29 In Bags and Wallets/ Blog Tours/ Creative Life/ Sewing

Chris W Designs Global Blog Tour – Having an Epiphany!

A moment of sudden revelation or insight.

I was never a bag person before I started sewing bags.  Bags to me were always these functional, required items that I needed to have on me to contain my various junk.  I would often wait until my current bag was near to falling apart before I headed out the nearest Walmart and bought a cheap, functional bag to replace it.  I never coveted the crazy expensive designer bags that some of my friends did.  To me, the idea of spending $900 on a hand bag was ludicrous – that was a new camera lens or a sewing machine – not money that you spent on a handbag.

And then I sewed my first bag, about two years ago, and I suddenly had a closet full of bags.  Now, I still have no desire to buy a $900 purse, but I find myself admiring the line and forms of the bags I see around me – wondering how they are put together and how they could be replicated on the home sewing machine…

Chris W Designs bags are some of the very first bag patterns I made.  I’ve sewn up several of her delicious bags so when Marsha invited me to join this tour I jumped at the chance.  Since I already owned many of her bag patterns I looked for something new that could be a challenge for me (full disclosure – I received the pattern for free from Chris W Designs to sew up for this tour).

I was drawn to the Epiphany because I instantly had an idea for it with some fabric in my stash).  This is a mid-size bag – but oh goodness – does it have a bucket-load of pockets.  I love a bag with some serious pockets because I am endlessly losing stuff in my purse.

Like many bagineers (bag sewists, handbag makers), I have a long list of other bag makers who I deeply admire, follow and who’s bags (and mad sewing skills) I covet.  I follow them on Instagram, taking in their gorgeous bags daily and wondering if mine will ever look like theirs.

I had a vision for this bag from day one that was somewhat thwarted by several factors.  One, I sew on a domestic sewing machine so sewing through multiple layers of vinyl was…challenging.  Two, I decided to add an interior zip pocket divider to the bag – something I had never done before without a pattern.  Three, my HD (heavy duty) sewing machine was in the shop, so I was sewing this bag entirely on my vintage Singer.  This bag may have tried to kill me.  More than once I had to clean my blood from it (fortunately vinyl wipes easily).

Don’t get me wrong – this is an extremely well written pattern and a gorgeous bag.  And though I sewed with vinyl, this can be made entirely of fabric.  It’s a durable, heavy duty bag with foam interfacing so it will hold up to some wear and tear in my opinion.  And, did I mention the pockets?  So, so many beautiful pockets.  I particularly admire the interior slip pocket with the self binding technique.  They look gorgeous and so functional.  Chris also has a wonderful method for the zip (welt) pockets that I hadn’t previously done.  The Epiphany has a full zipper closure at the top which is lovely if you tend to dump over your bag like me.  There is also an option for a cross body strap in addition to the shoulder straps.

As I was sewing my bag up, and cursing some of my decisions (and bag making skills) I found myself comparing my work to the that of some of the bagineers I most admire and I began to get a little depressed.  My topstitching isn’t perfect and I had trouble going through some of the very thick areas on my domestic machine (I developed a blister from hand cranking in spots).  Rivets make me curse…

But then, I had, shall we say, an epiphany.  I was making this bag for me and I love it – regardless of it’s imperfections.  Bag making is a journey.  Instead of comparing myself to those expert bag makers who I greatly admire I started looking backwards to the bags I had made over the last couple of years and realized how far I had come.

So for those of you on this journey of sewing bags I would say, let’s all be a little less critical of ourselves and stand back to admire the amazing things we do on our sewing machines. I mean, we sew bags!  Most people only ever carry a bag that was made by someone else but we get to carry one that we made with our own two hands – an imperfect, and beautiful – work of art.

Chris W Designs has generously donated TWO of The Epiphany bag patterns for two lucky winners.  If you would like to win this lovely pattern, please comment below about a bagineer (bag maker, bag sewist – not pattern designer) who’s work you admire and why.  Two of my very favourites are Michelle from Barabooboo (her work is amazing) and Jil from  Fishskin Designs (her wallets are to die for) – two amazing Canadian bagineers!  This contest will be open for one week from today (November 16, 2017).

*Edited to say. Contest is now CLOSED!  Jennifer and Kathy you are the winners of the Epiphany pattern!


Tour Discounts

  • ChrisW Designs is taking 20% off all patterns until end of day (Australian Central Standard Time) November 21. Code GlobalBlogTour17 (applied automatically with this link. Buy without fear: If you purchase during the tour and then win a pattern, your purchase price will be refunded.
  • Handbag Hardware Australia (aff link) is offering a 10% discount for the duration of the tour. Use code: CWD10. (Excludes interfacing and Emmaline Bling.)
  • Bobbin Girl has a 10% discount using code BLOGTOUR17. (Not to be combined with any other discount or rewards points.)
  • Gold Star Tool is taking 15% off for our tour readers. Use code chriswdesigns.
  • Zipit (aff link) is also offering a 10% discount on shop items. Use code ChrisWDesigns.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

(Australia Central Standard Time)

// Please note that none of these post links are available before the scheduled date (ACST). If you click on one too early, you will get an “Error 404: Page not found.” You know about those, right? //

Sunday, November 12

Monday, November 13

Tuesday, November 14

Wednesday, November 15

Thursday, November 16

Friday, November 17

Saturday, November 18

Tuesday, November 21

  • Giveaway winners announced on all the blogs:

ChrisW Blog, Glitter in my Coffee, Michelle’s Creations, Flying by the Seam of my Pants, Serial Bagmakers, Tiger in a Tornado, Vanaehsa, Judith Stitches and More, Doctora Botones, Sewsewilse, Suck It Up Buttercup, Vicky Myers Creations, Marvelous Auntie M, inspinration, Fée bricolo, Trisha’s Craft Corner


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  • Reply
    Marsha Law
    November 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Oh-em-Gee! Thank you for writing such an insightful post. And let’s face it, your bag is lovely with all her imperfections.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Hey! I recognize that lining fabric 😉 You did a great job. I know what you mean about comparing yourself to others. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all. I have to remind myself to go easier on myself all the time. My favourite bagmaker is Crystal of Cloth Albatross: she has such vision and her bags are always incredible.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    What a great post! And your bag is gorgeous!!! I know how you feel about wanting that perfection, but the truth of the matter is, there aren’t any perfect bags or bagineers out there. I love my bags because I made them and no one else has what I have – and that makes it worth so much more than any designer bag! Yours too!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    I really admire kristy Sachs from rock,baby, scissors…
    her use of colour and embellishments always have me admiring her work.

    • Reply
      November 15, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      I love her too! I follow her in Instagram and drool over her bags.

  • Reply
    Amy mills
    November 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    What a beautiful and functional pattern 💜
    I currently follow a lady on Instagram (quiltangelcreations) who probably lives within 25 miles of myself and she makes the most beautiful bags. I don’t think we’ve ever met but one never knows, maybe someday we will 🙂

  • Reply
    Katherine Maldonado
    November 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    One of my favorite bagineers is Andrea Chapman from Sewspire. When i first started sewing her bag constructions taught me a lot of things that I use today. Her choice of fabric combinations and bag construction are inspiring.

  • Reply
    Karen Christensen
    November 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Your post me realize I don’t have a favorite bagmaker. I started looking on etsy for examples but look forward to seeing what others post here. By the way, I love your bag.

  • Reply
    Carol Spring
    November 15, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    The bag maker I admire most is Patty. A long time member of Ujamaa Grandmas (part of the Grandmother to Grandmother Campaign that supports African Grandmothers that look after their grandchildren orphaned by the AIDS epidemic). Patty makes incredible bags for the charity and has given courses to members and this past year set up a bag making group called the Bag-ettes so we call all up our bag making skills for the charity.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Hi I’m from the Netherlands. What a lovely bag. I recently started making bags. My favorite bag maker is M.Bethel. She paint her own fabric to make designer bags

  • Reply
    Terry l
    November 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Love your bag. I also love following Barabooboo on instagram her bags are amazing.

  • Reply
    Leanne Borland
    November 15, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Oh wow, lovely work on a fantastic pattern. I sew on a vintage Singer too and you are braver than me tackling all that bulk on it! I mean the power is great, but the foot just doesn’t lift high enough for my liking!

    Anyway, a bagineer I admire is Sew Sofia – I bought a stunning bag from her over a tear ago and it sparked my interest in sewing for myself. I still follow her now even though I can make my own, but I aspire to her level of skill!

  • Reply
    Georgina Stone
    November 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    I am a member of the Bag-ettes. I have learned so much from the other members of the group, especially Patty. Her practical knowledge is immense. She is an inspiration in choice of materials and colour combinations.

  • Reply
    Chris Bevan
    November 16, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Love that bag!

    I really like Erin from Dog Under My Desk . I find her patterns really clear to follow and I love all the different styles

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I follow Debbie Hunker and have learned so much from her. Love your bag!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Love Debbie too and she is so generous with helping other sewists.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 2:44 am

    LOVE your Epiphany Lisa, it looks perfect to me! 🙂 Your fabric and colours are gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Shawna Chatten
    November 16, 2017 at 4:03 am

    I have soooo many I admire and hope to be just like one day lol, especially Diedelbugh Handmade……amazeballs 😳!!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 5:38 am

    love the fabric on your bag. I have made several bags from Sew Sweetness and really like her patterns.

  • Reply
    Michelle Langendoen
    November 16, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Thank you for this post. I felt like I was reading my own story, never bought a purse over $50 until I started making my own. Exactly how I have progressed, fighting my domestic on thick fabrics, killing myself with rivets and yes lots of prick on my fingers from ripping out imperfect seams.
    I looooooooove Barabooboo’s bags, she is my inspiration and a local Canadian to me. Such great fabric combinations and beautiful sewing. I have also kept track of Anna from Noodlehead. All great stuff!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 7:13 am

    I love Uve Original bags (you can find her in instagram) anda Also pandielleando os a referente for me. They two are mothers and handmakers and they bote do really crear things from my Point os view.

    Thanks for The play…

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I like Erin Gilbey (Dog under my desk), my first zippers were form her free tutorials. I have worked my way up to her patterns and have learned a lot in doing so.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Fabulous bag – I also enjoy Jill’s amazing wallets, and Debby Hunker’s work is truly inspiring! Thank you for sharing your insights – so much to learn and know!

  • Reply
    Melanie Winters
    November 16, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Love the Epiphany Bag and your fabric is great! I want to make bags like Kristy (Rockbabyscissors ) and Erin (Diedelbughandmade)!

  • Reply
    Mandy Sieger
    November 16, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I have admired all of Chris W Designs for over a year now but have never purchased any. I have sewn two quilts and have made a few skirts and shorts for my kids but that’s it. I have recently found Sewspire and like her blog really well.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Another fan of Kristy Sachs from rockbabyscissors! I love your bag – the colors and the print are amazing – it looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    So many talented bag makers……. Debby Hunker is the first on the list. She’s awesome. Amy Butler is another that shares her wonderful talents.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Your Epiphany Bag is awesome. One of my favorite bagmakers is Janelle MacKay .

  • Reply
    November 18, 2017 at 6:40 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE how your bag turned out! One of my favorite Bagineers is Shannon of ShannonCreated. I’m also fortunate enough to know her in real life and we’ve even gotten to have a couple of sewing playdates when I’ve been on her side of the country.

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