Monday, May 5, 2008

Chelsea Bag

I meant to make this bag to use as a lunch bag. I didn't want it to be too girly so my husband could use it too but it turned out to be too narrow to put plastic containers in so I may modify this pattern later on to use as a lunch bag. However, I really like the way it turned out for general use and even as a purse it actually looks really nice. It's really easy to toss stuff in and it doesn't require as much digging as my purse does to find things again.

I used Amy Butler's Chelsea Bag pattern (I have a lot of Amy Butler's patterns I can't wait to make) and Heather Bailey's Freshcut paisley fabric for the exterior and some dark denim for the interior. I used the "low carb" Timtex I bought on Ebay a while back to make it nice and stiff. This was my first time using it and it was surprisingly easy to use. I guess it is no longer in production and is pretty difficult to find so I'm glad I invested in a whole roll. This was also kind of a practice project for the Weekender of Sophie bag I plan to make soon. At first I was concerned the Timtex wouldn't lay flat as it was curled from being on the roll, but it pressed flat with the steam iron very easily. The only hard part with it was at the end when the whole bag was constructed and I was topstitching around the handles. I didn't know how to handle the bulk of the bag inside the sewing machine.

The stitching around the handles looks rather messy. If I make one again and I probably will, I will probably use a different technique on the handles and eliminate all the basting stitches around the handles. I think it would be better to cut out the Timtex for the handles without basting the fabric in place, folding the fabric over to the inside and securing with some kind of fabric glue or lightweight double side fusible interfacing of some sort. So that when you put the exterior and interior lining together, you can have just one uniform top stitching around the handles.

Another thing I might do on the next bag is put some kind of hard interlining around the handles for more support like the template plastic used in Amy Butler patterns for the bag's false bottom. I think that would keep the handles from getting crinkled and disfigured when there's heavier things in the bag like my camera. (Note to self - I need to find some kind of small camera bag pattern).


  1. cute bag; that paisley print is darling. i solved the handle problem by making 'windows' using silk organza, as if i was making a large bound buttonhole. i put step by step photos in my review.

    your sewing machine looks just like mine.

  2. Cute bag and that fabric is delish!

    I keep meaning to make a camera case too. I have a few tutes bookmarked:

    Pink Penguin's super simple camera case (Especially love this one)

    Mellebug & Me's soft pouch

    Lauren Hunt's simple camera case

    Sew-Mad's custom camera cosy

    Good luck!

  3. What a great pattern, I must try and get hold of it soon, I see some lovely pressies being made!

    I also love your choice of fabrics.