It’s not going to be an overly in-depth pattern review, but I wanted to do one on this pattern, in case anyone else was searching the web for information on it, as I was a few months ago. They did one at Sew, Mama, Sew, but I always think it’s good to get more than one opinion!
About a month ago, I started making this purse, the flea market bag from the Grand Revival pattern:
I got as far as making pattern pieces from plumbers cloth (a tip courtesy of seamstress extraordanaire Jane), which I love. It makes them easy to handle and easy to store. I also got the pieces for the purse cut from the cloth I wanted to use—a Waverly home decor fabric for the outside and a cotton fabric for the inside, as well as the interfacing (light interfacing for the lining, a slightly heavier interfacing for the outer bag).
But when I got to the stop of sewing the lining pieces to the handle, I got frustrated. Not the pattern’s fault at all, but my own, because for some reason I had a bobbin that didn’t like my sewing machine and made all my stitches very loose and messy. it took me a bit to realize it was the bobbin and not the tension on my machine, so a bit of frustration commenced. Finally, I had to wind a new bobbin, rip out all my stitches from one side of the lining, and start over. I set the sewing project aside for a bit, since I think it’s worse to sew when I’m frustrated—I get even more impatient and sloppy.
So this past weekend I went back to the project, because the colors are so cute and summery, and I really wanted to be able to carry this purse while there was still summer. Since I’m going to be traveling for a good month starting later in July, my time was getting a bit limited. Now that I had a better bobbin to work with, the sewing went fairly smoothly. I know some people had issues with the corners at the bottom of the bag, but I just took my time and they weren’t bad at all.
Where I started to dislike the pattern was in the handles. Once the body and lining are sewn together, and turned right side out so it’s starting to look like a real purse, you’re still left with two separate handles. The idea is to iron them under and then topstitch them together, as well as around the purse. I thought this was awkward and I wasn’t as happy with the handles as I think I might have been had I somehow been able to stitch them together wrong sides together, and then turn them inside out. It would have made it easier to have them equal widths, for example, which is important since this purse is supposed to be reversible. I don’t plan on reversing it, so I’m not too concerned, I just would have liked a different method of construction.
the last thing that I noticed, which is not the patterns fault but the seamstress’s (that would be me) is that I didn’t get the strap/handle pattern lined up with the body of the bag. Now, this doesn’t actually bother me, but it might someone else.
One thing I didn’t do, but that I’m gong to go back and do, is add some type of closure to the bag. The pattern itself suggest several options, including a button closure, snaps and a velcro tab. I’m going to do the velcro tab since it’s something I can do even now that the purse is already constructed. I just don’t like having it wide open all the time.
In all, the purse is comfortable to carry. I like how wide the strap is. The pattern itself gives you a bunch of options: a bigger bag, a longer strap (so you can carry it messenger style) and the ability to add a petal tie at the top of the strap (where the strap is knotted at the top—I don’t like those because I think they make carrying uncomfortable, but they look cute). I did put an inner pocket in the purse. The pattern suggests an outer pocket as well, but I didn’t want to worry about lining up the fabric pattern to do that, so I skipped it. I don’t get much use out of a front outer pocket anyway, so I was happy to skip it.
Would I use this pattern again? I think I’d like to try it one more time, doing a larger bag messenger style. But I really am not satisfied with the way the handles turned out, so I’m not sure I’d make them repeatedly. I think this pattern would be frustrating for a very beginner sewer, but an advanced beginner (which is how I tend to think of myself) with some patience can do it. I do like the size of this purse. It’s big enough to hold my pouchee, my ebookwise and a few other random things with no problem.