Why I choose this pattern:
I saw this pattern by Sew Serendipity and fell in love with the look of the bag. I also thought that the size was nice (17″ x 13.5″ x 4″). I also loved the versatility that the bag offers when it comes to look. The opportunities to use so many coordinating fabrics are endless!
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate / Advanced – The stiffness of this bag poses many tactical difficulties when sewing. Also, the recessed zipper can be a bit of a challenge. If you are a beginner, stick with an easier pattern.
What I loved:
As I mentioned before, the look of the bag and the ability to use lots of fabrics attracted me to it. I had a chance to use two coordinating Amy Butler designs (Midwest Modern 2) which I love. The tote itself is very roomy and offers two interior pockets and an exterior one as well (which you can make two if you choose to put them on both sides). The straps are nice and sturdy and sewn so well into the design of the bag you will never have to worry about them coming off.
What I didn’t love:
1. Time investment – This bag took a lot of time to construct. Since I can only work on these projects in little bulks of time in the evenings, this took me almost a week to make – Probably over 6 hours.
2. Directions – The pattern directions were confusing at times, requiring me to read parts of them over 15 times to understand. They definitely assume an experienced bag maker.
3. Recessed Zipper – I wasn’t crazy about the construction of the recessed zipper – since it is attached on all four sides it creates a small opening for the tote. I love big bags for a reason, and this closed zipper seems to shrink the capacity of the bag. I actually left one side unattached in the bag I made to expand the opening a bit.
4. Interior pockets – while cute, they are not as functional as I would like them to be. They are small, and can’t hold too much.
1. I would definitely change the zipper to only be attached on the long sides….leave the narrow sides open so they can fall to the interior of the bag when open.
2. Lengthen the straps by a few inches – Personally, I find them just a smidgen too short.
Would I Recommend It?
If you absolutely love the look of the bag, have time time and are up for a bit of a challenge, go for it! If your skills are more intermediate, plan on making some mistakes.
The pattern asks for buckram to be used as the stabilizer, but I used Peltex which worked just fine.