Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beautiful Belle Bag Sew-Along

I have been chomping at the bit to finish the bags I started in the Sew News Beautiful Belle Sew-Along. I wrote about the process here in this post and this one. Over the course of the month, participants are tasked with constructing the bag in small manageable steps. I was right on track with the schedule, but then I got antsy. I added some embroidery stitches to one bag in an attempt to slow down. 

I was going to work on some other projects this week when I checked in on the FLICKR group. Other group members could not wait either and completed their bags ahead of schedule! Following their lead, I finished both of my bags today!

I prepared to sew my leather handles on my heavy duty sewing machine. 

I used a 4mm stitch and a heavy thread in my sewing stash. I was sewing at a moderated pace with success until I got to a seam in the leather. My needle broke!

I was only on the first handle of four and and I only had three needles! At this rate, I was going to be in trouble. One bit of sewing advice I got from a friend is, "when in doubt, change everything and begin again." I changed the needle, changed the thread to regular dual duty, and stitched at a higher speed. This combination proved to work for me and I got the handles done. The pattern called for stitching a fold in the center of the handles. I decided not to do this. I made my straps about 3 inches longer to wear as a shoulder bag. I wanted the strap to rest flat when worn. I also did not want to push my luck with sewing  four layers of leather.

I have found in my previous Amy Butler bags that the pockets are generally too large for me. I like my pockets to fit specific items and not have much room to move around. I tailored the pockets to fit my electronic tablet, wallet, and size of my cell phone. I also wanted at least one of the bags to have a magnetic closure, so I added that to the lining. I also customized the other bag to have a zipper in the lining.

Cell phone pocket

Tablet pocket

Magnetic Snap Closure

I completed the remainder of the construction per the pattern instructions and love the end product. 


Added my DIY label

Beautiful Belle With Leather Handles in Chevron
And the other with the embroidered fabric


Added Zippered Pocket

Beautiful Belle With Leather Handles in Amy Butler Bliss Bouquet   
The size of this bag is perfect for the Mommy essentials; it is large without being cumbersome. The applied interfacing helps it maintains its' shape when it is not full. This is a one of the easier Amy Butler bags I have made. I highly recommend making it and trying it with leather handles.

Happy Sewing!

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