Hi, guys! Hope you all had a lovely weekend, especially for those of you in the US and the UK with an extra day off, yay! OK, it’s a well-established fact on this blog that I am a bit of a bag hoarder. Taking an accessory design this past semester really didn’t help that! Once I started patterning my own bags, I really got interested in how they came together! They’re fun little experiments in design. 🙂 So when Amy Lin of Niizo invited me to try one of her kits in exchange for a review, I happily agreed. I have a new appreciation for the hard work that goes into making something both functional and attractive for daily use!
Niizo offers both PDF patterns and kits that contain the fabric and hardware to make a bag. Right now you can choose from thirteen different patterns and ten different kits; I chose the Hobo Canvas Bag in Iron Gray. If you order a kit, you receive a PDF copy of the pattern, not a hard copy, but for you PDF haters, you should know that for my bag, at least, I only needed to print out nine pages, and there was no taping required at all. Amy uses a really efficient technique where some of the pattern pieces are printed out at half- or quarter-size, so they fit on one page, and then you trace and flip them directly on the fabric to create the whole piece. I really liked this!
I really enjoyed sewing this bag! There are 46 steps in the pattern instructions, so it took a while, but it was really rewarding to make something with so much detail. The bag is fully lined (with a nylon-y fabric, perfect for wiping down when you realize that your bagel has gotten loose in your bag, shedding sesame seeds all over the place, which is a situation I would NEVER find myself in OOOOOPS), with regular pockets, bellows pockets, and a zippered inside pouch made from a fun contrast fabric. The strap is adjustable and backed with webbing for strength and durability. I learned how to apply a magnetic snap closure and a screw-back button for the tab closure, which I really liked. There’s just something about special hardware that makes a project feel more professional! I also learned how to do a double-stitch for the leather details by watching Amy’s YouTube video, something that I will definitely use for future projects. This is the third bag I’ve made this year (previous projects were a simple handbag for a class assignment and my Sprout Patterns x Portside duffel). I was feeling a bit deflated after I finished the bag for my class- it’s just very homemade, in a bad way! But my confidence is restored a bit after this project! It’s been a while since I made something that really made me feel like I was learning at every step of the process.
The pricing feels very fair to me. The kit I used retails at $49, which is $5 more than the Sprout bag project. But the Niizo kit includes everything you need to make the bag (except the thread), instead of just the main fabric and the PDF. The hardware can really be pricey, and if you are scouring the internet to find all the bits and bobs, it’s time-consuming, too. So if you like the Niizo aesthetic, it’s pretty cost-effective to just buy a kit. Here’s the full rundown of what’s included:
- main fabric
- lining fabric
- contrast fabric
- fusible batting
- swivel bolt hooks
- slide buckle
- brass loop
- cotton webbing
- magnetic snap set
- button stud screwback set
- leather details
- waxed thread
- leather needles
I really like Amy’s aesthetic- her bags are very clean and minimal, and the fabric choices she offers cover the basics (grey, navy, etc.) with a few additions (mustard, bright pink, etc). And her instructions make sense, even when I wasn’t sure what I was doing. The only tip I would offer is to not try to iron the lining- I gave mine a test and it definitely started stinking the minute I hit it with some heat! Luckily you never really run into any issues with not being able to press it- the seams are all topstitched down.
If you’re interested in making a bag of your own, Amy is running a special quiz sale this week, from May 30th-June 2nd. Hop on over to her Instagram account and answer the question of the day… if you get the question right, you’ll get a coupon code worth 5-12% off! I have to warn you, though- you might have a really hard time choosing a bag! It took me DAYS to decide on one! There are a couple of really cool backpack options, which I couldn’t justify as I already have one, but they would be a really great way to level up your sewing skills and add some more handmades to your daily life! Finally, the kits would make a great gift for a person who sews, so maybe leave a few hints for your loved ones if your birthday is coming up! 😉
Alright, guys, what’s the most recent thing project you’ve completed that’s left you feeling like you really upped your skills? What are you working on these days?