Monday, 7 July 2014

One Strap Boys' Bag

I came out of my comfort zone at the weekend and almost, half, slightly followed a pattern! We needed an emergency present for a little boy's birthday. I had been planning on buying something but when we went shopping we couldn't find anything we liked. The little boy is a bug lover so I confidently decided I'd be able to find something to make for him instead, especially as I had lots of scraps left over from Theo's insect quilt. But other than a cushion, which maybe isn't the most exciting present for a boy to receive, I was really short on inspiration when I got home and settled down to actually try and make the something. My only other idea was a bag, but I think bags can look dangerously girly, even when sewn in boyish fabric. So I had a quick search of the web to try and find a boyish enough bag. I came up with this one at Sew Mama Sew.

I liked it and it looked boyish enough to me, but it meant I had to try and follow the instructions, so I was hesitant! And it required zips - so doubly hesitant! But it's good to get out of comfort zones sometimes, and besides I didn't have any other good ideas, so I gave it a go.

And I have to say I found the tutorial incredibly hard to follow. This may be because I'm useless at following instructions. Or it may be partly because I changed it around quite a bit - of course! But I do think this particular tutorial might not be the clearest, it felt like there were maybe some steps missing and I could have done with quite a few more photos to look at. Having said that I do really like the bag, and there don't seem to be many boyish bag making options out there, so that has to make up for my negative feelings about the instructions.

But it does also make me concerned that whenever I try and explain/show how I've made something (I never feel like this ever quite qualifies as a 'tutorial' the way I do it!), it might actually be completely incomprehensible to everyone else. So apologies if that is ever/often the case, and please ask me to explain better if there's something of mine you want to try and make, but you can't understand my explanations.

Anyway, back to the bag. I changed around the outside pocket a bit. Here's mine:

And I added a strip of creepy crawly patchwork towards the top, rather than a contrasting strip underneath the pocket.

Here it is as it takes a bit more shape, folded over with the main zip added to join the sides.

The main fabric is some black denim, I thought it needed something quite heavy weight, rather than trying to do it all in creepy crawly cottons.

I also added a bit of extra stitching to the straps, since, in my experience, they're the most vulnerable parts.

And for the rest, I muddled through the tutorial, largely using the photos and some common sense. Here's the finished bag:

I made the strap a bit too long I think, and if I make it again I'd definitely try and work out how best to change it to an adjustable strap instead.

Not sure I'll be following a pattern or tutorial again too soon though! And please do tell me if any of my makes are impossible to follow.



  1. What a perfect gift. It turned out great! I find tutorials are hit and miss, some are good and some are just plain not.

  2. They look amazing! Great ob...

  3. I can't imagine any bug loving boy not being head over heels for that bag. What a great gift! I too find some tutorials difficult to follow, but I think it's just me not "gettting" it. I'm even worse at writing my own.

  4. such a great gift!!! I am sure it will be treasured and well used!

  5. Well! Despite the trials during construction - it looks like you have a winner!!! The bag turned out so great.

    One of my biggest "pet peeves" concerning the exploding world of pattern makers is that there are no "filters" or rules for quality if you will. Anything - bad with the good - gets published. And I really get annoyed when friends have paid $13.00 to $15.00 for a pattern that is designed for beginners and they still have to make their own pattern pieces.

    Good for you muddling through to success!!!!

  6. This is a really cool bag and, of course, I love the ants. I took a look at the pattern and it does seem to assume you have experience with zippers and basic bag making, which I don't have. I like your interpretation of the bag, much better. It's definitely perfect for a boy....or a girl who likes bugs.


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