I wouldn’t say that I have ever been intimidated by bag patterns, more like I just never get around to them on my to do list. When we were offered a chance to review a ChrisW Designs pattern I enthusiastically jumped. I’m always in need of a good deadline to kick my butt into gear. If you have never heard of ChrisW Designs you just have to check her out. She’s an Aussie designer who makes killer bag patterns. I have loved her designs from afar for at least 4 years.
Today, I’m reviewing the Daryl’s Drive Pattern from her Easy Street series. The Easy Street patterns are designed for individuals with some sewing skills and a little prior bag making experience. Let me tell you that my bag making experience consists of a boho bag that only had a zipper and two O-rings. So, this was a positive learning experience and I felt like a champ when I finished.
One of the things that drew me to this pattern is that it is very similar to a Dooney & Burke (gifted by a relative) that I have. I love the look of the bag and get lots of compliments, but it’s a hard vinyl so I’m always knocking my child out with it and the buckles get caught on my clothing all the time. I made this bag with a mixture of vinyl and cotton woven materials and which immediately got rid of two of my issues and made me eager to finish up.
Daryl’s Drive has very few pattern pieces which I liked because frankly I’m tired of printing millions of pages to make something. Instead, you get the gusset pieces and printable labels with the measurements of each rectangular piece that you need. The measurements are also listed in the pattern. The skills needed for this project are minimal. Sew in mostly straight lines. Most of the challenge comes in when trying to stitch multiple layers together and installing the hardware with no prior experience, but you have to start somewhere! Chris gives very helpful tips on how to make it work as you go. I would absolutely buy heavy duty and jeans needles to get through the layers and grab some wonder clips to keep from puncturing your vinyl.
*Clear step by step pictures with descriptive instructions
*Comprehensive list of materials with alternatives
*Options to use all woven or vinyl and wovens
*Slip pocket, zipper pocket and phone pocket
*Twist lock and snap closures
*Tips to help even beginner bag makers succeed
*Easy enough with patience
Fabric & Notions Shown:
*All hardware, vinyl (clearance) and notions from Joann Fabric and Crafts
I followed the directions almost to the letter. Everything that you’re instructed to do I either did or attempted to do, however, I did change or omit a few things.
Things that I omitted: Topstitching around my base, topstitching around the top bands and topstitching on the phone pocket side. These were omitted because my machine doth protest too much and I have to pick my battles. I think that my bag still looks good and I don’t see anyone calling me out in public about it.
Cheats, work-arounds and mess ups: First, I want to say that if you are making any bag I highly recommend Emmaline Bags for your bag hardware. She has beautiful hardware in a variety of finishes and the cutest “handmade” tags and zipper pulls. I really wish that I had realized that she ships from Canada when I was sourcing my notions. I had all of this gorgeous gold hardware picked out, but I was scared it wouldn’t come in time so I purchased all of my notions and hardware from Joann Fabrics and Crafts. Unfortunately, Joann’s did not have the correct sized rivets so I used 8mm x 6mm rivets instead of the longer ones needed in the pattern. I was able to get away with it because I did half vinyl/half woven for my straps. It was a bit of a stretch on the top bands, but just fine on the straps at the end. Also, I added the phone pocket sideways instead of as instructed, that was a total mess up, but I think it will be fine. I like the wider back pocket. I use that pocket for my keys anyway.
My overall opinion:
This a great pattern for an adventurous beginner or intermediate seamstress. It’s easy to understand and put together. It’s also a great mid-sized shoulder bag with ample room and storage pockets. Would I make it again? Yes! Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes! Would I make it as a gift? It depends on how close we are. I think the results are phenomenal and I now have some concrete bag making experience under my belt. I love projects that teach me something new.
I hope this review was helpful and if you decide to give this pattern try be sure to show it off in the Pattern Revolution Facebook Community and the ChrisW Designs Facebook Group. As for me, I have some scraps left and I think I need a wallet. What are your favorite wallet patterns? I’d love if you leave suggestions in the comments. TTYL!
- Teronia, Sew Haute Blog
Chris also made the Daryl's Drive. Unfortunately her local stores didn't carry the strap clips she needed, so she is carrying this beauty as a clutch until they come in!