Saturday, May 2, 2015

my #matsuribag

This year I promised myself that I would expand my skills beyond quilt making. I wanted to learn how to install a zipper, do English paper piecing, and comfortably use interfacing in projects. I'd like to make a few garments, too. I've done a few of these things before with my friend, Lorraine, who taught me to sew, but I hadn't done any of them on my own. So recently, after making a few open wide pouches for swaps and some laptop sleeves for friends, I decided to volunteer as a tester for Felice who was working on her Matsuri Bag pattern. I knew it would be a challenge in some ways but I was confident I could do it! The Matsuri bag is a backpack that converts to a crossbody and I had commented that I had been looking for a backpack to use when I'm out with the boys because it's so much easier to have both hands free. I was so excited when Felice emailed me say that I was chosen as a tester that I started picking out fabrics immediately!

I considered a couple Cotton + Steel prints (all the states and scattered), but then I remembered that my mom had given me some of the Midas Kisses (the cat fabric which is out of print and hard to find, but it looks like Pink Castle might have some in white!) along with some of Ellen Baker's half rounds from her Charms collection for Kokka, and I knew they would be perfect for what I had already dubbed the world's cutest backpack. I ordered some of the half round fabric in charcoal to use as the lining and spent way too much time comparing purse hardware on etsy. I ended up choosing an antique brass finish for the hardware and then I found the perfect metal zipper. So perfect, in fact, that I bought five.

Anyway, even though I was comfortable installing a zipper and using interfacing by this point, I was still intimidated by this bag because of all the pieces! However, Felice's instructions were very clear and easy to follow, and she includes helpful diagrams along the way. I did make a few simple modifications, including flipping the side pockets over because I decided I liked my lining fabric better as an exterior contrast fabric, so please note that the gathers would look a little different if I had followed the pattern exactly.

Though I haven't used the bag as a crossbody yet, I can say that I love the look of it!


This bag easily holds everything I need for Finn - his epi pens, a couple diapers and wipes, a couple small snacks, and a change of clothes. I can fit a few other things, too, like a book, some small toys, and another set of clothes if necessary, but the bag does start to lose it's shape if I jam too many things inside, like any bag would. The exterior pockets are the perfect size for the boys' water bottles which is major for me. I love having a dedicated spot for the water bottles in my bag! As you can see here, I added a lined interior pocket (not included in the pattern) so I can easily keep my things separate from the boys' things. I have enough room inside the pocket for my wallet, phone, keys, a pen, and my checkbook. I don't even know why I carry my checkbook other than that it's inside a cute Hello Kitty Liberty fabric wallet that I made and I like to admire it, ha!

I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who's looking for a cute and functional backpack! I'm completely in love with mine and want to coordinate all my outfits around it from now on. Head over to Sew Scatterbrained to purchase the pattern (release date is May 2!) and support Felice! And check out the #matsuribag hashtag on instagram to be inspired by all the bags the other testers made... there are some gorgeous fabric combinations there! I'll be happy to answer any questions about the pattern and my personal experience making the Matsuri Bag. Let me know if you make one - I'd love to see it! Oh, and thanks to Matt for taking these photos for me!

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