This is the newest Amy Butler handbag pattern called Sweet Harmony. It comes in both the handbag and tote sizes and I decided to make the handbag. I've had the fabric in my stash for only 2 or 3 years and I bought the pattern last December. While cleaning out my sewing room yet again, I ran across the fabric and decided that this bag would be my next project. Unfortunately, the pictures do not show just how beautiful this bag is. The fabric has a gold line around the flowers and the print has a jacquard stripe that adds texture to the purse.
I only had one yard of each of these two fabrics and the pattern called for 1-3/8 for the body and 1-1/8 for the lining. I had plenty with my 54" home decorator fabrics. In fact, I had enough to fussy cut each piece of the body. I placed one side pocket so that it would feature one of the roses. Because both sides of the purse are alike I decided to make them different by using the lining for the body behind one of the pockets. That way I could tell which pocket I put things in. I hate searching for things in every pocket until I find it.
For the other side of the purse I matched the print on the pocket with the body of the bag. I think it turned out great and matches perfectly. I was tempted to do some free motion quilting around the roses but decided that it wouldn't add much to the look and might even detract from the beautiful print, making it look more quilted wearable art than a designer handbag.
I really liked the design and placement of the cell phone pocket. This is the side where I'll keep my keys and the phone. That way I won't have to search for them in every pocket the way I do now. I wish I had added this type of pocket for my sunglasses as well. I'll be sure to make that addition the next time I make it. And there will definitely be a next time. I like purses like some women like shoes. It drives my son crazy because when I tell him to get something from my purse, he can't ever find it since he can't keep up with which one I'm currently carrying.
The inside pockets that the pattern called for weren't so great. The pattern had you install a zipper on top of a panel which would have been bulky and much too big. I made the pocket and omitted the zipper, which is one option the designer provided. I wish I had sewn a dividing line down the middle of this pocket because it flops open inside the bag. It's just too big and should be divided. I think putting two dividing lines would be nice allowing space between the lines for a couple of pens would have been cool. It's too late to add that now, however.
For my zippered pocket, I decided to do my own thing and made a window for the zipper and added a pocket bag behind the zipper. That way my things are inside the lining and out of the way inside the pocket. This is where I keep my lipstick and advil and other small things I don't want to lose on the bottom of the bag.
The inside of the bag is roomy and will certainly fit all I need to carry. You can see in this photo that I've changed the handles from the strange one that the designer created. I like the two handles that allow me to fully open the bag instead of the way the original handle is one that is bifurcated near the bag to allow it to open.
While this wasn't a quick and easy project, I'm quite satisfied with the way it turned out. I had many issues with the pattern instructions and decided to just stop using them and made the bag the way I thought it should be done. I don't know if Amy Butler is this way with her other patterns, but she is overly wordy which makes for a lot of confusion and head scratching. I was getting very frustrated until I stopped reading them and just sewed it my own way. The pattern, however, makes one terrific handbag.