For our road trip this summer, we decided to go and see Hearst Castle, and from there up to Monterey to visit the Aquarium. I'm usually much more comfortable while museum-going with a cross-body bag, instead of my usual short-handled shoulder purse -- not only for toting around the camera and guide-book, but also for hands-free walking. So I decided to sew one. I had two choices, the Covington Bag pattern by Amy Butler, which I've had in my drawer for years -- so long that it is now out-of-print -- or the much simpler shoulder bag from Melissa Wastney of Tiny Happy. I've made the Tiny Happy bag before, for some Girl Scout outings (to carry water and snacks on nature hikes!) and it's a fine bag and tutorial, but I wanted something with a bit more structure this time, and so I decided to go with the Covington.
You can cinch it up closely, as in the top photo, or leave it open, as below, which gives it a little more tailored look, though obviously a little less security. The opening isn't huge, so you could also just cinch it a little, and still be fairly safe.
The pattern is a fairly straightforward one, though it does get a bit fiddly in places.
I decided rather on the spur of the moment not to buy anything to make the bag, so this cost me nothing at all -- not even the pattern, since if it's been in your stash for more than five years, it doesn't count, right? (I bought the pattern around 2006, at the much-lamented Tall Mouse in Yorba Linda, which never survived the move to a much-smaller location in I think 2011, and closed for good a year or two later.) I used a Moda remnant for the outer fabric, some medium-weight bleached muslin (left over from my curtain adventure a few years ago) and two pairs of worn-out Dockers of David's that I'd been saving for just this sort of thing. (I'd been thinking Elizabethan stays, but this works too.) If I had remembered in time that I wanted to lengthen the straps, I might have been able to get all of the "canvas" interfacing from one pair of Dockers, so it was actually a pair and a half. I didn't have any Timtex for the bottom of the bag, as called for in the pattern, so I used rather a lot of Pellon fusible interfacing, and two pieces of the twill instead. My bag probably doesn't hold its shape as much as the original, but I'm very pleased with being frugal instead.
The straps are now the full 44" width of my fabric, so that the bag when worn across is just about at my waist -- it's a little high, but such is life. I didn't want to piece the outer fabric -- I did have to piece the twill, which I did just by laying one end over the other, and sewing it down with zig-zag stitch, so as not to add bulk.
The only other change I made was on the lining, since unlike the outer bag it doesn't have side pieces, so is just two isosceles trapezoids sewn together. This resulted in a strange little pyramid pooch of fabric once I'd turned the lining to the inside -- so I pulled it back out and sewed across the corners. It's not quite the same size as the outer bag now, but I think it's a worthwhile trade-off, not just not having a pooch of fabric there, but also not having the annoyance of losing coins or other small things down in a narrow corner of your bag!
The sides have a little pleat at the middle of the top, which gives just a little more room at the bottom, and add a subtle bit of glamour, I think.
The bag is a little smaller than I'd pictured it in my mind, but I think it would be a fairly simple matter to enlarge it when making it again. I didn't want a big bag, anyway -- "Mom, will you carry my [insert here anything the girls don't want to carry themselves]". I would probably also put a pocked or two on the lining.
These photos, by the way, are taken with my shiny new Canon EOS Rebel T5, which I think is doing a bang-up job so far!