Completed: Craftsmanship Bag

23 Mar


Another bag post today 🙂 I’ve been making clothes – tons of clothes – but haven’t had the will to drag myself in front of a camera quite yet. Also, my sewing mojo completely disappeared for a minute there, and this particular project is responsible for reviving it – so it seems appropriate to give it a shoutout!

(My apologies in advance for the quality of these photos – I got a new computer and my photo editing software doesn’t work on the new one, so I’m going through a pretty intense learning curve right now. Also, way to learn on something red. Brilliant move, Lauren :P)

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Anyway, my new bag! This one is another pattern/kit from Niizo, it is the Craftsmanship Bag. I have mentioned before that I don’t care to make bags (I’d rather just buy one really nice one and let someone else do all the sewing work!), but I do really love the ones from Niizo. I think one of my biggest beefs with handmade bags is the materials – they just always look, well, homemade. Quality materials is a big part of making your bag look nice – and it’s hard to source all that stuff, let alone get it to match. Then there’s the issue with the patterns themselves – they are usually much more simple than what you see in a RTW bag, which adds to that whole homemade factor. Thus is the reason why I like sewing bags from Niizo – her patterns have those cool features you see in bags at stores, and you can get a kit with all the supplies you need. The patterns are easy to follow, and the finished bag always look professional. This is my second pattern I’ve sewn from this brand (my first one was the Freedom Backpack,which you can read about my experience here. I have carried that thing several times on my last few trips – including when I went to Egypt – and it is fabulous!), and I had just as good of an experience with this project.

As I mentioned, I used the Craftsmanship Bag kit, as it includes all the materials you need to make the bag (except thread and your sewing tools). I love the quality of the materials that you get – medium weight canvas for the outer, Oxford cotton for the lining, beautiful brass hardware, rugged metal zippers – and that it’s all collected in one neat little package. You also have the option to buy the pattern separately, should you want to use your own materials for this bag. But I like having everything handed to me, so I opted for the kit! It was REAL HARD not to get the same olive green as used in the product photos, but I ended up going with red because I’ve always wanted a red handbag! I love the rich color, especially in contrast to the beige lining. It’s so pretty and happy 🙂

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

This pattern looks deceptively simple, but it has a lot of great features that really make it special. The purse is fully lined with pockets on the inside, and includes a covered zippered pocket on the back, roomy side pockets finished with self-piping, handles and a long adjustable strap, and hand-stitched leather details. The lining pieces are interfaced for additional support (since the outer is a medium weight canvas, this makes the bag quite sturdy), and there is foam at the bottom of the bag as well. I forgot to take a photo of the bottom, but I attached mine with long diagonal rows. You can do any sort of design you want, though, which is kind of fun! 🙂

Sewing-wise, this was much easier to make than the Freedom Backpack. There are tons of little pieces (like the pockets, the straps, etc) that are quick enough to put together so that you can work on this project in short little bursts. I wasn’t sure if I would have a hard time going through all the layers of at those side pockets – with the self-piping, it’s quite thick – but my sewing machine handled it fine. I used a 90/14 needle and didn’t even break one this time! 🙂 I think Amy also increased some of the seam allowances on this pattern, so they’re slightly wider (still 3/8″ and under, but not like, less than 1/4″ as in the version of the backpack I sewed) and thus easier to sew. The instructions were very easy to follow and I had no problem sewing any of the pockets or zippers. Turning the bag right side out was MUCH easier than it had been with the backpack!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

If you get the kit, you have the option to get the front leather piece stamped with whatever phrase you want. Obviously, I went with my own name, because I am totally one of those people who loves their name. No shame about that.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

The long strap is attached by a swivel hook, so it’s completely removable if you want to carry the purse by its handles.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

To be honest, I was the most excited about sewing that zippered top! I have always wanted to learn how to add a zippered top to a lined box bag, and this pattern totally delivered! It’s kind of a weird pattern piece, but it comes together SO satisfyingly and all the seams are completely enclosed.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Here is the inside of the bag. Ha! There are lined pockets on both sides. I just sewed straight down the middle of each one, so they are all the same size, but you could customize these to be whatever size you wanted – including making little pen holders.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

I anticipated that it would be impossible to get a shot of the lining, so here it is flat before I put it in the bag. The lining is an Oxford cotton – about the same weight as a quilting cotton. All the lining pieces are interfaced, with the exception of the pockets. I love how the pockets are finished – they are lined with the nylon lining (the same stuff that I lined my Freedom backpack with), and the pattern pieces are measured so that the nylon is longer than the cotton, which when everything is turned and stitched down, you have a nice nylon edge. It’s a really pretty detail.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Since the bag outer is red, I decided to topstitch the lining with red thread to bring everything together. I used the triple stitch on my sewing machine so that the stitches would be thicker and thus more visible. I love the way it looks – shame it’s on the inside of the bag, ha!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Here is a picture of the bag with some of my stuff in it, to give you an idea of it’s size and what it can carry! (I should mention – the above photos are all with the bag empty. It holds its shape really well!). The side pockets are big enough to carry a water bottle – there is a dart at the bottom, so they are shaped (not flat). The water bottle in my bag is a S’Well mini, but I reckon most bottles would fit. The bag can also comfortably hold a full-sized iPad Air, and you can zip it closed. I didn’t take a photo of this, but the back pocket also easily holds my phone (which is an iPhone 6 – but there is lots of extra room, so I think a bigger phone would fit too) or my wallet. The interior pockets are also phone-sized.

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

And here is the bag on my dressform, to give you an idea of the size in proportion to a person. It’s not a super tiny bag, but it’s also not giant. The dimensions of my finished bag are approximately 13″ long, 7.5″ tall, and 6″ deep – which is a great size for my needs! The size is pretty similar to the handbag that I use daily, which is a Coach Crosby. Big enough to hold what I need, but not so huge that I’m tempted to fill it with everything I own.

Since I already have a nice leather handbag, I probably won’t be using this bag on the daily (unless I’m going somewhere dirty, like the flea market haha). I primarily made this bag as a replacement for my travel purse. For years, I have used a Po Campo Roscoe Crossbody bag, which I LOVEEEE, but the lining is finally falling apart. I was looking for something to replace it with that was a bit wider (the Roscoe is super flat, which is nice, but then you stuff it with your crap and then it’s not exactly flat anymore haha), and the Craftsmanship bag is exactly what I wanted. I think it’s ideal for travel – you have the option of hand or shoulder straps, there are pockets to hold a water bottle, the top zips shut and there’s a zippered pocket in the back. I haven’t traveled since finishing the bag, but it’s ready to go when I take my next trip!

Craftsmanship Bag by Niizo

Anyway, I guess that’s all for this bag! Who else is into making bags? Have y’all tried a kit/pattern from Niizo yet? What’s your favorite bag to carry – pattern or store-bought?

*Note: Niizo sent me this kit for free, as a thank you for reviewing the Freedom Backpack. I was under no obligation to post about this project, but I truly love how it turned out and felt like it deserved to be shared!


37 Responses to “Completed: Craftsmanship Bag”

  1. Deborah Penner March 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    Wow! I too have never been happy with bags I have made in the past. This pattern looks like a winner. Appreciate the tip about purchase of the hardware kit.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

      I was the same way, but I LOVE these patterns! The hardware kit is really what makes it look nice!

  2. Abbey March 23, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    This is nice, Lauren!!! I can totally see you rocking a red handbag!

  3. Loree March 23, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    I’ve recently made a few bags (Messenger bag-michellespatterns, Retro Rucksack-Radiant Home Studios, and grocery bags-michellepatterns) Making bags are a very nice break from garment-making: no fit issues!

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

      Ooh, I love that rucksack! I agree, making bags is a great break from garment fitting! 🙂

  4. Cadi Young March 23, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

    Love! I’ve made their Sunny Day bag (which is my new favorite every day bag), and their Hobo bag for my sister in law. This is a beaut in that red! Might have to buy this pattern next. 😉

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

      Oh, I love that Sunny Day bag! Trying to find a way to justify owning one so I can make it hahaha:)

  5. Kristel Quintana March 23, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    Awesome! I want one with a quilted inner pocket to put my laptop in. I wish I had the ambition to make something like that. I do for other types of projects but this is something I would prefer to buy. They just don’t make anything I like. I’m in IT and it’s hard to find something to lug my IT stuff around in that isn’t heavy and ugly with too many pockets.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

      I agree, laptop bags tend to be really ugly (or they are too minimalistic to be useful!). I will tell you that I tried to fit my laptop in this bag, but the bag isn’t quite big enough (I have a 13″ MacBook Pro, so it’s a small laptop). You’d have to adjust the pattern to make it fit a laptop.

  6. Anonymous March 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    I do not sew bags, but I just wanted to say your sewing skills are superb! I also love all the clothes you sew (and I am an old lady.) Your bag looks ready-made. I enjoy your newsletter. Thank You.

  7. fiftytwofancies March 23, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    This looks awesome! I bought myself the grey kit for this bag as a birthday present to myself, I’m excited to sew it up. Looks like the perfect piece of hand luggage!

    • LLADYBIRD March 24, 2017 at 9:13 am #

      Yay! I’m excited for you to sew it up, you are gonna love it – both the construction process as well as the finished bag 😀

  8. Nokes March 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    Gorgeous bag Lauren! I can’t wait to make it. 🙂

  9. Andrea March 23, 2017 at 9:26 pm #

    This is legit as shit! I love that they sell full kits along with the pattern (pretty affordably too) because sourcing hardware is what I dread the most about bagmaking. Awesome work LT.

    • LLADYBIRD March 24, 2017 at 9:13 am #

      Thank you! I love the kits too – the materials are super nice, and the price point is very affordable 🙂

  10. Lynsey March 24, 2017 at 3:02 am #

    It’s god damn amazing!!! My bags in the past look handmade which is ok but not great, this is awesome and looks really expensive, I want one!!!

    • LLADYBIRD March 24, 2017 at 9:13 am #

      It’s all in the quality of the materials used 🙂 You should totally make one!

  11. De Zuster Van March 24, 2017 at 3:07 am #

    What a gorgeous bag and it seems indeed the perfect travel bag. You did an amazing job!

  12. Yvonne March 24, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    This looks great! As with you, most bags I’ve seen has looked homemade and that just turns me right off. This bag is very professional and something I’d be proud to carry. Don’t know if you read LaSewista blog,but Bunny has recently gotten into bag making in a large way and has listed many resources on her blog. She’s made some unbelievably professional bags, too. Might want to check those outdistanced FYI. As an aside, I’ve noticed you’ve cleaned up your language a bit and I appreciate it. I’m no prude by a LONG STRETCH, bit I find reading your blog much more enjoyable without the crude language. You’re one talented young lady, Lauren!

    • LLADYBIRD March 24, 2017 at 9:15 am #

      Thank you! I haven’t heard of that blog, but I will certainly have to check it out.

      Also, any lack of language was not intentional haha, so don’t get toooo used to the G rating. My language ebbs and flows, although it’s worse in person (which is why I don’t edit it on my blog – I didn’t want to meet people and them be horrified at how I talk!).

      • Yvonne March 24, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

        You are in for a real treat, then, when you check out LaSewista. She just finished a fur backpack that is very nice indeed, but even more helpful to you I do believe she’s listed many bag hardware resources and pattern makers, of the professional sort. 🙂

  13. Sewing Princess March 24, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Really nice bag! I didn’t know about this store. I must admit I don’t like sewing bags with so many pieces but I guess you can’t have so many features without some pain ;o) If you need/want to sew more bags I found great (I made their pleated clutch).

  14. Kelly March 27, 2017 at 11:26 am #

    It looks great, and I’m looking up this company. I do not like making bags, at all, definitely in part because they always look homemade and do not have enough structure. I’m intrigued…

  15. Murielle March 27, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    it looks great, similar to a RTW bag! When sewing bags, it’s important to add structure to your fabric and to use the correct sort of interfacing. Sometimes, I use two layers to make it look more rigid. Experimenting is the key to success. In France, we have a small pattern company called “Sacotin,” which makes great bag patterns of all kinds. You can check their website :
    I’ve already sewn the Boogie bag (you can see it here ( and it turned out very nice.

  16. Amy March 28, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    I really love your bag (and every garment you sew)! I might have just ordered a kit in Pine Green… 🙂

  17. klarisabet April 8, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    Wowee! Love it.

  18. Carol April 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

    Hi Lauren,
    Your bag looks wonderful. I’ve checked out this company and am waiting for the Young Power Canvas Purse Shoulder Bag kit to be available in Navy. It should be near the end of April. I need a nice interview purse and I thought it might be fun to try to make my own. Anyways, I have two questions. It says that the pattern is downloadable in A4 format. Is there something special I need to do to print in that format on my home printer – I’m in the US. Also, I’ve never purchased anything from overseas and I see that Customs and Import taxes are the buyers responsibility. Can you share what those costs were for your bag? I’m trying to get an idea of my total cost if I order this.

    Thanks much.

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      I believe there is an open to print on US letter – that’s what I used when I printed my pattern. As far as customs and import fees, I am afraid I don’t know the answer to that – I did not pay for my kit, so I was not charged anything. I’ve ordered loads of stuff overseas and never been on the hook for those fees, though, if that helps!

      • Carol April 19, 2017 at 10:00 am #


  19. bedrum November 17, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    I’m VERY close to buying this pack. However, I have a basic brother machine – do you think it’ll work to make this?

    • LLADYBIRD November 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      TBH I can’t tell you for sure because my machine is pretty powerful. I think as long as you get a bigger needle and take your time through the layers, you should probably be fine!


  1. Completed: Addictive Free Canvas Tote from Niizo | LLADYBIRD - December 4, 2017

    […] ask for (I’ve dragged that thing EVERYWHERE – including all the way to Egypt!) and my Craftsmanship Bag gets loads of compliments every time I carry […]

  2. Waxed canvas bag | Niizo bag kit review – SEWRENDIPITY - December 28, 2018

    […] would be the right place for a beginner. I have heard of Niizo a few years ago from an old post by Lauren from Lladybird, where she tried another bag model they offer, a smaller day bag called Craftsmanship. However, I […]

Leave a Reply to LLADYBIRD Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: