Heather Bailey's Marlo Bloom Bag with Turquoise Handles
March 14, 2011
I have long been in love with Heather Bailey's Marlo Bloom Bag pattern and have been itching to make it for some time. However, I really had no excuse to make it for the blog since my 'thing' is to review patterns but also to make them in a slightly different way so as to give new ideas and inspiration. The Marlo Bag did not look like it could be modified at all so that left it out of contention. However, I soon discovered these awesome Turquoise Bag Handles and the light bulb went off. Not every bag shape can accommodate this pair of U shaped handles but the Marlo's wide body and delicate gathers look great with the rigid shape of the handles. The color is slightly variegated, like real turquoise and is a very soft color. The Turquoise Handles worked really well with my dark blue canvas and turquoise/aqua quilting cotton print. Let me get off my chest now before I continue my love tirade for this bag: This project was not the piece of cake I had envisioned.
I followed Heather's instructions and read the pattern before commencing. It looked pretty easy. I had a game plan. I would alter the pattern assembly just a little by leaving a turning gap in the bottom of the lining and then assemble the top as instructed but with wrong sides out. Then I would turn the bag right side out and hand sew up the lining. Next, I would simply rip 4 small holes in the top for the handle straps. Topstitching around the top would seal these holes closed and DONE!
I don't recommend this assembly. The gathers make it difficult to press seams open, turn and press again, and topstitch over these gathers, phew! Ripping into the gathers also is not a good idea but I tried it anyway because at that point I was committed. I was able to save the gathers and keep them in place but it was all shooting from the hip and I don't think I could adequately put it into words. It just goes to show that you can read ahead, plan ahead but seeing all the contingencies ahead is another story. However, once finished the bag looked so good with the handles that I was determined to come up with a new idea. From where I sat the problems were 2: turning the gathers (it was just easier to leave the instructions as is, as though you were going to use the pattern handles) and ripping into the gathers. Bias tape is the solution. You can make it to match the exterior of your bag. Follow the pattern instructions as written but instead of sewing the pattern handles in place, sew bias tape on instead. Then you can slip the handle straps under the bias tape and DONE (but much easier).
To attach the handles I cut a 12 in. long by 3 in. wide piece from my dark blue Canvas. I then folded it in half and pressed. I opened the strap and then pressed the long sides over to meet at the center press line (this is a common Amy Butler technique). Then I folded the strap in half again and pressed a final time and stitched up the strap with 2 lines of stitching. I cut this piece into 4 pieces 3 in. long. I would recommend altering these instructions to cut a strap 16 in. long to give an extra 1 in. for each of the 4 pieces for tucking under the bias tape.
This is a great and fun modification for taking chic hand bag pattern to a stylish shoulder bag. The size of the bag lends it well to carrying knitting, crochet, embroidery, as well as a transitional diaper bag (when you don't need to haul the entire nursery just a diaper or 2).
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