Recently the lovely and very talented Sara at Sew Sweetness put out a call for pattern testers for her latest bag pattern, which she had named the Kennedy Bag. Even although I had plenty of other projects on my to-do list, I was so taken with the photo of the bag that came with the call that I couldn't resist volunteering to be a tester.
At the same time I received a shipment of great home dec fabric from the nice people at Terrys Fabrics so it seemed only natural to put the two together and come up with this!
My version of the Kennedy Bag.
Because of an impending visit to something called Quilt Market (???) the turnaround time for testing this pattern was relatively tight, to give Sara time to co-ordinate the feedback before she jetted off to tease us all with new fabric lines and quilting heroines and heroes on Instagram!
Unfortunately I didn't pay a lot of attention to the hardware requirements for this bag until I actually came to put it together. I then discovered that despite having more bag hardware than I will probably ever need, I didn't have the correct size buckles for this pattern. A trawl round every haberdasher within a 10 mile radius failed to find them either. They were available, however, on the MacCulloch and Wallis website, so a few clicks later and I was ready to start sewing. I have visited MacCulloch and Wallis' bricks and mortar shop in London and it is a real treasure trove, so I wasn't surprised that they had the buckles listed that I needed, when nowhere else seemed to stock them.
Whilst the bag was fairly straightforward to do, there are a lot of layers at times to wrestle through the sewing machine. I counted 10 layers at one point and I could tell that my sewing machine was not very happy with it :) Still we both gritted our teeth and hoped for the best and, fortunately, it all worked out.
Which is more than can be said for my buckles order, unfortunately, one of the items in the order was out of stock and although the lovely lady who rang to tell me this could not have been more helpful in finding an appropriate substitution it meant that I wouldn't get the order in time for the deadline date for feedback to Sara.
Clearly drastic action was required!
A frantic rummage through my store of handbags unearthed this bag, which has seen better days.
Those buckles were exactly the size I needed, so some quick cutting and I was back on track.
You would think they were meant for that bag strap wouldn't you??
The pattern of the main fabric was perfect for some outline quilting, which was an optional step in the process. I did debate about whether to do it or not, given the time constraints but I was glad in the end that I did. I think it makes for a more sturdy bag and given that this is fairly large bag, I think a bit of extra sturdiness will be useful. Sara recommends using Soft and Stable for the interfacing, which I think would make this bag even sturdier but I have not yet tried this.
As you can see from the photo above the buckle straps are decorative, the bag flap is actually closed with a magnetic snap. I like the look of buckle closures but find in practise that they are slow and cumbersome to open and close, so I think this is a great compromise.
I forgot to take a photo of them but the bag also has a zipped external pocket on the back and a divided pocket in the interior. Sara has thought of everything!
If you would like to make your own version of the Kennedy bag the pattern will be available as a free download at Sew Mama Sew
Exterior fabric - Verve in Linen from Terrys Fabrics
Lining fabric - Happy go Lucky by Bonnie and Camille for Moda
Accent fabric - Quilters Basic Dusty Style by Stof
I am delighted with my new bag and look forward to getting lots of use out of it on our upcoming trip to France.
If you are looking for more bag inspiration check out the great bags being linked up at Sew Sweetness' Purse Palooza
The link up is open till November 11th, so you have plenty of time to get your own version of the Kennedy bag made and linked up to be in with a chance of winning a great prize.