Must-have holiday sling bag


And of course it’s a gift. I’m sending it this week to my beautiful Ashley, to be enjoyed for the season. I know she will love it!

Background: I’ve made dozens of these bags, many back when Ashley and I had a craft table at charity events. Our logo was ‘Back Alley Five & Dime’, because we focused on small, affordable crafts. This bag was the only thing that was priced above $10. We didn’t make money on our sunk costs, but we did get to make the donations that were our aspiration. Plus we had so much fun 🙂

square 5x5 rose scroll

The bag – it’s big! The finished size is about 26 ¾” tall including handles, and 18” wide. Remarkably, there’s something about the physics of its construction that makes it feel like nothing on the shoulder, even when packed with stuff. I admit to copying the Amy Butler Birdie Sling (still available online, though not on her site). I simply sought out online photos that gave me clues for the drafting.


Loving a challenge, I worked on the pattern and construction for quite a while. Result – I love this bag!

On the inside, an interlined bag lining with zipped pocket:


inside pocket

My fabrics are from JoAnnn. One thing they do really well is quilting cottons. They have the best selection I’ve found for holiday prints, and the fabric is very affordable with a coupon. BTW, their online print inventory is nothing compared to what’s available in the stores.


Ashley will be so surprised by this bag, and I know she will use it. We have a shared funky fun spirit – her mixed media gift to me last year. We’ve always danced in the kitchen…



Bye for now! Coco

The Liverpool Tunic!

What a charming tunic! I’m really excited about this – it just feels right, and it’s so refreshing to sew a woven fabric for a change. All those knits have been wonderful, and I’ll definitely do more. But I think I need some bright prints in my life right now – time to sew out of the cotton stash.

I’ve seen this tunic many times on the web, mostly in shops that sell indie patterns. But it just didn’t speak to me. Then a short time ago I was reading Kimp’s blog, Cotton Creek Sewing (a recent find and I love her blog and her sewing) and found her two versions of the Liverpool. Sold and sold! So pretty.

I looked everywhere for a pattern line drawing, but there simply is not one, so I’ll describe instead:

The pattern has 4 hem lengths (shirt, tunic, short dress, long dress) and 4 cuffed sleeve lengths (short, elbow, 3/4, and long). It also has a belt that attaches above the waist in the side seam and looks best (IMO) tied in the back. There are side bust darts and double vertical darts in the front, and a set of vertical darts in the back. Very nice shaping details. The front is closed with a full-length buttoned placket that opens into a collar stand and pointed collar.

OK, I know I’ve said I’m not a collar lover. And I’m not. But this is a very nice collar 🙂

I’ve been saving this fabric for months – it’s so pretty I really did not want to cut into it. Do you ever feel that way? It’s JoAnns Legacy Studio Morocco Paisley, 100% cotton. Strangely, one is advised to dry clean. ummm.  I pre-laundered in cold water and dried on delicate, and it looks beautiful. No running or fading.

There are a number of reviews of this pattern on Pattern Review, and they were really helpful. And I found support for my disappointment with the pattern directions. Just not well written, certainly not up to Big 4 quality. Which might make this tunic a little trying for some sewers. E.g., there are NO fitting marks with the exception of one marking the shoulder of the sleeve. And there are NO suggestions to trim seams, not even the ones inside the collar and collar band.

The funniest references – and most trying for some sewers of this tunic – are to the 2 collar pieces as the ‘first’ and ‘second’ collar pieces, depending on when they were first handled. Same thing with the collar band pieces. huh. So future sewers, here is a fix for that one:

  •    The collar piece that you interface will be your under collar (it goes on the bottom of the collar).
  •    The collar band piece that you interface will be the outside collar band (it goes on the back of the collar band and marries up with the under collar).

 Sewing notes:

I sewed a size Large in this tunic – a Medium would have fit me, but very closely, and I like my clothes to be on the loose side. While the directions were a little funky, the pattern pieces were great and fit together really well.

I did a 1″ vertical adjustment to the bust and front vertical darts (lowered them), and shortened the vertical darts by an inch at top and bottom. I also halved the mid-width of the vertical darts. The bust dart was way too short, ending about 4″ from the top of the vertical darts, so I redrew it to be thinner and longer. I wonder if that short dart works for anyone…

I shortened and narrowed the back vertical darts in the same manner, but did not move them down. One little change I made to the design is in the center back seam. I cut the back on the fold and then sewed the french seam down from the neck for 12 3/4″. And left it open to the bottom. Just a little something different, and I like the way it looks.

I also altered the long sleeves to get more of a caftan look. I just redrafted the sleeve pattern straight down from the armhole to the hem, making it the same width along its entire length. The hem is turned under 2 1/2″ so that any peek-a-boo into the sleeve shows the print instead of the wrong side of the fabric. No cuffs.

Speaking of wrong sides – I fell right into this boo boo. The front placket goes straight into the collar band, the collar turns back, and one sees the wrong side of the fabric at the neckline. It’s not awful, but it won’t happen again! My next version will have a facing construct under the collar band. Picky picky.

So cute! Kimp mentioned that she cut 5 inches off the ties on her 2nd version, and I’m with her. The ties are a little long, especially since I knotted them (not a bow person).

This was such a fun sew that I’m already working on my next one. As long as my living room is a mess, might as well keep going.

Nothing beats good coffee, the Australian Tennis Open on TV, and sewing 🙂

Ciao! coco