First off this is the U handbag It's A Cinch Tote I first saw this pattern on Kelli's blog True Bias
First off, Kelli has to be one of the coolest sewing bloggers around. She is the designer of the Hudson pant's ( I may be wearing these pants at time of writing), so as a big fan of her and her style I believed her when she said this is a "great pattern". I half thought about just using her photo's as "inspiration" and drafting it myself, but then I thought "no that isn't fair, someone worked hard to draft this pattern for people to use".
I went and bought leather, interfacing and looked around for some hardware but gave up pretty quick. The big shops in my part of the world are lacking in quality, the smaller independent shops sell higher quality stuff but a lot of the time they don't have much in the way of options. I found a bright orange pleather bag with the right hardware on one of those shopping trips my boyfriend drags me to. Do any other sewers out there dislike "normal" shopping as much as I do? I don't mind window shopping somewhere inspiring, Mimco or Zara's? I am there but the BF like's to go to direct factory outlets. Just feels like a waste of time to me. Bag was $15, I haggled the price down to $13 because the pleather had a mark.
It was around this time, when I was about to order zippers from zipperstop that I decided to buy the pattern PDF and read through it. I went to buy it and the website kept trying to charge me for postage. I was getting pretty frustrated with it. They have a PDF version but you have to buy the booklet version aswell, you cannot buy them separately. I took a deep breath and paid my $30 Australian for my pattern and postage. I was pretty miffed. You can only access the PDF version after you receive the booklet so I waited around for 3 weeks to read the pattern.
When it finally arrived and I opened it and sat down to read it, I realized my mistake. Someone didn't take time to draft this pattern for people to use. There are instructions in the pattern for you to draft it yourself. I was very annoyed. I am aware that it is basically made up on different rectangles but I had just paid hard earned money on a online tutorial. If that's what you want to do fine, Mimi G sells tutorials and someone must be buying them, but I would like to know up front what I am buying. I took another deep breath and pressed on. I still wanted a bag just like Kelli's. And at this point I had spent about $100 on the pattern and materials. Smoke blew out of my ears when U handbag emailed me some discount vouchers and other propaganda a couple days later.
I widened the space between the straps like Kelli did, my faux patch pocket is a bit smaller because I was pretty sure I was going to run out of leather. The top stitching isn't that good. I tried a couple of times with the machine, but the thickness of the felt, wool and leather was just to much for my machines to handle. It was picking up stitches but on the wrong side it was just a loopy mess. I perforated the leather with my machine and then hand stitched it down.
I really like the finished bag. But as you can imagine I am not looking to start another structured bag, or work with leather anytime soon.
After using the bag for my first week of uni I can report that I love it. I took these photo's after a week of use which is why the bag looks nice and worn in.