My Brotherly Coopers

By Tiffany - Friday, April 04, 2014

I made my brother and my borther-in-law a Cooper each for their birthdays. Their birthdays are in January and these Coopers only finally got to them now. It took me from the beginning of January to mid-March to make them. I had so many setbacks (like the broken sewing machine), that I'm so happy they are finally done!


Colette Patterns Cooper
My brother's Cooper is the green one. It is a combination of green cotton canvas and tan dockers cotton twill.

Both bags have the same features. They are a mixture of the different pattern views. I also handsewed on some leather buckles to help keep the flap secure.

The navy bag is for my brother-in-law. It's a combination of the tan dockers cotton twill and navy polyester twill.

The leather buckles were definitely a challenge. My husband, who has more experience with sewing leather, showed me how to do it. I used leather belts and bags from a secondhand store for the leather.

Each bag has the bike rack straps on the back.

I'm really happy with the bag linings. I spent *hours* trying to find the right fabric for the insides. I finally found some on For my brother, I found a lovely cotton wolf print (he loves wolves).

Similarly, for my brother-in-law, I found a lovely cotton deer print. The Parks and Rec theme song plays in my head when I look at it.

And I added the messenger straps, but also made shoulder pads. On the inside of the shoulder pads, I added a bit of the lining fabric.

I learned a lot from sewing these bags. Mainly, they are a lot of work! I thought they would be easy, since you don't have to worry about sizing the pattern to fit a body. Plus, while I could easily draft a bag pattern myself, the pattern has the advantage of having all of the little bits and pieces already drafted for you.

However, if you are picky in any way about fabric and hardware choices, it can take forever to find what you need. If you live in a bigger city, you might be fortunate to have a few stores to easily find what you need. I did not have a good source for fabric or hardware. I ended up buying some of my hardware at secondhand stores and some online. I spent hours on fabric sites looking for the right fabrics. I think I was reduced to tears one point. In addition to time, all of the bits and pieces took a lot of money. It all came together at the end, but it was not easy.

Overall, I am really happy with how the bags turned out. My brother and my brother-in-law love their bags, too.

I might make myself a bag, but I might take a little break from bag making first.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like


  1. Your hard work sourcing materials and learning new techniques paid off in two great bags! I live in a small country town and finding the materials often takes longer for me than sewing the project.

    1. Yes! It definitely took me longer to do that than the actual sewing. I'm glad you can relate! Thanks!