Purses, Bags and Totes by Nicole Mallalieu

Purses, totes, bags, clutches, messenger bags, shoulder slouches, hats, and even a child’s dress and skirt!!! These were the treasures featured in Nicole Mallalieu’s trunk show of her patterns under the name, “You Sew Girl!” At the May 2013 Quarterly meeting, Nicole, from Australia, told of her designing journey, which started in the fashion design industry and showed how that background has influenced her patterns. Nicole’s first love is teaching. This shows in the detailed instructions that accompany her patterns. She intentionally designs her patterns so they can be completed by beginning sewers and varied by the more experienced. Her specialty is purses and she brought samples for us to see—not only spotlighting her patterns, but illustrating many variations to individualize the bags.

In the afternoon, we worked on the construction of Nicole’s Day Bag. We brought our interfaced fabric and we began the basic assembly of our bags. Nicole gave us tips along the way, helping individually as needed.

She also gave excellent demonstrations and tips on various steps in bag making. She showed us how to make perfect shoulder straps with crisp square corners. One of her mantras is “reduce bulk” and she showed lots of ways to do that and achieve crisp folds and good corners. She showed us variations on adding a firm base—some attached to the outside of the bag while others were concealed inside.

Some of the more entertaining conversations centered on the different products available in the U.S. and Australia and highlighted the differences in our versions of English.

Nicole’s last demonstration was zippers (“zips”) on the pocket and on a gusset for the top of the bag. Using her method it is possible to make a neat, clean finished closure for your bag.

At the outset, Nicole made it clear that we probably would not complete the bag in the class. Most of us completed our handles and attached the base to our bag, with the plan to complete the bags at home and show off at future ASG meetings.

Leenie R did complete her bag shortly after the class.

Patricia Robertson