This was the pattern that I was most looking forward to, from Amy Butler’s Style Stitches book (and you can get the pattern for free from Sew Mama Sew!). Honestly, it’s the most innovative sewing pattern for a bag that I have ever seen. There are many details that I have not seen in any other patterns, such as the tags on the handles, and the dividers inside the bag. In my opinion, it’s the closest design to a store-bought type bag, and it’s totally fabulous!
Fabric – The fabric I used for this project was Perch in blue, from Echino. The instructions call for using decor-weight fabric (which I did), but if you decide to use quilt-weight cotton, I don’t see that being a problem. For the lining, I used a 1-yard piece of seafoam green corduroy fabric that I got from my aunt. I like to use inexpensive fabrics for bag linings because bag supplies tend to add up, especially when you count the interfacing. This bag requires both woven and Peltex fusible interfacing. There is also a magnetic snap closure, and one of the dividers on the inside of the bag has a zipper.
Pattern Pieces – There are several pattern pieces to cut, as well as some pieces that you will cut using rectangular measurements. There is a short and a long strap option. I’m going to be honest, between cutting the fabric pieces and the interfacing pieces, you will be cutting fabric for around an hour. I also spent around an hour fusing all the pieces to the interfacing. The pattern instructions recommend that you use masking tape to mark all your pieces in order to keep track of them better, but I didn’t do this and had no problem, although of course it’s up to you. 🙂
Illustrations/Instructions – Like all the patterns in the Style Stitches book, there are no step-by-step photographs to guide you along. There are a couple of illustrations, but you are mostly relying on the written instructions. I think because of the intricacy of the bag, some people might be a bit intimidated to try this pattern, but I do think it is easier than other Amy Butler bags I’ve tried (like the Weekender Bag or the Take Flight Bag).
For instance, assembling the strap tags/handles take up a good chunk of the pattern instructions; however, this part of the pattern is not difficult at all. As you can see above, I have sewn down the strap tags to the main panel of my bag. Not hard.
The trickiest part was sewing the 2 side panels onto the main part of the bag, but even that wasn’t too bad. The Peltex interfacing makes it a bit tricky, but nothing near as difficult as other bags, and the side panels are not very large, so the hard part is over very quickly.
I enjoyed making the dividers on the inside of the bag…I know I will like having so much organization in my purse! The dividers are so simple to make, and even if you decide to skip the zipper, it would be no problem.
The only place I deviated from the pattern was that I added an extra bit of (fleece) fusible interfacing around the snap area on the flap; I am always concerned with the wear-and-tear that the metal snap will do to the strength of the fabric, so I usually do this on any bag with a magnetic snap. This scrap of interfacing would just be fused on before you insert the snap (you can see it in my photo, sticking out on the wrong side of the interfacing).
Conclusion – I usually have several things to say in my pattern reviews, but this is a pretty perfect pattern. If you set aside a couple hours to cut and fuse, then you’ll only have a few hours of sewing and you will be left with a beautiful, beautiful bag. I will definitely be making this bag again in different fabrics. I would recommend this sewing pattern to an intermediate sewer (or if you’ve made a couple bags before). Just fabulous, you really have to make this one!