So far, the only bags I had sewn were tote bags. Just looking at the thick mayers would frighten me, but I had sai that once I got a more powerful sewing machein I would sew bags. Since I’m now the proud owner of a Janome 6700P, iIcan indulge in bag-making!
The Polka bag by Sacotin looked like the best pattern to start with.
The Polka pattern
Polka is a PDF pattern that is downloadable from Sacôtin. It offers two sizes in one pattern: Small and Medium, for 6.60 euros.
Not many pages to print and glue, which is great compared to garment patterns!
I wanted to start with a pattern that has not too many pieces and various types of interfacings, etc.
My Polka bag will be worn cross-body style and it needs to be large enough to hold, masks, wallet, smartphone, and other stuff found in a handbag.
It has 3 zippered pockets (2 outside, on on the inside), a pocket closed by a turn clasp (or a magnetic clasp).
I compared the finished size of the Polka to my old bag and I chose to sew the Medium size.
My cute handbag
The main fabric is printed cork leather from Minerva. I really didn’t know what to expect from such a fabric, but tha’ts very pleasing to touch and sew. Rather rigid, but with a touch of softness.
Even if it has some body to hold the shape of a bag, I interfaced the lining with Vlieseline G700.
The lining is a funny poplin by Art Gallery Fabrics. Kitties in a graveyard at Halloween!
All of the hardware comes from La Mercerie des Créateurs. They provide bag hardware kits for all of the Sacotin bag patterns. That’s such a great thing not to have to source harware when it’s the first time you sew a bag. The ‘trickiest’ thing was to choose the color of the zipper, so no big deal! I can sponsor you if you’re interested (we’ll both get 5 euros off), just drop me an email.
Sewing the bag
I’m sure I read the instructions 20 times at least as I was really intimidated.
I cut all my pieces. Actually, there are not so many pieces, but they need to be cut multiple times (fabric+lining+interfacing).
Totally contrary to my sewing habits, I had the instructions under my nose all the time. Sewing bags is a whole new world so I needed guidance.
Sacotin’s instructions are really straightforward and i didn’t feel it to be complicated.
Turning the bag to the right side was the most intense part of the process. I’ve made a quick video to show you the ‘birth’ of it!
My main sewing tools were a metallic ruler, a chalk pen, clips, and Wondertape .
Clips and Wondertape were necessary because cork leather doesn’t hold needle holes well. So you need to use other tools to keep everything in place while sewing.
I also enjoyed using the AcuFeed Flex foot of the Janome. It’s great for sewing throught layers. However, it was a bit too wide and I may buy the narrow AcuFeed Flex.
I’ve learnt a lot from this first bag. I did many mistakes as well, but I know how to correct them now, for the second Polka I’ll sew.
My daughter wants her own Polka, but the Medium size is way too big for her. She’s chosen her fabrics and I’ll sew her the Small size.
I think I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of bag-making. When my son asked my what I wanted for Christmas, I told him ” a new bag pattern, fabrics and hardware to sew it!!!”.
Have you already sewn bags? Any advice (designers, European hardware shops, etc)? I’m mostly looking for handbags and/or wallets.
This article may contain affiliate links.