I adapted my bag from a free pattern offered on the Bernina website. They call it the Summer Serendipity Bag. For a newbie seamstress, the instructions are really easy to follow. It's also instant gratification in sewing terms, meaning it only took 3 hours from start to finish.
This is actually my second attempt with this pattern. I made my very first bag (ever) a few weeks ago. I was browsing through a few bookmarked projects and on a whim, at 11:30pm, decided to give this one a go. I hauled out some fabric I had laying around and started piecing it together. Seeing as it was almost midnight, I left out the part where you're supposed to line it, using either flannel or canvas. The result was a very nice, flow-y bag but after using it once, the seams on the strap began to fray and I learned a very important lesson: when they say make a liner to stabilize your project, do it. There's a reason for it.
My First Serendipity Bag Attempt!
Bound and determined to make my second bag sturdier, I picked two corduroy fabrics this time around. Which incidentally, I picked up at Wal-Mart much to my surprise. I didn't ever imagine Wal-Mart to have funky fabric, but I guess they do have the few odd choices. I also used the third layer to line the bag and strap.
Working with corduroy was more difficult than regular cotton because it's bulkier and harder to manipulate. It didn't help that I had the liner stuck in there too. So my seams ended up a bit wonkier than the first bag I made. I also discovered why it's so very important to always, always, always take out your straight pins instead of sewing them: if your needle hits one, it will snap and a little, tiny point will go flying, potentially blinding you if you don't wear glasses. Lesson learned!
In the end, I'm really pleased with the result. Between the liner and my sewing/back sewing/sewing like a maniac, I am positive this bag can carry 50 pounds, at least. For my next version, I think I will make the strap longer so you can wear it slung across your shoulder. I also might make a pocket for the outside and embroider something cute on it. We'll see what happens... rest assured you'll be the first to know. :)