Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bag review and a giveaway at the end

Giveaway is now closed. You can still comment and I would love to hear your opinions on the review or the patterns themselves but you cannot enter yourself into the giveaway anymore!

Ich hoffe, es ist okay, wenn ich das hier in Englisch schreibe. Die Schnitte und ihre Anleitungen sind selber auch in Englisch, wenn es Euch stört, dann hinterlasst doch bitte einen Kommentar und ich werde das hier ins Deutsche übersetzen :) Am Ende gibt es die letzte der beiden Taschen zu gewinnen, dazu einfach einen Kommentar hinterlassen. Es wäre schön, wenn Ihr sagt, welche Taschenschnitte Euch gefallen oder ob diese kleine Review hier überhaupt hilfreich war. Nächsten Sonntag werde ich einen Gewinner ziehen.

It seems like everyone knows the patterns from Sue from "Sewing with me" but nobody talks about her. She has different shops on etsy. Each of them is selling different kinds of pattern: for children, for women and bag patterns.
I have purchased several of her bag patterns myself and also have tested two patterns for her. I was not compensated for this review and didn’t receive any money for testing. This is my own opinion and if you disagree or have a question feel free to leave a comment in the comment section.
Sue is selling her patterns only online, meaning that you can purchase them and she sends them to you in a pdf-file.
Advantages: it’s super fast and you can only print the part that you need. If you don’t need the instructions you just print the pattern.
She also carries some sewer friendly patterns meaning that you purchase just the pattern with basic instructions but the tutorial (which is most of the time several pages long) is not included. I love that version because I rarely look at instructions and just cut out the pattern and get to sewing.

Let’s take a closer look at some of her bag patterns, shall we? There are two patterns that I tested.
One is called the Jenny Bag.

To be honest, I first thought it look funny but I wanted to test anyway. Right now, this is the one bag that I carry with me everywhere I go. It fits some of my books for university but if I decide to just carry around my water bottle, purse, hand cream, and my calendar, it looks good, too.
I once decided to go grocery shopping with it but that didn’t end well. I managed to fit two bottles of milk in it but that was it.
I love that it is not a handbag but allows me to carry it across my body so that my hands are free. For carrying the rest of the groceries if needed :)

One thing: these printable patterns are almost always spread on various pages so that you have to assemble them after printing. Sue tells you which parts to assemble and also gives you the dimension of the finished pattern piece. She does not however (at least when I tested it) give you little darts on each side of the pieces so that assembly would be rather a “match the darts” game. You really have to measure or else your paper pattern will not be the right size and therefore not fit.
I know that some people don’t like to sew curves (like those on the bottom of the bag) but most of the time it is easier then you think. The instructions make it perfectly easy and show you how to do it so don’t be afraid to try!
If you like the shape but not the constrasting bottom curves (I really don’t know what to call them...) just use the pattern for the lining. It has the same shape but without the curve sewing and you get the same bag!
The pattern calls for a seam in the middle of the front panel but you can easily avoid it by putting the fold of your fabric on that line and cutting the rest as instructed.
Or - again – just use the pattern for the lining.
One thing to take into consideration: the back of the handbag is flat. You could easily put together two front sides making the bag look the same from each side.
For me, the flat back works because it makes it easier to slide my books into the bag. I love everything that makes life easier :)

I would say that this is a pattern that is a bit trickier to sew but it is nicely described and if you are not afraid of curves then you should try it.

Measurements: 27 x 30cm ( 10x12inch)
You can find the Jenny Bag in her shop: Sewing with me


Next, I tested her bag pattern No.139. Nice name for a bag :)
It is not released yet so if you won this giveaway you would be the first to ever have a handbag with this pattern :)
For me this handbag is too small. Plus, I like to have my hands free (for riding my bike...) and the only time I would use it would be for going to a party. I love that it is not tiny and all the very important things that you would like to carry around fit in it, yet it is not bulky. It really is perfect for going out or standing in line at your favorite shopping boutique but just don’t expect to fit your groceries or your ten new pairs of jeans in there :)

I have done similar bags to this one before so I didn't have any difficulties with the pattern. However I had some problems with printing the flap pattern piece but that should not be an issue anymore by the time it is released for sale :)
I left out the O-Ring because it was just not my style. The pattern didn’t change too much, I only had to make sure that the handle was sewn on correctly and not tangled.

I used piping to make the flap stand out more from the body of the bag. You can – of course- just do what the pattern tells you and decide to not use up your leftover piping from another project :)
Sue gives you exact instructions how to sew the flap to the body – which is in my opinion the only tricky part of the pattern. You can opt to make your straps longer so that you can carry your bag across your body but I decided to go with the handbag version.
The only thing that bothered me was that little extension on the flap of the original bag. I loved it when I first saw it but the more I looked at it the less I liked it. I decided to do a round version of it and I really like the result (it is just a half circle that was turned around and topstitched) but you can of course just leave it out all together.
Instead of the magnetic closure you can also use velcro or any other normal button.
I can also see some nice embroidery on the flap to show it off and make the bag more special.
Long story short: nice pattern with great possibilities for making it unique.
Measurements: aproximately 34cm x 20cm (13,5 x 8 inch)

Now, for the giveaway: leave me a comment and you are entered into the draw of this bag (the no.139 one). You could tell me what bag patterns you like or if this review was helpful. Or just anything else :)
If you spread the word and tell me in an extra comment you get another entry.
If you a no-reply commenter, please make sure that I have a way of contacting you (leave an email address!). If you win and I have no chance to contact you, I will pick someone else.
I will draw a winner next sunday.
Hope to see you soon, Johanna

Edited to add:

Here are the bags that Sue made for her patterns, so that you can see how they were supposed to be and what I changed. Please go visit her shop for more pictures.


  1. I thought your review was very thorough. LOVE the bag and would love to win :) Thanks for the great giveaway!

  2. what a great review. I particularly like your amendments and ideas for alternatives ... thanks for this opportunity

  3. What a great review! Please do more!
    I've never heard of these patterns before but after reading your post I'm off to have a look - Thanks

  4. Johanna, thanks for the pattern review. Very helpful. I have not heard of her and will have to be on the lookout for her stuff!

  5. Bags intimidate me! You did a lovely job. My fav would be the one you chose for yourself. Enjoy!

  6. Ich finde beide Taschen sehr hübsch. Bei der zweiten mag ich Deine Idee mit dem "piping" (was auch immer das deutsche Wort dafür ist).
    Das Problem mit den kleinen Taschen und den vielen Einkäufen löse ich übrigens mit einem extra Stoffbeutel, den ich immer zusammengerollt mit mir herumschleppe.

  7. I don't think you missed one little item in your review! Awesome! Bag #139 is sweet - would love to win it! Thanks for the chance.

  8. Beide Tasche sind wundervoll geworden !
    Völlig unterschiedlich, kann mich nicht entscheiden welche mir besser gefällt !?
    Bei der ersten finde ich den Stoff genial, passt super zum Schnitt, die Zweite ist einfach Zucker !

  9. I blogged about your giveaway here :)

  10. Thank you for the review..., please do more, I'd love to read, and I'm sure I'm not alone, the 139 bag's so cute, thank you for the chance!

  11. Great review and I love number 139 bag...grin. That name could catch on.

  12. I like the changes you made to number 139. I love large, large bags (cuz I carry so dang much stuff around with me), but this would be adorable for my daughter. This is exactly the type of bag she would carry. dmj53(at)hotmail(dot)com

  13. The Jenny Bag is adorable, but it's the fabric that makes it. Thanks for the reviews and for the great giveaway!

  14. Your review was great & I love your bag - Cute!
    Thanks for the chance :)

  15. The review was great and I love the bag! So beautiful.

  16. I liked the review. I do like patterns - especially when you can download them!!! I find it much easier to download than to wait for them in the mail - and pay postage!

    Also I LOVE how you made the tiny handbag look. The way you changed the tiny flapthing - the round one looks perfect! And the piping looks really good, too!!!
    Very cute bag! But I agree with you - I would probably only wear it when going out. But still, you need something cute when going out, too, right? ;-)

    I actually should not be a no-reply commenter. I did set up my account to include my email-address. But when I get my own comments they say "no-reply" so I would really appreciate if you could take a minute and tell me whether this comment is no-reply or not.

    Just in case my email

    cutelicious-shop [at] web [dot] de

    Off to answer your email that I got so long ago ... :-)

  17. I've made my sister several purses the same size as the #139 purse - would love to send her another for mother's day this year. I love the fabric you chose. So springy. Thanks.

  18. Lovely review, she has some great patterns. Thanks for the chance!

  19. hallo johanna!
    die tasche sieht klasse aus...danke für dein review...ich denke, ich werde mal die augen nach der anleitung offen halten!

  20. The review was great. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. This is a great review of the pattern. I really like that you added a half circle tab rather than the long rectangular one! It looks much better with the curve of the bag.

  22. Great review! Your bags turned out nicely.


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