BMB Challenge: Reversible Bucket Bag

Reversible Bucket Bag

Reversible Bucket Bag

While my parents were visiting, there was a lot of time for sewing. It was a great time to do the next project in Lisa Lam’s Bag Making Bible – the Reversible Bucket Bag. Lisa describes this project as an opportunity for trying fabric combinations. It’s also an introduction to interfacings, or adding structure to your bag. I find fabric combinations challenging – mainly because I feel my choices are rather conservative. Putting together lots of great patterns (a la Maureen Cracknell, for example) isn’t something I do. This project pushed me to at least try.

Reversible Bucket Bag

I wanted to stick with fabric already in my stash. My original choices are above. The bright patterned green ended up looking like too much for the other fabrics, so I ended up using my two current favorites together: Sunkissed Spray Teal and Central Park with a solid binding, Kona Cotton Moss. Using darker colors will help the dirt that will inevitably end up on this bag and it’s a fun opportunity to see how these fabrics look in big swaths. I usually only see them in little bits next to the linen.

For the interfacing, I ended up with two new products: Vlieseline H640, a fusible fleece and Vlieseline S320, a medium weight woven interfacing. Buying interfacing is one of my big challenges here. So far, I haven’t found any fabric stores within a reasonable driving distance that carry a selection of interfacing I can touch and feel. I chose these based on descriptions on the Vlieseline website and what was available at

I made the bag without any major alterations. The directions were clear. I had to read the directions about where to start applying the binding a couple of times, but that was probably because I was trying to watch the The Great British Sewing Bee while sewing. Great show, but confusing to sew with! My one change was waiting until both straps were basted on before top stitching them. I wanted to have a single sewing line around the bag and to be able to fold the ends together a bit neatly. I worked out just fine.

The final product is a good looking, handy bag. It’s a great size and will surely be in frequent use on my going to town trips. For now, I’m using it as my shoulder bag and it’s a bit big and open for that, but a nice size and the structure is great. The binding came out a bit funky on the sides, but I’m not sure if that’s because I need to get better at bias binding or because the curve is too sharp for one-inch wide binding.

I’m not a huge fan of finishing bags with the binding. I find the binding on this bag a bit too wide and miss the feel of a heftier, interlined strip like I did on the Peek-A-Boo Pleat and Versatile Book Bags. It is probably possible to add a lining to the handle part of the binding, but I don’t think you could do it with a nice finish. Next time, I’ll make two self-covered buttons using the exterior and lining fabrics and sew them on before binding the bag. I don’t like the safety pin sticking out (I didn’t make a flower around the button) and find it a bit fussy to move it every time. The layering of fabric choices right on top of each other (button, strap, exterior, for example) would also add a nice detail.

The interfacings are amazing! I can hardly believe how much structure they add to the bag. It stands at attention. The woven interfacing (the Vlieseline S320) came loose from fabric when I worked the fabric. A final pressing fixed it, but I fear it would do the same if you decided to really use it as a reversible bag. Every time you turned the bag inside or right-side out, it could pull loose. I think this bag probably works better as a one-sided bag. That would also give you the option to use a heavier exterior fabric (denim, corduroy, upholstery fabric, linen). The exterior now has a couple spots with the wrinkled paper look that the book warns about.

Most exciting for me is that this project has given me a couple ideas for bags to make. I think the bucket bag style would make a lovely little girl’s bag with the addition of a flap and KAM snap, I was inspired to think about a little girl’s bag after seeing a cute one over at Elisanna. Her blog is in Dutch, gorgeous, and bright. She’s working on a bag book and it’s worth a look if you’re a bag lover (and if you’ve read this far, you are!).

The next bag in my BMB Challenge is going to be a clutch. I’m struggling with fabric choices (bright green wool? grey printed upholstery fabric?) and trying to decide whether I want to put on the chain handle or not. With some luck, though, It will get done in the coming week or so! Until then….

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