Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Swoon Ramona Mini Hipster Bag (pattern review)

I've been sewing a lot of quilts. Just since January, I've made a lap quilt as a wedding gift, two twin-sized quilts for my daughters' beds (still waiting to be bound...), a lap quilt with a pattern I've experimented with (and will hopefully have a tutorial for's currently being quilted), a Swoon quilt top (ready to go off to the quilter as soon as I piece the back), and a mini quilt for a friend's birthday. I know a lot of quilters out there do a lot more, but this is a lot for me! And, lately, I've been sick (very literally) and tired, and just wanted a quick project that I could finish in a few hours.

I found this Swoon Ramona Mini Hipster bag pattern for free on Craftsy, and it looked like something I could handle, so I found some fabrics in my stash (some of my all-time favorites from the Hometown line by Sweetwater), gathered the rest of the materials, and set to work.

I have to admit I was really nervous. Piecing is pretty easy for me to figure out (not always easy to execute...), but three-dimensional sewing isn't my strong suit. I read through the pattern a few times and hoped that once I had the pieces cut and I was following along, that it would click.

And you know what? It did. The pattern was very easy to follow, and I finished up the bag on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe five hours of sewing, but since this is the first bag I've made (with the exception of simple library bags that are little more than squares sewn together), and I had to keep pausing to make sure I was on track, I'm sure the next one won't take as long, and if you've ever made a bag before, I'm sure it will be quicker for you.

I was unable to find all the hardware I needed at Joann's (big surprise, right?), so I ordered the strap slides from Strap Works. They were one of the first results in a Google search and had good pricing, so I ordered six, in three different styles. I like the cast slides the best, even though they're the priciest. At 60 cents a piece (for 3/4 inch), they're still VERY affordable. And, they arrived really quickly! Like within two or three days of ordering. I'll definitely order from them in the future.

I made a few changes. I changed the strap connector piece to the same width as the strap and used D-rings in the size to match. I also omitted the swivel clips as they seemed unnecessary, since there's no other strap/place to secure the strap on the bag. I also added a simple pocket inside for my cell phone.

I had a hard time with the zipper (it's only the second zipper I've ever installed) but it's functional, and looks okay.

I started using it this week and I love it! It's maybe a little deeper than I need, but it's deep enough for my wallet (that just happens to coordinate!), so that's really nice. I made the wallet last year from my friend Cynthia's tutorial. The depth, though, makes it a little difficult to reach stuff way in the bottom, as the opening isn't very large.

I love the adjustable strap, and it's a great size, even with the issues I just mentioned. I don't tote a lot of stuff around and don't need a huge bag. Next time, I would make one of the bottom pieces the same fabric as the exterior, but that's a personal preference. I also, obviously, elected to use a solid inside instead of the contrast fabric I used for the strap and the stripes (and I only put the stripes on one side). I'm really pleased with it, and if you're looking to get your feet wet with a bag, you should give it a try! I'm already thinking about what fabrics to use on my next one...

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