The features I was looking for in a bag pattern were
- big enough to hold a jacket / cardigan and a water bottle
- zip closure to minimise losing stuff and to minimise pick-pocket access
- a few pockets to secure items, and at least 1 zippered internal pocket, but not so many pockets that it takes you ages of hunting to find where you stashed your whatsit.
- cross body style.
Some of the changes I made to the pattern were
- I didn't use leather as the accent on the front, because my leather was so hard to stitch through
- I used press studs instead of magnetic clasps on the front pockets
- I used a press stud instead of stitches in the middle of the back pocket, so that the pocket was large enough to hold a magazine if the press stud was opened
- It is hard to see in the photos, but I used leather accents to attach the D-buckles for the straps. I finished the edges of the leather with leather edge finisher. This was my first time using edge finisher. I attached the leather accents to the bag with rivets.
- I cut down the size of the lining pieces. I often wonder why so many bag patterns have the lining pieces the same size as the outside. This always results in extra folds of lining on the inside. I know the difference in size depends on fabric choice, but they could have a go. From memory, I took off 1/2 inch from all sides of the lining for the main panels, side panels and base.
- I didn't interface as many pieces as the pattern suggested, because I think my fabric was sturdier than their suggestions.
- My memory is hazy, but I think I changed the method of construction for the front zippered pocket so that there was no seam in the lining pieces.
It is worth noting that this bag takes a lot of fabric. The main bag is lined, the back pocket is lined, the front zippered pocket is lined, the front patch pockets are lined and there is an internal lined zippered pocket. I used a gorgeous Nani Iro cotton canvas for the main of the bag. I originally bought the fabric for a dress after I saw someone else wearing a dress from this fabric, but really, I think it is a bit heavy for a dress. I used a mid weight twill for the main lining pieces, but after I realised how heavy all the layers of fabric and lining were going to be, I switched to a cotton lawn for some of the pocket internals. I actually used a few different fabrics for the lining as I didn't have enough of any one fabric. The strap is from almost the last of some ikea canvas I bought years ago.
The bag was a huge success. The front zippered pocket was good for holding passports for everyone. Now that I am home, I use that pocket for my phone and keys.
The front patch pocket was easily accessible to those constantly asking for my lip balm. Now that I am home, I have filled one of those pockets with all those extra cards from my wallet. I could easily leave these pockets off a future version of the bag.
Unlike a backpack, I didn't have to constantly take my bag on and off as we got on and off buses etc.
I have kept using the bag as my main handbag since returning home. You may have seen it in a few of my recent posts.