Great Bag, Great Pattern, Great Giveaway!

The Mail Sack pattern cover

The first time I spotted a sample of this bag hanging in a shop I knew I had to make it. I’m very particular about bags (both shape and functionality) and I loved the look of this one! It’s absolutely my favorite bag pattern – the Mail Sack from Pink Chalk Studio.

The design of this artful, hands-free bag is perfect for combining fabrics in creative ways (one of my favorite activities). It’s amazing how different it looks depending on fabric selection. The bag has two interior pockets (one zippered and the other divided) and has instructions for two sizes: large (16″ x 16″), and mini (12″ x 12″). Following are a few photos of different versions of the Mail Sack.

The pink one is the first one I made using home-dec-weight fabric on the bottom, and quilting-weight cottons for the yoke, strap, and lining.

Mail Sack made with home-dec and quilting-weight cotton

  

Donna Cummings made the next one using one vinyl-covered cotton fabric for the outside and quilting-weight cottons for the lining. She embellished the bag with two lines of decorative cording couched along the seam dividing the bottom and the yoke – how cute is that? It was a simple way to add her own touch.

Mail Sack made with vinyl-covered cotton fabric

The Mail Sack in the neutral and black geometric print (with different fabrics for bottom, yoke, and straps) was made by my friend Sally, who found the bag very useful on her recent trip to Europe – it was easy to carry and perfect for storing everything needed on a long flight. When she switched to a smaller purse for sight-seeing, the Mail Sack folded up and tucked easily into her luggage. It’s hard to see in the photo, but she added a tab and decorative button across the top to keep it closed.

Mail Sack with tab-and-button closure
 
 
Miranda with her "mini" size Mail Sack

The photo on the right is the adorable Miranda, who has the “mini” version of the bag made by her Aunt Linda, featuring Miranda’s favorite skull fabrics. I’m told she’s never without it!

I admit that I’m skeptical of bag patterns – often times either the directions are hard to follow or the diagrams are insufficient. As I follow the steps I wonder when the “gotcha” step is coming – you know the one that stops you cold and the project goes into the “never to be touched again” bin. The Mail Sack isn’t one of those – it goes together beautifully. The instructions are well-written, concise, and easy to follow, with excellent diagrams in every step. I’ve taught it in class a number of times, and every student has been successful in completing the bag in one 6-hour session.

 If you’ve made one of these I’d love to hear about it. And if you haven’t made one, you’re in luck – designer Kathy Mack has generously donated a pattern for each of the five winners of this giveaway! Even if you already have the pattern, you can choose another design from Kathy’s “Everyday Art Pattern Collection.”  Post your comment by 9:00pm (PDT) Sunday,  August 28th, and you’ll be entered in the drawing. I’ll announce the five winners on Tuesday, August 30th. I know you’ll enjoy making this bag – give it a try. After all, the holidays are just around the corner – and it makes a wonderful gift for those on your “handmade-worthy” list.

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126 thoughts on “Great Bag, Great Pattern, Great Giveaway!

  1. I am a new 76 year old reader of your Blog. I love it! I have never made a bag but would like to make one. I love the new fabrics at my local quit store and was looking for something to make with them.

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  2. Hi Christie,

    This bag looks fab! Thanks for all of the views of various fabric types and weights; it’s helpful to actually see how they work! I appreciate your mention of the infallibility of the pattern, too! I’ve had the experience of difficult-to-follow instructions! Bags make perfect gifts…one of my favs…this looks like one that will be great to reproduce!

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  3. I sew for World of Charity Stitching and we make bags for the residents of nursing homes and domestic violence shelter as well as Ronald McDonald House. this would make a great bag for them and it can be done in ‘manly’ fabric for the men as I think they would like the cross body bag. I’d love to have one of these patterns to make for them.

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  4. I would love to try this pattern! I have been eyeing a bag project and have a few friends for whom this would make a fantastic gift.
    mcintosh dot kimberley at gmail to com

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  5. The bags look really neat. I particularly like the strap as it won’t cut into my shoulder. Many different scrap material can be used to make it.

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  6. Lovely bags! Everytime I see one if these, I add this pattern to my cart 🙂 I hope one wings its way to me – or maybe this will be the final push to press “buy”!

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  7. Always on the lookout for my teen DD who has inherited the “must have more bags” gene from both her GMs ! She love the green tropical version. Thanks for the contest !

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  8. I have this pattern and made two of them — one with green and blue graphic fabrics and the other with pick and green florals. Love the pattern. Foolishly I gave them away before taking pictures. Now I’m thinking it may be time to make another, for me….
    -Sunny

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  9. Adore this bag, and the various fabrics are so great…each a personality of it’s own..would love to win a patter, but if I don’t will buy it anyway,…thanks for designing a bag we can all master!!

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  10. I’m a novice sewer and this was my first bag – first big project actually. Verrrrrrry easy to follow, looks great and I love the two bags I have since made. Always looking for fabric to make more. Great pattern, very useful bag. Use as diaper bag often too!

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    1. Kerrie,

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback. Welcome to the world of sewing – it’s a wonderful way to express your creativity and you’ll meet some lovely new friends along the way!

      Christie

      Like

  11. Purchased one bag pattern and just reading the instructions got lost. Think I would like to try this pattern with no ‘gotcha moment’. Even have the fabric, a large flower print, so not me, that I purchased with the never used bag pattern. Hope I win if not I’ll order the pattern. Judy, SC

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  12. I just went to the Birmingham Quilt Exhibition in Birmingham (England) that is and was eyeing all the fantastic Rowan fabrics and was thinking about making some bags using such a pattern as this. Would love to keep posted and eventually get a new pattern like yours. Thanks for inspiring us all! Barbara

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    1. Barbara,

      You are so welcome! I’m a HUGE fan of Rowan designers – Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably Phillip Jacobs, Amy Butler, Martha Negley, Joel Dewberry. I can’t get enought of their fabrics!

      Christie

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  13. I’m over from Pink Chalk’s facebook page – love the look of your blog and am now your latest subscriber 🙂
    I don’t know how I’ve missed Kathy’s Mail Sack pattern so far. It looks adorable and I’d like to have a go at making one – thanks for the chance to win!

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  14. Was thinking about ordering this pattern. I have the Des Monies quilt show coming up next month and need a hands free bag with room to carry everything. And the plus is the smaller bag i can make for my granddaughter! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  15. Love the bag and the mini version! And it’s great to know that the pattern is easy to follow. those are the best kind of recommendations

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  16. I have made 2 of Kathy Mack’s patterns –both the Mail Sack and her Pencil Roll pattern. Her patterns are always well-written and easy to follow. I love working with them. I was planning to make another Mail Sack and seeing all the samples in your review has inspired me.

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  17. I sure wouldn’t mind another bag pattern to add to my growing collection, I’ve never put in a zippered pocket before and I love making bags as presents – count me in!

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  18. Ooh, finally a bag that looks fab and also easy enough for a very rusty seamstress just getting back into sewing, AND I can make mini ones for my girls who love all things Mummy and me! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity and also showcasing the pattern, I’m sure to buy even if I don’t win!

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  19. I love this bag! I would make the first one for my oldest daughter who I am dropping off for her first year of college! So cute and perfect for all the things you need!

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  20. I love this pattern ! I have it and have made at least two mini mail sacks and at least 7 Large ones ! It is my comfort sewing ! like macaroni and cheese is “comfort food” , the Mail Sack is my “comfort sewing” ! Great directions and diagrams ! Love Kathy and her team at Pink Chalk Fabrics ! I only wish I lived on the island too ! Very nice review, and I enjoy seeing all the Mail Sacks in all the fabulous fabric everyone picks out to make them their own !

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  21. I’ve graduated from the diaper bag to one that now needs to fit crayons, sippy’s and maybe a wallet if I can remember. I’ve never tackled making my own bag but I like this one. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  22. I got this pattern a couple of years ago when I was a very novice seamster (sewist?), and the pattern was fantastic. The directions on sewing the zipper pocket was fabulous (first time to attempt anything like it on my own), and now I use the same method whenever I’m making a zipper pocket on any tote bag. That Christmas I made 5 of them (2 minis for preschoolers, 3 regular sizes) to give away as gifts, and they were a hit. One of them had a latticework/quilted bottom that came out beautifully. Pics are here: https://picasaweb.google.com/mochi27/MailSackFromPinkChalkStudio?authuser=0&feat=directlink Really great pattern, and I look forward to sewing more of Kathy’s work!

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  23. I love over the shoulder/sling type bags – need to have my hands free with the kidlets. Looking forward to trying this out. I just ordered it today!

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  24. How generous of Kathy to donate five patterns! I’ve been eyeing this pattern for quite awhile as I love Pink Chalk but I’m always a bit skeptical about bag patterns too. Thanks for the detailed review and I love seeing all the different fabric combinations, and the little “extras” that different people added.

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  25. Love the bag — and the photos with different fabric options were great. This would be perfect for tax season, when I have LOTS of extra stuff to haul around! It would also be a great carry-on when traveling. I’d love to win, but if I don’t, I may need to visit Pink Chalk Fabrics and buy my own.

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  26. Here from Pink Chalk’s facebook page 🙂 I’ve been meaning to buy this patter for FOREVER. The hands free part of it is appealing and I love the look as well. I love, love the idea of a laminated fabric one too!!! Did it get all crinkly when turning it though?

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  27. I also love this pattern. I’ve made two Mail Sacks – one large version in yellow and grey for my school bag, and the small version made with a set of fat quarters my daughter gave me for Christmas last year. I found the pattern easy to follow and the results are wonderful!

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  28. Yes, I’ve made this bag for myself, my sister, and my mom. I love it too! I made the smaller size for all of us, but with the longer strap so we could wear it cross-body. I added a d-ring for keys. It’s hard to tell in pictures, but I also modified the outer bottom part so that there would be exerior pockets (for phone, lists, etc). I posted about them on my blog here: http://ohforpetessake-tami.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-new-bag.html; http://ohforpetessake-tami.blogspot.com/2011/01/bag-for-my-mom.html; http://ohforpetessake-tami.blogspot.com/2010/10/bag-for-my-sister.html

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  29. I absolutely love making bags. They are functional but fun…. A good way to use some of my stash. This looks like a great pattern.

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  30. Love how functional this bag seems to be. I’ve got two kids and I’m always looking for anything that could make my life easier!

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  31. I’ve been afraid to make bags–I’ve heard too many “gotcha” stories but this sounds doable for me. Thanks for the blog and the great bag pictures.

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  32. This pattern is just what I’ve been looking for. I’d love winning this but . . . if not, I’ll definitely be looking into purchasing it.
    Thanks for sharing the great photos!

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  33. I love the photos. What a versatile bag! Please put me in the drawing for the pattern of the Mail Bag. I can see my niece just falling in love with one of these bags for a gift. Thanks.

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  34. I don’t need to win the pattern as I already have it and love it.
    MY criteria for a good pattern is how many swear words come out of my mouth when making it and I can honestly say this was a “no-swear” project! I made this with a longer strap so it could cross my body and it’s perfect for shop-hopping, and vendor malls at quilt shows.
    Incidentally, I’ve made Kathy’s notebook pattern, too, and while it wasn’t quite “no-swear” it was very nearly so.
    Love the blog, too, you all are doing a great job!

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  35. wow! great bag. doesn’t look like it adds much bulk to a body, AND it might even hide some of the body. just may have to make one!
    elaine

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  36. I’m sure everyone will find my favorite bag as useful as I do. It fits an iPad perfectly! Making the strap a little longer gives you a crossover body bag with that extra security! Nice to see Miranda with a smaller version too! Great gift ideas!

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  37. My DD (darling daughter) #3 is currently pregnant with my second (sure to also be darling) grandchild. She recently announced that she really needs a new purse — fairly large, please, Mom — and this would be the perfect gift for her October birthday.

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    1. Gail,

      Sounds perfect – plenty of time before October to get it done! There’s lots of room in the bag to stash all the baby stuff. How lucky you are to have a second grandchild coming along! Enjoy!

      Christie

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    1. Nancy,

      You’re welcome! I’m thinking I should teach it again soon. It’s so interesting to see all the different fabric choices. When Linda made Miranda’s bag I just loved those skulls! It was hard to see in the photo, but the colors were pink, black and white – very cute.

      Christie

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  38. I love this bag. I am using one similar to this while in Paris and planned to copy this one but yours has more to offer. The cross body design of this makes it a great hands-free system. Kudos on the choices of colors too.

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    1. Sally,

      Aaah, Paris!! Sounds like a wonderful trip. I haven’t been for quite a few years but still have very fond memories.
      Thanks for your kudos on colors – one of the fun things about this bag is the unlimited design opportunities with interesting fabric combinations.

      Christie

      Like

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