One of the things on my “to sew” list for fall was a large bag / tote. I have had this fabric for over two years now, hoarding it for the perfect project, and finally decided it was time. I have fallen in love with the look of the Nena and Co. bags and wanted to make something that had a similar feel. My bag really doesn’t look anything like theirs, but it was a good jumping off point.
The main fabric is a linen from Graylines Linen in the NYC garment district. It isn’t super sturdy so I had to fuse it to interfacing. I lined it with some left over red twill from my stash. The leather came from on Peggy Sue Also on etsy. I’ve bought scraps from them before to make leather moccs for my kids, but this was my first time to ever buy a hide. The quality was great, and so was the service. I always get my leather within a couple of days. The only downside I can say is that the leather is dyed in a way that you don’t see the imperfections of the leather. I’m hoping that it will break in a bit and get better with age, but for now the leather almost looks faux.
The pattern is the Senna Tote as part of the Willow and Co. pattern collective. I thought the pattern was great. Any problems that I had were due to the fact that I made a ton of “design” changes which made my life harder than it had to be. The instructions and diagrams were really professional and easy to follow. I do recommend making sure that you have a really thick needle because you do sew through a lot of layers at once. I could see some less sturdy machines having a hard time handling it.
I obviously made a lot of changes. The main bag pieces and lining are made according to the pattern instructions. For the outside of the bag I changed the pocket so that it does not extend all of the way to the side seams. I also created the large v notch just for a visual effect. For the base, instead of having the leather wrap around the corners I just had it wrap around the middle of the bag and tuck inside of the pocket. The reason for this is that I wanted to avoid having to create a seam with the leather. Without an industrial machine I find it really hard to made a corner look professional with leather.
In the end I am just OK with the way this turned out. I like it and I plan on using it a lot. I just think it looks a little homemade and I am frustrated after using some of my favorite fabric and buying a hide which was not cheap. I should mention again that this is not because of the pattern, but because I had a hard time sewing the leather. In the end maybe I should have just bought a Nena and Co. bag. Oh well, the process is half the fun.