I had the pleasure of testing the Campfire Messenger Bag pattern for Anna Graham before I went to QuiltCon and I love how it turned out! This pattern is the March bag for the Bag-of-the-Month club over at Sew Sweetness. Sara has a stellar set of bag designers lined up and it's a great value if you like making bags (and you guys know I do ;-). I think it will be available as a stand alone pattern from Anna in the summer (July-ish).
So this is a cross-body style messenger bag that finishes at about 9"x12"x2.5" - it's a good size to use as a purse, hiking bag or even camera bag. It uses Soft & Stable on the body so it's a nice sturdy bag and seems like it would provide some protection if you did want to use it for camera stuff. Aside - am I fooling myself here thinking that anyone still carries around a camera? I know I've pretty much gone to iPhone photos except for blog posts which I mostly shoot at home. Just curious.
Back to the bag, it has great pockets (I love pockets - the more the better) as well as an inset zipper on the front which is nice if you want to keep anything really safe. I love the binding closure around the top edges too - so much easier than turning a bag inside out, plus that additional pop of color looks great. This pattern is fairly involved but none of the steps are difficult, you just need to be organized.
Which leads me to this: I write the name, size and what I need to cut for each piece on a sticky note and keep it on top of the pieces as I work. I can't finish a project like this in one sitting thanks to child, dinner, laundry, life - you get the idea - so this helps me keep everything straight in between working on it. I would also say make sure you read through all the steps and can visualize what you're doing. Each step is building one part and if you understand that part and go slowly you'll be amazed at how well your bag turns out. I try and break up the steps like this:
Day 1 - iron and cut out all fabric pieces
Day 2 - cut out all interfacing pieces
Day 3- Fuse/baste all interfacing to fabric
Remaining Days: Bag assembly
That's just what works for me - if you have the uninterrupted time to sit down and sew then yay for you and I'm a little jealous.
I changed very little from the original pattern - I left the top zipper off, I just find I never zip them and they scratch my arm while I'm inevitably digging around for something (totally personal preference). I moved my snap tabs up slightly (about a half inch) from Anna's placement because I know I'm going to jam PACK this bag full of stuff. My last change was to not interface the snap tabs - I just found it easier to insert the snaps through the layers of fabric without the interfacing. I have no idea if that will significantly change the durability of the snap tabs but I always know who I can get to replace them if need be ;-)
I used Cotton + Steel arrows for flap, Essex yarn dyed Linen in Flax for the body, a navy Kona for the accent and a seafoam Painter's Canvas from Laura Gunn for the lining. If you have any questions please let me know and I'll be happy to provide any other info that I can.
NOT that I need another project but how cute would this bag be in this Little Red Riding Hood fabric?! I know, I know but still...
Thanks again to Anna Graham for the opportunity to test another great bag pattern.