Creative Hacks to the KPD Claire Shoulder Bag Pattern

Lisa Stewart Claire Shoulder Bag cork hacks intermediate Kaya Papaya Design KPD modifications

The testers were having a great time putting their own spin on The Claire Shoulder Bag, while still testing the basic techniques outlined in the pattern. Patricia became inspired and made another bag to try out different things.

External Modifications:

  • Suggested fabrics for the main exterior do not include cork, as there are particular changes that need to be made when using cork, like omitting the zipper facing for the exterior zipper, because you will simply cut the hole for the zipper, leaving the edge raw. On this bag Patricia chose to use a canvas/cork combination fabric, and a plain cork for the bottom overlay. The pattern as designed calls for fleece interfacing to give it a firm and stable foundation. She omitted the fleece interfacing on the exterior fabric, which was heavy enough to give the bag its shape. If using cork alone, it would also not be interfaced, as quality cork fabric has a fabric backing. The lining fabric is still interfaced with SF101 or the equivalent.

  •  The pattern does not indicate trim on the exterior slip pocket. Patricia cut her pocket at 16'' x 6.5'', so the pocket was only one layer of cork.  Then she added cork trim cut at 16'' x 1'' and sewed the pocket down the middle, and added a rivet, making two pockets, and eliminating the magnetic snap.


  • Becca Olson chose to add cork trim to her exterior zipper pocket, using the template for the interior zipper pocket.

  • Chris Hawke trimmed her exterior zipper with faux leather and added a cute zipper pull.

  • Zeiba Monod chose to make her version slightly softer. She used a heavy waxed canvas, without interfacing, but then interfaced her cotton lining with both SF101 and fleece. On her exterior slip pocket she used a decorative snap and trimmed the pocket with cork.

  • Some of the testers made modifications to the strap. Elisabeth Tomczyk added swivel clasps to make her lengthened strap detachable. Note that she also used end caps on her strap.

  • Zeiba used brown cotton webbing backed with waxed canvas; widened the strap to 1½"; lengthened the strap for a crossbody; and added an adjustable slide.

  • Jo Kay widened her strap to 1½” in order to use hardware she had on hand. She lengthened it to 30” and used cork backed with canvas.

  • Strap connector modifications were also used. Elisabeth used cork, and chose a different shape that worked with her cork as she didn't want to fold it under.  This made her connector easier to attach.

  • Rebecca Hansen chose dressy metal strap connectors, instead of the fabric covered connectors.  Changing the type of connector used can really change the look of the bag.

  • Zeiba prefers to keep her purse off the ground and added purse feet. Also, note the double lines of contrasting top stitching used on the overlay and bottom.

A suggested external modification would be to omit the overlay around the bottom, using the bottom piece only. The external fabric piece would need to be adjusted accordingly.

Though the majority of the modifications are to the outside, there are a couple of internal modifications that were made:

  • Patricia added a rivet between the two interior slip pockets “because she could.”

  • Chris added snaps to her slip pockets, matching the bright lining.

A suggested modification for the interior slip pocket would be to make it without pleats. The measurement for the slip pocket pattern piece would change to 11” x 10”. The slip pocket trim piece would be changed to 11” x 1”. The pocket would be flat against the interior. The pocket would still be stitched through the middle to form two pockets.

For the advanced beginner bag sewist to try, you may want to consider whether you are comfortable making these modifications, or allow yourself the time needed for the learning curve if you are up to a challenge. These are only design suggestions – how to achieve them is up to the sewist to figure out or find the necessary tutorials for construction. The Facebook Pattern Group is a great place to discuss and ask questions!

What modifications would you do to The Claire Shoulder Bag?

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