Thursday, June 20, 2013

Va bene! Va molto bene!!

I know I've mentioned a few times that I planned to purchase Elizabeth Hartman's Perfect Zip Bags pattern.  Well, I finally got to it a week or so ago, and this week I set about reading through the pattern and making myself one of the bags.

What a revelation!  If you have any interest in making zippered bags, I highly recommend this pattern.  Elizabeth goes about the construction in a way I hadn't seen anywhere else, and I think the results are just incredible.  The tutorial includes instructions for three different styles of bag, with a couple sizes for each.  Two of the bags are boxy, so dimensions are given for cutting the fabric.  The other bag has a pattern in two sizes. 

I decided to make the smaller size of the darted clutch.  The pattern is a half pattern with instructions to cut on the fold, but I chose to trace off a full pattern piece because I'm hoping that I can use this pattern with leather in the future.

You really don't need much fabric at all for this little bag.  I used scraps from the Dear Stella Va Bene collection that I've used for a few other projects:  Italy Map in White, Vespas in White, Va Bene Stripe in Red and Tuscany in Taupe. 


I followed Elizabeth's instructions to the letter, except for one thing.  She recommends a sew-in interfacing, but I used the stiff collar interfacing I'd used previously on Hubby's shirts.  I wanted to see if it would give the fabric a canvas-like quality, and it almost did.  But it also made it much harder for me to get my bag turned out nicely.  What you see above has been heavily ironed after completion, and it's still a little lumpy because of that interfacing.

I really love the covered zipper ends - this wasn't the first time I've tried them, but it was the first time I've been successful with them!


I tried to get a good picture of the lining and pocket, but I wasn't able to get the bag open enough while keeping my hand out of the way!  I fussy-cut my pocket so I'd have trees and some pots of flowers on it.


Although I'm happy with the bag, I do wish it were a little bigger.  I have such a hard time judging the finished size of anything from the pattern pieces!  Next time I'll use the larger pattern for making this bag.  Still, it fits my phone, and I could also put in some pocket tissues, a lip balm and my ID and bus card - that's all I really need!


I tied a ribbon into the zipper pull to make it easier to grab, but I feel like it's a little "too much" so I'll probably remove that.  Aside from the interfacing, the only thing I'll probably do differently next time is to shorten the loop that attaches the bag to the D-ring that holds the strap - just a personal style preference.

Have any of you used this pattern and tutorial?  Are you tempted?

24 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm tempted alright! I do love little zippered bags, they are great for so many things.
    I do have a sewing machine and a willingness to learn so I am going to give this a try. Thanks Gail.

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    1. Oh cool! I think you will like it a lot. Each step is clearly illustrated with photographs so I found it very easy to follow. It seemed like a lot of information at first (20 pages) but that's because each step is broken down. I think Elizabeth is a fantastic teacher - I really enjoyed both of her Craftsy classes.

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  2. I loved this pattern! I bought it last year in time for Christmas presents and ABSOLUTELY LOVED her instructions and the finished product! I also used it to make school pencil cases for my new high-schooler this year (http://cheekychacha.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/year-7-essentials/). The only zippered pouch pattern I now use. Yours looks beautiful, by the way.

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    1. Oh wow - I went over to yours and you have a LOT of nice stuff!

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  3. Gail! I just nominated you for a Wordpress Family Award as a big thank you for your endless inspiration and HELP!! You can see what I wrote here for more info and if you want to take part in the process... http://fromthepurlside.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/and-the-award-goes-to-me. Thanks for making blogland so fun! ;-)

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    1. I saw that on your post this morning! Thank you! And congrats to you!

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  4. I'm tempted by the promise of good instructions, and I also really need to make at least a few little bags like this. I just have a real aversion to bag making! I think it stems from too much time spent with yucky fusible interfacings.

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    1. Then this might be the bag pattern for you! She recommends using denim or heavy canvas instead of interfacing - you sew it on around the edges. Of course, I prefer to fuse when I can :-)

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  5. I haven't seen that pattern, but it looks great. I'm tempted!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has difficulty judging what the finished size will be. They invariably come out smaller than I think they're going to!

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    1. Hehehe - me too! I think part of it was that I assumed the seam allowances would be 1/4" because the designer is a quilter. But they were all 1/2" and that takes off a lot!

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  6. How cute! I am definitely tempted now.

    That lining is super cute. Definitely brings Italy to the mind.

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    1. I really love this line of fabrics - I'll be sad when I use it all up!

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  7. adorable bag! if i can't use up all my leftover fabrics for kid clothes, i'll have to resort to tiny bag making!

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    1. Or pencil cases! I don't know about your kids, but my nieces love those!

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  8. You are making covered zipper ends like a pro! I really like the themed fabric you used, it makes the bag look really trendy. Beautiful work as always!

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    1. Thank you, Ivy! I'm pretty proud of the job I did, and all the tricks were learned from the pattern!

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  9. Thank you for reminding me that I bought this pattern at the beginning of the year. Hope mine turn out as lovely as yours.

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    1. Oooh, maybe we'll see a fancy one made from Liberty scraps? That would be lovely!

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  10. What a cute wrist wallet! As always, you pick fantastic fabric and sew wonderfully, Gail! I used your project bag all of WWKIP week for my Giants Infinity. It was such the perfect size and weight.

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    1. Thank you, Stef! I'm so happy you are using the bag and like it. That style and size is my favorite now for knitting bags - I always have one (or two) next to my chair!

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  11. I reckon when I make a bag I'll use this, I love nice clear instructions and anyone who takes the time to put them together deserves my money. This looks great! :)

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    1. I agree! I always feel like I could probably figure a lot of this stuff out, but I'm not one to re-invent the wheel. If someone has taken the time and energy to do it already, I'll happily shell out!

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  12. Tempted :)
    I haven't heard "fussy-cut" before - I like that!

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    1. Hehehe - that's another term I learned from Elizabeth Hartman, in her quilting class on Craftsy! I think it's cute too, and it describes exactly what it is!

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