Satchel sewing pattern review

My mom, known to you guys as Grandma G, has made another bag! This is the "Too Cool for School Satchel" pattern from the book A Bag for All Reasons by Lisa Lam. The fabric is my Skiff print in Dawn. How fun is this? I'm always a sucker for hardware on handmade bags since it makes them look smart and professional.

Along with photos, Mum has provided a review of this pattern in case anyone else wants to give it a try. About this "Too Cool for School Satchel," she says:

This is a very cool bag, and it isn't as hard to make as it might look. Yes, there's a lot of fiddly work to it, with all the flap and strap tabs. They take some extra time and careful sewing to get the shape consistent, but they're not really difficult.

The hardest part was sewing around the curves, especially attaching the front pocket to its gusset, since there were a number of layers, and the curves were smaller than those on the main bag body. But again, it's just a matter of taking your time and sewing carefully to get a nice curve. I used binder clips to hold the thick layers of fabric together, which you can see in the photo, and that worked really well.

I'd recommend this pattern! The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and everything you need to know is included in the book. The hardware adds so much for making the bag look great. One thing I would note when buying the buckles is that Lisa's buckles have a little bar across the male end for threading the tab through with no sewing needed. The ones I used did not, so I had to stitch the tab down, though it's not a big deal... just something to be aware of. If I'd had enough rivets on hand, I would've used them instead of stitching. I did add rivets to the strap tab (which you can't see in the photo), as Lisa did on her bag.

I would change one thing if I were to make the bag again. When carrying the bag, it tends to pivot at the points where the strap is attached, so it leans forward or backward. I think I would attach the tabs closer to the top of the gusset, even though all the satchels of any kind I've seen in photos online have the tabs lower like that. Maybe there's something else that would keep the bag from leaning one way or the other? Any ideas?

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