As I mentioned in my last post, I am honored to have been invited to participate in the ChrisW Designs Global Blog Tour! 15 bloggers have come together to make one of ChrisW’s bag patterns and blog about it and I am so very excited to have been selected. As part of the tour, I was able to pick one pattern to make. I received the pattern for free in exchange for blogging about it. I chose the Sugar and Spice tote bag. I need a good bag that can hold my laptop, a book or two, drawing pads, colored pencils, and any other craft supplies for the project de jour. The Sugar and Spice tote looked like a great starting point. I like the rounded based because of the appealing shape it gives the bag. I like the rounded slip pockets on the outside of the bag. I like the statement the straps give the bag. I like scoops to the top of the bag. All combined, it’s a great looking bag with the space to be a functional bag for hauling all my tools and supplies with me.
Because I’m just not me without being a little over ambitious, I tried a few new things with this bag. I used cork fabric, lots and lots of piping, and I made a few modifications to the pattern. So let’s dive in and look at the bag!
First, can we all just ooh and ahh a bit over this gorgeous cork? I mean, really, just look! It’s pretty and it’s got the most amazing texture! This is my first time using cork, but it most definitely won’t be the last. I used the Pollock cork from Sew Sweetness and solid black cork and black cork piping from Fabric Funhouse. For those of you who haven’t worked with cork before, yes, it really is cork. Like the cork in your cork board or your wine bottle, but so so much better. It’s a very very thin layer of natural cork adhered to a woven fabric backing. It’s sews just like butter and gives the bag an amazing professional finish.
Second, let’s ooh and ahh a bit of the amazing hardware. The combination of the pattern, the gorgeous cork, and the shiny gold hardware really just make this bag completely amazing. Within the bag I used strap ends, rectangular rings, rivets, bag feet, gold teeth nylon zippers, a zipper end, a tassel, and of course a ‘Homemade’ script bag label all from Emmaline Bags, my very favorite hardware supplier. Who new one of my favorite ‘sewing’ tools would end up being the adorably tiny screw driver given to me by the Janelle MacKay of Emmaline Bags fame? Well it is, because I use SO much hardware in my bags now. It’s a great way to elevate the look of your bag.
Finally for the lining, I used Moda Grunge quilting weight cotton in a burgundy and red.
Now that we have explored all of the materials, let’s talk a little bit about the bag pattern. As a note to those of you in the United States, ChrisW Designs is an Australian based company and therefore the pattern PDF is in A4 dimensions. This can make printing it a little tricky and as I have started ordering more and more non-US patterns lately, I finally just ordered A4 paper from Office Max so it prints perfectly.
Chris’s pattern is beautifully written and very easy to follow. Each step was clearly explained and the images help you to know exactly how to complete each step. It’s important to remember however that a pattern is a template. The pattern designer has given you a template that you can use to create the bag of your dreams, but the template can be modified to suit your needs. In my case, because I wanted this bag to hold my laptop, I needed to make it larger. As designed, the Sugar and Spice bag is 14″ x 8″ x 3′. My MacBook is 13″ x 9″, so the bag was definitely not tall enough. I chose to add an internal padded divider pocket to the bag for the laptop so I wanted to make the bag deeper to have a good amount of space either side of the laptop compartment. My final dimensions were 16″ x 12″ x 5″. I also added a ton of extra pockets to the inside of the bag to hold lots and lots of tools and supplies nicely organized. This all took a fair amount of adjustment to the pattern while keeping the gorgeous shape that Chris designed into the bag. I’m going to blog this weekend about how to modify a pattern using this bag as my example.
In the end, I now have a perfect bag for my laptop and craft supplies tailored exactly to my needs and I am in love with it.
Now, here’s some fun for you, my lovely readers… PRIZES!
First, ChrisW Designs has generously provided two FREE copies of the the Sugar and Spice pattern for me to give away! To enter, comment below with a short description of a bag you have modified to fit you perfectly. On Sunday November 19th I will select two commenters to receive a pattern.
Second, the blog tour has lots and lots of prizes and discounts – details below. Now go see the 15 other bags!
- ChrisW Designs is taking 20% off all patterns until end of day (Australian Central Standard Time) November 21. Code GlobalBlogTour17 (applied automatically with this link. Buy without fear: If you purchase during the tour and then win a pattern, your purchase price will be refunded.
- Handbag Hardware Australia (aff link) is offering a 10% discount for the duration of the tour. Use code: CWD10. (Excludes interfacing and Emmaline Bling.)
- Bobbin Girl has a 10% discount using code BLOGTOUR17. (Not to be combined with any other discount or rewards points.)
- Gold Star Tool is taking 15% off for our tour readers. Use code chriswdesigns.
- Zipit (aff link) is also offering a 10% discount on shop items. Use code ChrisWDesigns.
- 3 digital patterns from ChrisWDesigns
- 7 yard bundle of WovenFuse interfacing from Got Interfacing?
- $25 USD voucher from Hawthorne Threads
- Sugar and Spice hardware kit from Handbag Hardware Australia (aff link)
- Ellen’s Esplanade hardware kit from Handbag Hardware Australia (aff link)
- $50 CAD shop voucher from MM Cork Supply
- $50 USD shop voucher from Sew Sweetness
- $30 CAD shop voucher from Emmaline Bags
- $100 USD gift card from Gold Star Tool
- $30 USD gift certificate from Zipit (aff link)
- $50 USD gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop
(Australia Central Standard Time)
// Please note that none of these post links are available before the scheduled date (ACST). If you click on one too early, you will get an “Error 404: Page not found.” You know about those, right? //
Sunday, November 12
- Tour Launch on ChrisW Designs Blog
Monday, November 13
Tuesday, November 14
Wednesday, November 15
Thursday, November 16
Friday, November 17
Saturday, November 18
- Tour Docking and Giveaway on Flying by the Seam of my Pants
Tuesday, November 21
- Giveaway winners announced on all the blogs:
ChrisW Blog, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle’s Creations, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, Serial Bagmakers, Tiger in a Tornado, Vanaehsa, Judith Stitches and More, Doctora Botones, Sewsewilse, Suck It Up Buttercup, Vicky Myers Creations, Marvelous Auntie M, inspinration, Fée bricolo, Trisha’s Craft Corner