This spring I flew to DC and taught a weekend of classes for two different fiber art guilds there. I had time before my talk to chat with some of the members and they showed me a project they had been working on. A group of about 8 of them had gotten together one weekend and made Sydney Bags by Swoon Patterns. It’s a pretty cool crossbody bag with lots of practical pockets, nice details and ways to use combinations of different fabrics. We talked about how it would be fun to sew in some Spoonflower fabrics since that was what I was there to talk about. When I came home, I bought and downloaded the pattern but I didn’t get a chance to sew one until now.

I decided to make mine on a whim, so I used scraps and things from my stash. The print is one of my designs called Sara. I had some scraps of eco canvas left over from another project. (That design is available in my Spoonflower shop.) The contrast is a remnant of orange velveteen I bought because I liked the color. I had some metal zippers in my stash and I lined it in a deep blue dotty cotton print. It’s bold. I will admit that. But I love it.

The pattern was superb. The ladies that I talked to from the quilt guild said it was the hardest thing that they had ever made. I don’t think it was hard in the “I don’t have the skills to do this” sense, I think it was hard in the “wow this is complex and I have to pay attention” sense. It was hard, but the fun kind of hard.

The bag has tons of details. The front pockets have an inverted pleat and side gussets, plus two magnetic snaps under the flap. The way they went together was clever and even though there were a lot of steps, the instructions were excellent. Every step was there and clearly explained with diagrams. Assembling the front panel with 3 pockets in it was intense, but any time I got confused, I just had to read the instructions and do exactly what it said and it just worked. Lots of things about the way it went together were clever and very thoughtfully designed. It has a zip top, a pocket inside, a pocket on the back, and the three on the front. My keys and my phone go in those front pockets and I keep a notebook in the back one so it doesn’t get crumpled in the rest of the jumble of things in my bag.

I ended up at the fabric store twice because I didn’t read carefully and forgot to get D rings. I didn’t have the right size in my stash already. The strap was really long so it’s nearly doubled up on my bag, but it was easily adjustable with the slider. If I made it again I would cut that shorter. I’m only 5’4″, so I don’t need a long strap. I only made one tweak to the pattern. Instead of stitching a stay on the top of the back pocket, I just added another magnetic snap to hold it closed.

The finished bag is a good size for all of my stuff (and then some), but just a tiny bit too small for my laptop. I am really tempted to make another and just increase the width by a couple of inches so my laptop would fit inside. Or maybe I will see if they have a laptop bag design because this one was really fun. Five stars from me.