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!
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.
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.
A close-up of Kaitlyn’s bag:
The rivets add so much to the bag, just a little extra like you would see in a RTW bag
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.
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.
As my girls head off for their second semester, they have two good-looking messenger bags to use on campus.
And they sure do like their straps different lengths!