My littlest sister (who's as big as me and not so very little anymore) recently had a birthday and she was overdue for a handmade bag from me. I struggled with what pattern/style to go with and finally settled on the 241 Tote pattern by Noodlehead. My sister prefers bags with longer handles so she can wear them across the chest, so I lengthened the handle, but otherwise followed all the directions. It has a magnetic closure and two inside slip pockets.
The matryoshka doll fabric is made in Japan but I ordered it from Korea. Go figure. My sister likes blues, greens, and purples and spent a summer in Russia a couple of years ago, so it seemed appropriate.
The pattern is definitely not for the beginner. Lots of curved seams that can be difficult to wrangle. I had to pick them out more than once. And the fabric requirements are a bit misleading. But once it's done, I think it's a cool bag - one that I would use myself. If you decide to make one yourself, be sure to use a 50% off coupon when buying the woven interfacing because that stuff is a rip-off. And you will need more than the 1 1/2 yards called for. I'd get at least 2 if not more.
Now I'm working on a diaper bag for my other sister who had twin girls back in November. I'm always on time, I am. Anyway, I'm hoping I can finish it before I leave to visit Georgia again (and before my sewing machine decides to crap out on me - it's starting to sound suspicious). I've designed the whole thing myself, which was probably a bad idea since I've had some fits and starts with the thing. Lots of seam ripping and cursing under the breath. But what I've made so far is darn cute and has me excited to see it finished.
Wish me (and my sewing machine) luck!