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 will 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.
The back of the bag
Many of you know, I have four adult daughters, the youngest two are twins, freshman 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 if Mom makes something for one twin, you can bet the other twin wants something very similar. That indeed happened, Kaitlyn said, "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, which only is the sparkle fabric. Much easier for my machine to handle.
I added a shoulder pad to Kaitlyn's
A close-up of Kaitlyn's bag:
The rivets add so much to the bag, just a little extra which you would see in a RTW bag
Some tips with the 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
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, this 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)
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!