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Saturday, 22 December 2018

Revisiting the MIY (Make it Yours) Bag

Make it Yours (MIY) Bag by eSheep Designs
My second MIY test bag...
Two years ago today, I released the first pattern I ever wrote up and gave it away as a freebie.

It's been downloaded thousands of times since then and I often check on Craftsy to see if anyone has posted new photos of their completed projects. Knowing that most people who download free patterns are doing so simply to collect them, I feel fortunate that a few have actually shared the results of their crafting.

I have to admit that one of the bags was not at all recognizable to me as being based on this pattern, but perhaps in the spirit of the name behind this bag, that person really did "make it hers".

Today I'd like to share photos of one particular bag that really blew my mind.

Make it Yours (MIY) Bag by eSheep Designs
My first MIY test bag...
Let me preface by saying that I am not normally a fan of handmade bags done up in leather or vinyl. To me, something intangible is lost when self-made creations so closely resemble store bought items. Don't get me wrong. I salute the unmistakable talent and craftsmanship that goes into sewing a bag out of faux leather — and I'm not downplaying the accomplishment by any means — but in terms of my personal tastes, I find myself more drawn to bags and purses that are made out of more common fabrics.

When a bag is made out of fabric, it's just unique. Even if a thousand people use the same pattern to sew up a bag, odds are you'll get a thousand different looking bags if they use quilting cottons. It's much harder to differentiate a bag made out of mostly solid coloured leathers and vinyls.


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All that aside, when this bag showed up on the reviews for the MIY Bag on both Craftsy and AllFreeSewing, I was mighty impressed.

This MIY is made out of a glamorous gold on white vinyl with cotton for the lining. The owner of this beautiful bag is named Carol (at least, that's how her AllFreeSewing profile identifies her) and these photos were uploaded by her. She self describes as a professional level seamstress and it definitely shows.

eSheep Designs' Make It Yours Bag crafted by Carol
Front of bag with large pocket...

The large front pocket — accessible from both sides in this case — is essentially as big as the entire bag. That was the one feature that I really loved about my Sears inspiration bag, although for security, I like the pocket to have only one access point.

eSheep Designs' Make It Yours Bag crafted by Carol
View of interior of front pocket...

The expanse of storage space inside this pocket almost doubles the capacity of the bag.

eSheep Designs' Make It Yours Bag crafted by Carol
Bag interior...

For the interior, it looks as though she put in a standard zippered pocket as well as the card slots and slip pockets on the reverse side. She used some more of her vinyl scraps to make the two side seam sunglasses/whatever holders.

eSheep Designs' Make It Yours Bag crafted by Carol
Bag bottom...

There are two options for finishing off the bottom of the bag, one with a gusset and one without. This one has the gusset and if you're prepared to take on a bit more tricky sewing, it's probably the better option.

Carol's final assessment? "It took me about five hours, has few pieces, hardly any hardware....I love it!"


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Make it Yours (MIY) Bag by eSheep Designs
Detail of card slot and pocket assembly...
Much of what she said was intentional on my part. This was the first pattern that I drafted up, based on a bag that was on its last legs and I liked it for many of the same reasons. It's intrinsically simple in construction (and by omitting the gusset, can be even more simple) and apart from zippers and a magnetic snap, you don't need to peel out big bucks to buy extra notions or hardware.

That said, if you're an experienced bag maker, you can see where you might add rings or buckles or whatever.

The pattern provides full size templates for the front/back panels for both plain and pleated styles, so there's no need for guesswork in that area. I encourage and provide many opportunities, however, for the crafter to consider and customize the result.

[By the way, if you're wondering about how to organize your stuff inside a bag like this, I refer you to my two favourite solutions: my Wave Purse Organizer and this nifty 5 pocket zippered pouch. Both have served me well.]


Think of this PDF as a class in being creative on the fly as you make a bag. If you're scared of doing your own thing and lose sleep over changing seam allowances, this won't be for you. But if you've been looking for a simple bag in which you can freely add features without a lot of headache, give this a try. I really hope to see more!

Want the download? It's available from my Craftsy shop here.

And Speaking of my Craftsy Shop...


You may already have heard, but in somewhat Grinch-y, Scrooge-y fashion — perhaps apropos for the season — Craftsy dropped a lump of coal into our collective stockings this past week. Those of us who are independent pattern designers received the following email on Wednesday.

Craftsy email to independent pattern designers...
the platform is "significantly reducing" the number of patterns available

While this move is not totally unexpected given what happened in the wake of their 2016 site makeover, it's still surprising. The way the email reads, it implies that designers and members requested this culling. I appreciate the fact that the "free for all" marketplace has become hard to police (for lack of a better word), but something tells me that we are likely inching towards the eventual elimination of all independent designer shops on Craftsy... or — more likely — conversion to a paid platform. (I sort of covered this topic last year.)

On the other hand, some of my patterns were definitely getting lost in the mix, so maybe this is good for the short term. Because my shop is mostly safe for now, as the second half of my email reads thusly:

remainder of my Craftsy email...

There is still the ambiguity of what patterns may or may not be available in my shop by the end of the month — there are thirty right now — but there's not much I'm prepared to do about it without further information. I'm sure I'll have many months in 2019 to consider my options as we won't be able to upload any new patterns until whenever. (In the meantime, you may want to take a browse through the designer marketplace before some patterns are permanently deleted.)

But you know what? It's the time of year to think about what we appreciate and are grateful for in our lives, and I have to say that Craftsy has given me a lot over the past five years. It's been a good (free) run, and in the big picture — if changes are in the offing — I'm not sure I have grounds to complain.

So on that note, let me wish you all the best of the season! Have a great Christmas if that's what you celebrate; hopes for health and happiness to all regardless.


1 comment:

  1. I have wanted to make this bag for 2 years, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Went searching for it on my computer and couldn't find it. Went to Craftsy and geesh I must not have ever downloaded it! So thank you for revisiting this so I could download it now. I will print out the pattern pieces so that I will make one soon.
    The vinyl one you posted here is nice, but I totally agree with what you said about making a bag more unique using cotton fabrics instead of using all vinyl. While there are some really nice vinyls out there now, such as Carol's, I prefer the color, the prints and the versatility of being able to use cotton fabric. I can make my bag patchwork and use up scraps, or add a fabric applique or combine several fabrics into one bag. Unless you are very creative, most people do not make patchwork out of vinyl scraps and so therefore a lot of waste goes into the landfills. Plus cotton is more forgiving of mistakes because it can be ripped out and used again, not so with vinyls with holes showing. Okay off to print out the pattern pieces and choose my fabrics. May not get to sewing it yet (because of another project I am working on now), but will as soon as the mood strikes or my other project is finished. Thanks for this pattern Rochelle. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you too!

    ReplyDelete

You have the power to brighten my day. Leave me a comment; I'd love to hear your thoughts... you can even remain ANONYMOUS! And rest assured that I acknowledge all comments, either here or via email. (That is, if you don't see a response from me here, I would have responded privately to the person.) Spam or generic comments with unrelated links, however, are promptly removed... and I may take appropriate action or report you to Google. Thanks for reading! (✿◠‿◠)