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Weekend/Overnight Bag In Chinese Brocade

I’m really excited about my Minerva Bloggers project this month especially so because of the totally fabulous Chinese Brocade that I have used.  The colour is a vibrant Pillar Box Red and the motif is a repeating butterfly pattern which shimmers in the light due to the metallic thread running through the medium-heavy weight satin.

It can never be said that I’m afraid of colour!

Chinese brocade

As soon as I saw this fabric I was desperate to use it – I had considered a kimono style dressing gown as kimonos are very ‘in’ at the moment and it would make a very decadent one, but I don’t need another.

I do, however, need a new weekend bag as my old faithful is falling apart at the seams and looking extremely tatty. I wanted a pattern that wasn’t too fussy or detracted from the beautiful fabric which needs a starring rôle, so I was delighted when I stumbled upon Burda Style 7119.

Burda

I chose view ‘A’ which reminds me of the old Doctors’ bags or carpet bags.

carpet bag

The pattern has been classed as “Easy” by Burda and I have to agree, although the handles may prove fiddly for the absolute beginner.

easy beginners bag pattern

It has been commented that I like a more roomy bag (see my “Sew Retro” bag) and this one is no exception. My fabric choice makes it a softly structured option but I can see it working even better in a leatherette or vinyl.

In fact, although I ordered a metre of bright red leatherette, I only used a tiny amount to make the handles so there is plenty left to make up a smaller version. Maybe a wash bag with waterproof lining?

These are the supplies, including matching red cotton lining, zip and thread. What a happy photo – red makes me want to shout out loud!

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The downside to using brocade is that it frays extremely easily. The pattern is not printed onto the fabric, it is woven with shimmery, metallic threads which are so beautiful (the photographs do not do it justice!) but which slide out at the slightest touch.

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To prevent the fraying and to make sewing a much easier experience, I overlocked every single raw edge which I wouldn’t normally do when the edges are encased within a lining.

That’s better!

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The zip went in easily enough and the placement makes a pleasant change from the norm.

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The zip extends past the end of the bag by a few inches and I liked the leatherette detail as a stop tab.

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When it came to making the handles, I altered the pattern slightly.

The design called for a tube to be sewn right sides together, turned inside out and tubes of handle wadding to be threaded through. I couldn’t source this anywhere so I improvised. I sewed the handles wrong sides together with two rows of stitching for strength and decoration, then poked some polyester toy wadding all the way through with a knitting needle.

leatherette bag handles

Three rows of stitching adds strength to where the handles join the bag.

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The padded handles are really soft and comfortable too, an important consideration which is often overlooked.

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The amount of interior space is quite impressive and I love that the lining is just as cheery a colour as the outside!

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As I said, it’s a little floppy unless it’s stuffed full of clothes but the benefit is that it folds away neatly when stored. I’m not averse to the less structured look anyway.

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Tadah!

I love it!

All in all it was a great pattern with easy to understand instructions and the fabric was a dream to work with after the fraying issue had been dealt with.

I can’t wait to use it – luckily we’ve got several overnight trips planned over the Easter break so it will get plenty of use. My husband has also planned our second wedding anniversary trip somewhere secret so it’s sure to get lots of second glances at the airport – it’s definitely a bag that stands out from the crowd.

It makes a lovely change from the generic overnight bags that you get in the shops and just proves the theory that hand made is best!

Weekend Bag

If you haven’t checked out Minerva Crafts yet, do hop over and have a look – the fabric selection alone is enormous and worth browsing over a cup of tea:)