Denim + Leather Messenger Bag

I’m back with another Pattern Parcel…. #7. This time, it’s the handbag edition. There’s a great roundup of handbags for you in this parcel. I’ve been eyeing that Betty Bowler for a while and can’t wait to try it out! I really wanted to try it for this post but I didn’t have the necessary hardware and have not had time to get to the store to get it.

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Parcel #7 includes:

Barcelona Bag and Wallet by Pat Bravo
Butterfly Sling Purse by Emmaline Patterns
Evelyn Hangbag by ChrisW Designs
Midtown Messenger Bag by Betz White
Betty Bowler by Swoon Sewing Patterns
BONUS PATTERN: Daphne Bag by Clover & Violet

A reminder about Pattern Parcel– You name your own price for the parcel and if you choose $32 or more you get to unlock the bonus pattern. I love the mission behind this parcel- a percentage of your payment goes straight to Donor’s Choice and helps provide educational tools and supplies to needy classrooms. It’s so cool to be able to support indie designers while also giving to those in need.

denim messenger (1 of 6)

I chose the Midtown Messenger Bag by Betz White for my pattern. I took the opportunity to make something for my husband. It’s fairly rare that I sew for him so I try to make up for it when I can! He’s very supportive of all my sewing craziness so he deserves something in return.

denim messenger (5 of 6)I knew he would like this messenger bag and could use it for work, but I would need to re-think it in more manly terms. I decided to use this heavy weight denim as the accent fabric and had a lightbulb moment when I realized I could use the wrong side of the denim for the main fabric. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would turn out but as soon as I got the flap sewn together, I knew this was going to be a winner! I just love the end result and it’s exactly my husband’s style.denim messenger (4 of 6)

A few modifications:

  • I used real leather for the flap accent. (from some assorted scraps sent to me by my good friend, April. Thanks April! So sweet of her to share.) The pattern calls for the front flap to be pieced together, but I chose to cut out the flap in one piece from the denim and then just sew the leather on top. I wanted that look anyway, and I was afraid piecing the leather would end up with some wonky sewing.
  • I did not interface the outer pieces because the denim is such a heavy weight that I didn’t think it would need it.
  • I didn’t use the tuck catches for the front closure. Mainly because I didn’t have any on hand. It’s not essential that this bag has a front closure because of the inner zipper, but I would eventually like to add some sort of closure.

This was my first experience sewing with leather and it went fairly smoothly. Because so many of the pieces used batting and there were bulky seams, I used my walking foot for the entire construction (sans the zipper install) and I think that helped a ton. I just sewed very slowly and carefully and did not end up with any huge issues.denim messenger (3 of 6)

The lining fabric is an Amy Butler print I had on hand that I actually had set aside for something for the boys but it went so well with the denim that I sacrificed it for the cause. This bag is the perfect size for my husband’s laptop. (mine is shown because he was at work when I took pictures) It also has a padded inner pocket that’s a great size for a tablet. I really like all the pockets included in this bag pattern. You can never have too many pockets in my opinion!denim messenger (6 of 6)

A note about this pattern: It ends up with a really professional finished product, but you definitely put the time into it! This is not a quick sew. Before you even get to the sewing there’s a bajillion pattern pieces to cut out- it might rival the cargo duffle for most pattern pieces! However, if you are willing to put the time into it, you can end up with such a fun bag at the end that I totally think it is worth it. The instructions and diagrams are very helpful and made the process as pain-free as possible. Just queue up a good movie or tv series of choice and have a cutting and sewing marathon! (FYI If you like BBC shows, I just discovered Lark Rise to Candleford on Amazon Prime and am loving it! Made the cutting time fly by.)

denim messenger (2 of 6)I think this parcel is a great idea for any who are thinking of doing handmade gifts for Christmas. There’s options for both the guys and girls on your list! I think both the Betty Bowler and this Messenger Bag are good guy patterns.  Remember this is available as a bundle for 2 weeks and then it’s gone.

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Pattern Parcel 6: Women’s Clothing

I don’t know about y’all, but I was so excited to find out there was another women’s clothing pattern parcel! Jill did such a great job coordinating a diverse selection of women’s patterns. Here’s the patterns offered in this parcel:Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

  •  Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl (exclusive release!)
  • Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren
  • Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
  • Hudson Pant by True Bias
  • Zsalya Dress by Kate and Rose
  • BONUS PATTERN: Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll

Great, right? We were encouraged this time around to mix and match the garments so that y’all could see how versatile and practical the patterns are. Well I’m not sure how good a job that I did on that, but I really can see how many of these patterns would work well together. I chose to make the Hudson pants and Julia cardigan- both of which have been on my to-make list for a while.

pattern parcel  (2 of 9)

Before I begin with the pants, let me bemoan the lack of proper knits in my area! Really, it’s just so sad. I dragged both boys with me to the 2 big box fabric stores in town to see if I could find anything- and after several hours of searching: nothing! The only non-polyester option I could find was this 1×1 rib knit. I think this knit is quite a bit stretchier than the pattern recommends so that comes into play with my sizing issues mentioned below. I ordered some french terry online this week to have more options in future knit garments. I know I’m picky when it comes to fabric, but is it too much to ask for some quality knit fabrics available locally? If I’m going to put all that effort into clothing, I want it to last and wear well! Why, oh why do I not live in Portland? Sigh. Ok rant over. 😉

pattern parcel  (3 of 9)I measured in between the 6 and the 8 and ended up going with the 6 because I knew this is a generous fit pant. They actually ended up being just a little big, but I think that may have been due to my overly-stretchy rib fabric. I’m going to try them again in my french terry and see if that fit is better. The legs weren’t too big- just a relaxed fit look, but I had some funny wrinkles in the front crotch area. Also, I must have ridiculously small ankles because I ended up having to cut 4 inches off the cuff width to make them fit! I ended up taking the legs in a bit too so that the leg opening would fit into the cuff. I started out 1/4″ smaller at the top of the leg and gradually angled down to about 1.5″ at the bottom. That made the pants end up just a bit snug in the legs but I think they’re actually super comfy that way so i’m happy.

pattern parcel  (4 of 9)This is my first pair of pants that I’ve made and I’m so happy with them. Can’t believe I actually made pants! Even if they are sweatpants, I still think it’s pretty cool. Kelli does a great job with this pattern in walking you through the construction so in my opinion, they come together pretty quickly and easily, especially if you use your serger for most of the construction which I did.

pattern parcel  (1 of 9)I also made the Julia cardigan. I made a medium and used some tissue weight knit that  I bought from Wanderlust Fabric. I chose the 3/4 length sleeves with the doubled over collar version. The hardest thing about this cardigan was cutting out the fabric. Because I used a thin knit, it was very shifty and I took a long time to make sure it was cut out straight and on grain. The knit itself is a good quality knit even though it’s thin so I am pleased with the end result.

pattern parcel  (9 of 9)The pattern is very straightforward and comes together pretty quickly. The only thing I would prefer is a few more notches on various pieces (especially the collar) to help match everything up easier. I didn’t end up with any problems so it’s not a huge deal, just a personal preference.pattern parcel  (8 of 9)

I did make a few modifications. First, I shortened the collar piece along the bottom front and back area. I cut half the length off the back piece (about 3″) and angled the front pieces down gradually to meet that piece. I like my 3/4th length cardigans on the shorter side so that’s why I made the alteration.  I also tapered the sleeve in a bit and took a few inches off the cuff as Hayley recommends in the pattern instructions if you want a snugger fit in the sleeve. pattern parcel  (6 of 9)

It’s so fun to increase your sewing knowledge to where you feel comfortable making changes to patterns to fit you perfectly! I am looking forward to making another one of these cardigans in a heavier weight knit and long sleeves. One more item of clothing that  I can now make instead of buy. Cha-ching!pattern parcel  (7 of 9)

I really like this collection of patterns because they are a great collection to be able to mix and match for your wardrobe. I can’t wait to have time to make up a few more of these patterns. Here’s my version of the two pieces matched together. They don’t mesh super well because I couldn’t find a good t-shirt to wear underneath the cardigan. With the right shirt, I could totally see pulling these two pieces off together! Maybe as an excuse to wear the sweatpants to the grocery store or something?! pattern parcel  (5 of 9)

This parcel, like usual, is only available as a group for two weeks so go get it while you can! Make sure you check out the IG hashtag #patternparcel for more ideas from these patterns. Full disclosure: I was provided with these patterns in return for blogging about them but all opinions are, as always, my own.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Perfect Pattern Parcel #4: Small Fry Skinny Jeans

Pattern Parcel #4

You know my passion is sewing for boys, right? So I was super excited to see that the newest Pattern Parcel is all about boy patterns! Jill has done a great job curating a selection of boy patterns for us to enjoy.

Pattern Parcel #4 includes:
Maxwell Top by Shwin Designs
Zippy Jacket by Blank Slate Patterns
Schoolboy Vest by Sew Much Ado
Small Fry Jeans by Titchy Threads
Jet Pack Bag by Betz White

small fry skinny jeans (6 of 10)

I picked the small fry skinny jeans from this parcel to sew. Oliver is in dire need of pants for the fall and this is the perfect style for him. Mr Skinny Self looks great in a pair of skinny jeans! Unfortunately he was not digging this photoshoot but I bribed him into the outfit by pulling out the Captain America tank I bought him for next summer and telling him they were superhero pants 😉 Worked like a charm.

small fry skinny jeans (1 of 10)

I sacrificed a pair of my husband’s pants for this. He bought them on clearance a while back but never wears them because the red was just a little too much for him. But red pants on my 3 year old- way awesome. I reused a lot of the pieces too: seam-ripped the waistband and belt loops and cut them down to size. I also added the leather piece from the original pants to the back waistband which I think is fun.

small fry skinny jeans (9 of 10)

small fry skinny jeans (10 of 10)

Pattern Notes: I made the 2T and added 2″ to the hem so that he won’t grow out of them so soon. I would normally cuff the hem up so they’re not so baggy in the legs but that looked funny with his tennis shoes so I just left them alone. Next time I’m going to size up to the 3 because the pants are a wee bit tight. The other pair I made him still fit great so it must be that the twill doesn’t have as much give as the denim does. I didn’t do the adjustable elastic because I didn’t have any and was too lazy ran out of time to make my own. Instead I sewed the elastic in place on one side, pulled it through the waistband, then tried the pants on for fit before sewing the elastic down on the other side.

small fry skinny jeans (8 of 10)As I mentioned last time I made these pants, they are labor intensive. But having a pair to reference makes the sewing go a lot quicker! I was able to finish these in one night- I might have had a bit of a sewing marathon and stayed up way too late but still, not too shabby. And I love how professional the finished result is.

small fry skinny jeans (4 of 10)

Side note: I was provided with these patterns in exchange for sewing from them for the blog hop but I actually previously bought the jeans pattern so I already owned this one. All opinions are, as always, my own. You can see my original pair of jeans here.

small fry skinny jeans (3 of 10)

Click on the button below to take you to the info page where you can purchase this bundle for yourself! It’s only available through this Friday so don’t wait too long!

Buy Pattern Parcel #4

About Pattern Parcel:
Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we’ve raised $9,800 towards eliminating educational inequality.
Bonus pattern option:
Choose a price of $26 or greater for Parcel #4 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is Knight Hoodie by Charming Doodle. This pattern is a unique and fun spin on the traditional hoodie. Thorough instructions and pictures help you create an amazing and memorable hoodie that will inspire creativity in your little one.
small fry skinny jeans (7 of 10)Here’s the schedule for all the other talented bloggers following along with this blog hop. Make sure to go check them out to see how they interpreted these patterns and for some inspiration in boy sewing!

Friday, August 22 casa crafty || Lulu & Celeste || Keep Calm and Carrion

Saturday, August 23 Max California || Amanda Rose

Sunday, August 24 little betty sews

Monday, August 25 Kadiddlehopper || Radiant Home Studio

Tuesday, August 26  La Pantigana || Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts || Friends Stitched Together

Wednesday, August 27 Make It Perfect || Modern Handmade || GYCT Designs

Thursday, August 28 Needle and Ted || Mae & K || Mimi’s Mom

Friday, August 29 Pienkel || Once Upon a Sewing Machine || Friends Stitched Together

Saturday, August 30 FABulous Home Sewn || Gray Skies || The Crazy Tailor

Sunday, August 31 Nine Stitches || Max California || Oliver’s Fancy || Friends Stitched Together

Monday, September 1 a happy stitch || lady and the gents || Our Family Four || Swoodson Says

Tuesday, September 2 verypurpleperson || Things for Boys || The Crazy Tailor

Wednesday, September 3 Our Family Four || Rebekah Sews || a happy stitch

Thursday, September 4 Sew a Straight Line || la inglesita || Made by Sara || Knot Sew Normal

Friday, September 5 Knot Sew Normal || Gracious Threads || Sofilantjes || Max California