When you want to alter the size of a bag pattern, you often don’t just want to make it larger everywhere. That is, there is a certain aspect of it that you would like to change. Such was the case for me with the bag pattern I wanted to use to make a beach and travel bag for my upcoming trip to Costa Rica. I knew I liked the overall shape of the Clarissa bag, that I have taken to calling a bucket bag, but I wanted it larger.
1. The first step was to decide exactly what part of it that I wanted larger.
This was best determined by getting out the bucket bag that I have sewn previously and comparing it to the pattern and reviewing how it fit on me when I was carrying it. Whereas, at first I was only thinking in terms of “bigger,” I quickly discovered that what I really wanted was “wider.” The depth was already adequate. Plus, to make it longer would make it unwieldy. Keeping it the depth it was would be much more convenient. The other thing I recalled I wanted to change was handle length.
Once all this was decided, I need to figure out how the pattern might be most easily changed to get this width. Because of curves and points of attachment when sewing pieces together, just adding changes willy-nilly along edges would complicate things. The goal is not to design a whole new bag. Instead,
2. The second step is to find which section of the pattern can be expanded with the least amount of impact on the rest of the bag design.
For this bag, it was best done by adding inches at the parts of the pattern that were both long straight portions anyway, plus they were on a fold. By adding the same number of inches to the middle fold of both the bag body and the bag bottom, the basic shape and all the markings and darts remained the same. Which leads to
3. The third step, which is to be careful to add size to the pattern in comparable places on all the necessary pattern pieces.
If you haven’t done this before, it is probably best to try it on a bag without very many pieces. The bucket bag pattern is a good one to try it on because it only has 2 pattern pieces anyway. Also, both folds on the pattern pieces represent the same area of the bag, making them a perfect place to expand the width of the bag.
I’ll give more details about my new beach bucket bag soon!