I made a Carter Messenger Handbag by Swoon Patterns! I used Spoonflower printed cotton and a dusty purple faux leather for the exterior, and plain gray cotton for the lining. I also used invisible magnets for the straps.
Swoon produces fantastic sewing patterns that result in professional, high-end bags. But those results come from not just fantastic design, but in building structure using interfacing. The result is that Swoon bags are often difficult to complete using your average domestic sewing machine.
I know this well — I lost count of the number of needles I broke making the Belle. So I was prepared going in to the Carter. But I’m happy to say that I found the Carter to be much easier than the Belle or even the classic Bonnie Bucket!
The Carter took me approximately 8 hours start to finish. Nearly half of that was just cutting out fabric and interfacing, then fusing the interfacing. The flap and straps took a couple hours as well. But after that, the bag came together easily.
The only other trip up I had was the very last lining step, where you sew the “pinch” on each side. At this step, I was sewing through four layers of vinyl and four layers of interfaced quilting cotton. On top of that, the location makes just getting all the layers under the presser foot quite difficult. After trying it once, I was not satisfied with how it looked, and ended up picking the seams and trying again. It came out much better! So if you try out this pattern, be very patient at this step and don’t be afraid to take a break and try again. That’s difficult when you’re so close to being done, but trust me!
I also added rivets (Chicago screws, to be exact) at each side to hold all those layers together, as recommended by Pennydog Patchwork on YouTube. To further make the sewing easier, I lined the vinyl straps with quilting cotton instead of folding the strap over and sewing it to itself. This removed two layers of vinyl I needed to sew through on the flap, which helped a lot when attaching the closure straps and the handle.
Another tweak I made was to make a crossbody strap, since I prefer those to short shoulder straps. I believe I made this one too long and may shorten it, we’ll see!
All in all, the Carter is a fantastic pattern, and I recommend it highly. It is a particularly good pick if you are intimidated by Swoon bags and want to try something challenging but not too frustrating. Good luck!