A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
I was never a bag person before I started sewing bags. Bags to me were always these functional, required items that I needed to have on me to contain my various junk. I would often wait until my current bag was near to falling apart before I headed out the nearest Walmart and bought a cheap, functional bag to replace it. I never coveted the crazy expensive designer bags that some of my friends did. To me, the idea of spending $900 on a hand bag was ludicrous – that was a new camera lens or a sewing machine – not money that you spent on a handbag.
And then I sewed my first bag, about two years ago, and I suddenly had a closet full of bags. Now, I still have no desire to buy a $900 purse, but I find myself admiring the line and forms of the bags I see around me – wondering how they are put together and how they could be replicated on the home sewing machine…
Chris W Designs bags are some of the very first bag patterns I made. I’ve sewn up several of her delicious bags so when Marsha invited me to join this tour I jumped at the chance. Since I already owned many of her bag patterns I looked for something new that could be a challenge for me (full disclosure – I received the pattern for free from Chris W Designs to sew up for this tour).
I was drawn to the Epiphany because I instantly had an idea for it with some fabric in my stash). This is a mid-size bag – but oh goodness – does it have a bucket-load of pockets. I love a bag with some serious pockets because I am endlessly losing stuff in my purse.
Like many bagineers (bag sewists, handbag makers), I have a long list of other bag makers who I deeply admire, follow and who’s bags (and mad sewing skills) I covet. I follow them on Instagram, taking in their gorgeous bags daily and wondering if mine will ever look like theirs.
I had a vision for this bag from day one that was somewhat thwarted by several factors. One, I sew on a domestic sewing machine so sewing through multiple layers of vinyl was…challenging. Two, I decided to add an interior zip pocket divider to the bag – something I had never done before without a pattern. Three, my HD (heavy duty) sewing machine was in the shop, so I was sewing this bag entirely on my vintage Singer. This bag may have tried to kill me. More than once I had to clean my blood from it (fortunately vinyl wipes easily).
Don’t get me wrong – this is an extremely well written pattern and a gorgeous bag. And though I sewed with vinyl, this can be made entirely of fabric. It’s a durable, heavy duty bag with foam interfacing so it will hold up to some wear and tear in my opinion. And, did I mention the pockets? So, so many beautiful pockets. I particularly admire the interior slip pocket with the self binding technique. They look gorgeous and so functional. Chris also has a wonderful method for the zip (welt) pockets that I hadn’t previously done. The Epiphany has a full zipper closure at the top which is lovely if you tend to dump over your bag like me. There is also an option for a cross body strap in addition to the shoulder straps.
As I was sewing my bag up, and cursing some of my decisions (and bag making skills) I found myself comparing my work to the that of some of the bagineers I most admire and I began to get a little depressed. My topstitching isn’t perfect and I had trouble going through some of the very thick areas on my domestic machine (I developed a blister from hand cranking in spots). Rivets make me curse…
But then, I had, shall we say, an epiphany. I was making this bag for me and I love it – regardless of it’s imperfections. Bag making is a journey. Instead of comparing myself to those expert bag makers who I greatly admire I started looking backwards to the bags I had made over the last couple of years and realized how far I had come.
So for those of you on this journey of sewing bags I would say, let’s all be a little less critical of ourselves and stand back to admire the amazing things we do on our sewing machines. I mean, we sew bags! Most people only ever carry a bag that was made by someone else but we get to carry one that we made with our own two hands – an imperfect, and beautiful – work of art.
Chris W Designs has generously donated TWO of The Epiphany bag patterns for two lucky winners. If you would like to win this lovely pattern, please comment below about a bagineer (bag maker, bag sewist – not pattern designer) who’s work you admire and why. Two of my very favourites are Michelle from Barabooboo (her work is amazing) and Jil from Fishskin Designs (her wallets are to die for) – two amazing Canadian bagineers! This contest will be open for one week from today (November 16, 2017).
*Edited to say. Contest is now CLOSED! Jennifer and Kathy you are the winners of the Epiphany pattern!
- 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 Escapade 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