Canvas and Faux Leather Messenger Bags

When Colette Patterns released The Cooper Bag, I knew I had to make it. I really enjoy making bags, something relaxing about the construction. I think it is the straight sewing, lots of topstitching and occasionally, I just like not having to fit. And with daughters who are twins in college, I couldn’t get away with making only one!

Canvas and faux leather are some of the recommmended fabrics, which particularly appealed to me. Mood Fabrics’ Beige/Silver Sparkle Canvas was my main fabric choice, which in person has more of a gold look.

And my contrast fabric is Mood Fabrics’ Brown Solid Faux Leather

When selecting a faux leather, I just made sure the description said good for bags, such as this faux leather’s description “Medium-weight with some pliability, this vinyl is best for accessories, like handbags, totes.”

I was going to make this for myself but realized it is just too big. This bag is huge and perfect for a student. As I was making this bag, Meredith said, “If you don’t want it, I’ll take it.” So that is what I did!

the cooper bag from Mood fabrics' canvas and faux leather

A few extras on Meredith’s bag: I covered webbing with the faux leather and added purse feet. In retrospect the webbing provides great stabilization but adds so much thickness to the straps. It was all my machine wanted to sew through all these layers, so take this into account if you do fabric handles. With such thickness I could not use the metal slides to adjust the strap length. Meredith put the bag over her shoulder and I cut the strap to the appropriate length.

Collette Patterns' The Cooper bag made with Mood Fabrics' canvas and faux leather

As many of you know, I have four adult daughters, and the youngest two are twins, freshmen in college. In our house the twin factor is very similar to the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie but with a theme of if Mom makes something for one twin, you can bet the other twin wants something very similar. That indeed happened, with Kaitlyn saying I want one of those, too. I had enough fabric to squeeze out another bag. The only difference is Kailtyn has the sparkle canvas for her strap. Much easier for my machine to handle.

Colette Pattern's Cooper bag made with Mood Fabrics' canvas and faux leather

A close-up of Kaitlyn’s bag:

cooper bag Kailtyn

The rivets add so much to the bag, just a little extra like you would see in a RTW bag

rivets on cooper bag, using Mood Fabrics' faux leather and canvas

Some tips for working with faux leather:

  • use a teflon or a non-stick foot
  • pin always in the seam allowance
  • I lengthened my stitch a bit when topstitching about .5
  • use the appropriate needle, which my Fabric Savvy book said was a 90

Another tip, which I learned on the second bag, is wait to insert the female snap after the flap is constructed and basted on the bag. This helps tremendously to match the straps perfectly and keeps the alignment straight. The pink dot is the placement mark, which if you push hard on the male snap, leaves an indentation in the canvas and you have the correct placement.

snap

Don’t let this bag intimidate you, it is so doable. Colette Patterns has a great sewalong, which has the construction steps broken down in sections and helps the bag from being overwhelming.

I used stash quilting cotton for the lining and here are a couple blog posts with construction information (here and here)

lining

As my girls head off for their second semester, they have two good-looking messenger bags to use on campus.

Two Cooper bags made with Mood Fabrics' canvas and faux leather

 

And they sure do like their straps different lengths!

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Comments


  • Beth Conkwright
    January 13, 2014

    Turned out so nice. I’ve seen lots of these but didn’t realize they were so big!

    • Lori
      January 13, 2014

      Beth, I agree I was so surprised with the size.but I love the bags. Thanks so much.

  • Ginger
    January 13, 2014

    Wow, these look so great! I’m seriously impressed!

    • Lori
      January 13, 2014

      Thanks, I appreciate at it.

  • Amanda S.
    January 13, 2014

    Great bags! Your girls look pleased!

    • Lori
      January 13, 2014

      Thanks, Amanda, they are very happy.

  • Jenny
    January 13, 2014

    Great bags!

    • Lori
      January 13, 2014

      Thanks, Jenny, it is a great pattern and great fabric.

  • Vicki Kate
    January 13, 2014

    Pah, they’re beautiful! (Daughters and secondly the bags!). I had no idea the pattern made such a cavernous bag!

    • Lori
      January 13, 2014

      thank you, Vicki, I appreciate the nice comments on daughters and bags. I agree the size surprised me.

  • Sallie
    January 14, 2014

    These are gorgeous!! And so are your daughters! What a lovely gift to send them off to school with. I love the sparkly touch of the canvas – stunning!

    • Lori
      January 14, 2014

      Thank you so much, Sallie, the sparkly fabric was so fun.

  • Amy
    January 14, 2014

    I love the fabrics you choose. The sparkle adds just the right amount of contrast to the faux leather. And, the professional details are great! Bravo!

    • Lori
      January 14, 2014

      Thanks, Amy, they were fun to make and the fabric is the perfect weight to make a substantial bag.

  • Peter
    January 14, 2014

    Are you sure this isn’t trick photography? LOL

    The bag is great — how lucky you got to make TWO and work out all the kinks. ;)

    • Lori
      January 14, 2014

      They are pretty skinny girls, maybe that makes the bags look bigger LOL! Thanks, I always like making that second bag, it is so much easier.

  • Lauren
    January 14, 2014

    These are great! Your girls look so happy with their matching bags (and yeah, if i had a twin, I’d want the same thing as her every time too, ha!). I LOVE that sparkly fabric like whoa!

    • Lori
      January 15, 2014

      They were very happy. I believe these will be carried on their Tues-Thurs days. That sparkly fabric is great, everyone needs some bling!

  • Sarah Gunn
    January 15, 2014

    I wouldn’t know where to begin making such a bags. These are super, Lori!

    • Lori
      January 15, 2014

      thanks, Sarah, I am so pleased with the results. The bags had to be great with such fabulous fabric and a very well-designed pattern.