Adventures in Sewing: Mom Makes a Margo

Lazies, I was in Cincinnati visiting family recently and Mom demanded that we make her first Margo Handbag together. Now, my mom considers herself pattern-challenged and the best way for her to make something is to have me make it for her. Truly, it’s a crushing and endearing reality for me as Lazy Girl. Pics are from my iPhone and they are a little grainy.

Mom’s ‘perfect’ black Margo Handbag

The Adventure Begins
Mom tested the Margo prototype (shown below) for me, so she is an expert. I made a few changes to the pattern after Mom’s initial feedback and Mom was ready for an official Margo. Mom likes what she likes and wanted a Margo that strayed from the pattern a bit. No surprise there – we all have our preferences. That’s when the adventure started.

One Fabric
First up, she wanted an all-black bag so it would go with everything. Black for every part that was going to show. This only crushed me a little bit. Mom found a black fabric with a faint gray all-over swirl for the main fabric. The only Margo I’ve made in one fabric was the design prototype made from white muslin and it wasn’t nearly this attractive.

Long-Distance Collaboration
She sent a swatch so I could search my stash for the perfect lining fabric. I said, ‘Mom, you’ll see this print up close, but from ten feet away, it will read as an all-black solid’. She said, ‘Great, that’s just what I want’. Oh the humanity. I completely appreciate what she’s going for here, but I did design Margo to take advantage of they play between two fabrics for the cover/pockets which showcase the overall design. Again, only slightly crushed.

More Changes
Mom made sure I knew she wanted her Margo to be black above the zipper. That is technically the top part of the one-piece lining fabric. Now we have to piece the lining above/below the zipper – sure, bring it on Mom!

The Lining Surprise
Next she hunted for the perfect gray for the lining, but found none. Instead, she pulled a rich, warm, soft cream fabric from her stash and it was perfect. It was interesting to see Mom’s selection. I wouldn’t have tried that fabric, or made a one-color bag, or changed out the fabric above the zip. I enjoyed Mom’s insistent departure from Margo.

Uhm, A Long Time
Mom matter-of-factly asked how long it will take us to make Margo. I said it takes me about 2 – 2 1/2 hours, but it was going to take us about 6 hours. I think she was stunned. I did factor in teaching, making and visiting. Throw in a bit of time for machine/needle/bobbin issues and we came in right at the 6 hour mark.

As we progressed through the project, I had a chance to show Mom all of the tips, tricks and techniques I’ve developed for my designs. She showed me a few things, too. Her one-fabric bag looks great. Her choice of lining fabric was a surprise and it was wonderful.

At the beginning of our adventure, Mom mentioned how she can’t allow her girlfriends to show her up by making bag after bag. Mary Lou in particular is cranking out Margo’s, Mini Miranda and Whimsy’s for her daughters and nieces. Carol is stitching up a storm, too. Mom’s been making smaller projects, so Margo is her first larger Lazy Girl project. Mom mentioned she’d like to make a bag for my Aunt Margie, her sister. Since our visit, Mom made a Newport in beautiful blues and yellows for spring.

Here’s Mom early Sunday morning showing off her new Margo Handbag.

Lazy Girl Designs Margo Handbag pattern, #127

Original Margo prototype. For the final design,
I changed the pocket openings and lengthened the handles.


Leave a Lazy Comment

38 Responses to “Adventures in Sewing: Mom Makes a Margo”

  1. Laura — February 28, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    What a sweet story….thanks!

  2. Fonda Baus — February 28, 2011 @ 8:55 am

    Hi Joan,
    Wow what a great job. Your Mom sure looks proud of her purse. As I would be also. How nice that you got to spend time with her. She looks like a real sweetie. Keep up the good work.


  3. RoseMary — February 28, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    thanks for the heartwarming story. I sure wish my mom were here so we could sew up a lazy for her in wild colors. she loved mixing plaids and prints; the wilder the better. thanks.

  4. Judi — February 28, 2011 @ 8:58 am

    Always listen to Mom!

  5. Penny — February 28, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    Oh I think it is fabulous. I often have ladies who don’t want to mix fabrics when I teach, this gives me a new look on that. Thanks for sharing and Mom is always right!

    Penny with her almost ready to bloom daffodils!! Woohoo

  6. JudyC — February 28, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    Hey, I love that one fabric style Margo. I sometimes like the calmness and elegance of one fabric, maybe because I am at least old enough to be your Mom. It looks like I will have to try to make a Margo. Is it much more difficult with only one fabric? I have not made one of your purses, just the small things like the Wonder Wallet.

  7. Patty in BC Canada — February 28, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    Awesome bag something I will make when I can find the patterns in Canada.
    Congrats love to read all about your sewing, patterns and tips.

  8. Regina — February 28, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    I love how it turned out – what a great day you both had!

  9. Arlene Caterino — February 28, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    Love the bag your MOm made it is perfect. I have that same fabric & it is beautiful. I just finished a new Margo for myself it is out of Batiks & I love it. Great pattern, love it.

  10. Ginny — February 28, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    Love your story and love the bag. The black print really makes it perfect! I will have to get the pattern and make one for spring!!

  11. Eldonna Ashley — February 28, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    Always listen to Mom! The light inside lining will make it easy to see what is inside. i like the one-color concept — I am a very casual basic dresser. And she was right about it being all black when the zipper is closed! Very nice story and she looks great with it. What a joy to have this time together. Thank you so much for sharing the story.

  12. Susan — February 28, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    My mother’s idea of “sewing together” was her buying fabric
    and patterns and then baking something, playing the piano or
    “reclining”! She would have loved all of your bags. She taught me
    to be “different”, which I truly am. I can hear the underlying
    mother-daughter give and take. Loved your blog post. And I have
    been thinking about making something more basic!

  13. Shirley — February 28, 2011 @ 10:31 am

    Hi Joan! Great story! I love Margo, she is just the right
    size! My mom was an avid sewer, but I didn’t get really interested
    until she was gone. I wish she were here now to share our love of

  14. Sheila — February 28, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    No matter how old we get, our moms still have little tricks
    up their sleeves and a thing or two to teach us! Love the story;
    love the bag; and love, love, love your patterns.

  15. Susie Stiving — February 28, 2011 @ 10:43 am

    Joanie I love the purse that you and your Mom created
    together. You also created a nice memory. Love your posts and
    always thank you for sharing

  16. Denise — February 28, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    A really classy purse! very elegant – she can also pin a
    nice flower on the front for a change if desired.

  17. Gwyneth — February 28, 2011 @ 11:06 am

    I love the story, and the bag is fabulous, your Mum must be

  18. Vicki Sallese — February 28, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Thanks for sharing. I love your Mom’s fabrics. I love your
    fabrics. I love seeing everyone’s vision of a pocketbook and how
    different they look when done. Mom did a great job. But, then, it
    is very easy to make a great looking purse following the Lazy Girl

  19. lorrwill — February 28, 2011 @ 11:36 am

    Awwww. Go Mom!

  20. jennifer — February 28, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    thank u for sharing this beautiful purse with us. It is a
    testimony of the love of crafting that my mom gave to me that lets
    see what i can make attitude that has made me into the crafter I
    am. Thank u for loving your mom today it was very special to me.
    You are so talented and I am learning so much from you. Thank

  21. Claudia — February 28, 2011 @ 11:54 am

    Joan, PLEASE please, please…. I NEED you to tell us how
    to make a Margo with the fabric change above/ below the zipper. I
    LOVE how your mom decided on the change for Margo. I NEED to make
    one for myself!!! Thank you…

  22. Peggy Gonzales — February 28, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    This is a really nice looking purse.

  23. Hilda — February 28, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    Great story! I love the idea of a one-color bag. To me, one
    color screams “dressier”, or more tailored in appearance. Although
    I love the two and three fabric bags that I’ve made, sometimes just
    one solid color works best with an outfit.

  24. Ophelia — February 28, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    Oh, my dear Joan,
    I have a mother too. Isn’t it terrific that you can laugh about how your mother rejects what you hold most dear about the Margo bag? You are a good daughter, and your mother probably knows how lucky she is!
    My mother has senile dementia, and the last time I brought her up to my sewing room to visit, she asked me, repeatedly, “When are you going to start selling all this stuff? Do you need all these quilts?” and so on, over and over. I try to entertain myself as well as her by answering each repeated question differently each time. My favorite answer to the latter question was, “No, Ma, nobody who quilts EVER needs another quilt.”
    My husband and now the nanny have also started to ask me when I’m going to start selling this stuff. My answer remains, “I’d much rather give away my creations to people I like than sell it to people I don’t.”
    Happy sewing,

  25. lynn — February 28, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    The beauty of this bag IS that one can make it to their own taste. And I love the subtlety of this black bag. I have yet to make this bag but will be getting the pattern just as soon as this Ohio weather gives me a chance to get out. I also think the squared pocket is a better choice than the rounded ones. Such great projects. Love the variety and to see what everyone makes.

  26. Denny — February 28, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    Your mother’s design changes are just wonderful. It’s a delightful bag. And the time that you got to spend together. And the things that you learned from each other. Well done!

  27. ozjane — February 28, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    Love the all one color one…… elegant for us mature ladies……LOL.

  28. Linda P in IL — March 1, 2011 @ 12:04 am

    I too like your Mom’s one color bag, good for her, getting her own way, VBG.
    And I like the way it looks on her, it is much easier to judge the size of a bag when it is being used. Thanks for the story.

  29. Ann — March 1, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Loved the fact that mom turned a Lazy Girl style into a Classical one that can stand up to any of those $500 plus leather designer bags on the market right now.

  30. Renee — March 1, 2011 @ 3:27 pm


    Maybe we were switched at birth 🙂 I love your mom’s Margo bag. The single color is much more my style than multiple fabrics. I basically use one purse and it needs to be a neutral to go with everything. My mom on the other hand would love the different fabrics and the wilder the better. She matches her purse to her outfit and shoes.

  31. PhyLLis — March 2, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

    I’ve been toying with buying the Margo pattern for a while
    now, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it (I’d pick it up, carry
    it around the shop, and then put it back) – there was something
    about the two colors that made me hesitate, but Mom’s version in
    all one color with that magnificent lining and the outside fabric
    above the zipper has convinced me that I HAVE to HAVE one! It’s
    just so classy looking *Ü*

  32. Katy — March 7, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    Sometimes we need to see something before the light goes on! The one-color design is perfect for what I wanted from this purse. I will definitely take these ideas and sew with it!!

  33. Jean — March 7, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Joan, as always, you have given us a great story! I think the bag is beautiful. I may make myself one like that. God bless you and your Mom.

  34. Ann Reeves — March 11, 2011 @ 10:32 am

    Love this bag and I even have the pattern. Is there any way to eliminate using the zipper? I’m not one that can remedy a sewing fix very easily. I’ll be making the bag for my Mother, also. Hopefully, if the zipper can be eliminated, I plan on using a few of the hot crystals on the bag.

  35. Linda — March 17, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    I love the Margo bag, and I really love the one color
    concept! Has anyone figured out the zipper/lining yet? I’d love to
    make this, but am not great with figuring out how to have the main
    color on the “top” part of the zipper and the lining below. Please
    help if you have done the work to figure it out! Thanks!

  36. Linda — April 6, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I also like to have the same color on the top (above/below the zipper). Please give us the measurements. I have made about ten Margo bags for me and my frients. I just love them.

  37. Rosemary B — February 3, 2014 @ 10:56 pm

    I LOVE THIS BAG!!! I also love the technique for the zipper! I use it all the time!

  38. lorraine hudson — September 4, 2016 @ 7:50 am

    lovely, change handles , colour, pockets