Monday, July 11, 2016

The Barbados Bag

A couple weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Kelley, the owner of our local quilt shop, The Scrappy Apple, about wanting a messenger bag pattern. Kelley pointed me to The Barbados Bag pattern by Pink Sand Beach Designs. It looked like a fun pattern and well worth trying.

The bag front allows for fun fabric combinations

I already had the beautiful Purebred paint-by-number roses fabric (by one of my favorite designers, Erin Michael) and thought it would make a perfect late summer/early fall bag. 

Finding just the right accent fabrics proved to be a bit of a challenge. I purchased a couple different options before finding just what I wanted was already in my stash. I ended up using the blue Woodgrain from Michael's first paint-by-number line, Lush. Also, the fun coral Figures fabric by Zen Chic. 

The front features a "hidden" pocket behind the Woodgrain fabric as well as a zippered pocket in front of it. 

Great pockets for stashing sun glasses!

The back has two long pockets.  I just love a bag with lots of organization :)

Inside I used Paint Chips, also by Erin Michael. I have a hard time envisioning how to use the Paint Chips fabric so I think a bag lining will be just right. The inside also includes two pockets-perfect for a cell phone and keys.

So happy to have found a great application for this Paint Chips fabric!

The pattern is well written with good descriptions of each step. There are a ton of pictures - one for every step of the process. All these pictures can look a bit overwhelming at first, but if you just follow the instructions one at a time it all comes right together just as it's written. This is the first time I've done a flat zipper as shown on the bag front and it was not hard at all. I did add a bit more top stitching than the pattern called for - mostly because I just really like the look of top stitching.

The pattern is written for optional swivel hooks on the strap which I chose to use. In addition, I wanted the strap length to be adjustable so I shopped around and found a slide adjuster in the same antique brass as the swivel clips. The finished bag dimensions are 11 tall by 10" wide x 2" deep.

Adjustable slide can be seen on the left side of the strap
I definitely would make this pattern again, and might even try making it an inch taller and wider.  All in all it's a great pattern, and it's so fun to pick out coordinating fabrics for each part! Tomorrow I'll start using my new messenger bag! 


  1. Such a great bag, love your fabric choice!

  2. What a fun project! I, too, like bags with lots of pockets.

  3. Beautiful! I just picked up that pattern to make for a gift. Thanks for writing such a great review. I feel like I can tackle it now.

  4. Beautiful! I just picked up that pattern to make for a gift. Thanks for writing such a great review. I feel like I can tackle it now.

  5. Wonderful job on your bag, Debbie! Hope to see it some time at show and tell when Winchester Modern Quilters meet at The Scrappy Apple.

  6. What an attractive bag, and your workmanship is beautiful! Your fabric choices are great (I love the large floral), and the paint chip print couldn't be more perfect. I'm always looking for a good bag pattern, and it's the right size to toss in a magazine and iPad. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Really a nice bag! You chose fabrics that work well together, and I especially love the interior. I agree that pockets are good. You can't have too many in a bag, and I've been known to add my own to patterns. Nice work on the zippers too. You're sporting a lovely finish that I'm sure people will comment positively about.


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