Amy Butler's Sanibel bag
is amazing. I love love love it, but couldn't justify the retail price -- $192! I used the pictures and dimensions I found online and Mini Laura's flickr tour
to draft my own pattern. This was the perfect reason to make the difficult first cut into some Denyse Schmidt fabric I've been hoarding.
I modified the original dimensions (21" wide by 11" tall by 8" deep) to suit my preference -- this bag ended up 16.5" wide, 9" tall, and 6" deep. I also varied the pocket placement and depth somewhat to suit my needs.
Here's a shot of the back. Like the front, it has three pockets lined with lining fabric.
This is a neat feature that I wouldn't have known about had I not watched MiniLaura's Sanibel tour video: needle pockets concealed behind one of the regular back pockets. They're also great for scissors, crochet hooks, etc.
The sides have a neat snap feature, allowing the bag to be expanded and closed as needed. I think the original used magnetic snaps, but all I had lying around were regular ones. They do the job just fine.
Now for the inside. One the front lining, I made one big pocket on the inside like the original purse, but I used two snaps at the top to keep it from flopping open. It's a great size for patterns, etc.
You can also see the removable bottom insert panel used to keep the lining neat. It's basically a fabric envelope with a few pieces of heavy duty stabilizer inside to help keep the bag's shape.
You can also see the tab closure - just a magnetic snap from JoAnn's. I splurged and got one (they're $5 or something), because based on how often it will be open and closed, it's necessary.
On the back lining, I made a small zippered pocket (my first!), two gusseted pockets (for my cell and wallet, respectively), and three regular pockets.
And there you have it! A few hours of number crunching and a few days of intermittent sewing later, I have a new favorite handbag.
My approx. cost was $12, thanks to an amazing sale at Fabric.com a few months ago. I picked up the fabric (retail $12.99/yd) for an astonishing $2.99/yd. I used a little under a yard of each. Add in the different interfacings that I had on hand, and the magnetic snap closure, and this was still a very inexpensive project.
If you want to make your own, it's really not too hard. The purse is essentially a set of rectangles. Here are the cutting dimensions I used.
Front/back and front/back lining: 17 1/2" x 10" (cut 2 of outside, cut 2 of lining)
Sides and lining sides: 7" x 10" (cut 2 of outside, cut 2 of lining)
Front/back outside pockets: 17 1/2" x 7" (cut 2 of outside, cut 2 of lining)
Side pockets: 7" x 7" (cut 2 of outside, cut 2 of lining)
Handles: 6" x 36" (cut 2 of outside) Folded in half twice, then topstitched.
Needle pocket: 6 1/2" x 7 1/2" (cut 1 of outside, cut 1 of lining)
Bottom insert: 7" x 17 1/2" (cut 2 of lining)
Tab closure: Don't have measurements... wing it! Final dimensions around 3" x 3"
The internal pockets were done by the seat of my pants, so come up with what works for you.
1/2" seams all around. For the outside panels, cut fusible fleece panels to dimensions 1/2" less all around than the fabric pieces. Fuse, centering with 1/2" all around. Then cut a piece of fusible interfacing the same dimensions as the fabric, and fuse on top of the fleece. Use your iron to sandwich the fleece between the fabric and the interfacing. This is very important -- it gives strength to the bag but doesn't make the layers too thick to sew through.
Have fun! Let me know if you have questions and I'll try to answer.
EDIT: See this bag in different fabrics near the bottom of page 6!