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Picture of Super Strong Bowler-Style Bag
Bowler-style bag.jpg
Super Strong Bowler Bag - 1.jpg

Yes, it may look pretty but don't be fooled; it's super STRONG! You know how great denim is and this is made with many many layers of denim.

It's not a bought fabric print; it's all original design in sewing; free-motion technique. I personally hate wimpy slouchy purses but I also don't have a professional machine to sew cowhide so that's what led to this design, as it employs the fact that the 'Roses' are actually making the fabric much stronger than it was. Who says utilitarian needs to be ugly?!

As for supplies, much can come from upCycling!

Step 1: Pattern & Basic Side Pieces

First, you will need the pattern! I made sure the pattern worked out and it's available to download here:

Make sure you print it without scaling and notice the fold lines (place on fold)

  1. Cut the 2 side pieces out of denim, make slightly (1/2") oversized at first (to allow recutting after quilting)
  2. Double if added strength is desired
  3. Assemble a variety of blues of denim scraps
  4. Iron some fusible web to the back of these pieces (about 6" x 8" pieces)
  5. Use backing sheet provided or parchment paper to avoid it sticking to iron
  6. Notice fabric now has a shiny back layer which makes it now able to be adhered by ironing

Annette S16 hours ago
I’m having trouble downloading the pattern. It only blinks when I tap download. Help! Lol thank you.
KirstenR1022 days ago
Love it! I'm not much of a sewer but I love free motion stitching with my machine and always use recycled clothes from the op shop to make other things. Not sure I'd make as lovely a job of this as you have but it inspires me to keep trying. Thank you for sharing!
LindaMick25 days ago
I'm planning to make this as a bag for my new Juki coverstitch machine.. been looking for how to make a bag extra study. I'll adjust the size and put plastic on the bottom for stiffness and of course it won't look as pretty, but will work. Thank you!
pattymadeit26 days ago
Oh! My! Goodness!!!!
I FRIGGING LOOOOOVE THIS!!!!!
I make many purses, AND, I up-cycle lots of denim jeans into things, including purses. THIS is something new for me. I have never seen anything like this! My brain is already buzzing 100 mph! ha I WILL be using this denim technique soon! Thank you for sharing! :-)
MadeByBarb (author)  pattymadeit26 days ago
Yes, it's great as the simplicity of just using the tones of denim makes the designing easy. I love that it can be such a stiff fabric now. I get the 100MPH! I'm always so excited about some new project! I bet you would love Eco Printing!
attosa28 days ago
Absolutely stunning! I love your work. Thanks for sharing your steps!
MadeByBarb (author)  attosa28 days ago
Thanks! I've been meaning to use this method to make a quilt but this way I'll get to use it everyday!
This is a great design. It can be made with so many variations. My mind starts to race thinking of skirts, aprons, placemats, runners. Thank-you so much for sharing this with us. To make the bottom of the purse more sturdy without the fear of the foam tray cracking, a piece of thicker leather would work or even a double layer of plastic from a large jug. Better yet a piece of plastic from a crazy carpet. They will probably be available at all the dollar stores in the late fall.
This design would make a beautiful Rose Crazy Quilt to further honour your friend. Rather than denim, you could also make one out of flimsy pastel fabrics for summer. If you made two light weight ones, you could stitch them together with wrong sides together using the free motion technique and then complete it with a silky/satin/ribbon border in colours to pick up on the fabrics used in the body of the quilt.
MadeByBarb (author)  snowf726 days ago
Oh yes, you are like me... I am barely done and wanting to make another version already! As an illustrator this is just too tempting and I love the power of 'petal-to-the-metal foot control! Like driving!
MaraCreates26 days ago
Beautiful, great job on the FMQ roses, they make the bag look so pretty.
MadeByBarb (author)  MaraCreates26 days ago
Thanks! That style of free-form should easily manageable for most sewers, but really the sky is the limit. Imagine just triangles or spiral circles or rectangles.
I love the rose pattern you created and overall sturdiness this purse seems to have! Thanks for sharing your process!
MadeByBarb (author)  WeTeachThemSTEM28 days ago
A very special person in my life was named Rose. This is a tribute to her and the amazing inspiration she gave me. I'm sure she must be pretty happy to see it...