Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vogue 8741 - Marcy Tilton Hobo Bag & Pattern Giveaway!

More pictures

Pattern Giveaway!

I rarely sew purses. I always think I will, but I don't.

I purchased this fabric a couple years ago from Fabrix. I love this fabric and would have bought yards of it (at $3 a yard), but only one yard remained. It is a woven rayon blend (I think) that has been embossed with a leather texture. It is very easy to cut out and sew - it's nothing like a pleather - and it has a great look and feel.

I decided it should be a purse and, finally, it is.

The pattern calls for a fashion fabric and two contrast fabrics. The difference between View C and View D is in how the contrast fabrics are used. This bag is reversible. This fact is not made obvious on the website or on the pattern - you would only know this when reading the instructions. I think this is unfortunate and it's a side effect of the minimal description Vogue now provides for each pattern.

The purse is reversible, but it's wonderfulness doesn't stop there. It features compartments and a zippered pocket. If you like purses with lots of different places to put things, this one is for you. I used one contrast fabric, not two. If you choose to use different fabrics for contrast 1 and contrast 2, it would be much easier to find things in your purse, based on the different fabrics/colors, but I am happy with my single contrast. :)

This purse is, essentially, a purse within a purse. It has four layers: the outside, the lining, the inset, and the inset lining. Sometimes the bag is sewn to the lining, and sometimes the lining is sewn to the inset lining. This creates the inner compartments that makes this bag so useful.

My inside fabric is a waterproof print that I purchased long ago at Fabrix. I bought this fabric to use as bias trim on another project, but I ended up not using it and it sat in my "donate" pile (because I had no real use for one yard of a waterproof fabric) until I realized that it matched the outside fabric perfectly. I used it for both contrast 1 and contrast 2.

By the way, I don't plan to use this purse as a reversible purse, but if it were pouring rain, I might!

Materials & Notions:

  • Textured (embossed) brandy-colored rayon blend, from Fabrix.
  • Pellon fleece, to underline the outside fabric. This is optional, but it made my fabric look even more like leather. I did not use fusible fleece, but I don't see why that would not work.
  • Dritz Spray adhesive, for adhering the fleece to the outer fabric. (Or a similar brand, but this is what I had in my sewing closet.)
  • Waterproof chartreuse fabric, with a monochromatic tropical print, from Fabrix.
  • 7" zipper. I used a decorative zipper.
  • Thread. I purchased regular thread to match the outside fabric, and the lining fabric, and top-stitching thread for the outside fabric. Or so I thought. When I got home, the "top-stitching" thread was 100% cotton thread (oops), so I used regular thread for the top-stitching. But top-stitching thread would have been nice. :)
  • A tool for turning a narrow bias tube. I used my favorite technique which requires a bobby pin.
  • Fray Block. This is optional, but I used it on the end of each knotted, bias fabric tie.
  • A Dritz tool for making 1" bias tape and a safety pin to pin the tape to the ironing board as you create it. You can make the bias tape in any method you prefer, but this tool worked well for all the yards of bias that this purse requires.
  • Sewing pins!! I mention this only because I bent many pins on this project. When pinning the final layer onto the base layer, there are 16 layers of fabric, including the pleats on four layers, the two base layers, and the fleece layer throughout. Many of my glass head silk pins bit the dust during this process.
  • Sewing machine needles! For most of this project I used a single MicroTek needle (by Schmetz). This worked well, until near the end when it was trying to go through many layers and it shattered. I finished the project with a jeans needle.

Construction Notes:

  • This pattern uses 1/2" seam allowances. It is easy to miss this fact.
  • This purse confused me at first, so let me explain how it works. It is made from 4 layers: the outer layer, the lining, the inset, and the inset lining. The inset and the inset lining are used to create compartments, so the purse has the inside bucket, and two compartments on either side. In the innermost layer (called the inset), there is a zippered pocket. There are self ties to keep it closed and the purse is reversible; if you turn it inside out the zippered pocket will be on the outside. This is a large purse.
  • I made the 1/2" opening for the zipper in the inset as directed. At first I planned to use a standard zipper. But after the opening was completed, I noticed a decorative zipper in my stash and decided to use that.

    The standard zipper opening is too wide for the decorative zipper, which was an afterthought.

    The 1/2" opening was too wide for this zipper, so I added a strip to narrow the opening - I could have added a strip to each side of the opening, but decided to put it on the top only, so the raw edges would be absorbed into the top of the pocket. When applying the zipper, I folded the ends under, at both ends of the zipper, and top-stitched it to the pocket. The rest of the pocket was constructed normally.

    The narrow strip added to the top of the pocket.

    The completed zipper. This is the first time I remembered to use one of my new fabric labels!

  • In step 8 of the pattern instructions, you put the lining layer together with the inset lining layer, right sides together, and baste the lower edges together. From here until step 20, these are treated as a single layer. In step 9, you stitch them together, in the ditch of the lining seams, to form a pocket. It was not clear from the directions whether you should do this on both sides of the purse. In the end, I did do it on both sides, because I decided that the compartment would be very large if I didn't. But I don't think it matters that much, so do what you think is best.
  • I found some of the construction steps confusing. Therefore, I took pictures as I went. Hopefully these pics will help clarify the steps for anyone else who might also find them confusing. The numbers of the steps correlate to the numbers on the pattern instructions.
    • Step 16: The bag has been pleated and pinned to the base. I was concerned that the pleating would be difficult, but the instructions recommend that you not obsess over this and I agree. It's actually fun. Also, the instructions state that the size and spacing of the pleats will depend on the fabric. I found this to be very true, as the outer layer/batting pleats were a very different size than the pleats in the lining fabric.

    • Step 17: The bag lining/inset lining (the two layers are basted together at the hem as one layer) have been pleated and pinned to the base, on top of the outside layer.

    • Step 18: The lining for the base has been pinned, wrong sides together, to the base. After each step, I machine stitch that layer.

    • Step 19: The inset, which contains the zippered pocket, has been pinned to the base. After this is sewn, the inset is pulled up over the rest of the purse and all four layers are now attached.

  • A pattern piece is included to create the ties that can be used to hold the purse closed. At first I followed the directions to turn the raw edges under to make the ties. But this created very chunky (approx 1/2" wide) ties. I hate chunky ties, so instead I created a 1/4" tube from each piece of bias. I trimmed the edge of the sewn seam and used a bobby pin to turn the tubes inside out. I tied a knot in the end of each tie, as directed, and finished with a dot of Fray Block. This isn't strictly necessary, since the tie was bias, but I prefer to use a dot of Fray Block.
  • I found an error in the pattern. A pattern piece is included to create a continuous bias strip. You cut one of this pattern piece. However, it does not create nearly enough bias. Bias trim is attached to the top of the purse, which has 4 edges. There are another 4 edges on the inside layer, for a total of 8 edges. Finally, you cut four 10.5" strips from the same bias strip for the purse handles. There was only enough bias to finish 7 edges of the purse plus one 10.5" purse handle. I had to create another 40" or so of bias to complete the purse.

Conclusion: I really like this purse! The only disadvantage is that it is quite large. I didn't realize from the photo on the envelope that it would be this large. I will save it for those occasions when one needs an extra large bag. With all of the compartments, it would make a good travel bag.

More pictures:

Because this pattern hasn't yet been reviewed, and because there is a lot going on in the purse, I attempted to document it fairly thoroughly.

Hanging on a hook. See the lovely texture of the fabric.

If you look carefully, you can see the tie closure.

Reversed. I don't plan to use it this way.

The ties, up close. You can also see the various compartments.


The straps, up close.

It's big!

The End. ;)

Pattern Giveaway!

I was given a copy of this pattern, but had already purchased it, so I have an extra. If you would like it, please leave a comment. I sympathize with folks outside of the country who can only purchase these patterns at full price, or with extreme shipping, so this is definitely open to you, too. I will draw names in a week or so.


  1. I have come to expect no less than fabulous from you...this purse is not exception (maybe even exceeds fabulous?)

    Beautiful! Big, yes, but it sounds like all the ingredients are relatively lightweight, and I LOVE that faux pleather! (Is faux pleather a bit of an oxymoron?) lol :D

  2. Lovely bag Shams!!! I would love to make one too!

  3. I'm like you, Shams...I always THINK I'll sew a purse and I have beaucoup patterns (including this one), but somehow I haven't done it. Maybe your outstanding job on this one will give me the push I need! Really lovely!

  4. Great purse Shams. I can see that it would be a great travel bag. Great job.

  5. what a great, big, fabulous bag! It's beautiful.
    I've never really considered sewing a purse...tote bags, I've done, but nothing this complicated. You are an inspiration. Thank you!

    Helen M.

  6. Well, of course I'd love to have the extra pattern. But hope you pull someone from out of the states. I have a 'thing' about sewing purses, use them a couple of times and back to the leather!!

  7. I love your bag, Shams! I'm another one who thinks she will sew a purse but I always get stumped by the idea of picking a fabric (or two).

  8. Great bag - I'll bet if I won won giveway draw, my DD would immediately convince me to make another big bag for HER!

  9. I think this is the only Marcy Tilton pattern I don't have, I am waiting for the once a year Vogue sales in Canada. Now that I have seen yours, I will have to make one. Beautiful choice of fabrics and of course the execution is flawless as usual.

  10. i love this bag you have made a lovely job of this. I hope that i am lucky enough to have my name chosen in the give away.


  11. What a great bag! I like big bags, but sometimes it's difficult to find keys/lipstick/phone in them. I'm the lady with her bag on the bonet of her car, head buried deap inside and up to her elbows looking for keys!
    I love the fabrics you have chosen to make this - a great success I think!

  12. Shams, I love your bag (and everything else you create)! Please include me in the drawing for the pattern. I wish I could find some fabric like yours--I really love it. So practical too.

    Thx, Gail D.

  13. This is such a cute bag, Shams. I think it would be fun to make one in rain slicker yellow. Purses seem so much fussier to make than a garment, but this bag is a great looking one and may be worth the effort. Your version is certainly inspiring.

  14. I could almost stuff a week's worth of travel wardrobe into this purse/bag! Or pack it with all of my undies or shoes that I will need for 3 months on the road. I love BIG bags so if you happen to chose me, I'll be thrilled. Otherwise, will just have to wait till I arrive in SFO and see it up close in person.

  15. Wonderful post! Thanks for such a detailed documentation! Your bag is awesome!!

  16. Great bag,, add me please..

    trying to sign in,, having problems..

    mjsprenkle @ sbcglobal.net

  17. I was going to post a comment anyway but when I saw your giveaway, that clinched it! I love your bag...that outer fabric is fantastic. Great job!

  18. That textured rayon is pretty fabulous and I love the bag, big or not. If I didn't plan to use it as a reversible piece, I think I'd sub in a magnetic snap closure for the ties, but it's nice to have the reversible option.

  19. Thanks for the details and the giveaway. I'm having trouble adding a comment so forgive me if it shows twice. semcqu@gmail.com

  20. I love that bag! What a great fabric for both the bag and the lining. I can totally see why you'd have bought every bolt of it on the planet - I would have, too!

  21. What great fabrics you chose! I'd love to be included in the draw,
    Jodie in Alberta
    jkachkar (at) shaw (dot) ca

  22. You're right it is a big bag! And it's beautiful! You sew the most interesting things!

  23. Love the bag. The fabrics you used look so good together. And yes, it's big... but so good to fit lots in.

    Like you, I have considered making a bag but just never get around to it. I think maybe I should give it a try. (Choose me! Choose me! LOL)

  24. Hiya
    I absolutely love this bag in fact I love everything you make, have just bought Vogue 1239 as your review was inspirational and as I am a similar shape to you I always follow whatever you make with real interest! You always seem to make your clothes look really individual, wonderful!
    kind regards

  25. Shams, very, very cool bag. Especially great choice of fabrics and flawless (as usual) sewing job. Thanks for the great review as well.

  26. Great looking purse. I love the style, size ( I 'm a big purse gal) and both the fabrics you used. I would have snapped up that brown leather look fabric too. Cool textured fabrics are hard to find.


  27. Your bag is gorgeous (sp?)-- love the fabric! It is large but looks very chic & not overwhelming at all. Another pattern that I overlooked--thanks for the review!


  28. Love the bag. Saw something similar in Banana Republic but balked at the price. I'd love to try making one.

  29. Your bag looks wonderful, Shams. I have just purchased this pattern and really appreciate the construction photos and tips that you posted. Now to find the "just right" fabrics.

  30. This is a wonderful bag, Sharon! Beautifully made, and you are right, the fabric is tres cool...
    (but my husband bought me a lovely new bag for Christmas, so better not enter me in the draw!)

  31. I just recently found your blog and am enjoying it so much. Great bag thanks for sharing the pics, it inspires me I would love to win the pattern!

  32. I'd love to win the purse pattern. Your bag looks great!!

  33. Fantastic bag! And congratulations to your daughter on her graduation!

  34. Lovely bag, I could use a nice big bag! Love your blog and all the cool things you sew.

  35. Ah, pick me...please. Like you I always plan to make a bag, I went so far as to cut one out....used REAL LEATHER. "One of these days it will be rescued from the back of the closet door". Nancy

  36. I just wanted to say thank you! I saw your purse and really wanted one! I actually do get around to sewing purses and bags. But when the pattern started talking linings, and bag lining and inset lining and such my eyes just started rolling in circles in my head and it didn't make sense. But your terrific pictures did! I'm finishing my bag today. Thank you for the generous pics! Saved this project from being a wadder!

  37. I just purchased this pattern and noticed on Vogue - FB that you had written a review. Thank you so much for all of the info and photos! I feel much more confident tackling this project! I will definitely be following you now!
    Kelly on FB
    Lambitious Creations on FB

  38. I bought the pattern a few months ago mostly because it's Marcy Tilton. You've inspired me to get going on making it.

    Mary R. (crystalpgh@hotmail.com)

  39. Beautifully done! I love the fabric choice. I was searching for purse patterns to buy and was researching this exact one! Thanks for the inspiration to make it. Have you given away your extra one yet?
    Michelle (mldbodwell@yahoo.com)

  40. Thanks, Michelle! Yes, the giveaway is over. :)

  41. I read your blog back when you first posted it -then forgot about it, but ended up buying the pattern recently and was looking to see if anyone else had made this as I was having an awfully hard time visualizing what Vogue was telling me about the construction and all those layers. I started remembering about your bag and wondered if it was the same and it is!

    I don't think I'm going to go this route as I'm working with a tapestry type upholstery fabric and really can't see all that with this heavy fabric. I think I'll just line it and of course, use the fleece interlining. Thanks so much for your detailed explanation and pictures!At least I know a lot better what I'm trying to make!

  42. Shams, I forgot to add that I love the purse. Yours turned out so pretty and functional (love that lining, too). It gives the bag lots of spunk!