Saturday, 6 October 2012

A bag for a little girl

bag plans afootOne of my projects for the the Summer holidays this year was to make a new bag for my eldest. There's a real gap in the market out there - what we wanted was neither a school bag or messenger bag, nor a purse or handbag, but a mid-sized bag, small enough not to be a burden but big enough to house the essentials.

The plan
  • A bag. A bag with a gusset. And a divider. And a zipped inner pocket.
  • A bag with an adjustable across-the-body shoulder strap.
  • A bag small enough to carry around on a day out, big enough to hold a purse, medical bag and other little girl paraphernalia (today's contents include: a bag of humbugs, some small pebbles collected on the beach and a notebook and pencil for jottings).
It  was just the excuse I needed to use these super-shiny nickel rectangle rings and slider* which I have had, unused, for the best part of four years (I am very skilled at long-term bag project planning). And the fabric was one I had chosen especially for the little girl who just happens to have a much-loved black cat from Battersea dogs and cats home, a pretty Japanese linen/cotton mix fabric from Fabrics Galore on etsy. I am a huge fan of these Japanese woven fabrics, which have quite a bit more natural structure to them than quilting cottons but come in the sweetest prints rather than being a straight 'utility' fabric.

* you can find similar ones over at u-handbag

Little girl satchel
I sketched the bag pattern around the medical bag, factoring in a gusset for extra storage capacity and a satchel shape. An elasticated pocket/divider was added, along with a little zipped compartment for precious things. The strap is long enough that my daughter can wear it across her body without the strap being at full length, but so that she could also shorten it to use it as a shoulder bag. I've carried it for her myself without feeling in the slightest bit ridiculous - I think this is one of the virtues of the Japanese fabric which is cute without being cutesy, if you see what I mean.

bag interior: zipped pocket and divider

little girl's satchel

So far the bag has proved to be very versatile.

Climbing the rigging  
a bag for climbing the rigging

Regal eagle bag atop a castle turret  
a bag for feeling regal atop a 128foot-high turret

Llechwedd mine
a bag for going down a mine (trust me, it's there, just moving too swiftly for my phone to capture) 

Views over Tintern Abbey from England 
 a bag for playing half-English, half-Welsh on a cross-country walk along Offa's dyke to view Tintern Abbey in all its glory back in Wales.

And the nicest thing for me is how genuinely pleased my girl was with her new bag. I'm glad they don't feel I'm palming them off with things handmade. Well, not yet, anyway!


  1. looks fabulous

  2. such pretty fabric and a very versatile bag!

  3. Its a great bag!

  4. Lovely bag! I have a rather similar fabric sitting in a pile just waiting for the right project...

  5. I cannot believe quite how lovely this is.

  6. Thank you all! I'm glad I did procrastinate a bit about this one rather than launching straight in. There's some black cat fabric left over, so there are pencil cases and coin purses on the way too.

  7. That's a fantastic bag! Looks like you had a great time during the hols too!

    1. Thanks, Helen. And yes, we had a fantastic Summer!

  8. What a lovely bag- just the right size in all the right places. Any thoughts of perhaps making a tutorial or pattern for it? (Hint hint.)

    1. Thanks, Kim! Yes, there will be a pattern which I'm just working on now. I will post on the blog when it's up in the shop.

  9. Beautiful bag, that fabric really is gorgeous without being cutesy, I would use it and I'm hurtling towards 40! Ange x

  10. That's gorgeous. I love it!!

  11. Replies
    1. Thanks, Lou! I'm writing up a pattern for it at the moment, but the process has been lengthened by my dropping my camera! Oh dear ...!


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