Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Brand X Courier Bag Pattern Review

This is a HUGE UFO crossed off my list. While I do LOVE the end result of this bag, it’s not one I would rush out and make again. I have a few friends that have theirs already started so hopefully they can pick up a few tips and their journey will be easier than mine.

Step 1 – Cutting. If making it again I would cut out all the cover and lining fabrics but I would wait on the fusible fleece and cut those pieces out at the beginning of each step to make decisions between Fusible Fleece or Decor Bond for each component.

Step 2 – Constructing the pockets. There’s a Pencil Pocket, a zippered pocket and a credit card pocket. I noticed that my pattern did not tell you what to cut for the pencil pocket or spacer. I found those dimensions as well as another change here at the Glass Thimble. At this point, I would omit the pencil pocket and credit card pocket. In its’ place I would elongate the zippered pocket and make the zipper the full width of this section. I would still make the pocket in the manner described within the pattern but I would sew the Velcro in before the finished assembly of this pocket. I would also make the Velcro longer so that later on the flap has a better chance of catching it. The little pocket is cute however my iPod will fit in, but my hand will not fit in to retrieve it. For pocket 3 I would omit the fusible fleece and replace it with decor bond. I would do the same thing with pocket 1.

Pocket 2 which ends up on the back of the bag, I would construct a little differently. I would actually quilt this pocket similar to the cover and I would put binding across the top edge. In the end, I took my back pocket off, quilted it and reassembled it. Without this, the back would look unfinished.IMG_0899

Step 3 – The Gusset. For the lining gusset I would use Decor Bond versus the fusible fleece. For one of the lining pieces, I would leave a 6-10” gap in the center open (this is the inside bottom of the bag). I would turn the edges in 1/4” and topstitch them once the bag was turned. I followed the directions and just used the 3-1/2” gusset seam and even though I was being gentle, by the time I was finished turning it, my fabric had ripped clear past that opened seam. I was not pleased. (See pictures below)

Step 4 - Quilting the Pieces. This I’d leave the outer portions just the way they are. The lining pieces I’d use decor bond instead.

Step 5 – Trim & Bind the Flap. Actually, make sure you sew your Velcro on before this flap is even quilted. This will hide the stitching from the front of the bag. Other than that, these directions are good.

Step 6 – Stitching the pockets. You’d just want to make sure you assemble these properly if you are changing that front into one long zippered pocket.

Step 7 – Make the straps. Great directions. I embellished mine in the same manner as my strip across the flap.


Step 8 – Attach the side pockets. Great directions although I would add to overcast stitch the edges of these pockets together to hold everything together even with the pinning. Somehow I managed to pop one of these pocket seams when I turned the bag through the teeny tiny little hole so I had to push it all back through and re-sew. This is when I opened the bottom lining seam.

Step 9 – Attaching the strap. Great directions.

Step 10 – Making the bag lining. This is where I’d leave a portion open on one of the lining pieces along the gusset. Also, at this point if you’ve used decor bond it’s going to be much easier to attach the gusset.

Step 11 – Sew the outer bag together. I didn’t really have a problem with this except that my pockets were just SOOOO bulky. Since I was using my walking foot, the fleece that was left away from the seam allowance was still too close for comfort. My foot would be riding about an inch above the bed of the machine because of the thickness. Due to the bulk, I snapped a needle and it flung towards my eye hitting it. I’ll re-assess the damage tomorrow and decide if it needs medical attention. I did do an eye wash. For the rest of the thickness I donned my sunglasses and wore them as if they were safety glasses.IMG_0875

Step 12 – Final Assembly. This would have been a breeze with the larger lining opening and thinner pocket sections. I struggled. There was just soooo much bulk to pass through that 3-1/2” hole.



Well this part was easy, now what?


I held my breath and hoped for the best, tugging more gently than the picture portrays.



This is where I announced that the birthing of this bag was breech and needed a c-section.

Maybe I could leave it just like this?

IMG_0887 IMG_0888

Now I noticed that my fabric was ripped and I was pissed!!

IMG_0889 IMG_0893 IMG_0895

I opened up the bottom seam, fixed the tears and then topstitched the openings closed.

Very relieved…here’s the finished product!


The zipper pocket that I’d prefer to be all the way across. Of course I decided that the black zipper looked horrid but I didn’t have a navy zipper. Instead of waiting, I used white. Oh well…it’s a good thing the flap will typically be covering it!



Once I was finally ready to go, topstitching around the top was easy peasy. The pattern actually tells you to sit back and relax because you are done. I think it should come with an alcoholic beverage!

My mind is mush, I’m surprised I’ve made it to the end of this post and now I've realized that I missed my 200,000th visitor. =(


Suzan said...

In spite of the directions, the bag came out great! Now, what the heck is Decor Bond and where do I buy it?!

Erin said...

Oh, I can totally sympathise with some of those expressions!! But the bag is absolutely gorgeous!! :) :)

BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

Great bag but you must be beat after that....and where are the safety glasses?

Bella said...

Great bag...better you than me...I really would have left it at the turning part...I always get pissed in that area of the pattern!

Ilana said...

Thanks for the great info. Your bag looks fantastic. I want to make a messenger bag but I don't have alot of bag making experience and think I should try a different pattern.

I enjoy reading your blog. I've learned a lot and have enjoyed the peek into your life. Thanks.

Regina said...

Good info -I have not started mine yet... will be sure to chill the beer before I start.

Moneik said...

I think I'll have the whole bottle of wine ready to drink when I finally do start it. Thanks for all the tips so it will be easier when I do it.

Piwacket said...

The bag turned out great! Even though I work at the shop I haven't made a courier bag yet and don't intend to. For me it's too much work for something I wouldn't use often enough. I really love the decorative stitches you used on the straps. Thanks for all the review info!

BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

So....I was just thinkin....wasn't there suppose to be a tutorial on this bag? Isn't that why we all bought it? What happened to that idea? You gonna do a tutorial for me?

Vicki W said...

It turned out great but I don't think I would make that one again either! Well, I wouldn't even make it once.

Chelsy Marie said...

okay. now that I see this it's really making me wish that I didn't already start cutting out for that bag. oh brother.

Christine said...

I'm extremely impressed. I have lots of bag patterns, but I can't get over my crippling fear of making one. I'd need more than one alcoholic beverage.

piecesofpatti said...

The bag looks great! However................. I don't think I will be making that one anytime soon!

Laurel said...

Looks great! When will the class be at PW?

Regina said...
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BitnByAQuiltingBug said...
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Regina said...
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quiltin cntrygrl said...

I love the colors that you used.. I have that pattern and have yet to try it.. Its on the list. Today is a yellow brick road day