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Forum > Contest Discussions > Handbag Contest 2013 ( Moderated by JEF)

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Handbag Contest 2013
January 16 to February 15, 2013
Oregon USA
Member since 7/30/09
Posts: 1505
Skill: Intermediate
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                                                     5 Replies

Date: 1/2/13 7:38 PM

Welcome to the Handbag Contest! I'm Aroura, and am very happy to be your contest manager. I am looking forward to sewing along and seeing all the wonderful creations this contest inspires.

Handbag Contest
January 16 to February 15, 2013

Between January 16 and February 15th cut, sew and review a handbag of your choice and enter it in the contest.

1) A commercial pattern or self drafted pattern may be used. A pattern you've used previously may also be used, however the entry for this contest should be a different and new bag.

2) A lining is required

3) A closure of some sort is required ( snaps, magnetic snaps, flap with snaps, zippers, button and loop closure )

4) Use of interfacing to make it a structured bag is required. It can be a slouchy bag also, but interfacing is still required.

5) Purchased handles and straps are allowed. (the 2013 contest rules have been changed to allow purchased straps.

6) Use of hardware is optional but is encouraged.

7) Grocery bags are not included in this contest.

General Rules for all Contests

All reviews must be entered for submission by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the last day of the contest. It is suggested to start your review as a Work In Progress (private or public) so that you can get any bugs ironed out prior to the deadline.
2. Patterns MAY be muslined prior to the start of this contest however; fabric for contest garment may NOT be cut prior to the start of the contest. Fabric may be pretreated before the start of the contest.
3. Items intended for sale, or for which you were or will be paid to make, do not qualify for any contest, but items made for charity are welcome.
4. Unless otherwise stated in the rules, all reviews written for a contest entry must include a picture of the entry, preferably on a live model.
5. Interpretation of rules is subject to the discretion of the contest manager and the contest committee.

Contest Eligibility: ***Rule #1 is changed for 2013
1. Any member of Pattern Review, either paying (FoPR) or non-paying, who is a registered member on the site before the contest begins is eligible to enter.
2. Any member of Pattern Review, either paying (FoPR) or non-paying, who's been a registered member on the site for 90 days prior to the end of a contest is eligible to vote in a contest.
3. Any member who's won first place in a contest on Pattern Review that ended in the previous four-month period is ineligible to win another contest (during that four-month period).

The first, second and third place winners will be decided by member vote. Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place winners.

Prizes for the contest
First Prize is an PR Online Class.
Second prize is a choice of pattern from Pattern Review.

Voting guidelines:

Each member can vote on up to five entries.

Voting will begin 2 days after contest closes and will close 7 days after voting starts.

Because of the high quality of the garments we're seeing entered in PR Contests, we're setting forth some guidelines that may help you choose when voting. Consider how well the entry fulfills each of the following criteria in order to narrow down your votes:
1. Does the garment clearly reflect the pattern's line drawing?
2. How well does the garment fit the criteria stated in the contest rules? How well does it fit the spirit of the rules?
3. Are the construction methods, including but not limited to seam finishes, lining techniques, etc, well suited to the design? To the fabric?
4. Is the fabric choice well suited to the design? Are the lining and interfacing choices appropriate?
5. Is the review complete and well written?
6. Taking into account the stated ability level of the entrant, how well does the garment fit?
7. Creative points. You may choose to give extra credit here for an entry that reflects additional creativity (embellishment, fabric choice, etc.) while staying within the nature of the original pattern.
8. Complexity of the project. Relate this to the skill level of the participant. If a participant is a beginner then a princess seam may get the same complexity level as an underarm gusset gets for an advanced sewer. This is purely subjective, but a complex garment might garner more points than a simple one if a tie-breaker is needed.
-- Edited on 2/24/13 12:38 PM --

Sewing is more than my hobby, it is my art.
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Oregon USA
Member since 7/30/09
Posts: 1505
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 1/2/13 7:40 PM

This post is reserved for contest related Q and A, as well as any useful links to share. Please feel free to ask any and all questions regarding the contest, and I will get back to you asap!

Link to the final handbag Contest Gallery!

Q: Can an free online pattern, or free online tutorial be used?
A: Yes! Self rafted and free instructions or tutorials are all acceptable, as long as the bag fits the other rule requirements.

Q: Does the entire bag need to be interfaced?
A: No, as long as some portion of the body of the bag is interfaced, it counts. Please mention in your review what portion of the bag is interfaced.

Q: What kinds of bags are allowed and what aren't?
A: Types of bags allowed include: Purse, shoulder bag, clutch, that sort of thing.
Not allowed would be things like grocery bags or luggage and backpacks.

Q: Can I make a backpack that converts into a purse?
A: Yes, this one exception of a convertible backpack to purse will be allowed.

Q: Can I machine embroider on my fabric before the start of the contest?
A: No. All embroidery should be done inside the contest dates.

Q: Can I dye or print on the fabric before the contest begins?
A: No. No fabric manipulation is allowed outside of pre-washing.

Q: Can an inside pocket that has a closure count as the closure for the bag?
Q: No. The main portion of the bag needs to have some sort of closure. Any extra closures on pockets is just a bonus. :)

Q: Does Buckram count as interfacing?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I dye my fabric ahead of time?
A: The committee is debating this for future contests, but for this contest, simple dying will be allowed.

Q: You say no luggage, but what about a carry-on piece?
A: Yes, a carry-on piece of luggage will still be counted as a handbag, so will be allowed.

Free Bag pattern links!:
Amy Butler Blossom Bag: Blog post with PDF link

Instructional videos on sewing and installing purse and bag hardware:
Instructional videos

-- Edited on 1/14/13 6:25 PM --
-- Edited on 1/23/13 10:28 AM --
-- Edited on 1/29/13 11:58 PM --
-- Edited on 2/26/13 5:42 PM --

Sewing is more than my hobby, it is my art.
My new Blog:

nancy2001  Friend of PR
Member since 12/3/05
Posts: 6441
Skill: Advanced
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In reply to Aroura

Date: 1/3/13 7:16 AM

How exciting! And thank you, Aurora, for managing this contest.

I'd love to sew a new handbag and will try to squeeze this contest in. Unfortunately, this contest overlaps with the RTW/Designer Knock Off contest and one other contest I'm participating in that's not on PR, so it's going to be tight.

I'm thinking about sewing one of my Ultrasuede hobos, but this one will have whipstitching like this Gucci New Jackie. The bag could be accented with faux snakeskin.

An alternative would be for me to sew a new version of the Bottega Veneta that I've made before in an unwoven version. But this time I'd give it a new twist by weaving the Ultra Suede or the faux snakeskin and orienting the weave on the diagonal.

-- Edited on 1/3/13 7:28 AM --

No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

Arizona USA
Member since 12/26/11
Posts: 2385
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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Date: 1/3/13 7:27 AM

Thank you Aurora for hosting this!!! omg I have put off making the free pattern Amy Butler purse for WAY too long, with everyone long bought and sitting pouting -- This may be the *kick* I need!

Thanks and good luck to all


I have a great enthusium for sewing, but lack talent to be great.


Member since 2/8/09
Posts: 2563
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 1/3/13 11:29 AM

I might just try this one. I got a Trace and Cut pattern and fabric and notions- just need time now to do it.

sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

michellep74  Friend of PR
Washington USA
Member since 7/19/07
Posts: 3403
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 1/3/13 2:44 PM

I haven't entered a contest in ages, but I've been really wanting to make up a few of the HotPatterns bag patterns in my stash. (I made up the "fast and fabulous" backpack of theirs a few months ago, and it turned out super cute--the pic in my review doesn't do it justice.)



SheBear0320  Friend of PR
Manitoba Canada
Member since 4/8/08
Posts: 5006
Skill: Advanced
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Date: 1/3/13 2:47 PM

I'm going to try to do this one -- I picked up 4 or 5 bag patterns when I was on holidays last fall and fabrics for some of them. The fabric is all prepped so all I have to do now is decide which one I'm going to make.

Thanks Aroura for managing this contest.

"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"
2014 Stash Tally: 106.625 yds out/145.125 yds in (net +38.5 yds)

2015 Stash Busting:
84.125 yds sewn (as of 11/22/15)
121.25 yds purchased (as of 11/22/15)

West Virginia USA
Member since 10/29/03
Posts: 2930
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 1/3/13 2:49 PM

I'm looking forward to this contest. I have my fabric picked out & rough idea for the design of the bag.


Sewing Makes Me Happy

Iowa USA
Member since 11/21/09
Posts: 2500
Skill: Intermediate
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.

Date: 1/3/13 3:48 PM

I will give this a try. I love making bags using colors and patterns that I would never wear but will put in a bag.


Member since 8/26/09
Posts: 891
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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                                                     1 Replies

Date: 1/3/13 6:31 PM

I've never made a handbag before so I want to give this a try if I find the right project. The requirement of interfacing is throwing me a bit.

I like slouchy, and my purchased examples don't seem to have interfacing, and I like leather, which also doesn't seem to have interfacing. Hopefully I will find the right project that meets the requirements. I don't want to make something that will just sit around. I have enough of that kind of thing already!

I'll be watching for sure, if nothing else.

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