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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Bella Bag Project

While I was making my second Professional Tote, I scoured the web for my next challenge. At some point while I was still completing the first tote, I had decided that I would make an actual purse . (I think it was my husband who pushed me in that direction — quite unintentionally, mind you — because he persisted in calling the tote bag "a purse" whenever he told people about my new hobby.)

ChrisW Design's (Blue) Bella crafted by eSheep Designs
Back view of my first Bella...
In my searching, I came across some lovely bag patterns by Christine Welsh of ChrisW Designs. After looking at patterns by other designers, I came back to make a choice between Christine's Bella and her Abigail.

To this day, I think I made the right choice in going with Bella, because I managed to make two of those in quick succession. Having since seen the Abigail pattern, I don't think I would have been quite as prolific had I gone that route! I suspect it could very well have led to some hair-tearing, too... ;-)

I had a fun time making the fabulous Bellas, once I had all of my materials together — and that was somewhat of a challenge, since I had to hunt down those "egg-shaped snap hooks" on Etsy and wait for them to arrive in the mail. (I have since seen some at a local Wal-Mart, but they weren't readily available in the sewing shops.)

In terms of interfacing, this was the first time I worked with fusible fleece. The most difficult part of the Bella may be the curved front panel (there is also a magnetic snap to place in there that one has to be careful with) but it's nothing too terrifying. It didn't occur to me at first to line up the pattern of the fabric so that it appears continuous from the main body of the bag into that curved front panel, but I caught it before it was too late. (I merely used the "non-matching" piece of fabric as the lining of the front panel.) As for the "bling" that you see on the bag's flap, those were originally a cheap set of gaudy earrings that I found in a Mazatlan (Mexico) discount store.

ChrisW Design's (Brown) Bella crafted by eSheep Designs
My second Bella...
I only made a very slight modification to this pattern. The two end pockets are supposed to close with snap fasteners; I used a couple of magnetic snaps that I rescued from an old purse instead. (In a subsequent posting, I'll provide details of that salvage process.) For the brown bag, I actually left the pockets "open"; there is elastic around that area, and I found that leaving it open made it easier for me to get stuff in and out.

Bottom line? I have used the Bella and it works for me. (I have also received compliments about it.) Kudos to Christine for thinking up this one! And by the way, her instant download PDF patterns are extremely easy to follow and — unlike the Professional Tote pattern — are loaded with step-by-step photos... highly recommended.

And I'm not saying that just because I proof-read for her! :-D

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