The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour

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Welcome to my stop on The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour! Our tour is made up of Canadian Bloggers, hence the name The Great Canadian… Only in Canada you say? Pity! Well, no, not really. We’re all in Canada, but you can join the tour from anywhere in the world! Sit back and enjoy – no tariffs, no shipping costs, no exchange rates. (Oh, Canadians know about exchange rates!)

Making handbags is something I’d wanted to do for a long time. After hearing of Craftsy, and signing up for my first class with them, I was hooked. I think my first class was Fab Felt Holiday Crafts with Betz White (you’ll see more of Betz on this tour), followed quickly by Design Your Own Handbag with Brett Bara. Brett’s class was the first of many handbag classes I’ve taken on Craftsy. With Craftsy, I’ve found a great learning platform, and I keep going back for more. I love that the classes I purchase are there for me anytime I want to access them, and never expire.

This year I became an Affiliate with Craftsy. On the right side of my blog, you’ll see some links to a few of my favorite classes, including the class I’m reviewing here (which Craftsy very graciously gave me to review for this tour). This list is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few favorites. I can recommend these classes with confidence as I’ve taken them.

For my part in The Great Canadian Blog Tour, I’m reviewing Janelle MacKay’s class Mix & Match Clutch Bag Techniques.


Janelle is a wonderful instructor. She’s very thorough, but without that rushed feeling we can get from having too much information thrown at us. She calmly takes us through each step, all the while giving us so many details of what we need to do, and options to change things up.

Janelle is composed in front of the camera. She definitely knows her material. Her knowledge and warmth come through on the question board too. She’s interacting with participants, telling them she loves the material they’ve chosen, encouraging when someone posts a question and figures out the answer on their own.

The class was a good pace for me. I’m not an overly experienced bag-maker, and I felt very comfortable with the pace of Janelle’s class.

Craftsy rates this class for an Intermediate skill level, and I would agree with that. There are some techniques that aren’t hard, but have a lot of steps that might be a challenge to a beginner sewist. I have read lots of comments on forums where people said how much they learned taking this class, and all the new tips they didn’t know before. There are tips in the class that can be used in any sewing. I loved how Janelle showed us how to deal with thread ends, and how she attached zippers. Both of these, and many more of the tips she shares can be transferred to non-bag-making sewing projects too.

The only difficulty I had with the class was having to draw out some of the pattern pieces. I need all the pattern pieces – even the ones that are simply a rectangle with the measurements given. I have some trouble with numbers. So for me, to have to draw out a rectangle piece… well, it’s a challenge. I have to look at the numbers, check them again, and then again to make sure I have them right in my head. Then a few more times because they can easily get mixed up in my head. It took me three tries to get those simple rectangles. I’m not talking just getting the numbers right, I’m talking drawing out those pieces. (Sigh) Now to be fair, I’ve read many comments on some of those same forums where others have said they hate to see something so simple included in patterns. For me, this is not so simple. I did get it done, and now going forward, I have all my pattern pieces cut out and labeled so I won’t have the same trouble.

Reece, of Happy Okapi, just reviewed the class Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers. One of the comments from Reece was there were no pattern pieces included with that class. Right away, I know it won’t be a class I want to take. Drawing out all the pieces would put me off before I started.

Back to things I love about this class. Here’s my clutch bag:

purse on cutting board

Oh, pretty, pretty. The inside of the bag is as beautiful as the outside. There’s a card slot that holds three cards, and a deeper pocket behind it. There’s a lipstick holder. There’s also a beautifully finished zippered pocket.

inside empty

Here’s the inside with a few basics in it. Sunglasses, keys, a few credit cards, lipstick. The red card is in sideways to show the deeper pocket behind the card slots. I didn’t even need to put anything in the zippered pocket. There’s lots of room in this little clutch! Look how pretty the zippered pocket is too. Janelle takes us through all the steps to make a beautiful, professional-looking finish on everything – inside and out. Here’s a confession: I thought the inside of the bag was so pretty, I took photos to send to a few friends before the bag was done. It looked so nice.

inside purse


Here’s the clutch on my dress form (Catherine) so you can see the size.

purse on Catherine

It’s a beautiful size and shape. For my first clutch, I chose a fairly basic design. If you look at the Craftsy image for Janelle’s class (above), you can see there are a few different options for the front of the bag, and for the flap. The variety offered is very nice.

One more comment on this clutch bag – I followed the Craftsy course alone to make this. I did use the pattern pieces that came with the instructions, but the class is so very thorough, a bag can be made following along with class instruction alone. It’s a really great class. I definitely recommend Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques by Janelle MacKay, and I can’t wait to make another clutch bag.

Thanks for joining me on this stop of The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour. The next stop is: 20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags with Fiona of Tangled Blossoms Design. If you’ve missed any of the reviews or stops along the tour, here’s the full listing of them:

Tour Dates

Monday, April 4

Seam of my PantsBag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch with Kristin Link and Learn to Sew: Simple Bags with Nicole Vasbinder

Tuesday, April 5

Sprouting JubeJubeSew Sturdy: Home Organizers with Annie Unrein

Lulu & CelesteSewing With Oilcloth: Bags & Baskets with Kathy McGee

Wednesday, April 6

Happy OkapiSew Sturdy Travel Organizers with Annie Unrein

Thursday, April 7

Michelle’s CreationsMix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques with Janelle MacKay

Friday, April 8

Shelaine’s DesignsSew Better Bags: The Weekend Duffel with Betz White

Tangled Blossom Designs20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags with Lisa Lam

Saturday, April 9

Emmaline Bags — Recap/Roundup

Sunday, April 10

Sur “prizes

Our tour has some amazing sponsors! Craftsy. Emmaline Bags. (Emmaline Bags donated the hardware for my gorgeous clutch) Tangled Blossoms Design. Blue Calla. Sprouting Jube Jube. Lulu & Celeste. Happy Okapi. Seam of my Pants. Thanks to all of our sponsors for generously providing prizes for the tour. You’ll have to wait until Sunday, April 10th to find out more about those. So make sure you come back on Sunday to find out what they are and how you can enter for your chance to win!

Prize Sponsors

Happy creating!

Please note, all contest links have been disabled as the contest is now over.

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191 thoughts on “The Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour

  1. Another post I read from Word One to Word Last. I have this class but I haven’t watched it yet. I’m bumping it up on my playlist now. Thanks, Michelle.

    1. You’ll love it Marsha! It’s a really good class, and the bag you make is just beautiful. I had a bag cut out waiting to be sewn up, but I want to do another clutch from this class.

  2. Love your bag – it’s very cute!! I agree with you – I like my pattern pieces supplied (I was never very good at drawing out things!!!) 🙂

    1. Janelle, I love your class, and I love my clutch bag. Thank you! I have a non-Emmaline Bags pattern cut out right now, and I don’t even want to sew it up. I want to make another clutch, and then maybe a NCW, and the April Bag of the Month pattern looks beautiful too.

  3. Thank you for you openness, Michelle. My Mum always told me to measure twice and cut once so I can relate to the rectangle cutting challenges. I too, have this class but have not had time to watch it. Thank you and I am enjoying the Canadian tour from Australia. Michele

    1. Hi Michele! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the tour. Yes, I’ve heard that same saying my whole life. Maybe even more seeing I have some trouble with numbers. I did just hear a great way to cut without using pattern pieces – a 15″ x 15″ ruler. I’ll have to try it out and do an update.

    1. Hi Barbara, I can recommend most of the classes on the tour. Lisa Lam’s is a great class too. I bought her books after taking her class. And of course, Janelle’s class is wonderful!

  4. Looking forward to trying a crafty class soon. I’m happy either way with measuring my own pattern pieces or cutting them out. I love Emmaline bag hardware. It makes all the difference.

  5. I love your bag. I love the fabric you chose to make it with. I like having pattern pieces included in the pattern if they are not a difficult shape. But I don’t mind drawing my own shapes for simple squares and rectangles.

  6. I loved the tour and all the shared valuable information. I had some trouble finding my way around but that may be due to using my mobile phone and not a computer. I did purchase two of the classes and I’m learning. Thanks again Diana Bates

    1. Diana, I’m so glad you loved the tour. We all had great fun doing it. I hope you enjoy those classes. Was Janelle’s one of them?

  7. Janelle’s class is awesome watched the entire thing ….Now to do it and sew a few bags ….

  8. Your bag turned out really nice!
    I also like to have all the pattern pieces, because I suck at cutting out squares with my rotary cutter…

  9. I am okay with drawing out squares or rectangles but if the pattern is shaped, I like the pattern piece supplied.

  10. I personally prefer having a majority of the pieces provided and then something in the pattern section the notes any additional cuts required.

  11. I want all the pieces please! I think mostly its quilters who are ok with only measurements haha. I will make my own if I have to-I’ve found that I really suck at drawing them so I use word to make them. I always feel cheated if there aren’t pieces attached. To me that’s not a pattern it’s a tutorial & that’s not what I paid for-gee i don’t have an opinion about this at all lol

    1. Cherita, we all have our opinions. From what I’m seeing, it is quilters who seem okay. I think that just means I have some skills to learn. 🙂 I do have to say, anything that wasn’t a simple rectangle was included with the class.

  12. I am like you, Michelle, I like having pattern pieces at hand. I love your review, and hope to be joining in on the Craftsy classes soon.

  13. What a pretty clutch. This class is on my “to do list”; after I get through some of the others I have gotten…is it wrong that I have become a Craftsy class hoarder? 🙂 As for the question of pattern pieces, I am fine with either, and think that it is nice when they are both included for the variety of sewers that will use the class/pattern.

  14. This set of Craftsy videos led me to Emmaline Bags so if nothing else, I found a great source for patterns and hardware. I loved these videos as well and hope to make a clutch soon – I just need to decide on the style for the front. Although the gathers look really nice, I should probably start with a plain front for the first one. Thanks for the great write up!

    1. Annette, I’m so glad you found Emmaline Bags – such a great resource. And thank you. I started with a more basic front so I could learn what to do. My next one I can fancy up a bit. 🙂

  15. I prefer to have all the pieces in the pattern. I know it’s more printing, but I have a bugger of a time getting the squares right! Lol. Of course, it wouldn’t stop me from buying a pattern if I had to cut my own!

  16. Thanks for the review! I think I’d be ok cutting out the pieces….but sometimes it can get confusing. I have some hardware that would look great on one of these bags.

  17. I find that with a long ruler and a rotary cutter rectangles are much easier to cut out

  18. I can see benefits to having all the pieces provided in a pattern, but it is not too difficult to cut rectangles, especially if you use a wide gridded ruler and rotary cutter.

  19. I don’t mind if they are squares, rectangles, but the other pieces I want patterns that I can print out and don’t have to worry about sizing it up or down!

  20. I want the pieces if they are odd shapes, but I am happy to cut a “handle 4″by 20” (as an example)..

  21. Great review! Thank you! I’ve enjoyed the Great Canadian Blog Tour altogether! As far as pattern pieces, I prefer to cut squares and rectangles without a pattern. It saves storage space! I also tend to tear the fabric and trim the frays for perfect square ☺

  22. Depends on shape for pattern. Squares, rectangles can cut myself with ruler and rotory cutter. Anything curved, pattern piece please.

  23. LOVE your clutch!! I prefer to have all the pieces to the pattern ready for me! I do t mind cutting them out, but not have to draw them myself! The only exception to this is when I have my DIL with me… she can look at anything and draw it perfectly! Lol.
    BeckAnn from Texas

  24. I am sort of on the fence with regard to pattern pieces. If they are straight shapes like rectangles I’m okay drawing them out. More complicated shapes not so much.

  25. I’m ok with measuring and drawing extra patterns pieces myself and don’t need everything included

  26. I don’t mind cutting some, and I love it when pattern pieces have the measurements printed on them as well.

  27. prefer to have pieces in the pattern unless it is something one can measure easily as a square or rectangle.

  28. It is ok to have simple rectangle shapes defined to cut in a pattern. It is important to know the orientation to the bag for fabric placement.

  29. I have this class, though I havent completed a bag yet. As for my personal taste, I enjoy when patterns provide the required materials. Sometimes it is nice to have variations in the pattern, such as the mix and match options that are provided in this class.

  30. I only need “special pieces”, like curved edges, etc. I prefer to cut squares/rectangles with my rotary and mat, so don’t need those extra pieces! 🙂

  31. I’m fine with having the dimensions of rectangles and squares to cut out. If I have the pattern pieces my squares and rectangles don’t always look squared. I could just measure and cut out with my rotary cutter, but having the pieces makes me lazy sometimes. Either way works tho!

  32. Love your bag, and I love Emmaline’s bags in general. I don’t mind having a list of rectangular or square pieces to cut, as long as it’s an easy-to-read checklist I can copy, and keep the master copy clean. That way there are fewer pieces to lose track of. Any other shapes than square or rectangular I prefer to have printed in the pattern, in the exact size needed.

  33. It’s easier to cut squares and rectangles with a rotary cutter – I so much prefer my rotary cutter over cutting pieces out with scissors. But for odd-shaped pieces, give me a pattern please!

  34. Michelle, I hate cutting pattern pieces personally, it means I have to cut it from paper before I start cutting my fabric. But everyone’s different. I like having measurements to cut from.

  35. I to don’t mind cutting out squares, rectangles for straps, pockets, etc. Although on my most recent Emmaline bag I can’t tell you how many times I cut wrong, just not paying close enough attention!

  36. Personally, I don’t mind being given measurements for regular pieces – like squares and rectangles. But any other shapes should be included. BUT, having said that, I usually forget to cut pieces that don’t have a pattern piece. So perhaps include a checklist of sorts?

  37. Hi Michelle, I love your blog. I have to say I generally like to have all the pattern pieces included in the pattern. However, I am not put off buying a pattern when you have to measure and cut your own. But I can be lazy when it comes to preparation as I am always eager to get sewing lol. x

  38. Michelle, wonderful to meet you via Blog. For awkward size and shapes I prefer to cut around a pattern. It’s a big piece like a rectangle, square I’m cool to measure and cut me self. Thank you for sharing your clutch bag, it’s a beauty:)

  39. Great review. I like pattern pieces for the odd shaped pieces, but don’t mind cutting the rectangles, squares, etc just from numbers. I use my large grid cutting board and rotary cutter.

  40. If I have the list printed out of the pieces I need, it’s easier to be able to cut straight pieces on my own, but I’m also a visual cutter and like to see the future end in the pattern pieces laid out in front of me, if that makes sense…

  41. I don’t require all pattern pieces, however I appreciate a check off list or layout to insure I have all pieces accounted for.

  42. The pattern pieces that are odd shapes should be included. I can handle cutting squares and rectangles.

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