I just finished this. Last night. I rarely get photos and get things posted this quickly so feel free to be impressed 😉
This is the Sew Sweetness Amethyst Project Bag. I was actually using the exterior fabric for some other organization type containers (to be posted when I finish them) and realized it would also be awesome for this pattern. I’d seen pictures of the Amethyst Bag and thought it would be nice to make but wasn’t truly motivated until I had the right fabric. Now that I’ve made it, I would definitely make another.
I won’t go on and on too much about the pattern. Like every other Sew Sweetness pattern I’ve done this one was high quality. Everything fit together like a well-made puzzle. Instructions were clear. It continued my track record of excellent patterns from her.
I will tell you about the fabrics I chose and the changes I made. Let’s start with the fabrics. This was a total stash buster of a project for me. The back fabric for the top — the black and white — was an adorable quilting themed newspaper satire that I had just a single fat quarter of and had been saving for the “right project.” The paint strips was a tiny scrap I had left over from a dress I still need to post. And the exterior was something I had bought ages ago but realized that very little matched it. It’s a nice green, but really hard to match. That’s where the black and white came in. Black and white matches everything! And I thought about just doing white for the rest of the inside since I only had that little fat quarter, but then I found this rainbow and problem solved! I love it so much more with color. And even more, I love that all the fabrics are about creating and making in different mediums.
Those are some in progress shots. Up until that point, I had done everything by the book. But I’m sewing this during quarantine which meant I couldn’t just run to the store and get missing bits. There was a bit of make-do. Fortunately I had some zipper-by-the-yard in white so I didn’t need to make up for that! I was also fortunate that I had 2 matching black zippers. So here are the changes I made.
First, I didn’t have white elastic . . . so I used the pink I had! That’s not entirely true. I had white non-roll but that’s pretty hideous. So the only good looking 1” elastic I had was this pink. However, now that it’s done, I actually really like the pink and would totally do a colored elastic again.
Next, I didn’t have a parachute clip, the connector between the two pieces of elastic. So I improvised and made myself a magnetic one. Here’s how I did it:
I wanted each finished side to be 1.25” x 2.5” so I cut 2 pieces of 3” x 5” fabric and interfacing. After interfacing, I folded in the long edges by 1/2 “ (or so . . . I think it was closer to 3/8”). I folded the sides to the middle and then folded everything together. You can observe the creases above to see what I mean. Next, I took 2 little pieces of thermolam fusible foam and put them on either side of where the magnetic clasp would go for extra stability and to prevent it from wearing through the fabric, a tip I picked up from other bag making patterns.
I marked where I wanted to put the clasp by tracing through the circular gasket it comes with. Then I used my seam ripper to tear 2 tiny holes where I marked, inserted the magnetic clasp and then folded it up.
Then I topstitched around the edges. I managed to break my needle. Twice. Because I was being too dense to realize that I was apparently trying to sew through the metal wings. Sigh. Then I hand cranked it and made it around. After that, I just stitched it securely to the elastic using a square with an x through it style stitch pattern. I’d say it works pretty well.
Third, the pattern calls for 4 of these squares of peltex. I had enough for 3. However, I did have enough timtex for the 4th. Timtex is actually a little thicker than the fusible peltex, but it’s sewable, not fusible. So for the bottom I did a quick stitch around the edges. That way when the top piece fused to the lining, it would still hold the timtex in place. I’m pleased to say it worked great.
Fourth, I didn’t have enough regular foam interfacing, but I did have a bunch of one-sided fusible foam. I had bought it to try it out. I thought it would also save me some time in this case. And also it was what I had. I suppose it did save some time, but not really. Fusing takes a bit to do the whole thing and it’s pretty fast to stitch around the edges. Ultimately, I’m not a huge fan of the look. When the fabric isn’t fused, it can move and flex like fabric. When it’s stuck the fusible foam, I find it makes tiny wrinkles. It’s not so bad. Definitely not bad enough that I wouldn’t use this in public. And fortunately it’s a pretty busy fabric so that hides quite a bit, but it’s a good note for the future.
Finally, I adjusted the sizes of the elastic. Sara, the pattern author, recommends this if you plan on using it for items other than pencils which is what she has sized it for. Since I plan on using it for links like rotary cutters and seam rippers, I made the left ones a bit bigger.
Another note on this part: I found it easiest to sew the top of the black binding for the pocket first. Then I slipped the pocket in and sewed down the bottom. I tried it first with the pocket pinned in and it was really hard to get a straight line.
These other items weren’t so much replacements as little hacks:
For the pocket, instead of clipping the corners, I just used my pinking shears. I discovered this when making flutter sleeves for a kid’s outfit a couple years ago and it’s the best way to “clip” rounded edges like this on bags, too, in my opinion.
When I top-stitched the top, I didn’t manage to cover the previous stitching on the black part. Black sharpie to the rescue:
I plan to eventually make this again so here are my notes that I’m just putting here so I remember them — and in case anyone else is curious.
- The top is actually super customizable. You could do all elastic loops or 2 mesh pockets or 2 pouches or 1 giant mesh pocket. Really a lot of options depending how you’ll use the bag.
- I might skip interfacing the lining of the little pouch. It’s fine as is, but I think I might prefer it a bit “floppier.”
- I definitely won’t use fusible foam.
- I’ll try to get an actual parachute clip. I think a d-ring and swivel clip would also work well
- Definitely use colored elastic again.
- If I wanted a “quick and dirty” version of this, I think one could totally eliminate the elastic on the bottom and do 1 large mesh pocket or 2 mesh pockets instead. In fact, I kinda like that idea and might try it!
There are so many potential uses for this pattern! Really happy with it and looking forward to using it. So I leave you with a picture of it holding some of my mystery quilt blocks which is how I plan to use it for the time being.