grandma G, has made another bag! This is the "Too Cool for School Satchel" pattern from the book A Bag for All Reasons by Lisa Lam. The fabric is my Skiff print in Dawn. How fun is this? I'm always a sucker for hardware on handmade bags since it makes them look smart and professional.

Along with photos, Mum has provided a review of this pattern in case anyone else wants to give it a try. About this "Too Cool for School Satchel," she says:

This is a very cool bag, and it isn't as hard to make as it might look. Yes, there's a lot of fiddly work to it, with all the flap and strap tabs. They take some extra time and careful sewing to get the shape consistent, but they're not really difficult.

The hardest part was sewing around the curves, especially attaching the front pocket to its gusset, since there were a number of layers, and the curves were smaller than those on the main bag body. But again, it's just a matter of taking your time and sewing carefully to get a nice curve. I used binder clips to hold the thick layers of fabric together, which you can see in the photo, and that worked really well.

I'd recommend this pattern! The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and everything you need to know is included in the book. The hardware adds so much for making the bag look great. One thing I would note when buying the buckles is that Lisa's buckles have a little bar across the male end for threading the tab through with no sewing needed. The ones I used did not, so I had to stitch the tab down, though it's not a big deal... just something to be aware of. If I'd had enough rivets on hand, I would've used them instead of stitching. I did add rivets to the strap tab (which you can't see in the photo), as Lisa did on her bag.

I would change one thing if I were to make the bag again. When carrying the bag, it tends to pivot at the points where the strap is attached, so it leans forward or backward. I think I would attach the tabs closer to the top of the gusset, even though all the satchels of any kind I've seen in photos online have the tabs lower like that. Maybe there's something else that would keep the bag from leaning one way or the other? Any ideas?

28 comments:

  1. Wow, I feel the urge to run out and get the same pattern and fabric! It's so beautiful!

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  2. Lovely bag! I've got a suggestion for your Mom and strap attachment: use some nice heavy swivel snap clip hardware on the strap and D rings on the sides of the bag, that will let the bag hang straight down as you bend forward and backward.

    Here's are some pictures of what I'm talking about in this gallery on my website:
    http://www.candiedfabrics.com/gallery/everyday-art/?album=4&gallery=14

    I love the functionality of this detail!

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  3. Go for it, Mama Saartje!! ;)

    Thanks for the tip, Candied Fabrics! I'll check that out!

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  4. I am loving the tip on the binder clips! This bag looks intimidating to me...but i am a beginner, so... great job, Grandma G!

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  5. What a beautiful sewing job, Grandma G! I'm another Grandma G, but the gkids call me Momo. I love making bags of all kinds and I use D rings a lot also.

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  6. Grandma G, nice work, AGAIN! You're some kind of bag-making machine. Do you know I still don't have my Two-Zip Hipster yet?! Although I must add that's my fault because I only just got hold of the antique brass zips I wanted...

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  7. So cute! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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  8. Hardware makes the bag really special. I'm very impressed!

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  9. I just ordered that book. The satchel is really cute, and it looks like a good size. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Your mum is an inspiration!!!!
    Whish I could sew like that!!

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  11. This bag is adorable! I think I will need to make one before the semester starts!

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  12. Really a great looking bag. I also love the fabric tons!

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  13. I absolutely love the fabric and the bag! Such a fun project!

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  14. Omgosh. I have had a bag saved on my desktop that I wanted to make but never wanted to tackle making the pattern. This is it! I ran out and got the book yesterday{happy dance!}
    The only thing now is....my fabric is one direction so I need to figure out how I want to handle that back/ front flap piece.
    Thanks for always inspiring!

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  15. Thank you, everyone for your lovely comments... you make my day!!

    Nina... *sigh* ;) Okay, no more excuses now! I want to see that bag completed! I know it'll be a winner!

    Aubrey... the 'Skiff' in this bag is one-directional, too. I also wondered how best to do the back/flap, but I think this is okay. Depends on your fabric design. Take note about the gussets, though... you'll need to make sure that both sides go the same direction. My gusset has a seam in the center of the bottom (which I confess came about because of a happy accident!). Good luck with the bag... hope you'll love it!

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    1. Thank you so much for the tips! My fabric is VW bug cars....so I am wondering about cutting the fabric right where it will fold down for the flap and turning the fabric around. Maybe top studying the seam? To make it look okay?
      I think yours turnedbout great and I love how you used the red!

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    2. *top stitching....hopefully no one will be studying it! ;)

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    3. I think that's a good idea... about all you can do, really. And thanks! :)

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  16. It's beautiful!! That page is flagged in my copy of the book. But it did seem a little daunting. Glad to hear it's worth it. I'll tackle it in the winter when I'm stuck inside and snowbound :)

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  17. Your mom's such a pro ! I love to see all her sewn things :)

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  18. Fantastic job GG! The bag looks great and the colors are perfect for summer.

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  19. Well, I must add my two cents worth here. This bag is EVEN BETTER in real life. How do I know this? Because it belongs to me! Yippee!! It is impeccably made by the fabulous Grandma G and of course the fabric choice could not be better. You two are an unbeatable combination. I feel very fortunate to be the owner of this awesomely amazing bag!

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  20. Cindy, you are so sweet! It was fun seeing a couple pictures from when you and Mark visited the farm!

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  21. Had to re-sew my man bag but got inspired and I'm totally going to sew him a new one tomorrow!

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  22. Impressive !!!!!I feel the urge to run out and get the same pattern and fabric!
    have you these designs bags in multi colors in here...
    buy and sell

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  23. stunning bag-I love the fabric! I'm half way through making the same satchel but I am really struggling to get a good shape on the flaps and strap loops-any tips? I've made 3 sets now but I am still not happy with them!

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  24. Thank you, Nick. About all I can say is to sew the curves slowly and as carefully as you can. Even then it's hard to get the curves nice and smooth after you turn them right side out. I wasn't that pleased with how mine turned out, either, to be honest, although they don't look too bad in the photos. Because of the thickness of those seams, it's hard to get the topstitching even, also. Good luck!

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