I love making bags - it may be completely impractical for me to keep making them, but I can't help it. A new bag is always a treat. And when it comes to sewing patterns, a purse is just right for an evening project. Not too complicated or time-consuming, but incredibly satisfying. Needless to say, I have tons of handmade purses.
BUT, I now think that I may have found the perfect bag. I recently made the 'A Day in the Park' Backpack Tote' by Liesl and Co and it is everything I could possibly want. It's cute, practical, roomy, sturdy and can be carried on my back or my shoulder. As a mom, I feel like I'm always juggling too many things; the option to wear the bag as a backpack is a huge advantage for me. The design is really perfect!
The clever convertible handle is achieved by running the straps through metal rings. I had a hard time finding the right kind of rings for the project. Joann didn't have exactly what I wanted, so I bought these wider rings as a substitute. I was worried that they wouldn't look right, but it turned out beautifully. The fabric is an Alexander Henry home dec print for the exterior and Joel Dewberry for the lining (both from Sew to Speak).
This pattern also has lots of roomy pockets: One zippered, a few open pockets, and the large front pocket. The sizes of the pockets can be pretty easily adjusted to suit your needs: I have pockets that perfectly fit my cell phone, wallet and pens. And I'm completely in love with the button that I used to close the front pocket - So cute!
To amend what I said earlier, all bags are not simple to sew. This particular pattern was slightly more complex that your average bag. There are steps involving basting canvas for reinforcement, lots of interfacing, snaps and zippers. But the instructions are very straightforward, so it should be easy enough to follow. Most of the pattern pieces consisted of rectangles, all of which were included on the pattern itself. This surprised me - why not just provide instructions to cut rectangles in the specific sizes? The inclusion of all rectangular pieces wasn't necessarily a downside, but it didn't seem completely necessary.
I have a feeling that I'll eventually be making more of these bags in different prints. Despite the fact that I'm in love with this pattern, I'm sure it won't cure me of my bag-making addiction. Soon enough, I'll be sewing other totes - in fact, I just reserved a book from the library that's sure to have some promising patterns!