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I sewed a Boronia Bowler

2018 April 30

And what is that you ask? It’s another purse… (insert down-looking bright-cheeked emoji here, lol) Yup – of course, I needed another one after my long-wearing Chobe was finally looking a bit worse for wear.

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Blue Calla, sewn, handmade, purse, cotton + steel, boronia bowler

Wanting, of course, to try something new I landed on the Boronia Bowler Bag pattern from Blue Calla. The shape was similar to many of the Coach and Kate Spade purses I’ve been seeing around, which was nice as I always aim to make things as professional as I can, so they don’t look handmade.

I took this bag to the Creativ Festival a few weeks ago and it was met with lots of interest. Everyone was especially impressed by the side gussets that hold all of your things in when the zippers are open. Very convenient! (You can see what I added to my fabric stash on Instagram.) I was able to visit the Janome booth and show them as well since I sewed the entire bag using my on-loan Skyline S9 machine.

Things I love:

  • The shape. The double zipper allows the bag to open up fully so you can actually find the things at the bottom of your purse.
  • The hardware. It’s so pretty! All of the hardware and the zipper were brought from Emmaline Bags. Online shipping is the best! I love the handmade tag and the purse feet make it all very professional.
  • A simple sew. It was a fairly simple bag to make with a few things that took a little bit more time. It was not very fast – but making a good bag shouldn’t be. The construction was simple and easy to put together.
  • Adding the selvage edge to the inside bottom of the purse – Have I mentioned that I love sewing?!
Things I changed:
  • My sewing machine was needing a trip to the spa (read: a good cleaning!) so it was having trouble top-stitching consistently through many layers of vinyl for the handles. I added a fabric layer to the back – which looks super cool! And I also added fabric tabs on the ends of the handles to finish them. This made the handles thinner and so much easier to sew.
Things I’d change next time:
  • In my opinion, the double straps should be at least 2, maybe 3 inches longer. I find they are very close to my armpit and am worried that heat mixed with sleeveless summer shirts will create trouble and a sweaty purse. They also barely fit over my winter jacket. I did make the removable crossbody length strap because I like the shoulder-free option and I use it that way the most.
  • The bottom contrast piece does not have finished edges. I am finding the faux vinyl frays on the edges and it’s not wearing super well. I’d maybe use real leather or add a facing so the edges are finished.
Hope that helps if you’re thinking about making this bag. I really, really love mine and already have a fun Artisan project with Janome Canada planned for later this year with it. ‘Cuz, of course, I need another one!
Have you made a purse or bag? Which pattern should I try next?!
Pattern: Boronia Bowler Bag from Blue Calla Sewing Patterns
Outer Fabric: Cotton and Steel Canvas Picnic Baskets from (now closed) Fabric Spot
Lining Fabric: Cotton and Steel Add it Up from my sponsor Fabric Spark (sold out, other colours here)
Vegan Leather (read – vinyl): from my local big box fabric store
Hardware: Emmaline Bags
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5 Responses leave one →
  1. DIANA MILLER permalink
    May 16, 2018

    Is there a reason for the hardware tabs to be uneven on the bag? They are not even on the side of the bag. Thank you

    • May 16, 2018

      Hi Diana. I looked back at my photos and I believe they are even, but the cross-body strap pulls the one side of the hardware down when it is sitting on it’s own. :)

  2. JAMIE permalink
    April 12, 2020

    I just finished my first borinia bowler bag and I too agree the straps are too short. I plan to redo mine and was wondering how you made yours half fabric half vinyl/leather?

    • April 20, 2020

      Hi Jaimie. I think I cut a vinyl and a fabric strap that was 1/2 the thickness of the straps she mentions, with added seam allowance to sew them together. Then I stitched them together on one long side and folded the other side’s seam allowance in, then topstitched down each long edge. Hope that helps!

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  1. Beautiful Boronia Bowler bag with Sherri | Janome Life

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