I finished this bag yesterday and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I have made many bags before, but this is the most difficult. The multiple layers of Peltex interfacing you need to sew through, combined with the cording, make it really tricky (although, this is the last step in assembling the exterior; getting through all the other steps is not difficult. Really.). The only thing about the cording is that when sandwiching it between the layers, if you need to sew through it with the Peltex side on top (which you'll have to do at some point, because you'll need to wrangle it through your sewing machine differently at different times), it's really near impossible to feel where the cording is, so I felt like I was sewing blind (I just kept sewing closer and closer to the center, and kept checking, until I felt I had sewn close enough). Anyway.
|Here's my lovely cording.|
Fabric - I used 1 yard of Anna Maria Horner Garden Party Tablecloth in Ice for the exterior. The thing about that is, the pattern called for 1-5/8 yard for the exterior. How did I make it work? I used a Kona solid for the reverse sides of the pockets (there's that big pocket on the front of each side, and also a pocket on each of the sides). I usually don't follow the cutting instructions because I feel it wastes a lot of fabric doing it that way (no matter what the pattern). If you're going to do it like this, make sure you lay out your pieces before you cut.
For the straps and cording, I tried to get as close to the color yellow on the Anna Maria Horner fabric as I could. The Kona solid was a teeny tiny bit more green than yellow, but close enough. I used the same fabric on the exterior. The pattern also calls for cotton cording (which you'll sew your fabric around), Peltex interfacing, and woven interfacing. The zipper is a 30" zipper (or you can buy a larger one and trim it down), and I got a nifty "sport" zipper with the big plastic teeth, like I used on my childrens' hoodies. It's pretty awesome with the bigger zipper (you just have to make sure to sew a bigger seam allowance while attaching the zipper to the top panel, so you have enough fabric to sew it down onto).
Pattern Pieces - There's only 3 pattern pieces to cut out (the main/pocket panel, the side pocket, and the top panel). The strap and bottom panel are cut from rectangular measurements. It's so nice not having a zillion pattern pieces to cut out. :-) Although all the interfacing makes up for it (bags always take so much interfacing...much more time consuming, but I always love a stiff bag, so definitely worth the extra effort).
Illustrations/Instructions - I had an old version of the pattern (the version with the Kokka Sunbloom fabric on the front cover), so there was a lot of errata on Amy Butler's website. Most of the changes involve the switching over from Timtex to Peltex. When I got the pattern, I wrote all the changes right on it so I wouldn't have to keep referring over to the site. It's not that big of a deal (although the changes look pretty massive on the site, lol).
As always, Amy's instructions are pretty impeccable. Yes, this bag can be challenging at times, but I didn't have a problem understanding any of the instructions. The challenge is mostly the issue I already mentioned, with sewing the exterior together. I don't think that should keep you from attempting this pattern, though! I didn't make any alterations to the pattern, but what I did do, was when I got to the tough part of assembling the exterior pieces, was that I gave myself 3 days (probably 3 days to do what I could have done in an hour or two, lol). I sewed about a 12" section (that is, sewing through the front, back, top panel, and cording simultaneously). Then I stopped, watched some tv. Came back and sewed another small section. Had a snack. The next day I sewed a corner. That was the toughest, so I did both corners in one day and that's all I did. Basically, I'm saying to tell yourself going in that you're going to take it easy. Do yourself a favor, so you don't need to have a drink to calm your nerves (just kidding).
The bag has a false bottom, and instead of putting a piece of quilting template into it (another thing to buy), I used 3 layers of cardboard. I mean, you're not going to be washing the false bottom either way, so it really doesn't matter what you use. I used this same method when I made the Amy Butler Cosmo Bag (this one doesn't have a false bottom, but it's a gigantic bag so I thought it could use some extra stability in the bottom, so I could put a lot of stuff in the bag), and it worked beautifully.
Conclusion - I would say that this is going to be for an experienced seamstress. I am so in love with how this bag turned out (and don't worry, those little creases in the exterior are from turning it inside and outside so many times, from checking many times to make sure my cording was sewn close enough. They smooth out the more the bag gets used). I saw on Amy Butler's site that people are using this bag for putting their sewing machines into...genius! It does fit my sewing machine, which makes me really excited! If only I had a sewing friend in real life (I can't join the quilt guild here in Chicago, their meetings are always when I am working on Sundays, boo!!), I'd be all set to take my sewing machine somewhere fun! :-)
On a side note, my husband is downstairs shaking the house with all his screaming (nope, not what you were thinking), so go Chicago Bulls. ;-)
P.S. I'm linking up to Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday!