Pattern Review ~ Indygo Junction Handle with Style Patterns

on July 30 | in Products, Sewing Inspiration | by | with 4 Comments

From Beth: Beth N. went above and beyond for her pattern review, creating three bags utilizing the Indygo Junction
Handle with Style pattern book
. The book provides patterns and instructions for to create eight basic styles of bags with techniques to alter basic bags for up to “26 different handbags.” Beth utilized some SMS handles, and incorporated some of our favorite fabrics in her designs. Enjoy Beth’s beautiful bags, her review below and her introduction, then be sure to visit Beth’s blog, Modern Jax!
Indygo Junction Handle with Style Pattern Book
Eight different patterns with multiple sizes and embellishments for each pattern resulting in many styles of hand and shoulder bags.
This book doesn’t give advice on fabric weight but only on style. The authors mention silk, suede, brocade, and velvet. I would suggest sticking with a light to medium weight cotton for both the exterior and lining. Most patterns call for ¾ yard for each of the exterior and interior fabrics, and this is very generous. Materials also include interfacing, closures, and purchased handles depending on which of the eight patterns you choose.

Overall Design 4 stars
I made three of the eight patterns, and all three are really cute. Two of the three bags I made (the Folio bag and the Florence bag) had two size options. I made the small version of both bags but I found both of the bags to be bigger than I would like. The patterns do not include instructions for pockets or closures except in the general instructions, so to add functionality you have to do a lot of design yourself before you begin.


This is the Flare bag with added pockets, a “keyper” and a flap closure.


Written Instructions 2 stars
I found the written instructions to be difficult to decipher. I stumbled through at least one step per pattern, and found mistakes in each of the patterns I made. There are quite a few vague instructions, such as: “If you are adding a closure or pockets, do so now.” Also, because many of the bags have multiple versions, instructions for altering the pattern are printed at the end of the pattern, sometimes making it easy to forget to add them.
Diagrams / Images 1 star
These patterns do not include diagrams with the instructions. The only images you have to base your work on are the photographs on the front and back covers. Diagrams would have helped immensely. I really could have used some visual cues when adding the closure tabs on the Flare bag or when adding the facing and handles to the Florence bag.
Pattern Pieces 3 stars
The pattern pieces need to be traced or copied from the book, and many of the bags use the same pieces for different versions. One bag had as few as two pattern pieces, while others had as many as five. The pattern pieces are easy to cut out, but you do want to pay close attention to both the piece’s number and title – there is at least one error in the numbering of the pieces (the Flare bag instructions refer to the Flare Bag Closure Tab as D-5, when the piece is numbered as D-2).


This is the small Florence bag with added pockets and a magnet closure.
The center band is supposed to extend to the handles but the pattern piece was a bit too short.

Overall Level of Difficulty Intermediate
A beginning sewer would find these patterns frustrating. If you’ve made handbags in the past and are a confident sewer, the bags are very cute and give you lots of room to apply your own style.
Modifications + Tips
I added pockets and closures to each of the three bags I made. My advice is to really plan these out in advance after you’ve deciphered the instructions but before you begin sewing. On the Flare bag I added a magnet closure on the inside but when I got to the step where you add the closure tabs (they pull in the top sides resulting in the flare look) the two different closures interfered with each other. I ended up pulling out my magnets and adding a flap.


I used a snap on the Flare bag closure tabs
instead of the recommended velcro for durability.

Also, on the Folio bag I found the tabs that hold the handles were too short for me to sew onto the bags with the handles inserted and had to recut them about an inch longer. You could probably get away with the printed size if you use a zipper foot.


This is the small version of the Folio bag in brocade and satin lining
(about 7″ high x 14″ wide) with added pockets and a frog closure.
The handle tabs needed to be longer than the pattern piece indicated.

Finally, I found the decorative center band on the Florence Bag to be too short for me to extend all the way to the handle. I ended up modifying the pattern so the center band is sewn under the facing that holds the handles.
Fabric Recommendations
I used lightweight cotton for two of the bags, and a brocade for the third. This is the first time I’ve used brocade, and it definitely upped my frustration level because it kept shifting as I sewed. The book mentions using heavy weight fabrics such as velvet. I would advise you to be careful – there are a lot of layers to each bag and it could get quite thick. Also, the book discusses interlining but does not give specific guidelines for different types of fabrics. These bags are all very structured looking, and I wish I had used a stiffer interlining for each bag to really hold the shape.


The Florence bag, the Folio bag, and the Flare bag
by Beth, Modern Jax

These patterns were frustrating and could really benefit from diagrams with the instructions. I would recommend the beginning sewer try a more straightforward pattern before tackling this one. If you like the opportunity to add your own design elements then you will like this book.

[tags]sewing pattern review, bag pattern review, sewing book review, purse pattern review, Handle with Style pattern book, Indygo Junction Handle with Style pattern, Indygo Junction Sewing Patterns pattern review[/tags]

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4 Responses to Pattern Review ~ Indygo Junction Handle with Style Patterns

  1. Ms Spike says:

    Excellent review, Beth. It has just the sort of information I want in a review of craft books.

    When I was younger, I thought that not understanding the instructions was my fault. After all, the magazine editors had been doing things that way for years. Every so often one would slip up and include doable instructions, or I would ignore the instructions and come up with something nice.

    I too have found IndygoJunction’s instructions less than clear. What really annoyus me, though is having to enlarge the darned things. Tracing is fine. Having to enlarging, after I have paid more than $20 for a book, means I have wasted my money. Havingto enlarge means drawing up squares on a newspaperor going to a copy shop. I’m pretty suremy interest would vanish before I ever made a thing from those patterns.

  2. Kristin says:

    Great review! Absolutely beautiful bags.

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks Beth for the review, I am glad that I wasn’t the only one to find the instructions frustrating, I tried to make the flare bag once, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the instructions!

  4. Beth says:

    Thank You. It was nice to hear that I am not the only person to have a hard time with their patterns. I made the Manhatten messenger bag. I love the bag, but I have never read a pattern so many times before starting a project.

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