Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Senna Tote by Willow & Co Patterns / lbg studio

Today I have something (for me) very unusual......a bag...that I have sewed...myself. And what convinced me to sew a bag you may ask? The answer is The Senna Tote from Willow & Co Patterns designed by Vanessa from lbg studio. That lady always makes the nicest bags/patterns!

I'm not even sure why I have not really made accessories before? I guess I have this boring personality that just sticks to what I know how to do, instead of branching out and trying new things. You know I am obsessed with things looking as professional as possible and in my mind I was imagining it being hard to get that professional look. Even though I must say I have seen a TON of amazing bags of all kinds in blog land - I was still a bit scared to try tackle one myself.

Here is the result and yup I love it. Even though I am still annoyed at myself for not using thicker topstitching thread. That would for sure have been the perfect touch but I was too impatient to get started when I was finally finished cutting all the multiple layers.

The pattern in general goes together smoothly and there is nothing technically difficult about it. I did feel like I was wrestling a bit with it though but I simply think it is because I am not used to sewing bags. Layers are thicker and does not just turn inside out the same way a dress does.

And my industrial machine certainly earned another gold star for happily sewing through it all without complaints.

The fabric is this AMAZING canvas from Miss Matatabi. I bought it on sale and this coral color now seems to be sold out but she still has it in yellow and brown. See the yellow HERE.

The pattern calls for quilting cotton basted together with canvas but Vanessa told me that she chose that option because it would give people more fabric and print options since there are limited cool canvas prints out there (totally makes sense) so I could just skip the quilting cotton and use the canvas as my outer layer instead. Perfect!

The cutting took forever because I wanted the stripes to match up with the pockets and I think I spent several hours deciding in which direction to cut the fabric and which fabric to use for the straps so it did not ruin the pattern print.
The obvious choice for the straps was of course to use the black and white stripes that was part of the print but that would mean extra stripes on the bag which I did not want. And it took me a while to get to the completely logical solution of using the 'other' print as straps and make them sort of 'invisible', duh.

The bottom is made from a quite thick cotton sateen I already had in my stash - again since I did not have the patience to go and get black canvas.

I also had some fun with the zipper. It was all totally my fault. I DID check the recommended length of the zipper in the pattern file but I did not read through the tutorial before I went zipper shopping which was a mistake. The pattern calls for a plastic zipper (which I knew when I went to the shop) but I felt soooo lucky when I found the length I needed in a metal zipper because well that is always a bit nicer, right.
If I had read the tutorial I would have known that the zipper is going to be shortened later on - arghhhh. Now if I had done what I was told and bought a plastic zipper, there would have been no problem because sewing machines can easily sew over those teeth BUT I had a metallic - juuust because I had to be fancy, ugh. And I do NOT shorten metallic zippers - my life is simply too short for that type of aggravation.

Soooo I started thinking plus digging through my zipper stash and found another metallic zipper that was juuuust a tiny bit too short and then I extended those lovely fabric details in each end of the zipper (see photo above) just a tiny bit - seriously it was like millimeters -  and then it all worked out. Phew! 
By the way I love Vanessa for having those types of details in her patterns. It makes all the difference in the end.

Doing it this way requires that you do a bit of math, and be quite precise, and I know Vanessa chose the way she is showing in the pattern's tutorial to make it more user-friendly which I totally understand, respect and agree with. But now you know there is another way if you don't mind working a little bit extra on it.

I am not going into much detail about inside and outside pockets because my lining (the cotton sateen) is pitch black and I would not be able to get any useful photos of it anyway. But check out THIS post from lbg studio, it has a ton of lovely lovely photos of all the bag's features.

I have already used the bag for a few days after these photos were taken and I totally love it. The straps are long enough to comfortably hang over my arm and it works on the shoulder too. The size is perfect and all the pockets are making organizing a bit easier.

Buy the pattern HERE.

Thank you!


  1. Amazing pattern matching skills right there!! Beautiful :)

  2. Such a cool bag! Love it! The last picture needs to be in magazine, perhaps Vogue. :)

  3. love it and glad you were able to make that zipper work! i think it works so much better than a plastic zip here!

  4. I love how it turned out and metal zippers on bags is always a better idea! You look amazing as always- cute dress too.

  5. It turned out so perfect!!! Love that print paired with the black bottom. I'm trying to convince myself that my machine can sew a bag again because I Love this pattern so much and I want to copy yours hahah ;)

  6. I think it's my favorite so far Mie! You did such a great job with all that print pattern matching... it was worth it all the time spent. :)

  7. Amazing bag! You are very talented. This is something you can carry every day! Love it!

  8. this is beautiful Mie!!! Well done, I love it!

  9. Beautiful bag, Mie! What an awesome job of matching up the fabric pattern! Oh, and I adore those polka dot tights.

  10. Gorgeous! I love your fabric. And I totally want your sewing machine; mine screams and acts out when I try to sew cool stuff like bags.
    Also, I totally agree with Olga - that last picture should def be in a a magazine!


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