One for each shoulder

While quilts are my absolute favorite to sew, bags are a close second. I love the chance to play with substrates other than cotton and to challenge my brain with some three-dimensional sewing. And one of my absolute favorites is the Cosmo Bag from Amy Butler. I fact, I sewed up twins; they aren't identical, but surely you can tell they are related! I'm seriously crushing on the vintage Americana vibe: I will never tire of navy & red and stripes & dots!!

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I have made at least 5 of these bags now; I usually whip myself up a new one about once a year. I don't like to shuffle things from one handbag to the next; I am a bag monogamist, meaning I prefer to have one bag that suits multiple purposes. I have to be able to toss my wallet and reusable grocery bags for a trip to the store; my tablet, folder, and notes when I'm off to teach; my kids cast-off sweaters and water bottles when we're at the park... you get the picture. This bag fits the bill. 

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A must-have for me in a purse is an exterior pocket. I need to be able to grab my keys or sunglasses without having to dig through the interior (who has the time or patience for that, am I right?) and these pockets are perfect. As a bonus, I can also toss in a water bottle or coffee tumbler, too... although truth be told, I only ever bring the coffee (I have a wee bit of a coffee addiction... ahem). 

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The interior is nice and roomy, which is perfect when you need to bring a sweater to work or when using as a carry-on to toss in a change of clothes. The four slip pockets are life savers as they keep this bag from becoming a black hole (you know, the place where everything you actually need gets sucked to the bottom never to be seen again no matter how much you rummage). To keep me organized, I categorize the pockets so I can quickly access the items I need: 1) wallet, coupons, reward cards; 2) notebook, pens; 3) toiletries; 4) electronic accessories & miscellaneous. I'm an introverted, first-born, teacher so organization is pretty much my jam.

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And I LOVE the covered button closure! If you have never made a covered button, run, don't walk, to the fabric store and get yourself a kit. I am easily intimidated by closures (remember, I'm a quilter first and foremost) and the covered button was no sweat. 


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Having made this bag several times now, I have developed some short-cuts and preferences I'd love to share for those of you who want to make your own Cosmo bag. My biggest recommendation is to opt for heavier weight fabric for the exterior. I have made this bag in quilter's cotton, Essex yarn-dyed linen, sateen, home dec, and now denim. The heavier fabrics make the bag more durable and hold a nicer shape. For these two bags, I used Robert Kaufman denim for the exterior and canvas from Sevenberry for the handles; these fabrics were so sturdy I didn't even need to interface them, which saves time and money. Score! I use quilting cotton for the lining and I interface with Pellon SF-101.


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I made these two bags to list in my newly opened shop on Etsy but it was SO HARD not to keep at least one of them for myself! Especially since I have been in dire need of an upgraded bag as mine has been well-loved and tirelessly used. So, I had to make myself a little bargain. These lovelies are indeed listed in the shop, and I made myself a new LEATHER bag... eek! Go check it out on my Instagram (BranchVineHandmade); I feel so fancy now!

Checking another item off my Finish-A-Long list!

--JL