I read several reviews and blog posts about the Studio Cherie Travel Duffel Pattern, and the consensus seems that it's a real pain to make but it looks awful pretty when it's all done. So I decided to make it, naturally.
So, let me just preface this with letting you know that 3-D objects are really hard for me to make. Quilt tops are super easy, but once I start working on bags or clothing, my brain has a hard time processing things. I'm a very visual learner, and have a hard time reading a sentence in a pattern and then knowing how I'm supposed to do that. I really need lots of good diagrams and pictures. This pattern doesn't really have that. I found the directions really confusing, there were only a few dark pictures, and there really weren't enough diagrams. I ended up changing lots of stuff. I used some of my beloved Far Far Away 2 cotton/linen blend, as well as some linen blend Mochi Dots. This required some math, since I didn't want to have my FFA2 hidden by the straps or something! Speaking of straps, the pattern calls for Jute webbing, which is super gross--it's like burlap. So instead I made super thick, super fat handles out of the linen, and added Soft & Stable to the folded over part of the handles, so they're super duper fat & awesome.
I used a sport zipper instead of a regular-type one, and added D-rings instead of zipper tabs so I can add a shoulder strap. I used Soft & Stable for the construction of the whole bag, so even though it's empty in all these pictures, it stands up on it's own and is really....stable. I used some perfect Far Far Away 1 reprint cotton for the lining. I added two interior pockets (one regular & one with a velcro closure), which was really difficult because the bag sides are quilted, and the straps and exterior pocket got in the way. But it happened, and it was definitely needed.
I also bought a package of bias binding, because the pattern has you leave the raw edges unfinished inside. I seriously would not have been able to make this without Wonder Clips, and I bent at least 10 pins before I went and got some. My sewing machine could barely get through all those layers of linen, lining, and Soft & Stable, and this thing took me like 5 days of 6+ hours a day to make. The pattern designer sells them for $189 on her etsy site, and I'm surprised it's not more--they're a lot of work and a lot of materials!
It was really hard for me to cut into this favorite fabric that is out of print and selling for upwards of $40 a yard, but I'm glad I did. I love looking at it in my fabric cupboard, but being able to use it is even better.
I'm pretty sure I'll never make this bag again, because it was a beast. But I did some hard things, and figured stuff out and even finished it on time, so those are all good things!