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Handmade bowler style handbag/Purse - The Boronia Bag from Blue Calla Patterns

 Handmade bowler style handbag/Purse - The Boronia Bag from Blue Calla Patterns
Whatabout ye folks, it's Lee here.  Back with another handmade bag following  Blue Calla Pattern.  This one is a bowler style bag, called the Boronia.  As usual, Celine's patterns are fantastic and her video tutorials are my life-line, lol.  I LOVE this bag!  This was meant to be just my tester bag as I hadn't made this pattern before....oh who am I kidding...everything I make is a tester as I am new to all this sewing stuff, teehee.  So, I was making this one really as a tester, but I just love how it turned out, that I had to share it. I love how wide the bag can open and how much space there is in it.  I am already planning on making a second one.  I have the fabrics picked out and all, teehee.
I had previously made a large tote bag from this Sloth fabric last Christmas that I gave to my wee brother's girlfriend, Rose.  I loved the fabric design so much that I was lucky to find some more of it on Ebay (listed below in my shopping list).  It's such a cute fabric and has a thicker, linen texture feel to it.....However......boy does it love to fray.  I must have forgotten that from the last time using it and blocked it from my memory, lol.  As soon as I cut the fabric, I had to quickly interface it with cotton woven interfacing.  I could see it fraying and disappearing before my very eyes, lol.  But it was fantastic to work with once I had it interfaced.  I think I have just enough left of this fabric to possibly make another bag...we'll see.
I love the expanding side gussets to this bag.  It's such a unique style and for a smallish packs a punch for storage. I decided to keep the bag with the shorter handles only, and for this one I didn't make the cross body strap.  I think the shorter handles are perfect for this style of bag.
Look at all the room inside this bag!  It's incredible.  Oh and that inner fabric is another Moygashel fabric.  When I tell you that this fabric was a joy to work with....I mean it.  It is so buttery soft and a really lovely thick fabric.  It was perfect for this bag.  I know Moygashel fabrics tend to be pretty expensive, but for me, it is worth every, Moygashel is literally 20 minutes down the road from me, so I love that I am using local fabrics.  It was amazing to work with and I will definitely be on the lookout for more. I was lucky to find someone who was selling a 5m bundle of this collaboration fabric that Moygashel did with Jeff Banks.  If I am able to find more of it, I will definitely be buying it because I've never worked with a nicer fabric.  And it's so soft to the touch.  
The 2 slip pockets are a great size.  Perfect for your phone and sunglasses.  And I used the outside fabric for the pockets to give it a bit more interest on the inside.  
The faux leather vinyl goes along the bottom of the bag and wraps up around the sides.  Makes this bag so super easy to put together.  And of course, I added purse feet to protect the bottom
And it wouldn't be one of my makes without a little "Lee mistake".....Do you see the nice piece of blue satin ribbon that's connected to the inner zip pocket?  Well, I had a little mishap when I was stitching the zip in.  Just coming around to the last few stitches and I stupidly went over the zipper pull with my machine.......and the wee zipper pull snapped in half!!!!!  Ahhhhhhhhh, I could have cried....everything was going so well, lol!  But I had literally just finished installing the zip and didn't want to have to unpick the entire thing for just this one small mishap.  And only half of the pull snapped off....teehee.  So, in true "Lee mistakes" fashion, I came up with an alternative zipper pull and added ribbon to the zip.  It works perfectly, however, for aesthetics sake, I might remove the ribbon and see if I can add a metal charm or pull to it instead.  But for now and for a quick fix, the ribbon works really well.  I knew I wouldn't get away without at least one's become my thing now, lol.  I tell you what though, as frustrating as mistakes may be, there's nothing like them for making you think fast and come up with alternative options.  I don't like to think of them as mistake......more like.....little personal challenges......that's my excuse and I am sticking to it, teehee.
I added the contrasting fabric on the inside zipper pocket...along with my wee label.  It's a great sized pocket too with plenty of storage space.
As per the pattern, the bag has a double zip for opening.  At the time of making, I didn't have a long enough No. 5 zip for the bag.  So I improvised and I MacGyver'ed my zip.  I had a long enough No. 3 zip.  But No. 3 zips aren't as wide as a No. 5 and I was concerned that it wouldn't fit into the bag properly.  So, I cut 2 long strips of the black faux leather to the same length as the No. 3 zip and sewed each piece onto either side of the zip.  I was then able to cut the sides down to the same width as a No. 5 zip, ie, 1 & 1/4 inches.  You don't even see the extra width of vinyl on the zip as it's all hidden in the seam allowance.  But it definitely made me feel better about adding it, knowing I had the proper width needed for the zip.  I hope that makes sense, lol.  Celine did say during the tutorial of the bag that if you used a No. 3 zipper, it would be extremely difficult to add it to the bag.  But my little improvisation worked a charm and I had no issues adding it.

This bag is easy to make on a domestic sewing machine.  A lot of bag patterns can be difficult, if not impossible, to make on a domestic machine and require a more heavy duty, specialised machine to make bags.  But the Blue Calla Patterns that I have made have been great on my machine.  (I use a Janome QXL605 machine.)  However, I like to be completely fair in my assessments of everything I machine did come up against a road block and refused to work for me, lol.  You are meant to do top stitching around the edge of the bag where the zip and fabric meet.  But my machine would not allow me to get that amount of fabric under my presser foot.  It just would not fit at all.  So, I had to forgo the top stitching.  However, it didn't affect the bag or how it works at all.  So I don't feel too mad about it.  But again, the extra bulk may have been my issues that I created with the zip.  Maybe if I had have dropped my feed-dogs on my machine, it would have fit under.  And I think the fact that I added the extra vinyl to my zip to widen it, played a big part in it not fitting under my machine. So, I definitely don't think it was a problem with the pattern.  Celine did warn that it would be bulky.  When I make the next one, I will make sure I have the proper No. 5 zip and if needs be,  I'll drop my feed-dogs on my machine and then, I am pretty sure, I will be able to fit it under and do the top stitching.  But other than that, I am delighted with this bag.  You actually don't spend a great deal of time sewing.  Definitely, bag making is 90% cutting and prep work and 10% sewing, lol.  

That's it from me folks.  I'll see you on the next one.  Toodles Noodles......Lee aka Crafty Loops xx

At the time of typing, the items I linked to are available.  However, items stock changes all the time and with time marching by, some items I link may no longer be available from that particular seller.  However, a quick Google search should help you out if my links are no longer working/available.
5& 1/2 inch Kai Scissors - Ebay (These are the best scissors I have ever used in my life.  They may be small but they can cut through anything....including my finger....ask me how I know....oops!)
Moygashel, Jeff Banks Port of Call Fabric - bought from private seller on Ebay
Faux Leather, black - Ebay
Jeans Needles - Amazon
Metal bag feet - Amazon
Bosal In-R-Form Plus Fusible Foam Stabiliser - bought on Ebay
Teflon non-stick foot, Amazon- for sewing machine.  Works great when working with faux leather.  This foot works perfectly with my Janome QXL605 sewing machine
Woven Fusible Interfacing - (G700 or equivalent) - Ebay
Zips, no 3 and no 5 - bought from various sellers on Ebay.  Try ZipperStation

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  1. wow, how useful this bag is and will hold so much, another successful project and again, great fabric choice, xx


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Helloooooo! Anybody out there??!! Hey....there you are! Thanks for leaving a comment and stopping by my Blog. Lee x