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The Cooper Sewing Contest: Vote For Your Favorites!


I must say, this is one of the most expressive sewalong or contest roundups we’ve done.

It seems like every person took their bag in a totally different direction, and the variety that resulted is kind of amazing. We’ve got cute bags, chic bags, kids’ bags, understated bags, bold bag, men’s bags. You name it, it’s here in today’s parade of bags!

We aimed to pick out a big variety and include as many people as possible. Now it’s your turn to vote for the winners.

How to vote

  1. Look through the photos in this post. You’ll notice that they’re divided up into five categories.
  2. Choose three of your favorites from each category.
  3. Go to our voting form and choose your first, second, and third favorite for each category. Voting ends Sunday, Dec 22, 2013. Winners will be announced the following Tuesday.
  4. Do not vote more than once. Our form records information that lets us know if you’re voting multiple times, and those votes will be discarded.

Category 1: Favorite Messenger

Entry #1 – Besace Cooper:





This Cooper is made from a blue faux leather and plain burlap, lined in African wax cotton. The crackled look was not intentional (she says it turned out that the faux leather was old and delicate), but I think it looks much more unusual that way!

Entry #2 – Diana’s checked Cooper:





I love that this Cooper from Diana has such a simple, classic look… but a party on the inside! And check out that gorgeous zippered interior pocket!

Entry #3 – Alix’s Charly Harper Cooper:




Alix made this lovely messenger with waxed canvas and Charly Harper for Birch Fabrics cotton. So cute.

Entry #4 – Clarabella’s Red Gingko Cooper:



Clarabella’s Cooper is made from a gingko printed canvas, interfaced for strength and given a faux leather contrast, faux leather strap, and black cotton lining.

Entry #5 – Nicole’s simple Cooper:


I’m a sucker for simple grey and navy!

Category 2: Favorite Backpack

Entry #6 – fabri’cate’s brushed oilskin backpack:





This beautiful backpack was made entirely in the antique brushed oilskin from Merchant & Mills.

Entry #7 – Cathy’s turquoise backpack:




Cathy made this turquoise backpack in canvas and faux leather. She was visiting her grandmother in Taiwan and got to hunt around there for all the hardware. It looks so cute, especially with that polka dot shirt.

Entry #8 – Anna’s custom canvas backpack:





Anna made this backpack for her boyfriend in a water repellant canvas. She made several customizations, like a key fob, wider straps made of both fabric and webbing, and an interior laptop pocket.

Entry #9 – Megan’s striped backpack:





I was just waiting to see a bold striped Cooper, and megan’s popped up! These stripes really speak for themselves, especially against that backdrop of snow.

Entry #10 – Mady’s blue and plum backpack:




Mady made her Cooper in a striking combination of blue and plum pleather.

Category 3: Favorite Satchel

Entry #11 – Alison’s City Cooper:






Alison made this gorgeous Satchel for riding around San Francisco. She chose a wool flannel (interlined) and heavy canvas for the fabrics. She also made a matching removable pouch for her bike tools, and plenty of customized pockets. Alison also found that the back pocket is perfect for clipping a tail light.

Entry #12 – Sara’s Satchel with strap:




Sara made this beautifully done satchel with an adjustable strap. Look at the detail on that strap!

Entry #13 – Natatatat’s self-waxed satchel:




Love this grey and yellow fabric convo, with a little peek of black and white under there. The waxed canvas contrast was waxed at home, too!

Entry #14 – J O’day’s bright and funky satchel:



Yellow must be a hot color for bags. Check out this bright and cheery version!

Entry #15 – Estelle’s Ultrasuede satchel:




Estelle made her blue and grey Cooper in ultrasuede with a colorful lining.

Category 4: Favorite Customization

Entry #16 – Van•Kirsch’s custom blue Cooper:





This bag by Van•Kirsch has so many cusomizations, I don’t know where to start! She combined all three version to make a convertible messenger/backpack/satchel. She added piping to the pocket, a zipper to the top, a key rob inside, roomy ruched interior pockets, and a pocket in the back where the backpack straps can be tucked away.

Entry #17 – Victoria’s monogrammed tote:





Victoria turned her Cooper into a tote by omitting the flap. She also monogrammed it. Very chic.

Entry #18 – Northern Bury’s mini messengers:



Ok, this is pretty cute. These tiny messenger bags were created from a pattern printed at 40%. In the second photo, you can see it in comparison to a full size bag. The canvas was waxed by hand. These are gifts for some lucky little people.

Entry #19 – Liz’s Vulpes Familiaris:




Liz customized her bag in numerous ways, including the fox (something she doodled years ago and liked). She rafted an interior laptop pocket with velcro strap and pockets for cords, water bottle, and small books; used swivel hooks instead of magnets; added one big rivet on each side instead of two; chose not to stitch down the flap straps; and drafted straps with buckles… whew!

Entry #20 – Rosesred’s hand painted and studded satchel:




This Cooper was made from faux leather and then hand painted and embelished with studs.

Entry #21 – polkadotelefant’s dog-friendly Cooper:



This bag includes a matching doggy treat bag and leash! Straps are made from waxed canvas, there’s a key ring holder that can also be clipped to the dog treat bag, and additional rivets to stabilize straps.

Entry #22 – KG’s shoulder bag:




KG made her Cooper into a shoulder bag by shortening and slightly tapering the handle. Her bag is made from interfaced canvas with quilting cotton. Cool idea.

Entry #23 – Desedera’s snake print Cooper:


Desedera made a combination messenger and satchel, and added a zippered pocket to the back. She also trimmed the top down a bit. She made this faux leather and snake print bag as a carry on for her guy.

Category 5: Favorite Fabric Combination

Entry #24 – Kate’s green and floral Cooper:




Kate made this beautiful Cooper from dark green nylon mixed with a vintage floral fabric that she waxed to make it water repellant. The leather patch was hand stamped.

Entry #25 – Bodil’s floral satchel:




Bodil made her satchel out of three kinds of faux leather, including the one with the gorgeous floral cross stitch pattern.

Entry #26 – Elizabeth’s woodsy backpack:



Elisabeth made this beautiful backpack with photo printed fabric in a theme dear to my heart, the woods.

Entry #27 – Whorlfool’s Chicken




I don’t know what I like better, the bag or the name.

Entry #28 – Anna’s camera bag:




Anna made this camera bag for her daughter’s 13th birthday. the fabric is Kokka. So adorable.

Entry #29 – Chris’ custom fabric Cooper:


Can you believe Chris made this from her own Spoonflower design? Pretty incredible.

Entry #30 – Amber’s perforated leather Cooper:




Amber made this one from yellow duck and a perforated suede that lets the yellow show through. Pretty cool.

Entry #31 – Mary’s Adventure Cooper:





Mary made her adventure Cooper with home dec fabric in a map print and faux leather, along with a lining made of quilting cotton. She made her own straps and added feet. Lovely job!

Entry #32 – B&L’s hot pink print Cooper:



Wow, check out this bold combo of hot pink and black print! The little bird patch is a nifty touch.

Entry #33 – Shar’s Zebra Cooper:



Shar made this Cooper with zebra print upholstery fabric, faux leather, and a faux leather strap. She says this project was challenging, but very rewarding.

Entry #34 – Christy’s textured Cooper:




Christy made her Cooper from a textured faux leather and twill. Very cool and different.

Entry #35 – Smidging’s cheery oilcloth convertible Cooper:





This cheery Cooper was made from oilcloth. It’s convertible, from messenger to backpack as well!

Entry #36 – Jeni’s Cutesy Cooper:




Jeni went all-out cute with her Cooper! This is her grab everything and go bag. She decided to make the outer pocket in the contrast print, and lined it in oilcloth.

Entry #37 – Juliezu’s Hedgehog Cooper:





This Cooper is made entirely in Japanese fabric. It has hedgehogs, dots, and stripes. What’s not to love?

Entry #38 – Missyhambone’s bear Cooper:





I could not leave this one out! It has bears! This Cooper was made from a tapestry scrap and copper faux leather, and is complete with matching removable computer case.

Got your favorites picked out?

Click here to cast your votes!

The Cooper Sewalong

  1. The Speedy Cooper Sewalong & Contest (20 Comments)
  2. Bag making supplies and resources (46 Comments)
  3. How To Install Magnetic Snaps (5 Comments)
  4. Cooper versions 1 & 2: Assembling the body
  5. Cooper version 3: Assembling the front
  6. How To Create Adjustable Straps
  7. Cooper Version 2: Backpack Straps (5 Comments)
  8. How To Install Jiffy Rivets (2 Comments)
  9. Cooper Version 3: Attaching Satchel Handles
  10. Video: How to square the bottom of your bag (4 Comments)
  11. Finishing the body and flap
  12. Cooper Version 1: Messenger Strap
  13. Lining your Cooper bag (5 Comments)
  14. The Cooper Sewing Contest: Vote For Your Favorites! (30 Comments)
  15. Cooper Sewing Contest: The Winners! (3 Comments)

The Cooper Companion

Interested in making the Cooper bag? Get this in-depth guide to bag making, and we'll walk you from start to finish. With over 400 photos, this guide takes you through all three variations (messenger, backpack, and satchel), along with perfectly illustrated instructions for added details, techniques, and variations.

Order yours here


Lauren of Rosie Wednesday |

These are beautiful!!


Woooow !!! Voting is going to be difficult. But I’d like to thank all of the contestants as they are giving us a lot of great ideas. I particularly love the idea of the mini Cooper. Thanks guys :-)

Wow! They’re all so lovely… and so different! Great to get lots of inspiration for making one myself sometime…


Beautiful! How long does the voting period last?

I’ll update the post! Voting is open until Sunday 12/22 at midnight Pacific.

VanKirsch |

WOW! amazing bags!! and thank you for the nice description!.. You forgot to mention I made it as a diaper or a weekender bag ;). I loved the room for customization this pattern gives, the way you can showcase fabric/color/textures and how to play with all their elements. Big Success!!! and Good luck to all the participants!! :D


Hey, my bag is up there! I thought all the flickr shenanigans had made that impossible. Thanks for making my day!

I took care to go through every photo in the pool, just in case. :)


Beautiful bags y’all! You’ve inspired me to join the next sew-a-long :)

These bags are all amazing. Seeing so many different takes on the fabric and style really makes me want one of my own :-)


#16 and #29 are my favorites. But they’re all so stunning.
This is a great pattern and all the entries did it justice.


too many awesome bags!!!!!!!

These are amazing. I would really love to know more sources they found for waxed canvas.


I got mine (in bag #3) from Rough and Tumble Designs on Etsy. She makes some great waxed canvas bags and sells yardage of her waxed canvas as well.

Maybe you saw it already, but if just in case… we did a roundup of some resources a little while back with a section on waxed canvas:

The comments on that one have good suggestions too!

Everyone, please feel free to chime in with more suggestions for Renee if you have them!

Ute /polkadotelefant

All of the bags look great, voting is going to be hard!

I’m in awe of all of these…it will be so hard to choose! Kinda makes me want to create one now….

Ute /polkadotelefant

I am so happy I made it to the contest! Thank you!! Soooo many great bags! Good luck to everyone!

Wow! SO many beautiful bags! I feel really honoured to have mine included. Good luck everyone!

Yay! I’m thrilled to be included, and goodness, what amazing competition! It really is an honor to be among such incredible company! Good luck, everyone!

gabriel ratchet

wow. just wow.

WOW!!! These are all so amazing!! I’m seriously in love with a lot of these… and so impressed with the ingenuity everyone had in making their own Cooper special to them :) I’m pretty sure I have to have this pattern now – doh! (was trying so hard to resist haha) I’m kind of falling in love with the idea of waxing my own canvas now too, as I’ve never seen waxed canvas for sale here and love the look of it. Well, well done, to all the entries!! :)


1st place – #2
2nd place – #5
3rd place – #12

So many amazing bags! I didn’t have time to join in, but may have to give this pattern a go at some point soon, lots of inspiration :)

What a great line up! I opened this post to be so inspired and it was so much fun to see how many combinations there were… congratulations to all the finalists!

cynthia gehin

What an awesome collection of bags. All you women that contributed have enviable talents and tastes. You have made your bags look so professional and personal at once. I esp like the bike bags. What fun panniers you’ve created!

Terry Kessinger |

Everyone should be very proud of their accomplishments, they are each wonderful pieces. My votes are by category and then 1st, 2nd, 3rd:
Category 1: #3, #4, and #1
Category 2: #6, #8, and #10
Category 3: #12, #11, and #13
Category 4: #21, #19, and #29

Question: What is the range of cost to make one of these? I was going to make one as a gift and ran out of time, but am interested to try one in January. I know the variance is endless, but with decent hardware and waxed or oiled cloth, , etc., what would a base cost expectation be, do you think? Thanks!! I’m so impressed with the skills of your readers. :)


I made bag #3 (thanks for voting for me). I think I spent about $90 for the waxed canvas (60″ wide), main canvas, lining, hardware (from gifts for crafters), and strap. I also used interfacing for my lining. About 1/3 was the waxed canvas – which I had a good amount left over from and you could probably find a cheaper source than me. Hope that helps!

Thanks so much for including my bag in the contest (although I’m pretty certain I’m not going to win- mine isn’t even my own top choice! XD). I really do love this pattern, I’m already whipping up a second one as a Christmas present for my sister, my dad and I are now on the hunt for materials for one of his own, and now my mom wants one, too!