Monday, November 13, 2017

Fiona's Freeway by Chris W Designs -- Chris W Designs Global Blog Tour

Front of cloth with vinyl accents, small flap and grommet version
Front of caramel and black designer leather, large flap, no grommet version

Front of burgundy and black leather, large flap, no grommet version

Front of blue leather, large flap, no grommet version
I was really happy to be able to feature Fiona's Freeway, one of my favorite Chris W Designs patterns, for this incredible blog tour. I was privileged to test this pattern before it was released several months ago and have since made several more. I will share four of my Fiona's Freeway bags in this blog. Be sure to read this entire blog for information on discounts during the blog tour and even a chance for two lucky readers to win this pattern.

The pattern (like all of Chris W Designs patterns) is clearly written with lots of helpful illustrations and great sewing tips. It is part of her Easy Street collection of patterns. The pattern comes with two flap styles and with both a grommet and no grommet version. The top flap closes with a magnetic snap. The grommet version also has a pull strap. The bag is designed for fabric with vinyl or cork accents but you will see that I have adapted it for leather. It has a vertical zip pocket on the front. Inside is another zip pocket, a slip pocket and a roomy center. It is a comfortable smaller cross-body bag that is perfect for carrying daily essentials, finishing to about 9" wide x 10" high x 3.5" deep.



Above are photos of the backs of my 4 purses. This bag is a cross-body bag and the back lies nice and flat against your side. It also stands nicely on its flat base. The photos below feature views of the large vertical front zipper pocket that is perfect for your phones, keys or glasses.

View featuring front vertical zipper pocket
View featuring front vertical zipper pocket

View featuring front vertical zipper pocket
View featuring front vertical zipper pocket

The next series of photos shows interior views with the zipper and slip pockets.




For my leather bags, I used full grain designer leathers in the 3-3.5 ounce weight for the exteriors and home decorator fabrics for my linings. For the cloth version I used a heavy cotton fabric exterior with vinyl accents and cotton fabric for the lining.

This bag is fun to sew and can be made rather quickly. For fabric with vinyl or cork accents, your domestic machine should work fine. I believe that this bag can easily be made by any sewer who is a confident beginner or above. If you want to use leather, you will need an industrial machine and knowledge of working with leather.

If you like to sew to sell, this is also great pattern for you! My clients have loved it! You can buy the pattern from Chris W Designs here.

Two lucky people will win a free pattern for Fiona's Freeway! To enter, just post a comment below with your answer to this question: What is your favorite style handbag? This contest will end on the 15th of November 2017. I will assign a number for each entrant and the winning numbers will be chosen by Michelle of Michelle's Creations.  The winners will be posted a couple days after the 15th. You can find the link to her blog below. Scroll down for more contests, tour schedule and lots more!

Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!                                                                                                                                          Judith
A special thanks to our awesome sponsors:


Tour Discounts

  • ChrisW Designs is taking 20% off all patterns until end of day (Australian Central Standard Time) November 21. Code GlobalBlogTour17 (applied automatically with this link. Buy without fear: If you purchase during the tour and then win a pattern, your purchase price will be refunded.
  • Handbag Hardware Australia (aff link) is offering a 10% discount for the duration of the tour. Use code: CWD10. (Excludes interfacing and Emmaline Bling.)
  • Bobbin Girl has a 10% discount using code BLOGTOUR17. (Not to be combined with any other discount or rewards points.)
  • Gold Star Tool is taking 15% off for our tour readers. Use code chriswdesigns.
  • Zipit (aff link) is also offering a 10% discount on shop items. Use code ChrisWDesigns.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

(Australia Central Standard Time)

// Please note that none of these post links are available before the scheduled date (ACST). If you click on one too early, you will get an "Error 404: Page not found." You know about those, right? // Sunday, November 12
Monday, November 13
Tuesday, November 14
Wednesday, November 15
Thursday, November 16
Friday, November 17
Saturday, November 18
Tuesday, November 21
  • Giveaway winners announced on all the blogs:
ChrisW Blog, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle's Creations, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, Serial Bagmakers, Tiger in a Tornado, Vanaehsa, Judith Stitches and More, Doctora Botones, Sewsewilse, Suck It Up Buttercup, Vicky Myers Creations, Marvelous Auntie M, inspinration, Fée bricolo, Trisha's Craft Corner

Monday, October 23, 2017

Amalfi Tote by PfitzSewSwell

Amalfi Tote front 
I was honored to be able to test this debut pattern from Katherine at PfitzSewSwell. I finished early and have been waiting to be able to share this wonderful tote. Katherine has really started her designing career with a winner!! The pattern will be available on October 29, 2017, but it can be preordered for a reduced price. Just click here to get all the information and your own PDF pattern.

The Amalfi Tote is quite large finishing to about 17.5" wide X 14" tall X 6" deep. The top is secured with a zipper so all your treasures are kept safe. It has an exterior front slip pocket (mine is secured with a flip lock). Inside is another nice sized zipper pocket and a divided slip pocket. It has room for books, files folders, your laptop and tablet, and even some clothes. Elegant enough for the office and yet casual enough for everyday, it is very stylish and classic.

I chose to make my test bag in designer leathers in burgundy and black with a sturdy home decorator fabric interior. I found the Amalfi Tote to be both a fun and a fairly quick sew. The pattern has directions for leather as well as faux leather or fabric.  It is a pattern that can be done by all levels of sewers. It is well written and easy to follow with lots of illustrations.

Amalfi back
Amalfi from the top showing the inset zipper closure
Amalfi from the side showing
The Amalfi has a large, sturdy base and meets the sides in an elegant angle that reduces bulk, looks stylish, but doesn't compromise sturdiness. I found it quite easy to do.
Amalfi base
Amalfi interior 

 Interior photo above shows the generous zipper pocket and divided slip pocket.

Amalfi being held to show size
And above is a final photo taken to show the size of this elegant tote. I loved making her in leather and furthering my own sewing skills with leather. All of the hardware used in my tote can be also gotten at PfitzSewSwell.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bodacious Bowler Bags by Chris W Designs

Large and small size versions shown for comparison

I was delighted to be a tester for this new pattern from Chris W Designs - Bodacious Bowler Bags. It is one great pattern in three sizes. Make a Bowler for yourself and for your youngsters or grand children. They all feature a front slip pocket that is perfect for adding a special fabric your favorite embroidery design, an interior slip pocket and zipper pocket. Additionally, the large size has a wonderful easy access slip pocket that is perfect for phone or keys.

Finished sizes
      Large about 12.5" W x 9.5" H x 5" D
      Medium about  10.5" W x 8" H x 4" D
      Small about 8.5" W x 6.75" H x 3.25" D

 It is classed as an intermediate pattern and I believe that designation is correct. It is not difficult as long as the pattern and directions are followed step-by-step, because Christine has once again used her marvelous fabric engineering to put this together such that you end up with a very professional looking bag. It is a fairly quick sew (in fact I was able to make two sizes during the test phase).

Large size, front featuring a large slip pocket (that I chose to divide into two slip pockets).

Small size front showing large embroidered exterior slip pocket (the embroidering design is included with the pattern).

Large size back

Small size back
Large size showing inside zipper pocket.

Large size showing inside slip pockets.
Large size showing hidden slip phone pocket

Small from side showing front slip pocket
Small size inside showing both slip pocket and zipper pocket

Small size showing zipper pocket -- had a little fun by changing the slide from red to green to match the colors in the strawberries.
Large size base with feet.

Small size base
I chose to use quilting cottons for most of the exterior and interior of both bags. For the large I used a black faux naugahyde for the front slip pocket and black vinyl for the bottom trim and handles. For the small, I simply used all quilting cottons.

You can get your own copy of the pattern here. The embroidery design comes in both 3" and 4" and can also be purchased at

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Carriers Conquest by Chris W Designs -- November 2016 BOMC

Carriers Conquest
Once again, I was privileged to test for Chris W Designs--this time it was the pattern for the November 2016 Bag of the Month Club (you can still join the July to December 2016 BOMC) bag and what a great bag it is! In fact I wound up making two nearly identical versions that have now gone to two dear friends.

Bag 1 Front

Bag 2 Front
(The Carriers Conquest is a nice sized bag that finishes to 13" wide x 10" high and 4.5" deep with lots of special features to keep everything organized. It features two top edge roomy zipper pockets with a handy cell phone pocket. One of the zipper pockets has two slip pockets inside it. The roomy center compartment is secured by a flap with a magnetic snap and has two more slip pockets and a really cool pocket designed to hold up a wallet up the the size of the Chris W Designs' Penny Inn. You will be able to see these features in the photos below. Although this seems like a difficult bag, it is not! As always, Chris W Designs directions are very detailed and incredibly clear. You do have to read and follow them step-by-step. I usually just print the pattern pieces, cutting directions and the text-only directions and look at all the detailed steps and photos on my laptop. It saves lots of paper.
Bag 1 end

Bag 2 end

Bag 1 looking from the top
Bag 2 looking from the top
In the photos above, you can see the two top zipper pockets open, the cell phone pocket and the flap that covers the center section of the bag. The Bag 1 photo also shows the slip pockets inside one of the zipper pockets.

Bag 1 showing center section with
wallet pocket on the left and slip pockets
 on the right.

Bag 2 showing center section with
wallet pocket on the left and slip pockets
on the right.

Carriers Conquest bag 1

Carriers Conquest bag 2
This bag can be made in all fabric or a combination of fabric and leather or faux leather. I made both of mine in suiting-weight wool (gray), faux leather (black) with cotton linings (white with black dots and turquoise floral). This pattern is currently only available to July-December 2016 Bag of the Month Club Members (click link to join BOMC).

Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!                                                                                                                                          Judith

Monday, October 31, 2016

Rubie Cross-Body Runaround Bag by Moments

Rubie front
I recently tested the Rubie Cross-Body Runaround Bag designed by Moments.  This elegant and stylish bag with unique diagonal pleats finishes to about 12" high (15" high with the cuff turned up)  x 12" wide x 3" deep. Although the pattern is designed for faux leather there are tips if you prefer to use cottons or home decorator fabrics. This is an intermediate pattern with excellent directions and photos for each step. You can get the pattern here.

Back showing set-in zipper pocket open
The pattern includes three options for the back....pleated like the front without a pocket, a set in zipper pocket (like I chose to do), or a full back slip pocket. It allows you to personalize it to your own particular needs and tastes.

Back showing zipper closed
 The photos above and below show the interior that features a zipper pocket, a double slip pocket and a key fob.

Interior featuring the key fob with the zipper pocket below
As you can see, I chose a lovely turquoise cotton lining.

Front with the cuff turned up showing the hidden slip pocket
If you are shopping and need more room, you can simply turn up the cuff and stuff a bit more inside. The photo above also shows the clever hidden slip pocket that is a perfect size for a cell phone or other treasures.

I absolutely love this bag (that immediately was claimed by my daughter) and plan to make several more.

Until next time, may you sew with joy, stay healthy and be filled with God's awesome blessings!                                                                                                                                          Judith