Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge: Blossom Bag

The Blossom Bag was the September project for Jem Jam's Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge.

Style Stiches Monthly Bag Challenge button
This is a bag I've been looking forward to making. My mother-in-law (who gave me my copy of Style Stitches last year for Christmas) pointed to this bag as being her favorite in the book. So I knew right then that I needed to make it for her! I even picked out fabric for it a few months ago (extra notable because this is also the first project in the book that I've gone out and bought fabric for-- everything else I've made using my stash).

However, despite all of my enthusiasm, September was just not much of a crafty month for me (as my dearth of blog posts attests). But last week, I was finally ready! The preparations were mighty-- I think I spent nearly two hours just cutting out all of the pieces. Then I spent nearly two hours applying all of the interfacing. Then I spent about five hours putting it all together.

front view of my Blossom Bag
I chose to do the handbag style, with the shorter handle length. I also chose to use a regular quilting-weight cotton instead of the recommended decorator-weight. Following Natalie's advice, I decided to go ahead and double interface all of my exterior and lining fabrics in order to simulate the heft of a dec-weight. It was a lot of interfacing. But it really seems to have worked.

purse feet on the bottom of my Blossom Bag
Natalie also said that though she loved her bag, she was finding that it was already showing signs of wear on some spots, probably due to the lighter-weight fabric. With this in mind, I went ahead and added some purse feet to at least help with that on the bottom. Also based on her recommendation, I plan to Scotch-guard the bag.

back view of my Blossom Bag
And here's the back of the bag. I love the handle details in this bag. They weren't too complicated to make, but measuring to ensure even placement is definitely something I would recommend taking the time to do.

side view of my Blossom Bag
This is a view of the side. It was a little tricky sewing the side in, due to the thickness and inflexibility of the Peltex. But lots of pins and just taking it slow got me through it just fine.

inside view of my Blossom Bag
In putting the bag together, I ran into two main challenges. The first one: the zipper pouch. If ever a section needed an illustration, it was this one. I swear those instructions were on crack. She approached this zipper differently than every other one she has presented in the book thus far. But, similar to the other methods she has offered up thus far, this one is convoluted and far more difficult than it needs to be. Frankly, even after having done it, I am still wondering if I actually did it correctly. But it does work. If you decide to make this bag, I would highly recommend using a different zipper approach (this one, from Bree of My Crafty Crap, looks pretty promising-- I definitely plan to try it!). I think I'm officially declaring myself DONE with Amy Butler zipper instructions.

close-up of bar tacks on side panels
The other major challenge? The last step wherein one is supposed to bartack through the side panels in order to hold the dividers in place. So THICK! Ugh. My machine managed it, but I had to take off the foot and go super slow to make it happen (many thanks to Tori at James Family Blog for sharing that fabulous tip!). Thank goodness-- because hand stitching that would have been painful (literally, I think).

me and my completed Blossom Bag
And here I am with the bag. Should I decide to make one for me at some point, I'll definitely do the longer straps. I'm a shoulder-bag kind of girl.

me standing and holding my bag
This view gives a little better perspective on the actual size of the bag. It really is a great size.

If you want to make one of your own, or even just get a taste of what an Amy Butler pattern is like, Sew, Mama, Sew! has a FREE Blossom Bag pattern download.


  1. Girl you have this bag thing down! That looks like a purse you would walk into a store and buy! It is just beautifully constructed! I am not a blue fan, but I like the fabric pattern!! You MIL will be a lucky woman to get this as a gift!! How many of the 17 in the challenge have you done??

  2. I am so impressed!!! I can barely make a market bag without tearing all my hair out. That is incredible.

  3. It really is a great looking bag. I like the style of the handles. Very different.
    You preserved and it all worked. Great tip to take the foot off the machine for thick things. I had that problem one time makeing some handles but never thought about taking the foot off.
    People are going to be asking your MIL where she got that fabulous bag. I am sure she will get lots of compliments.

  4. Only thing I can say is WOW! you have done it again! You are becoming a bag expert! I made a zipper pouch and I know what you mean about confusing zipper instructions!

  5. Your bag is beautiful! Mine is cut out, I just don't have the heart to do all that ironing! LOL I love how you added the feet to it!

  6. I like this one and think it was definitely worth the time you spent on it.

  7. Your bag turned out beautifully! (I don't know how I missed your post until now. Thank you so much for mentioning my blog post about my own bag.) I just love yours! The purse feet are a fantastic idea!