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Friday, December 26, 2014

Colette Cooper Bag

Now that Christmas has passed, I can finally share all of the gifts I made for people this year! First up is a bag made for my boyfriend with the Cooper bag pattern from Colette. I made the messenger style, but made some (unintentional) design changes, so it looks a little different from the envelope picture. More about those changes later.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to use a pattern or do my own design for his bag. I didn't like any of the big 4 bag patterns. They looked to feminine or I couldn't imagine him using any of the designs. Then I saw the Cooper bag and fell in love with the pattern! It has so many pockets and great design details. And is great for a man (but also totally great for women - I'm making myself one soon!). Even though I dislike PDF patterns, I was too excited to get started to wait for a paper copy in the mail, so I bought the electronic copy. And it's a shame because Colette has such beautiful paper patterns - I'd love to have a copy. But I was able to start sewing right away, so it was worth it!

I had a hard time deciding what fabric to use. Really hard. I was in the fabric store for hours trying to find the right fabric. I knew I wanted to use the brown faux leather, so I had to find a coordinating body fabric and lining fabric. I eventually found a beige home decor cotton twill for the body fabric, and a pretty blue fabric for the lining. I think it is a lighter weight cotton twill, but I can't exactly recall.

I was worried that the faux leather would be hard to sew, but it passed through my machine with no problem. Even when it was double or quadruple layered, it sewed up no problem. I used heavy duty upholstery thread on the leather to make sure the threads didn't snap.

The instructions were pretty easy to understand, but I had problems following along, which resulted in those unintentional changes. I was following the instructions on an ipad, and every time I went back to the instructions after being asleep or changing tabs, it would start at the top of the pdf. So I had to find where I was before, and I ended up completely missing some steps. I accidentally skipped putting fabric strips on the flap, putting the rivets on, and sewing on the strap. Obviously I went back and added the straps, but I decided to skip the other details. For my next bag, I will pay more attention!

Other than my foolish mistakes, the bag was really easy to put together and the instructions were nice. The only thing I will say is that the yardage is not accurate - I needed way less than it said. I actually had enough faux leather to make a medicine bag (pictures to come), and can definitely make something else with the twill.

The fabric stores near me did not have any webbing in the right color and width (very frustrating!), so I had to order it online. I was afraid the color would not match the bag, but it worked out pretty well! I also did not have the hardware, so I bought that online too. Turned out to be the right width, but a little too narrow to fit all of the webbing through it. So it's hard to adjust the strap, but at least that means the strap won't slip down while he's wearing the bag.

I even included my own label!

This was a really nice pattern, and I love that there are so many options from the basic body pattern. I also like all the topstitching because it makes it look really polished.

By the way, he is wearing a Negroni shirt - another great Colette pattern! A post about that will be coming soon!


  1. Hi Becky. Love this bag and you've done such a great job on it! I finished one for my brother just after Christmas:-/ I made the same mistakes as you did! I completely forgot to add the detailing & started messing up the strap (over-tired & hurrying!) so I stopped for a few days. I quite like the finished result, though, and will post pics and blog about it in the next week or so - at if you're curious. About to make another for my fella. All cut out & ready to sew:-)

    1. Thanks! I definitely needed to slow down when making this bag, but I was too excited to make it, I couldn't help it! I can't wait to see yours, I'll definitely check both of them out when you post them. It's a good pattern - I'm making another one too (for myself). I just need to remember to read all of the instructions this time!