The Prairie Girl Bag - By Janelle MacKay

12/01/2016 03:00:00 AM

Well here she is, The Prairie Girl, my pattern for the Bag of the Month Club 2016. I'm the featured designer for the last month of the year, December, and I hope this season of the club goes out with a bang! It's been a fun year.

If you are a member of the club, you can log in to your account on the Bag of the Month Club website to get your download. If you’re not a member of the July-December club yet, what are you waiting for? You can see all six of the bag patterns HERE, you'll have no surprises, and you'll know EXACTLY what an awesome deal you are getting. Go here to join.

Some Bag of the Month Club News:  I'll tell you all about The Prairie Girl in just a few moments, but before you start scrolling and get lost in the tester photos, I want to share some important club news with you. If I leave it until the end, you might miss it because one of the bags will have you dreaming about cowboys, and another will have you off chasing butterflies, and then you will find yourself going through your fabric stash looking for the perfect fabric, so let's pause here and get serious for a second. 

Things are getting serious.

This month will by my last as a designer for the Bag of the Month Club. As most of you know, I run a bag hardware business, Emmaline Bags, which is a full time job on it's own. I did start designing bag sewing patterns first, but the hardware side of the business has taken over my life. Because I need to spend more time with the hardware section of the business, I am finding it more and more difficult to actually find time to sew and design. I will miss the club, and it was hard decision, but I really am having a hard time balancing both and need to concentrate fully on one task, and do it well, with all of my attention.

I do have one more pattern to publish, one I have been working on for over 1 year! (Yes, the bag with the large curved frame.) After that I will no longer do much pattern design, except for revamping my old patterns and releasing the hardware installation tutorials. I want my hardware business to be all it can be and I look forward to improving it. This has not been an easy decision for me, but I feel at peace with the choice I have made.

A New Designer: I've put forward a suggestion of an amazing, talented, and very popular bag designer and YAY, the other Bag of the Month Club designers were very receptive and snapped her up in a minute! The new club designer will be announced on December 15th when the Early Bird memberships for the Jan - July subscription for 2017 open up. Watch the Facebook page and email to find out the news! 
Let's see the bag photos!! 

The Prairie Girl Bag Pattern is a cute little shoulder bag that will fit the kitchen sink!
I know it's called the Prairie Girl, because I am a prairie girl, but actually I got this lovely herringbone wool on my 1 and only trip to NYC at Mood Fabrics, and the lining for the bag is the NYC city skyline from The City Quilter in Manhattan. I had to finally use up these fabrics because I LOVE them.  
Finished Size: Width - 12 ” (30.5 cm) x Height - 7 1/2” (19 cm) x Depth - 3” (7.5 cm)

Check out that outside pocket. There are 12 card slots (six on each side), plus longer sections for cash and checks. Also in the outer pocket, a pen loop and a little zipper pocket for coins and other items. It's basically a wallet stuck to a bag. What more do you need? Smirk.  

She's not a large bag, even a bit on the small side, but she's got 2 large sections in the main part of the bag that will carry your glasses, notes, keys, lipstick, flasks, mints, playing cards, etc.

Throw it over your should or across your body with the adjustable shoulder strap.

Here is another version I made out of a very lovely print collection that I can't remember. Sadly I didn't have enough of it for a strap - so strap is not shown. I will get some black fabric or leather and make it a lovely strap soon! 

Tester Photos!!! - in alphabetical order. 

I have some lovely bag testers and I am thrilled with what they have done with this pattern. Everyone puts their own spin on their bag, making it such a personal item for themselves. They have so much personality. 

First is Barbara H's lovely bag. She's chosen to make her side gusset in an accent fabric which really gives a different look and sets her print off as a feature. 

 Next is Crystal C's (The Cloth Albatross) beautiful bag in Tula. It's so unique and bold. She's decided to cut her curved front pocket out of a feature print. The cutting instructions list it under the Exterior Fabric, but there is a note there to suggest a feature print if you choose. Those card slot pockets are so striking.

Cyndi F (The Nosy Pepper) is a bold girl and always has "striking" bags. Okay, that is a corny joke, but isn't it!? I love the pink zipper and the pink strap. It's so "outside the box". 

This bag belongs to Gwen L, and I love the geometric print here with the white. The end result is a very classy bag. Thank you so much for testing, Gwen! 

Check out Jayne B's embroidery and lining fabric. Aren't these just PERFECT together! Such a beautiful bag. This one makes me wish I had an embroidery machine so that I could do one too. 

Okay, if you are brave and experience like Judith C., this is what you can do with vinyl and embroidery! Very impressive. 

I had a very hard time narrowing down Line V's photos. Are these not the perfect Prairie Girl bag?!  Just AWESOME! Thank you, Line! 

This bag is so fun, Mel. E!! It makes me want to dance and break out a bag of nachos at the same time. How about that perfect pattern matching? It is superb! It must have been difficult working with a woven fabric like this too. It's really commendable. Those stripes! 

Okay, so when I first showed my husband the photos of Melisa's bag, I said "oh check out this bag!" And of course he answered "Nice Hooters."  Melisa used foam interlining in her bag for a very structured shape and it worked very well for her. If you are considering using foam too - it turned out wonderful. 

I know - It's so pretty! So so pretty in butterflies. Way to go, Reece M., and I love the royal blue bag strap and base. Stunning!

Sandy used a beautiful woven upholstery fabric and found some lining fabrics that coordinate with it so perfectly. A gorgeous summer bag for jeans, a white top, sandals and boardwalk shopping. Love it so much! 

Thank you so much to all of my testers!  You are such amazing girls. Thank you. I do love this bag, and I'm quite thrilled to hear that the testers loved it too. 

I can't wait to see all of the club members bags in the facebook group. If you have any questions, please let me know. I have added a youtube video link to the pattern instructions to help with the credit card slot fold. 

Happy Sewing!


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  1. just opened my December BOM pattern, love it, going to make myself a new bag for Christmas...:) your announcement is bittersweet, I have enjoyed sewing your patterns, and I also use your hardware regularly , it is nice having a hardware outlet close to thx for the patterns so far....(still hope to see more in the future), and good luck with the hardware part.

  2. Oh, Janelle--

    I will really miss you as a BOMC designer. You bring so much to the group and many of us have benefited greatly by your talents and gracious, expansive customer service attitude. I can totally understand where you are coming from and where you feel you need to go. Your hardware business is incredible and is definitely on my "go-to" list, and I look forward to watching it grow! Thank you for everything you have done, taught, stitched, typed....and I'm sure many other things that are not obvious.

    Krista Mc

  3. It will be sad not seeing your new designs, but I completely understand. This by far is my absolute favorite bag pattern. I can't wait to download it and starting sewing. I've not had a chance to do much sewing in the past year, but need to make a bag for my niece for Christmas. This is the one. And I need a new bag for me as well. So hopefully I'll have time to whip a few up before Christmas gets here.

  4. Hugs and prayers for you as you concentrate on your gorgeous hardware line. Will continue to be ordering hardware fairly regularly. Loved being one of your testers for a while have been a delight to work with.

  5. Such a gorgeous bag!!! I cannot wait to start working on it.

    So sad to read about you leaving the club, but I LOVE your hardware so I will be visiting your hardware store. :) :)

    Wishing you good luck!!

  6. Janelle, another wonderful looking bag. Will you be releasing this to the public in July, as usual? I am not a BOM member, but will look forward to being able to get this pattern if you do release it then. I just love the style

  7. This is the third bag of the month club I joined because of your contribution. The butterfly purse is still one of my favorites, and I think this new design you released will become one as well. Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

  8. This looks like a fabulous pattern & I will look out for it appearing in your shop at some point. I will miss new patterns from you as I love everything you have done but I also love your hardware so I look forward to seeing what direction you take that in. And when I have some time off from my day job, I look forward to treating myself to some! :-D All the best Janelle, Sara x

  9. Today is my last day at work. I am retiring! Tomorrow I'll be sewing this lovely new bag at my leisure! Thanks for your fabulous designs (the are my fallback favorites!) and looking forward to more quality, fabulous hardware! Carry on, Janelle!

  10. Bittersweet news for sure. I love your patterns and have most of them. However your hardware makes my bags look great. I am looking forward to buying more hardware in the future and hope that you will still continue to encourage us with your comments.

  11. Janelle, I've been following you and making your patterns for years! You are truly talented! I am happy for your new focus and I'm sure you'll be successful! Good luck to you and I feel confident we haven't seen the last of you! :-) :-)

  12. Janelle, when will Prairie Girl pattern be available for purchase on your website? I love it, and I find the monthly club is difficult to keep up with for me.

  13. Janelle I will miss your designs. I think I have most of them. Your directions are spot on. Looking forward to using more of the hardware to update all my bags. Like you, I have put aside designing and going for some tried and trues I usually fall back on. Now I will be using leather, neoprene, and tapestry as these are my sold out bags. Good Luck and you'll be hearing from me soon.
    Much good luck with the new venture. Peg Sullivan


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The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to Emmaline Bags & Patterns. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too! Please do not ever republish an entire post, any tutorials, or post photos of my family. Thank you, Janelle