Category Archives: Amy Butler’s Sophia Carry-All

My New Sophia Carry-All

Stick a fork in my Sophia Carry-All because it’s done! I spent the evening attaching the lining to the bag (my finger still hurts today, OUCH) while watching th NCAA game. While we’re on the subject of the game….WOOHOO, go Jayhawks (I just has to share my excitement for my Alma Matter, now back to sewing)!
The front sides:

Inside lining:

Bottom with feet:

Although when I started this bag, I was very concerned how it would go together (I had read a number of reviews where people became very frustrated with it), so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed making it. The bag went together without any issues – I really think a large part of it was the elimination of the piping on the bottom panel. The interfacing was a bit bulky to work with at times, but not so thick that it was difficult to sew through. The only change I may make in future bags is possibly interfacing the lining on the bottom and main panels – it’s a bit too loose in there for my taste, but otherwise, it’s perfect! Now, I’m off to fill it up – I still haven’t packed for the hospital and I’m thinking this may be the perfect size for miscellaneous accessories.
For a ‘full’ review of this handbag, check out my entry at Pattern review.


It’s difficult to see what exactly the picture below is when you first look at it, but what you’re staring at is the lining for my Sophia bag!

By far, this is the easiest part of the bag to construct, so everything came together without a hitch. Now comes the harder part – hand sewing the lining to the Sophia itself. I’m dreading this part mostly because I feel like my handstitches are lacking in skill. I still have purse feet to attach to the bag as well. For this area, I’ve decided to use Joleo’s technique for adding the feet and eliminating the false bottom. I think it’s such a cleaver way to finish this bag!
Now it’s off to get some work done before this evening’s BIG GAME!

Sophia Shell

After the progress I made on the Sophia the other day, I couldn’t wait to get back into my sewing room to work on the bag some more. I made huge progress – not only did I apply the piping to the exterior, but installed the zipper (which went much smoother than what I had expected), and constructed the entire outer shell of the bag.

The only change that I made so far, was the elimination of the piping to the bottom of the bag. After reading reviews and tips on it’s construction, I thought that I would skip this potential headache (and after attaching the bottom to the bag, I can see how everyone had a hard time with the piping in this area – I’m not sure I could have gotten it to ‘look right’ if I had gone with it). I do have to say, I am thrilled with how my Bernina sewed through all those layers – it was a bit thick in parts, but it didn’t have any difficulties plowing through it all. Plus, I’m in love with the “hands free” lever (knee lift)… it really came in handy when I needed to hold onto my pieces and lower the presser foot at the same time.
Now, with the exterior finished, I believe the hardest part of constructing this bag is over – it’s time to move onto the lining!

Possible Wadder & Sophia Progress

I had a big burst of energy the other day and spent some time in my sewing room. First, I fiddled with my Jalie twist top a bit. When I started this project, I went with my current bust size (which is much bigger than my pre-pregnancy chest), what I see happening with this top right now is that while it looks like it fits great in the front, the back is going to be too big (since the back has a ‘cut out’ part to it I’m not sure how I could salvage it). I’m putting this aside for a bit, but have a feeling this may be a wadder – I think I’m going to have to come back to this pattern once my body and bounced back from being pregnant.
So with that project put in a WIP pile, I decided to start sewing the Sophia! I managed to sew up the straps and attach them to the outer front panels (no piping yet) – I’m so happy with the way this bag is looking that I can’t wait to get back into the sewing room to work on it!

All Ironed Up

Well, internet connectivity problems have struck our house once again! Finally, it looks as if it’s back up and running – so since it’s getting so late, I’ll keep today’s post brief.

I spent some time yesterday applying all the interfacings to the bag pieces – whew, that was some work! If you choose to make this pattern at some point, make sure you read the directions carefully – there are some specific ways the instructions have you applying some of the pieces. One thing I have figured out, if you are using a home decor weight fabric that is 45 inches, you won’t need as much woven interfacing as what the pattern calls for. I also got all the piping ready for this bag as well. I’ve opted for a red (twill remnant) instead of using out material – I’m hoping this will bring out more color in the design. Now I think everything is ready to go – next up, sewing!

Cutting Into The Sophia

It’s no April Fools joke – I actually have all the pieces cut for my Sophia Bag!

The only thing that I didn’t do was cut the material for the piping. I decided to skip that step for now, mostly because I’m debating using a different material (a solid red) instead of using the outside material. Just a few things about this bag so far:
I didn’t use as much material as what was required. This is probably because I didn’t follow the pattern layout directions. Since both my fabrics have a directional prints, I played a lot more with my pattern arrangement – consequently, I think I ‘saved’ on fabric.
If you have a rotary cutter and a self healing mat, use them! Most of the pieces are straight cuts, thus making it very easy to use a ruler to cut out all the pieces. I think this really helped save on time (not to mention my fabrics and interfacings didn’t slip around on me, making for wonky lines).
Now I have the work of ironing all the stabilizers to the fabrics, but first off to a doctor’s appointment to see if I’ve made any progress….. Cross your fingers that this appointment goes faster than last – I sat at his office last week for 2 hours before it was my turn! This time I’m arming myself with some good sewing reading material!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

I don’t talk about a lot of sports, but I have to say – “WooHoo! Go Jayhawks!” I’m so excited that I even have a Jayhawk romper ready just in case this little guy decides to make his appearance in time for the Final Four.
So now back to sewing…. I started reading my Sophia bag instructions and cut out all the pieces for it this weekend. I plan on doing all the materialinterfacing cutting today – which I am expecting will take most of the afternoon. If you’re still on the fence about making this bag, but would like to participate in a bag contest in April then be sure to hop on over to Pattern Review’s Handbag contest that starts tomorrow. I’m so lucky that I get to judge this one as this is definitely one of my favorite contests on the site! You can find all the rules posted in the first entry on the handbag contest discussion board.

More Fabric And Tips & Tricks

I think I’m ready…. ready to get started on the Sophia Cary-All! I headed over to some fabric stores the other day to pick up the rest of my supplies (thank you so much Sarah for the coupon – I put it to good use!). My outer fabric arrived yesterday so it was time to decide on a lining. I decided a tropical shirting fabric – it’s a bit on the thin side, but seems to work well with the outer print:

I also picked up all the notions needed for this bag (cording, fleece, zipper, etc.). The only thing I’ve been contemplating buying is purse feet. I searched every sewing and craft store in town, but wasn’t able to find any so I moved onto my second favorite source, eBay!
If you’ve decided to join the Sophia Sew-Along (or still on the fence) and are looking for some great related reading, here’s a few links for you:
Kris has posted a few Tips and Tricks on the Flickr discussion board.
Looking for inspiration? Look no further than this Vera Bradley handbag (the site is also fun because you can ‘play’ with the fabrics). Pattern Review also has 4 reviews posted (with pictures).
Like most Amy Butler bag patterns, there’s a bit of Timtex involved with the Sophia. So if your looking for substitutions or tips, be sure to check out Craft Apple’s post on “The Demise of Timtex”, Distressed’s Timtex trick, and this great interview with Amy Butler on interfacing from Sew Mama Sew.

Planning For Sophia

Have you joined the Monkey Foot Designs and Stacy Sew’s Sophia sew along yet (remember, there’s prizes!)? I started planning for my version of the bag and finally settled on an exterior print. I ran across a website devoted entirely to one of my favorite fabric designers – Alexander Henry. While surfing their site, I noticed that AH was re-releasing their Aloha Girls design – it seemed so perfect and summery! I had to wait until yesterday to order it (until it was in stock), but hopefully it will make it’s way here by the end of the week. I’m still debating what I should use on the interior.
I also stopped by Joann’s right before Easter and picked up the fusible woven interfacing while it was on sale. I have a number of notions that I still need to pick up (fusible fleece, 1/4″ cotton cording, and 22 inch zipper) but am waiting for coupons and sales before I attempt to buy more (in the mean time, the Sophia is now up on the sidebar). How about everyone else? What stage of planning or sewing are you at on this bag?