After drooling over it everytime I go to Joanns, I finally bought some, and decided to make myself a nice tote bag. Nice thing about sewing, is unlike knitting, the projects go fast- I cut the pattern, the fabric, and did all the sewing this weekend. It would have been a half-day project if my sewing machine didn't keep hiccuping. (Huge thanks to Kevin for his incredible mechanical skills to always figure out the problem.)
Pattern Review from Pattern Review.com
Miscellaneous tote bags in different sizes and a few shape variations.
I made view C.
My final bag is approximately 16" x 10" x 3".
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Kind of. The bags on the patterns are all very structured- I feel like my bag looks floppy, not structured. It makes sense that it would be floppy- since it's fleece lined cotton, and it's large size means the fleece won't support weight too well. BUT- it does stand on it's own, if you get lucky in placement, so I suppose there is some structure.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Kinda... there were lots of points that were very difficult to figure out. I don't think I did the base corners correctly- they kind of look a little funky, and I really wasn't sure what the pattern was trying to tell me to do.
I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the pattern was trying to have me do about the prep for the pocket- the folding then seaming- I ended up undoing what I thought it had me do, and changed it to another way.
But for the most part, if you've made a bag before- it makes sense. It might be tough for someone who hasn't made a bag. I drew a lot upon what I learned making Simplicity 3822
I used a home decor toile from Joanns, and for the lining a black cotton fabric with metallic foil design. I think it's just a quilting cotton.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The biggest change was probably the handles. I didn't have any belting so I made the handles the same way as the bag I previously referenced.
The method I used was: baste felt onto the straps, and then cut the fleece off the outside of the seams. Then, fold over the sides of strap fabric and sew down onto the fleece on both sides. Then, fold the entire strap in half, and seam the end closed. (The reason I folded it instead of just seaming and turning is I found out last time that turning was nearly impossible with this length/ thickness) Then "quilt" down the middle, and to make the sides match, sew a line down the end of the folded, closed side.
Some minor alterations:
I didn't do Step 17- which is to form a pleat. My seams were so thick, I was worried running them over, folded, would cause my machine to break. But I'm actually not even clear if I was supposed to go over the seam or around the seam. This was a step I didn't really understand anyway. (I'm also not sure, based on the illustrations in the pattern, if the pleat goes all the way to the bottom- or is just at the top.)
I also didn't add the needlepoint canvas. I tried, but had a lot of difficulty cutting it to the right size, since the bottom is just formed by folds. Since tacking it down seemed really difficult anyway, I just decided against it. (I put a 2-liter of coke into the bag, and it doesn't sag too much, so I think that's a good enough test.)
I think my lining is too big. It's not tacked to the bottom in anyway, and it seems bunchy. It is the same size as the regular bag, and I think it should actually be just a bit shorter. It lined up perfectly when sewing, so it was cut correctly.
I'm nervous about the interior pocket strength- it is just sewn to the lining. I think it would be better to have it to the interfacing (fleece) too, for more strength.
Additionally- I would prefer the flap to attach to the outside of the bag, rather than the inside.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I probably wouldn't sew this view again. I may do another view, but there are just so many bag patterns out there to try...
I like the finished product pretty well, so I wouldn't NOT recommend it. But it's not my first choice.
It's not my dream bag, but I like it.