Yay! I successfully completed my first project from the book I won last month, Amy Butler's Style Stitches. Not only did the wonderful Bree from My Crafty Crap give a copy of the book away but she's also hosting a sew along. I flaked out last month and didn't get around to making the complicated-looking Cosmo Bag so I vowed I'd bust out the sewing machine for this one. I'm glad I waited since the Reversible Everyday Shopper was such an easy bag to sew with nothing more complex than a straight line.
The book is full of patterns for a wide variety of bags. I'm looking forward to trying so many of them out. This is one of the more plain styles in the book and, to tell the truth, it's probably not one I'll probably bother making again as it's written. I don't really have a need in my life for such a huge tote but if you're short on reusable grocery bags it would certainly come in handy for that. Obviously with the bulk it's not the sort of bag you can just roll up and pop in your purse, which is what I prefer to do with mine. I imagine this is intended to be a cutesy bag you carry around at the market and show off while you shop.
This year, I've been making an effort to use up fabrics from my stash so it was difficult to find the perfect combination for this bag. At least I was able to use up some of that Ikea fabric I bought on an impulse and have regretted purchasing since. I swear they must pipe something through the vents in the store to encourage silly impulse buys. There are cute elements that drew me to the fabric in the first place but it's been hard to find a project large enough to show those off. As a result, they've sat unused in my closet for the better part of a year.
Since I was such a slacker and waited until the last minute, I was able to take advantage of everyone else's hard work and read several reviews before I dove into the pattern. I made a few changes to the pattern based on that and some additional ones of my own.
- I used a third fabric for the pocket because I didn't have enough on hand of the Ikea fabric. The bags I've liked the best from others have used three or more fabrics to shake things up and keep the bag interesting. Some used contrasting fabrics for the side panels as well, which I think works great.
- I only included one pocket on the side that will probably be inside most often. Partially because I didn't have enough of the fabric I chose to use and partially because I didn't want to obscure any of the cute Ikea fabric.
- I sewed a seam up the center of the pocket to divide it into two sections. Some of the reviews I read did the same as the pocket was too large and floppy otherwise. Seems like a good choice based on my results.
- I used quilting cotton for one of sides. I couldn't find coordinating home decor fabrics in my stash and figured one layer of sturdy Ikea fabric would be enough. I think the bag turned out just fine and still has plenty of structure.
- I only interfaced the quilting cotton side of the bag but did interface both bottom sections. Again, this was based on others' reviews in addition to my own cheapness. The bag still seems nice and sturdy. Honestly, considering how tough it was to sew through some areas once the bag was assembled I can't imagine how my machine would have gotten through that extra bulk.
- I'm not sure if the instructions state this, but make sure to switch to a thick needle when you're working on the folded section of the straps and sewing around the top of the assembled bag. Even with a size 16 needle I had to hand crank the machine to plow through it all.
All in all it's a neat pattern and I wouldn't mind toying with the size to make a more normal-sized tote. At least now I feel that I deserved the book I won and can't wait to try next month's pattern, the Origami Bag.