16 Feb


I made this bag for my sister last year. She’d been looking for something to carry to concerts that could be thrown in the washing machine to get rid of the smell of cigarettes. Since the need to think obsessively about the details of an object that may or may not commercially exist is apparently genetic, she also had a bunch of things in mind that this bag would have to possess. Pockets, both internal and external. With zippers. The ability to be both cross-body and shoulder. A flap top, but a zipper closure. A relatively low-profile body so that it could be packed for trips and carried at shows without smacking into the person standing next to her.

It quickly became obvious that she was never going to find the bag she’d designed in her head, so I offered to give it a go. She found a purse online with the rough shape and some details she liked, and I drew up a pattern.

At the time when I made the bag, the only other bags I’d ever made were a pair of travel bags. This meant there were a few seams that had to be meticulously ripped out when I started assembling things out of order, which is not unusual when I decide to make my own pattern for something that I don’t have a lot of practice making.

In the end, the bag came out pretty well. It’s been to countless concerts since I finished it.


My sister is/was quite pleased with it. So pleased, in fact, that she has asked me to make her a bigger version of it for everyday use. This has become my current project. Luckily, I learned a few lessons making the first one that I can use to make everything go more smoothly this time around.

For example, those rivets (actually just the top half of parka snaps) are virtually impossible to sew a straight line around once they’re attached. I won’t be putting those on until the detail pieces are sewn on, because I’d rather be hammering them on through an extra layer of fabric and interfacing than cursing at my sewing machine because none of the feet I have are narrow enough to go around them without catching.


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