Sunday, January 19, 2014

Presidio Test Drive

Whoops!  In the midst of all the 12th Man & football fever taking over the city I totally forgot to post this.  Which is a shame and terribly naughty of me.  But better late than never, right?

Check out my new bag!  This is the Presidio Purse – Seamstress Erin’s first pattern.  About a month ago I was a pattern tester for her and had a delightful time sewing it up.  It even helped me conquer my fear of PDFs!

Here’s how Seamstress Erin described it:

I asked my pattern testers to describe the purse for me and got some great responses. My favorite? “A functional bag perfect to fit everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink.” I am a total sucker for a giant purse, and this is an iteration of big ol’ purse that I’m super proud of! I’m always lugging around way too much and this is the perfect bag to hold it all. I usually have an extra cardigan, a notebook, knitting, a snack, and all the things you’re actually supposed to carry in a purse like a wallet, keys, cell-phone, make-up kit (when I actually get around to putting makeup on), glasses case, kerchief, etc.”
If you’ve seen other images of the Presidio you may notice my bag looks a bit… off.  The Presidio is a massive bag, we’re talking 18” x 18” x 6” here, and being on the littler side I felt it was a bit too big for me.  Enter the benefit of using a PDF pattern, all I had to do was print it out at 75% to make it more my size.  It still turned out to be a decent sized bag although the kitchen sink will have to stay home now.  (That’s ok; I never seem to need it when running errands anyways.)
After printing and taping together my pattern I laid it out on my cutting mat to figure out my new fabric requirements which ended up being about ½ a yard for the outside and lining fabrics with 1/3 a yard for the contrast and strap.  I didn’t quite need this much but since I was going to be using cottons I wanted to allow for possible shrinkage.  I chose a deep red large wale corduroy for the main color, navy twill for contrast and an orange & red quilting cotton for the lining.

Construction went pretty quickly, Erin’s directions are clearly written and I didn’t have any head scratching moments.  I did spend some extra time on my pockets as I had to adjust a few things for my smaller size.
I cut two smaller pocket pieces and stitched them right sides together with a ¼” seam, leaving a gap to turn it inside out so I didn’t have any unfinished pocket edges.  I used my phone and a pen to determine where my pocket needed to be aligned so that everything would fit and I could still zip the bag shut.  The 75% size meant I could only include one pen slot, but that’s really all I need.  The pockets were then top stitched along the sides and bottom before stitching a line to separate the compartments.

When cutting out the fabric squares to attach to the zipper, I needed to keep them at 1” square in order to cover the zipper tape.  You can reduce a zipper’s length but there’s no changing the width!  Again I cut out extra pocket pieces and sandwiched the zipper between them for a nice clean finish before topstitching it to the lining.

The topstitching around the insets is supposed to be on the main fabric however I pressed the seam towards the inset and topstitched it in red.  This is keeping in line with my recent obsession with contrast topstitching.

I waited to cut out my strap pieces until the very end to determine what length I needed.  I attached the pieces and D-rings to the purse and then held it up to about where I wanted it to hang while my Mom measured the length.  I ended up adding about 3.5” to the middle to compensate for the length lost when shrinking the pieces.  After a couple lines of stitching I was all done and had a new bag to use.

All in all the Presidio purse is a great bag at any size and I highly recommend it.  It can be made in just about any kind of fabric and lends itself for customization.  If you’ve never made a bag before, this would be a great introduction.  Erin is also running a sewalong right now if you need any extra help.

Now back to celebrating that the Seahawks are  Super Bowl bound!

Go Hawks!


  1. Exciting to see more pics of the mini-presidio! Love what you did with it and the lining fabric you chose is gorgeous! Thanks again for your help!

  2. Hi, just wanted to say I love your blog and have nominated it for a Liebster award