An archive of sewing tutorials and inspiration


Blanche Barrel Bag // "In the Studio" + Review

Today, I would like to share a bag I made using the Blanche Barrel Bag pattern by Alicia Wietholter for Swoon Patterns. All of the bags in the Swoon Pattern lineup have a really professional, "store bought" look and shape. I don't make and sell items often, but for those of you who do, you will love Swoon Patterns. They give you full permission to make and sell their bags! If you're looking for some Swoon bag inspiration then you must check out Erin Morris (@diedelbughandmade), she makes and sells bags using Swoon Patterns and they're so beautiful.


Since it has been quite a while since I posted an "In the Studio" video episode, I decided to put together a video while I was working on my version of the Blanche Barrel Bag. This video is not meant to be a tutorial or instructions on how to make the Blanche Barrel bag, it is just simply a quick peak into my sewing room as I worked on my bag. If you would like to make your own Blanche Barrel Bag you can purchase the pattern or bag kit in our shop.

The Blanche Barrel Bag is one of those bags that upon completion gives you a serious feeling of accomplishment. Because of it's upright, professional look you feel like you just made a "big girl" bag. Or at least that is how I felt. 

Skill Level or Difficultly

I feel that this bag will come together much easier if you have prior experience making bags. This is mostly because the bag has a lot of stiff interfacing and can be challenging to manuever through your machine. Using Clover Wonder Clips to hold the ends onto the center of the bag can really help.

Materials Used

For this version of the bag I used the following fabrics and supplies:

I put together a few kits in our shop. The kit includes everything you need to make the exact the bag shown. You can purchase the Blanche Barrel Bag Kit in our shop.


If you have experience with bag making then this is the perfect bag to add customizations too. I made a few customizations to this version of the bag. First, I added a contrast curved base to the bag. I did this by drawing a curved panel out onto a piece of lightweight interfacing, then I fused the interfacing to the wrong side of my contrast fabric and turned the top edge of the curve over the edge of the interfacing. The other change I made was using 1" wide hardware instead of 3/4" wide. I just prefer a little wider of a strap. This means I had to increase the width of the fabric for the straps by an inch.

Improvements for Next Time

If I were to make the bag again I would add a few helpful features to the inside of the bag. UPDATE: So originally I said that the interior had no pockets so I would add an interior zipper pocket and a cell phone pocket. Well after I posted this blog post designer Alicia let me know that the interior does indeed have a pocket and I made a mistake. The zipper pocket I show on the exterior of the bag was meant to be on the interior of the bag. I just did follow instructions properly, haha. Bad Alyssa! So the only addition I would add next time is a small swivel key hook (because I am always loosing my keys). For the fun of it I may even add some purse feet

Overall I am so very happy with this bag. The professional shape and form of the bag alone makes this bag pattern worth every penny. If you feel adventurous enough to add extra features then you're sure to end up with a highly professional custom bag.


Alyssa Lichner

Alyssa Lichner

Creator of Pile O' Fabric

Alyssa Lichner is a graphic designer turned avid sewist. She writes modern quilting tutorials and shares techniques and inspiration on her blog, Pile O’ Fabric. Alyssa has a passion for exploring different techniques and applying them to modern designs. She is thankful to have the opportunity to share these techniques, through her tutorials, patterns, and classes with quilters around the world. She always encourages her readers and students to challenge themselves to try new things and to approach quilting with a fearless attitude.