My only experience with a carpet bag up until this January was watching Mary Poppins unpack her carpet bag in the Disney movie. It was amazing all the items she pulled out of her carpet bag: a coat rack, a large plant, a mirror, and a floor lamp! When the January bag for the Bag of the Month Club was released and I saw that it was a carpet bag, I was excited to make one. Since then, I have actually made four of The Companion Carpet Bag by Sewing Patterns with Mrs. H, two of the smaller size and two larger size. I love this pattern so much that I had to blog about it!
First though, let me explain the Bag of the Month Club. The Bag of the Month Club is a 6-month membership club. Each month, January through June, as a member I get a new pattern from a different designer. The designers are some of the best out there and I have enjoyed being part of the club since its inception, last year. The Bag of the Month Club is also supported by a great Facebook group where people post pictures of their bags and ask questions that the designers or other members answer. You can check out the Bag of the Month Club Facebook group and read more about it here!
Now, back to The Companion Carpet Bag by Samantha of Sewing Patterns with Mrs. H. The Companion Carpet Bag comes in two sizes, large and small. The small bag is what I would call a mid-size to large handbag, and the large bag is a large handbag size, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it as a carry-on to stow under the seat when flying. I loved making this pattern in both sizes. I felt that it was easy to sew in one day and went together very nicely. The pattern is well written and easy to follow.
My one concern when I made my first Companion Carpet Bag was inserting the bag frame. I had never used a bag frame before, but it was easy to insert. The most difficult part is working with the small screws, but by my second bag, I came up with a way of inserting the frame that involves only taking out and replacing four screws instead of all eight. Here is my method: I remove the screws holding in one arm of the frame from one hinge and then remove the screws holding in the opposite arm of the frame on the other hinge. I then insert the frame into the sleeves and reinsert the screws. The other helpful hint I have is I use a magnetized eyeglasses screwdriver - it really helped me hold the screws in place until the threads catch as I was replacing the screws. Very easy!!!
I mentioned Mary Poppins unpacking her carpet bag and having so many large items in it. Of course, the magic of the movie made that possible, but there is a reason they used a carpet bag - carpet bags can hold a lot of stuff! Although you won't fit a coat rack and a floor lamp in the large size of The Companion Carpet Bag, it is truely amazing how much you can fit in either size bag. The small Companion Carpet Bag is adorable with its rectangular bottom and cute plump look and the large bag is begging to be made in a decorator fabric to make it durable for travel.
If you want to sew a Companion Carpet Bag, I suggest joining the Bag of the Month Club. There is still time to join and you will receive all the patterns January through May as well as the June pattern when it comes out on June 1st. (I can hardly wait for June 1st!)
If you are interested in purchasing a Companion Carpet Bag, I have a couple available for purchase in my Uniquely Michelle Etsy shop and I am always happy to sew a special order just to your liking.