Welcome to my stop on The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour! Our tour is made up of Canadian Bloggers, hence the name The Great Canadian… Only in Canada you say? Pity! Well, no, not really. We’re all in Canada, but you can join the tour from anywhere in the world! Sit back and enjoy – no tariffs, no shipping costs, no exchange rates. (Oh, Canadians know about exchange rates!)
Making handbags is something I’d wanted to do for a long time. After hearing of Craftsy, and signing up for my first class with them, I was hooked. I think my first class was Fab Felt Holiday Crafts with Betz White (you’ll see more of Betz on this tour), followed quickly by Design Your Own Handbag with Brett Bara. Brett’s class was the first of many handbag classes I’ve taken on Craftsy. With Craftsy, I’ve found a great learning platform, and I keep going back for more. I love that the classes I purchase are there for me anytime I want to access them, and never expire. If you haven’t heard of Craftsy before, here’s a great video to learn more about them.
This year I became an Affiliate with Craftsy. On the right side of my blog, you’ll see some links to a few of my favorite classes, including the class I’m reviewing here (which Craftsy very graciously gave me to review for this tour). This list is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few favorites. I can recommend these classes with confidence as I’ve taken them.
For my part in The Great Canadian Blog Tour, I’m reviewing Janelle MacKay’s class Mix & Match Clutch Bag Techniques.
Janelle is a wonderful instructor. She’s very thorough, but without that rushed feeling we can get from having too much information thrown at us. She calmly takes us through each step, all the while giving us so many details of what we need to do, and options to change things up.
Janelle is composed in front of the camera. She definitely knows her material. Her knowledge and warmth come through on the question board too. She’s interacting with participants, telling them she loves the material they’ve chosen, encouraging when someone posts a question and figures out the answer on their own.
The class was a good pace for me. I’m not an overly experienced bag-maker, and I felt very comfortable with the pace of Janelle’s class.
Craftsy rates this class for an Intermediate skill level, and I would agree with that. There are some techniques that aren’t hard, but have a lot of steps that might be a challenge to a beginner sewist. I have read lots of comments on forums where people said how much they learned taking this class, and all the new tips they didn’t know before. There are tips in the class that can be used in any sewing. I loved how Janelle showed us how to deal with thread ends, and how she attached zippers. Both of these, and many more of the tips she shares can be transferred to non-bag-making sewing projects too.
The only difficulty I had with the class was having to draw out some of the pattern pieces. I need all the pattern pieces – even the ones that are simply a rectangle with the measurements given. I have some trouble with numbers. So for me, to have to draw out a rectangle piece… well, it’s a challenge. I have to look at the numbers, check them again, and then again to make sure I have them right in my head. Then a few more times because they can easily get mixed up in my head. It took me three tries to get those simple rectangles. I’m not talking just getting the numbers right, I’m talking drawing out those pieces. (Sigh) Now to be fair, I’ve read many comments on some of those same forums where others have said they hate to see something so simple included in patterns. For me, this is not so simple. I did get it done, and now going forward, I have all my pattern pieces cut out and labeled so I won’t have the same trouble.
Reece, of Happy Okapi, just reviewed the class Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers. One of the comments from Reece was there were no pattern pieces included with that class. Right away, I know it won’t be a class I want to take. Drawing out all the pieces would put me off before I started.
Back to things I love about this class. Here’s my clutch bag:
Oh, pretty, pretty. The inside of the bag is as beautiful as the outside. There’s a card slot that holds three cards, and a deeper pocket behind it. There’s a lipstick holder. There’s also a beautifully finished zippered pocket.
Here’s the inside with a few basics in it. Sunglasses, keys, a few credit cards, lipstick. The red card is in sideways to show the deeper pocket behind the card slots. I didn’t even need to put anything in the zippered pocket. There’s lots of room in this little clutch! Look how pretty the zippered pocket is too. Janelle takes us through all the steps to make a beautiful, professional-looking finish on everything – inside and out. Here’s a confession: I thought the inside of the bag was so pretty, I took photos to send to a few friends before the bag was done. It looked so nice.
Here’s the clutch on my dress form (Catherine) so you can see the size.
It’s a beautiful size and shape. For my first clutch, I chose a fairly basic design. If you look at the Craftsy image for Janelle’s class (above), you can see there are a few different options for the front of the bag, and for the flap. The variety offered is very nice.
One more comment on this clutch bag – I followed the Craftsy course alone to make this. I did use the pattern pieces that came with the instructions, but the class is so very thorough, a bag can be made following along with class instruction alone. It’s a really great class. I definitely recommend Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques by Janelle MacKay, and I can’t wait to make another clutch bag.
Thanks for joining me on this stop of The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour. The next stop is: 20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags with Fiona of Tangled Blossoms Design. If you’ve missed any of the reviews or stops along the tour, here’s the full listing of them:
Monday, April 4
Seam of my Pants — Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch with Kristin Link and Learn to Sew: Simple Bags with Nicole Vasbinder
Tuesday, April 5
Sprouting JubeJube — Sew Sturdy: Home Organizers with Annie Unrein
Lulu & Celeste — Sewing With Oilcloth: Bags & Baskets with Kathy McGee
Wednesday, April 6
Happy Okapi — Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers with Annie Unrein
Thursday, April 7
Michelle’s Creations — Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques with Janelle MacKay
Friday, April 8
Shelaine’s Designs — Sew Better Bags: The Weekend Duffel with Betz White
Tangled Blossom Designs — 20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags with Lisa Lam
Saturday, April 9
Emmaline Bags — Recap/Roundup
Sunday, April 10
Our tour has some amazing sponsors! Craftsy. Emmaline Bags. (Emmaline Bags donated the hardware for my gorgeous clutch) Tangled Blossoms Design. Blue Calla. Sprouting Jube Jube. Lulu & Celeste. Happy Okapi. Seam of my Pants. Thanks to all of our sponsors for generously providing prizes for the tour. You’ll have to wait until Sunday, April 10th to find out more about those. So make sure you come back on Sunday to find out what they are and how you can enter for your chance to win!
As much fun as prizes at the end of a tour are fun, Craftsy is having a give-away during the tour too: The Rowan Three-Quarter Patch Tote kit, featuring Kaffe Fassett Fabric, plus fusible fleece to make the bag with! Click here to see the gorgeous bag you can make and to enter.
Just for reading along, there’s one more little something for you. If you love the clutch I made, and think this class sounds great, you can get the Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques class on sale! Just click on the class image below to get your class for half price. (Only good through April 13, 2016)
Please note, all contest links have been disabled as the contest is now over.