The Blair Bag by Simple Sewing – Is this the best bag sewing pattern for a beginner?
Lately, I’ve been addicted to car boot sales!
I take my grandma with me and we plod about searching for bargains.
My main aim was to find fabric that I could use to make stuff.
And I’ve been lucky to find a few unique finds.
One of the things I found, was an orange floral tablecloth that had a very 70s vibe.
I’ve been umming and ahhing about what I wanted to do with this fabric.
But after looking at the sewing patterns I had, I found The Blair Bag by Simply Sewing.
This sewing pattern was free with Issue 59 of Simple Sewing magazine and designed to help first time bag makers (like me) learn essential bag-making skills.
It’s a classic everyday bag with multiple pockets – two of which are zipped – and an open zip closure.
After making the bag, I realised it would make the perfect travel bag due to its size, multiple pockets and strength.
The size of this bag is a lot bigger than I thought it would be (see finished size details below)
It can hold a full sized laptop, iPad Pro, journal, 1.5L water bottle, sunglasses, sun cream and so much more (although it would be heavy)
It’s perfect and surprisingly quick to make. Although I have sewing experience already, this is a great pattern to start if you are a beginner and want a challenge.
Sewing Pattern Notes
- The sewing pattern doesn’t confirm the size of the bag and the photo on the pattern is a little misleading. The finished size of my bag is roughly 20.5in x 15in x 3.5in.
- Cutting the fabric was a nightmare as it is extremely stretchy! Definitely make sure you check the fabric suggestions. A firmer fabric would be a better choice if you are a beginner at sewing.
- Obtaining a 16 inch metal open-ended zip was harder than I thought it would be.
In fact, I didn’t end up getting one! I had to buy a plastic one in the end which worked just as well. I have looked around and eBay or Amazon is a good shout for a metal one.
- If you’re scared of sewing zips, don’t worry, so am I! I’m rubbish at them! Some people can get it the first time – I’m not one of those people! However, as long as the zip works, it’s ok.
- I’d never heard of Chicago screws before.
The pattern suggests using the Chicago screws to secure the straps down.
However, due to the type of fabric, I ended up sewing my straps down for security and then putting the screws in just for decoration.
They were a bit of a pain and in my opinion, not a necessity to the bag. They look nice in though!
- Not sure if it was my cutting skills or a pattern flaw but the lining was too short in bag.
You need to cut 2 x outer tops in the lining fabric so it matches the size of the bag. Otherwise, your lining is going to be about 3 inches shorter than the outer part of the bag.
Not sure why the pattern doesn’t specify that but it was super annoying having to unpick it all once I realised. I was lucky that I had some fabric left!
- I added 3.5 inches onto my bag straps for ease. Remember, if you lengthen the straps, make sure you have enough bundfix tape.
All in all, I LOVED making this bag and I have cut some more fabric to make one for my holiday.
Fancy one of these bags but don’t have the time to make one? Get in touch to discuss a custom order.