Happy February everyone!  If you’re a handbag sewing fanatic like I am (or just collect handbags – like I do!), you are going to LOVE the February addition tot the Bag of the Month Club.  Welcome the Ravenwood Messenger Bag by Betz White!

It was so hard to keep this under wraps the past month.  If you are a member of BOTM 2018, your pattern should be in your accounts and ready to download.  Also if you haven’t had a chance to join, there’s still plenty of time!  So what do you think?  My tester bag I stayed close to the pattern directions only changing up my crossbody strap and exterior pocket to suit my needs.  I started back to college this past month so Ravenwood has been my go-to bag for my laptop and course materials. It fits everything and more and I couldn’t be happier.

My tester was made from a combination of Crimson waxed canvas (10 oz- thinner style so less weight)I get wholesale and a 100% crisp natural 6oz linen.  I used fusible fleece for the lining and soft & stable pieces to reinforce hardware. Gutterman thread mara 70 is my go-to and I was able to find a near match in my stash. I love when that happens.  Finished with this combination, it’s a nice weight and not too bulky.  I think next time I may try SF101 for the lining and maybe a sew in batting of some sort for the waxed canvas but that’s just me.  Please read materials suggestions to decide what is best for the Ravenwood.

Now to the exterior!  Storage galore. On long side to side zipper for slipping in papers, a tablet or other wider items.  Two pleated tuck claps pockets for a few larger items that need the room. Flip to the other side and you’ll see the coolest zipper pouch. Look below:

This is the only mod I made in my messenger.  If you look in the pattern, there are elastic panels to store cords or other items.  For my personal use, I didn’t feel as I would use them as my cords are more bulky and specific. So I opted out of them and have been unzipping the pocket halfway on both sides then slipping in my cords. It works for me, but please read the original pattern before you make any changes to this bag!  One more thing….the mesh pocket! Love it!  A quick slip-in storage option.

I did not add rivets to this bag anywhere and opted for strong X stitching for strap ends.  Same for cross body strap.  Red waxed canvas when new can have some bleed if when really rubbed a lot, especially shoulder-wear.  That’s where my heavy upcycled cotton webbing belt comes in.  Fit’s in perfectly and handles heavy weight great.

My tester has two large slip in pockets and a giant padded tablet sleeve.  Again, if you like to mod your bags you can do just about anything but this is perfect for me.  I will note that the lining in mine was a little bulky, but the pattern will note stitching your lining seam allowance a bit larger to have a snugger fit.

A few tips to help you with this pattern:

  • Read over the pattern first from start to finish. Just do it!
  • Use the labels to mark your pieces and keep everything organized. 
  • If you are modifying anything, be careful and make sure your math works with the pattern.
  • Stitch the zipper panels exactly as written. 
  • When you are stitching the gussets to the zipper panel, go slow and be accurate in your seam allowances.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about the pattern! I’ve been testing patterns for Betz for about 4-5yrs now and love her work. You will too!  Enjoy the great Ravenwood Messenger!

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One Comment

  1. I would love to try out some of your bags. I make them for relaxation. I am a novice

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