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Jurassic Park Bag Making with Emma

Jurassic Park! What excellent Fabric Minerva Crafts sent me to review for this blog post! Anyone that has seen my Insta feed knows I’m a big fan of the novelty print and in particular, the ol’ dinosaurs. So of course, I jumped at the chance of giving this Art Gallery Cotton Canvas Fabric a test drive.

The fabric is from the ‘Esoterra’ range from Art Gallery Fabrics designed by Katarina Roccella. It is described as “bringing to life an extinct luscious land where beautiful and exotic creatures roamed. Katarina captures the archaeological essence of this mysterious world with lush foliage and rugged textures enhanced by deep green, dark teals, greys and hints of fuchsia.” Can’t argue with that. It’s refreshing to have a ‘grown-up’ dinosaur print rather than the usual cartoony style. 

This fabric is a fantastic weight for an array of projects, but I fancied giving bag making a go. The pattern I chose was The Everyday Tote by Bagstock. This appealed as the design of the bag would make the dino fabric the main feature and it wouldn’t be obscured by zips or handles.

This is the first ‘proper’ bag that I’ve made using all the techniques and supplies needed and I certainly learnt a lot! I would call this bag a ‘wearable toile’. It’s far from perfect but I definitely want to use it!

Lucky for you guys if you want to make one yourself, Minerva also supply most of the equipment including this Foam Lining which gave the bag excellent structure.

I’m not going to run into a massive tutorial on this one, as the pattern instructions are excellent and well photographed, however, I thought a few pointers from a novice would be a good idea!
I chose to use faux leather vinyl for the contrast and straps on this bag. The first thing to note about this is that it does not enjoy going under a sewing foot particularly well. A walking foot is an absolute must for this – I’ve also heard you can pop a bit of scotch tape on the bottom of your regular machine foot to make sure it slides nicely under without sticking. Another handy hint is to use a good leather needle and topstitch with a longer stitch length than normal. Also – don’t pin it! Leatherette is going to get ugly marks in if you pin it – binder clips all the way!

Another thing I discovered when making this is that my Prym Pliers from previous reviews came in super handy! Rivets are used to attach the handles to the bag – in theory. I did not have any bag rivets and thought jeans rivets would do. Turns out no. Bag rivets are significantly longer and designed to pass through about 8mm of layers! I attached my mini rivets for decoration but had to sew the handles to the bag (not well, unfortunately!)
I would say here that the pattern says to leave the edges raw but I’m not a fan of that and tried to turn them under – however 4 layers of vinyl, foam, fabric and interfacing is pretty difficult to sew down neatly!! For next time I would buy some nice metal hardware that clips onto the raw edges of the straps.

Sewing the bottom panels is a bit of a challenge but a lot easier than anticipated. Prepare your bottom panel well, with interfacing, and additional layer of foam but keep the ½ inch seam allowance free and it will be much easier to attach. Bag feet are optional, but the sewing gods were on my side that day – and I found a set I had been hoarding for years!! I think they give the bag a lovely professional finish.

The lovely shape of the bag is formed by squashing the side edges down to the bottom panel – clip it well people. Don’t be afraid to manhandle that bag either, you absolutely have to Crocodile Dundee style wrestle that thing under the needle!

Flipping the bag the right way around and it starts to take shape. At this point, I wanted a little extra structure in the bottom and again raided my stash for something that would do the trick. I think this plastic stuff is called ‘7 Count Plastic Canvas’ and used for cross-stitch, but it’s essentially sheet plastic ideal for bag bottoms and cutting to size. I tacked it down to the seam allowance inside, so it didn’t shift around. 
Next up is the lining- I had some cute mini dinos just perfect for this bag! You could absolutely go to town with all the bells and whistles on the interior here. Mine has an inner zip pocket and two slip pockets for keys/phone etc.

In my opinion, the best bit of any handbag is having a zip! I am clumsy/boisterous and often wing my handbag into the car, who wants al their stuff dropping out?! Zips are a necessity in my opinion. This one is an absolute beauty as it opens wide allowing the bag to be filled to its full potential and its trapped into the lining, which creates a lovely recess.
Now the magic happened when the outer bag goes into the lining, and the clips magically make it fit together – the more clips the better at this point as again it’s going to need wrangling under the machine all the way around the top (keep those straps out of the way!)

Ensure you leave enough room in the lining for turning – there’s a point here where I started to wonder whether I had destroyed the work of the last 2 days but out it came!!

The last part of this make requires a top stitch 1/8” all the way around the edge – oh my. That’s a LOT of layers its going through right there. I tried 3 different feet and 2 different needles but settled on a walking foot in the end. Vinyl is not forgiving and will not let you unpick stitching without scars! Many clips and much breathing through it later it was finished!!

Here it is in all its Jurassic glory – closest to a pre-historic plant I could find in my office. One of my fav parts is also that when you peek inside the bag, there’s a dinosaur looking back!
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

Comments (2)

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Fiona Pullen said:

Beautiful bag and fabric, looks like it was worth all the hard work. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare to put together but I'm sure you're glad you did. · 21st May 2018 09:32am

veronica steadman said:

What a fantastic bag. Unfortunately I doubt that my very old machine would cope with it, but maybe a new one ! ! ! Fabulous, well done. · 20th May 2018 02:28pm