I picked out the lovely pale grey fabric long ago without any real plans for it. I loved it on the bolt and the bolt was running low, so I snagged it. Once I decided to use it for this bag, Ingrid helped me select the contrasting grey on the handles and button band. Didn't she make a good choice? Ingrid has a great eye for color.
I used a grape thread for the stitching to add a nice contrast and to tie the outside together with the inside, which is grape-striped and wacky and fun.
Here's a closer look at the lovely pale grey and the deep pleats on the outside of the bag. I really love this fabric. I'm not a big one for bold splashy prints and I usually lean towards solid colors for my own clothing choices. This patterned grey is, for me, quite a statement.
One of the fantastic things about this bag is all of its pockets. I'm constantly carrying around my kids' stuff and I know that won't end any time soon. It really helps to have nooks and crannies in my bag to tuck away the things I might need to locate quickly. The side pocket is great for the kids' water bottles and will also hold baby bottles and sippy cups down the road.
On the inside I customized the pockets for the things I knew I would need. That's the great thing about sewing it myself: I can custom fit the pockets to my own stuff. It's very simple to customize the pockets, too, especially in this bag. All I had to do was place the item in the pocket and stick a pin on each side of the item so I'd know where to put the seam. The striped lining was a big help, because I'd just sew my seam straight down the stripe I had pinned. This is the biggest pocket and holds a changing pad for diaper changing. I don't need the changing pad until May, so right now I use it to store my KnitPicks chart keeper. Both are stored in the pocket in the above photo. The pocket has enough slack that I'll be able to pop a few diapers in there too.
I made an EpiPen pocket, too, since I need to carry them everywhere and if--heaven forbid--I ever need one I'll need to grab it quickly.
I added in a clip to hold my keys as well. Some of the other patterns in the Amy Butler book included little tabs like the one attached to the clip. I used her technique and a clip I found at JoAnn's. I've seen other clips I like better in other handbags, so I'll keep an eye out for them when I shop at craft stores. But in a bag this big I definitely need a clip to keep my keys from getting lost!
Here's the cell phone pocket. The lining fabric is just the kind of print that, while it appeals to me, I'd never wear. Using it as a purse lining is just the ticket, because I can enjoy the prettiness without having to feel like I'm wearing something kooky.
And here's a series of pockets for my sunglasses, wallet, and some of the kids' gear. The pocket at the lower left with blue stuff peeking out is the pocket Ing has designated as her own. As such it is filled with Tinkerbell coloring books and crayons.
It's a big bag and can hold a ton. Here we were on our way to soccer practice with my knitting, entertainments for Ing, RC's gear, and of course snacks and water bottles. If I could go back and add anything to this bag, it would be a waterproof zipper pouch to stick the snacks in. Next time...
The pattern, by the way, was really clearly written and easy to follow. I never felt confused because the directions were so clear. This pattern required a large amount of interfacing, which was my largest stumbling block. It took a long time to cut and fuse it all. It's worth it, though, to make the bag so sturdy. Once that step was done, it was smooth sailing to make the purse and I did it in about a weekend--albeit a weekend when MMD was out of town and I needed a way to keep busy when I couldn't sleep!