UK craft blog

Swoon Belle Baby Bag: Review and Mods

Thank you all for your lovely kind words on my ‘Hi after 3 years’ post. It was so lovely to be able to reconnect with you, and to be welcomed back with such open arms really means a lot. I promised a review of a bag I made, and I’ll go through any mods or weird stuff I did along the way. Here’s my Belle baby bag:

I LOVE Swoon patterns. They are so well written and they make such beautiful bags. I like really big bags so I can carry lots of crap to and from work (where I practically live during the week). I know it’s called a ‘baby bag’ but I think fabric choice makes it look like a ‘work bag’ instead of a baby bag. I could be wrong, but who cares? I make them for me, not some rando on the street who might think I’m weird for carrying a baby bag next to my 18 year old daughter.

I have created a personal list of mods for bag making. The first one is that I quilt the exterior pieces. Since my hip and working both limit my sewing time, I just don’t have time to make quilts anymore. But I do miss it, and adding quilting-as-texture to my exterior bag pieces helps to mitigate the crafty time loss. My method is to layer. I fuse woven fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric. Then I fuse trimmed (by about 1cm) bond-a-web to the back of that. I tend to trim off the outside 1cm (3/8″) off all sides of the Bosal/Annie’s Soft and Stable foam (usually from Sew Hot) because it makes the seams easier to sew. I run a zigzag along all edges of the Bosal foam. Then I fuse the whole thing on to Bosal. I use a ruler and a Hera marker to mark my lines.

For this bag, I also quilted the exterior pleated pocket exteriors so it would all match. I fused the exterior fabric with fusible woven interfacing and ran lines of quilting in the same way. I also quilted the exterior zipper casing pieces. I made sure to leave a good seam allowance space from the edge of the Bosal so I can easily sew the zipper to the basted, pressed open seam.

My guess is you probably won’t like what I do next: I hand baste the bottom before machine stitching it. I hand baste nearly every bag I make at some point; for my Star Wars bag I basted the sides in so the vinyl trim pieces more or less lined up perfectly. They’re never perfect but they’re a lot better than I can do with a machine only.

For this bag I used glitter vinyl (from A Rainbow of Stitches) for the handle anchors and handles themselves, and used it for the bottom as well. I usually use Decovil as a stabiliser, but I’ve also used that nifty Pellon Peltex stuff too. Whatever, I’m not picky. I also use ready made piping because mama ain’t got no time or patience for making her own. Same with bias binding.

I love all the pockets in here. I recently designed a bag organiser using canvas and Bosal based on these ridiculously priced ones for ridiculously priced bags. I will try to do a tutorial for it. I like that it stands up on its own and it takes very little time to make. So I use all the pockets, all the time.

I sewed the top lining seam allowances to the top bag seam allowances before trimming everything all down. That way the lining never flops down. But I do hand stitch the edges of the lining in. I actively like doing it – I save those hand stitch jobs up until evenings watching true crime tv in bed with hubby.

That’s all I can think of at the moment! Thank you for having a look, and I hope one of the tips helps you in the future. 🙂

1 thought on “Swoon Belle Baby Bag: Review and Mods

  1. Welcome back! I agree that handbasting is the way to go- it’s sure easier than ripping out those stitches. Great bag, I think making changes to the pattern only makes it yours!

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