I feel a little greedy to admit that most of my sewing is Selfish Sewing. Sure, my mom gets blouses and dresses, Adam got a Newcastle cardigan, my girlfriends are getting quilts (oh yeah, and then there’s all the sewing and knitting I’m gifting for my wedding that are still in progress). Hmmm… Maybe I’m not so selfish. That’s a nice realization! To celebrate Selfish Sewing Week, I was given the Betty Bowler bag pattern by Swoon and promptly sewed it up for myself! Proudly selfish on this make!
I love the fun shape and perfect size of this bag (yes, I like big bags and I cannot lie). The vintage-y shape seemed like the perfect use of this gorgeous pink and green floral barkcloth that I had in my stash. It was clearly once a pair of curtains and had snags, stains, and fading. But boy-oh-boy does it make a great bag! The striped handle is a heavy twill that is again from my stash and destined to someday be a pair of pants. I lined it in the leftovers from my pink and green floral ceylon. There is supposed to be a contrast panel in the center of the bag but I opted to leave it off so that I could show off as much of the great barkcloth as I could.
This was the first really structured bag that I’ve made and it called for a heavy iron-in fusible interfacing as well as iron-in fleece. Of course, being a
rational obsessed sewist, I opted to buy bolts of both instead of just the yardage I need. So, hopefully some more bag making is in my future! If you make this bag, do NOT scrimp on the interfacing. It really does need all of the layers to keep it structured. I thought that I could get away with one less layer because I used a barkcloth instead of a lightweight cotton like the demo bag, but it really would be one notch better with that final layer of interfacing.
I first sewed the bag with pink topstitching all over. And then I added a second layer of topstitching because the first just wasn’t working and I thought that a second would make it pop more. Bad idea. Hopefully this is the only time I will ever have to say that I like something better without pink topstitching. I ended up ripping apart the whole bag (including an already cut welt pocket for the zippered pocket!) and re-sewing it with off-white thread to match the barkcloth. I’m SO glad that I took the extra time to do so, because I knew it would drive me crazy and I’d never quite be happy with what should otherwise be an awesome bag. But man did that involve a lot of seam ripping!
A new-to-me idea that I encountered in sewing this bag is to take two pieces of fusible interfacing, sew them together fusible sides out, and then place them at the bottom of the bag. Then you insert the lining and fuse the lining to the bag by ironing it down. Great idea, right? Super sturdy bottom, lining always in the right place, win! And it was kinda fun to set my iron inside of my bag :)
For the front zippered pocket, I used a scrap of quilting cotton that was my grandmother‘s. I don’t know the age of the fabric, but I do know that it makes me think of her when I use the pocket.
Thanks to Rachael for including me in Selfish Sewing Week. See all of the awesome makes and join in with your own at Kollabora. There’s a giveaway for a ton of great patterns as part of SSW, so get in on that action, too!