Melly Sews Favorite Purse {and mine too!}

In July I visited Baltimore for work. The trip snuck up on me and backed right up to our annual trip to Asheville.

As usual, I had about a bajillion sewing projects running through my head that I was determined to make before leaving. At the top of the list was Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse. I knew this would be the perfect travel bag – it has ample pockets and is larger than my usual cross-body pattern.

And so, I spent the Friday evening before leaving for Baltimore cutting out and taping the paper pattern pieces followed by cutting the fabric. Since I wasn’t going to sew until Saturday, I pinned the paper pattern pieces to the fabric pieces so I could easily locate pieces for construction.

I had bought the pattern when Melly was running a killer sale for Memorial Day weekend (you should sign up for her newsletter so you can get in on those and see all the free patterns & tutorials she offers – and check out her blog).

I was feeling a little intimidated with all the zippers involved with constructing the Favorite Purse, but I’ve been practicing with simple zipper clutches lately (here’s my favorite tutorial!) and was feeling more confident.

Melly includes great instructions in her pattern with lots of helpful pictures.

I even learned how to make my own bias tape which was very exciting after I had looked at fabric shops to see if I could find a cute package of patterned bias tape a few weeks ago (in an effort to save time) and was super bummed to discover only solid colors 😦 I knew I wanted the main fabric to be solid for versatility, but wanted the bias tape to add a little pizzazz. So, I taught myself! It was much easier than I thought.

I’m really excited at how my bag turned out AND how it perfectly matches my Noodle Head Super Tote (which I used as my carry on bag).

favpurse

matching handmade bags for the WIN!

One thing to note about my version of the Favorite Purse is that I excluded the oval shaped side tabs. I had originally cut out the pieces and fully intended to add them (because they looked so cute!), but attaching the bias tape around the curved edges almost killed me. I had little time to spare so I just nixed them from my design (since they weren’t essential) and it turned out okay! 🙂

I also added a magnetic clasp to the front pocket (behind my label on the interior). I did not add a magnetic clasp to the back pocket (which looks the same as the front without a label) because it would be lying flat against me so would likely stay shut (and it did). I appreciated the back pocket not having a clasp because it actually made it more convenient for holding my plane tickets.

My zippers are a bit mismatched because I decided late Friday night that I’d spend the whole day Saturday constructing the purse. I knew if I went to the craft store for matching zippers in the morning, I’d be there for hours buying all sorts of other things and lose precious construction time. {I needed to be up early Sunday morning to drive to Charlotte to catch my flight. And I still hadn’t packed. Time was of the essence.}

The black zipper at the top is from The Zipper Shop on Etsy, the interior zipper (I used a 6 inch zipper and added fabric zipper tabs on each end so it fit the area I’d cut in the interior to attach) is from The Zipper Stop on Etsy, and the light blue zipper that you see on the front is a vintage zipper I picked up at an estate sale (never underestimate the goodies you can find at a garage or estate sale!).

On similar note, I recently ordered zippers from The Zipper Shop on Etsy. I love the selection and the quality of these zippers. The shop is located in North Carolina which also makes me happy (we Carolinas like to stick together 😉 #GeographyJoke) and the shop owner is super fast with shipping!

I just ordered these beauties and can’t wait to use them!

zipper

[Click the image to be taken to these zippers on Etsy]

I skipped making my own removable strap. Thanks to my obsession with vintage purses and the fact that many of them have removable straps (and my friend Emily who brings me straps she finds while thrifting!), I had a few on hand so I knew one was sure to work. I had a shorter leather luggage strap that Emily found a few months ago that worked perfect (thanks Emily!)! Since the bag is a good bit deeper than my usual cross-body bags + I’m a good bit shorter than the average person, this shorter strap was a life saver (because I couldn’t find an adjustable strap in my stash to match!).

Excluding the time it took to cut out and piece together the paper pieces (which wasn’t too bad) and cut the fabric pieces, the bag took a full day to construct (if you eliminate my coffee reheating breaks and a dinner break [yes, I forgot about lunch], it was probably close to 6-ish hours). That being said, it was totally worth it! I know I am going to get a lot of use out of this bag – it’s by far my most useful yet (because of all the pockets and the depth! It’s got the storage of a shoulder bag, but the comfortable wear and functionality of a cross-body bag…win!).

From the airport to the streets of the Inner Harbor (shopping, dining, sight seeing and wandering), this bag was perfect. It easily held all my necessities and even a few small souvenirs. It kept my plane tickets, room key, conference badge and other essentials organized and easily accessible so I wasn’t awkwardly digging around trying to find something when I needed it.

Oh, and here I am taking shameless elevator selfies after arriving to Baltimore {I just had to get an “in action” shot so you could see how fabulous this bag is!}:

travel bags

Matching handmade bags & my weirdest wolf shirt make for great travel attire 😉

Interested in making your own version of Melly Sews‘ Favorite Purse? Find the pattern here.

Advertisements

What I’m lovin’ in May

Today is the first of a recurring series I’m calling “What I’m lovin’!”.

Here’s how it works: On the last Friday of every month, I’ll share a list of all the things I’m lovin’ during the month.

I’m so excited to share this month’s with you – it gave me motivation to look past the 90 degree heat and thick humidity that has engulfed Columbia to see all there is to love about May!

may

1. Colorful, fresh produce is in season!

Last month, my family and I filled my grandparent’s garden with tiny plants that have blossomed and are now bearing fruit and vegetables for us to enjoy!

squash

Little baby butternut squash plant

First zucchini of the season from the family garden!

First zucchini of the season from the family garden!

lettuce

Fresh lettuce from my front yard garden 🙂

 

2. Workouts from Work Hard Eat Harder!

It’s just a bonus that my newest blogger obsession also happens to be a high school classmate of mine (so it’s verified: she’s pretty stellar).

The first workout of hers I tried was the 20 minute Treadmill Blast – and as a runner who completed a half marathon a few months ago I tell you..this was tough! But it left me wanting more! I also tried her Egg-o-cado recipe and have been making it several times a week as a post-workout breakfast – quick, easy & delicious!

My favorite workout so far is the Total Body Circuit – tried it with the Hubs and he also loved it!

totalbodycircuit

 

I love the combination of a workout + a recipe in Alex’s posts. She also includes links to videos that demonstrate some of the moves which is really helpful for the uncoordinated, clueless people of the world like me! There’s also very little (if any) equipment required so you can try these high intensity workouts wherever you are!

 

3. The Etsy #CraftParty is just around the corner! I’m helping some fellow crafty friends {Shanika of Life is Pichey & Emily from Butterfly Vintage} plan the event in Columbia! We’re so excited about it!

banner

If you’re wondering what the world it is, check out Etsy’s website for details about this international event. If you’re local, mark your calendar for June 6th from 6-9pm & come craft with us on the patio of First Citizens Cafe on Main Street – a block from the State House! Be sure to follow Columbia’s Etsy Market Team on Facebook for the latest event details and for all things crafty in Columbia!

 

4. The fabric on my new Super Tote bag!

Not only is the fabric sweet, the pattern (from Noodlehead) is stellar – classic and oh-so-useful! 

supertote

 

5. Roses are bloomin’ all over!

You may have seen my post at the beginning of the month about my Coretta Scott King rose bush so you know how much I love roses! Well, I’m happy to say that my rose bush is doing ok in my flower bed out front! My Gammy would be so proud! 🙂

rose

 

6. My Magic Bullet I’m really putting some miles on that thing!

If you’re in the mood for a smoothie, check out my latest Tasty Tuesday post for an easy-peasy, healthy recipe to keep you cool in the summer heat!

magic bullet

AND it’s my anniversary month!

What are you lovin’ about May?

 

 

Noodlehead Super Tote

Last week I fell in love with the functionality of Noodlehead’s Super Tote pattern & bought it. Best purchase of the week!

My sister has been asking me to make her a “teacher bag” for the longest time. I knew a “teacher bag” meant lots of space and lots of pockets so I’d been putting it off…until Sew Caroline’s Super Tote in progress on Instagram caught my eye. Now that looked like a bag big enough to function as a teacher bag, travel bag, conference tote, beach bag, diaper bag, cat carrier–oh, the possibilities!

So, I did what any trained researcher (#DataDiva) does and started stalking Noodlehead on all social media platforms (including browsing the #SuperTote hashtag on Instagram to see how other people’s version of the bag turned out). Upon my research I discovered this pattern would be well worth the $8 and moved forward with making this my next project.

It was nice to give my brain a rest from designing and just follow someone else’s pattern. I have been struggling with zippers and I really liked this bag’s recessed zipper — it might be my new solution to zipper-top bags!

I’m a very slow, methodical artist (but I heard that “Slow Design” is a real thing now so I’m in luck) so this bag took me two weekends to complete. I was also being very diligent about following the pattern (and taking breaks to reheat my coffee).

I started with cutting the pattern pieces and taping them together while watching TV with my Mom on Mother’s Day (I can’t sit still for very long so this was my best compromise to “relaxing together”).

Tip: Pin the paper pattern pieces to the cut fabric pieces to keep track of which pieces are what. This will save you time later when you’re shuffling around fabric pieces trying to figure out which one is the back exterior vs the front pocket.

I have a fabric hoarding problem that worked in my favor for this — I had enough fabric lying around to make a pairing that made me swoon!

fabric

The floral pattern fabric on the left is a vintage scrap from Butterfly Vintage. It matched perfectly with some mint upholstery fabric I picked up at Fabric 101‘s warehouse sale this past winter (I think I got a flat of almost 3 yards for $5! If you’re local to Columbia, keep up with them on Facebook so you’ll know when their next sale will be so you can stock up). The brown pattern fabric on the right is also from Fabric 101. I had intended to make curtains out of it for my kitchen, but as most of my fabric does, it became a bag instead.

label

Have you seen my new labels?! I’m slightly obsessed. A friend (and local machinist) makes them by etching my logo into metal scraps. Since the labels are metal now (instead of cloth), I have to hand stitch each one. They’re well worth the effort because they’re so chic!

Also obsessed with how perfect the mint accented the floral pattern! I decided to buy brown piping instead of attempting to make my own. Perhaps next time I’ll give it a try, but the store bought stuff gave the top of the front pocket a professional feel 🙂 I also used a magnetic clasp to hold the front pocket shut. The magnetic clasp and lining of the front pocket were optional, but I recommend both.

I had a hard time capturing pictures of the inside of my bag so you may want to refer back to Noodlehead’s post for better interior pictures of the pattern.

Here’s a shot of the inside of my Super Tote:

inside1

I used some light-weight pink cotton scraps for the interior pockets.

One thing that wasn’t clear in the pattern was whether top of the pocket fabric (over the elastic) should be laying flat or if it should be cinched. I stitched mine flat at first and went back and cinched it. I think the cinching was supposed to be implied, but I’m not great at reading between the lines 😉

super tote inside

See the pleats on the side? I love the feminine touch it gives the bag!

super tote pleated side

Until my dogs evolve to having opposable thumbs, I settle for the Hubs as my informal photographer. That being said, my photographer made sure to include my wolf shirt… (yes, I am way too old to own a wolf shirt from a tween clothing shop, but whatever. Sometimes you just need a wolf shirt).

super tote1I hope you like the bag! This pattern would make the perfect summer project! If sewing isn’t your thing, I am planning to make more to add to resliced’s shop on Etsy. If you’re interested in placing a custom order, you can do so on this page – we can work together to pick out colors and patterns for your Super Tote.