Burdastyle Sewing Handbook Bag


Sorry for being MIA this last week or so. I swear I’ve been sewing a bunch but taking time to take pics is hard. But now I have much to share with you!


The Goal: This month’s Bibliostyles was a choose your own bag-book. Pick and make a bag from any book and come in and review it. I don’t own any bag-only books but I wanted to make the handbag from the Burdastyle book (that’s another Burdastyle book blouse, too, which I’ll talk about later).


The Pattern: The Burdastyle book comes with five basic patterns and each pattern has two variations. I made the second variation, Chie’s Variation, with the bow-tie front. I think the instructions in this book are better than in the magazine or online but you still have to add your own seam allowances, which I think is silly for a bag since it’s not like you’re fitting it. A standard seam allowance for all sides would have been fine. I also didn’t like having to flip back and forth between the variation and the original instructions depending on which step I was on. Maybe that’s being picky but you really have to pay attention to what step you are on.


Oh and the pattern calls for over two yards of fabric for this bag!?!?! maybe that’s to get the long straps in one piece but I only bought one yard for exterior (and had a lot left over) and 3/4 yd for lining. Lay out your pieces first before you go shopping so you don’t over buy.


The Fabric: Uh, ok, so I made this bag THE DAY OF the meeting so I was a little rushed for time. I went to Joann and bought this faux suede with metallic bits on it. It’s nice because it doesn’t fray and it doesn’t show needle holes like leather (does real suede show needle holes?).


The lining is a poly, one of those faux silk things that chain stores sell (and yet price them like they’re silk, what’s the deal with that!?). Both were on sale, which was a big factor in why I chose them.


The hardware came from my Dallas fabric store trip. I’m so glad I got to use them! The purse feet came from Joann, too. Don’t look to close at the bottom, they’re kind of crooked.


I added some stiff interfacing to the bottom which gives it a nice base but since the rest of the bag isn’t interfaced (except the strap) it still slouches when I set it down.


The Changes: Besides the feet and interfaced base I nixed the interior pocket (didn’t have time! and I doubt I’d use it anyway, there are two side pockets). I didn’t make the second attached shoulder strap (I only had hardware for one and I thought another strap was unnecessary). Also, because the bag is so slouchy I noticed that the tie would drag and pull the bag in tighter making the bow droop. I stitched the bow knot down with a couple stitches to the center front of the bag so it would stay up and not pull the sides of the bag tight.


The Results: I’ve yet to use it with normal purse related items (it’s a big deep bag, easy to loose a lipstick or two inside) but it certainly looks cute! And I got lots of compliments on it. The strap is long enough for shoulder or cross body. I think it will serve as a good winter purse that will go with lots of outfits! I don’t know if I’ll make it again but if I do I’ll try to do the original style with the drawstrings and braided shoulder strap and not interfaced it at all and make it a big, fat, slouchy, boho-style bag.

And I’m Back! With a BurdaStyle Blouse


Yes, I have returned! With a new computer! That I got, like, today.

First of all, I was thisclose to finishing my new pattern when my old laptop gave out and I have yet to install Adobe Illustrator on this computer to finish it. Luckily I saved the pattern file on an SD card so I can work on it without having to recover my old harddrive.

So that means it’ll be a little while before that pattern is released but it is coming, I promise! Thanks for sticking with me!!


Until then I have lots of sewing projects to show you. I’m surprised how much I got done without being connected to the internet.

The Goal: The most recent book we picked for our Bibliostyles meeting (my sewing book club) was the BurdaStyle Handbook, and me being the procrastinator that I am, I needed to whip up something quick for the meeting.


The Pattern: After seeing awesome versions of the blouse from A Good Wardrobe I was smitten with the design. I did the original variation from the book and cut a straight size 38 that fits well.

The Fabric: Oooh, this is probably what I’m most proud of… it’s silk charmeuse (charmeuse, people!!) that I starched the heck out of to stiffen it which really helped with sewing and cutting. Plus, the starch just washes out when you’re done!


I found this fabric in the jobber section of a Hancock Fabrics store. Every once in awhile you find a gem. I like to call it an Asian Toile. It’s got motifs of hunters, camels, deer and palm trees – kind of like a hunting scene on a traditional French toile pattern.

And I found it used in the envelope sample for this Simplicity pattern. I wish I could find more of it because it’s really cool.


The Changes: I didn’t change anything with the fit but I did leave out the side zipper, elastic in the waist and I made my own waist tie by making bias tape rather than using the pattern piece (yes, I made bias tape from charmeuse. I’m so proud of myself!)

The Results: I love this top! I feel like I can dress it up or down and it fits well. What more could I ask?

Oh, and I couldn’t resist doing a little cataloging just for fun. This is from Vogue‘s new “hunching over in an office window” collection.


I’ll be back soon with more!!

Travel Sewing: Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

Something about this last vacation made me interested in sewing useful things for travelling. Maybe it’s because I finally got to use my travel pillow I made months ago (and it was amazing! I could actually sleep on a plane! AH-mazing!!).

I’ve even been making a list of my ultimate travel sewing projects (because why buy luggage when you can make it!). You can read my ever expanding list after the review.

(source: u-handbag)

This bag definitely fills a need both at home and while jet-setting. The Train-Style Vanity Case comes from Lisa Lam’s new bag-making book, A Bag for All Reasons, that we used for last month’s Bibliostyles meeting.

I don’t often make too many bags as they’re not as exciting to me as clothes but this book really piqued my interest, mainly because I thought so many designs were clever and useful. There’s a tri-fold wallet, a convertible backpack, a snazzy iPad case (if I had an iPad), a compact grocery tote, this stand-up make-up bag and more.

I borrowed the book from Susan so I didn’t take many pictures but I did find this website, Cut out and Keep.net, where the publishers posted three projects from the book for free! Pictures and all!

Speaking of my last plane trip, this case would have been perfect on that vacation. Normally I carry a couple smaller make-up bags but I never had anything big enough for all my toiletries – until now!

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

The Goal: My recent vacay got me all excited about travel sewing (too bad I couldn’t have been more interested before I left so I could have used my creations) and I loved how this design stood upright on it’s own for easy access to the contents.

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All  Reasons

The Pattern: I felt that the pattern pieces were pretty accurate and I liked Lisa Lam’s casual style of teaching. It really felt like I was taking a class with her. In the end I didn’t like the look of the raw edges at the inside lid and base. They just looked sloppy with piping covering them. I would have preferred a different construction method to clean that up (even if it was a structural decision to do it that way).

I think the fabric-tie handles are super cute! And I loved the addition of the elastic brush holders in the lid. So useful!

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

The Fabric: Quilting cotton for the outside and a chambray for the handles lining. I also used pink piping and pink bias tape to cover the raw edges on the inside. I also used a boat load of different interfacings including fusible fleece which makes the sides soft but stable.

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

The Changes: I added 3/4″ to the overall height of the bag. It’s not that large to begin with but you could easily change the proportions to make it even bigger if you needed.

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

I also added a couple beads to the zippers to make zipper pulls. Look, ma! I’m embellishing!

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

The Conclusion: This is a really practical bag that I’m going to get so much use out of at home and on the road. If I were to ever make it again I might try using dec weight fabric for the outside to make the sides even more stiff. Even though the bag stands up on its own, it is very easily smushed and I find myself poking at the edges to keep it looking straight and tall.

Train-Style Vanity Case from A Bag for All Reasons

Ok, I was saying earlier how I’m making a master list of awesome travel sewing projects. The vanity case is obviously on there. Imagine how cute that bag would look on the counter of some five star hotel bathroom (as if I stayed at five star hotels…).

Here are the others on my list:

Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders Travel Neck Pillow

Travel neck pillow from the “Work in comfort” Travel Set from Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders (which I’ve made).

The Bag Tag, Cheery Passport Cover, Travel Tissue Pack and Vacation Valet Travel Tray from the Jet Set from Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders.

My friend Susan made most of this set for our first Bibliostyles meeting and I thought the travel tray was such a cute idea! It folds up flat and when you take it out you snap the corners together to make a tray. What a great way to keep keys, cards, tickets, brochures and receipts in one place in your hotel room (rather than have them scattered all over the place).

I definitely need a bag tag because after a couple layovers those paper tags the airlines give you look a little worse for the wear. The passport cover could double as a boarding pass holder and I’d love to figure out a way to make the tissue pack cover work for my make-up remover wipes.

Sunglasses case and phone case/wallet from the Smart Girl’s Set from Fabric by Fabric: One Yard Wonders (the book is proving to be very useful). I’m always worried about my sunglasses getting scratched out in the open in my purse and the phone case doubles as a wallet for credit cards and ID. When I travel I always try to downside the essentials and I often don’t even carry a big wallet so this little pouch is a perfect alternative.

(source: a handmade tale)

Amy Butler’s Weekender Travel Bag. I’ve never been a heavy packer. Often when we travel Justin and I can fit all of our stuff in one carry-on size bag not much bigger than the Weekender Bag.

I’d make a version out of vinyl to make it extra heavy duty (and curse myself as I try to sew through all the layers…) but a fun fabric print might be too irresistible.

***Can you think of any other patterns I should add to my travel sewing list?

Attack of the Sleeves!, or, the Colette Taffy Blouse

(holy moly! thems some huge sleeves!!)

Going into this project I knew that the Taffy Blouse from the Colette Sewing Handbook (this month’s BiblioStyles pick) had flutter sleeves. I like flutter sleeves. They’re pretty and great for summer when I don’t want fabric touching my body. What I didn’t realize until I looked at the pattern pieces was that the sleeves were near full circles! Completely unlike any other sleeve pattern piece I’ve ever seen, these sleeves are BIG! I was worried they’d be too big and while overall I am satisfied with this shirt I do have a couple minor gripes.


These complaints are all a little nitpicky and had I bought this shirt in a store I’d never even care.

  • I wish the neckline wasn’t so wide because sometimes the shirt slips showing bra straps, a pet peeve of mine. It doesn’t slip off my shoulders entirely, though, so that’s good.
    • The sleeves are definitely a statement. I might have preferred slightly less bulk but they’re ok and they look cool when the wind blows.
  • Here’s a tip if you want to try this shirt but are worried about the huge sleeves. Simply cut out a wedge shape out of the center of the sleeve. Only cut to the seamline, however. This way the length of the seamline stays the same and will fit the armhole. This will make a less dramatic circle shape without messing with the underarm seam.
  • And finally, I bought this fabric as a remnant without having a plan for what to do with it (something I hardly ever do). I liked the graphic shape print but I noticed that the squares were not printed on grain. They slope at about 5 degrees. Not much but it makes a difference if you want a straight stripe look. Some friends suggested that the bias cut taffy blouse might work because the diagonal direction might work with this print. I can still tell that the lines aren’t straight and that annoys me but I guarantee no one else would notice.

Ok, enough complaining. I really do like this shirt! On to the nitty gritty.


The Goal: I wanted to use up this fabric and at the same time I needed to do a project for BiblioStyles, my sewing book club.

The Pattern: The Taffy Blouse, the last project in the new Colette Sewing Handbook. I cut a size 4. I was nervous because the last Colette pattern I made (the also bias cut Jasmine top) I cut an 8. Maybe it’s because of the bias but I think I might have gotten away with cutting a 2 except I think the armholes would have been a little tight (a frequent problem for me).

The Fabric: Cotton lawn (or voile? I can never tell the difference). For the bias binding I used my handy dandy bias tape maker (love that thing!!) and cut strips of black lawn off an old dress that I never wore (does that count as a re-style? haha!).


The Changes: Nothing major – I lengthened the darts by a little over an inch. I really should have moved them up a little higher, probably a factor of the size I chose more than the pattern itself.

I didn’t make the waist tie because I wanted to save time and get the shirt finished before I went out to take pics (I ate crepes with some friends out at a trailer food park. These shots were taken behind an airstream trailer. I thought it would make for a super cool background until I looked at the photos and realized there was all this trash and cinder blocks and random buckets lying around! I had to do a lot of cropping and using of the stamp tool in Photoshop to clean these pics up!). But because I don’t like the way this shirt looks on me un-tucked (kind of square-like) I’ll add a tie made from the graphic fabric to blend in and stitch on some tie holders on the sides.


The Results: I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of this top. I paired it with my Sweet Shorts and I think they work well together. This top doesn’t meet my requirements for solid color tops for easy mix and matching but oh well. The sleeves work for summer and I’m glad I did some stash busting!