I said I was going to make it, and I did. And I LURVE it.
The outer shell is corduroy, and the lining is a quilt-weight cotton. In keeping with my hopes of working primarily from fabrics I already have on hand, rather than buying new ones, both of these are from ancient piles of fabric that have been in storage in my basement.
The lining cotton is from an earlier Amy Butler collection that’s at least six years old, and I genuinely think the corduroy is from yardage I inherited from my mother that SHE purchased from Robert Kaufman nearly 20 years ago (they still carry it, and it looks as good now as it did when it was brand new, so that says something about the quality of the fabric).
I made a few tweaks to the construction this time, for the fun of it. To begin with, I worked with ByAnnie’s Soft & Stable for the interfacing on the outer bag, rather than using Pellon’s Peltex. I adore the stiff body that Peltex gives, but it makes this bag a little tough to maneuver under the needle in the final stages; the Soft & Stable was MUCH simpler to work with, still gives a pleasing body and shaping, and allows the bag to stand on its own.
It’s not quite as stiff as the Peltex, but I’m very pleased with the results. All the lining pieces are interfaced with Pellon SF-101, their Shape-Flex interfacing, a woven fusible that gives a good body without too much extra bulk.
Another change was to add an inner zipper pocket, which I didn’t do on the original–the pattern includes instructions for a patch pocket on the lining, but no zipper. I adapted that using the instructions for an inset zipper pocket from my Pockets eBook, and it worked swimmingly. I cut the pocket pieces to 9″ wide by 6″ deep and used a 9″ zipper, and I’m very pleased with the result!
The bias tape on the handles and upper edge of the bag is cut from the same wide-wale corduroy. “Wale” refers to the textured “stripes” in corduroy (the word “wale” comes from an Old English word that means welt or ridge, so in this context, it’s the raised portion of the fabric); the number refers to how many “stripes” per inch. A wide wale, like this one, is usually eight wales per inch, which makes for a pretty fat cord. Babywale corduroys, for comparison, are generally about 22 wales per inch. Using a gigantic wale on this bias tape is DELIGHTFUL and makes for this incredible texture that I am finding totally irresistible. Isn’t it magical??
I also added a small tab with a magnetic snap at the handle. This is just a rectangle of fabric, cut to 12″ x 2″ & folded in half, then sewn along the two long edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance (for a final tab measurement of 6″ x 1.5″); the raw short edge was tucked under the bias tape on one handle while finishing. Very simple to do, but I felt it was necessary to off-set the slight slump that the softer interfacing provides compared to the Peltex. I love the look on the whole, and think it adds a nice finish detail to the bag. The tab is NOT interfaced, to allow it to collapse nicely under the hand when carrying the tote.
On this version, I also hand-stitched the bias tape in place on the final edge. I wanted to give more dimension to the upper edge of the bag, and maintain the texture that the corduroy provides, so I chose to take more time on the hand sewing in order to achieve that effect. Because of the pile of the corduroy, stitching with the machine would have crushed the nap and also taken out some of the roundness of the bias tape that hand stitching preserves.
Even with the hand sewing, this bag took under three hours, and I have already gotten a zillion compliments. I can’t wait for the weather to cool off a bit more so this can by my everyday tote!
It’s the perfect size for my wallet and various “purse pouches” to keep me organized, but not so large that the children will want to make me their pack mule by asking me to arry everything FOR them everywhere we go. Dreamy! My new fall bag.