The first bag I ever made was the Boxford Clutch by Charlie’s Aunt. Given it was my first foray into bags, it turned out ok, I suppose. Looking back now, although essentially a simple pattern, much better results can be yielded with a little bit of knowledge behind you.
My friend’s Mum had asked for this bag for Christmas and for it to be made out of green Harris Tweed. There’s a lot of curves in the pattern which take patience when cutting out and, this time, added about an inch to either end of the gusset as, last time they came up a little bit short and it’s always better to have them longer than having to stretch fabric out of shape in an attempt to get a good fit.
The original pattern doesn’t give much advice on different types of interfacing and is quite vague in places. I back every piece of every bag I make with SF101 or Vilene G700. It certainly adds an additional cost to the bag but it makes such a difference to the final outcome. I used foam on the front and back and fusible fleece in the gusset and on the flap. When I first started making bags, I was a big fan of fusible foam but, the more I used it, the more I found it would cause wrinkling on cottons and lose it’s stick on thicker fabrics and so now I tend to stick to sew in. Make sure you trim your seams well and notch your curves to give a sharp finish.
The pattern calls for you to sew the buttons on at the end which would mean an untidy finish on the underside of the flap. If attempting one of these patterns, I strongly suggest you think a few steps ahead to ensure a tidy finish…..for instance, the pattern tells you to attach the strap at the end and rivet through ALL layers. Why would you want a rivet in the lining when it is quite simple to put your hand through the turning hole in the lining and rivet from the inside, leaving a lovely finish?
The pattern instructions are very simplistic, with basic drawings. I’m not a big fan of the internal patch pocket but replacing it with a simple zipped pocket would be quite easy and there are plenty of tutorials to be found online and, when it comes to fitting the lining, beware the bagginess! When you start at the top, start with the suggested seam allowance but increase it by about a centimetre as you work your way down.
At just under £8, Charlie’s Aunt patterns are priced at a little more than I would normally want to pay. There is also the designers “terms and conditions” to consider. Her patterns state that you can only make a few of each bag for retail each year. A search on any bag making forum/Facebook page will be sure to furnish you with a variety of opinions on the legality of these terms but I’m going to remain impartial and not comment!
Overall, the Boxford Clutch is a great design and makes me want to make more Charlie’s Aunt patterns but I am put off by the price. I hope my friend’s Mum likes it!
Until next time……….
PS Apologies, I didn’t realise how blurry my pics were but the bag has gone to it’s new owner so I can’t retake.