Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pattern Review ~ Amy Butler's New Field Bag and Tote

Hi Friends!

I have had a WONDERFUL 48 hours! I drove down to one of my "bestest" friends house (shout out Lori!) for a too short sewing getaway! I decided I was going to tackle Amy's new Field Bag pattern. We'll be getting on a plane in a few days so I thought it would make a great carry-on. From the pattern cover, it looks enormous.

But, I know Amy uses her cute, adorable and petite friends as models so I thought a tall and curvaceous woman, like myself, might be able to pull it off as an average size tote bag. Umm, it's still enormous, even on me! Which kind of made me feel good! I mean, I know my thighs are no where near as gorgeous as this girl but hey, I don't dwarf it!!


So, let's get down to business. This pattern skill level, in my opinion only, would be "beginner" for the Tote and "experienced" for the Bag. The difference? A dreaded zipper! The Bag, which is what I decided to make, has a zipper closure along the top panels. I need to say this, Amy's directions for putting in zippers are good. "What's the trouble" you say? I have to be honest, I just don't know. I read the instructions, they made sense to me. I start attaching it all together and I have issues. Mostly from the bulk. I think I just need to do it once for practice then do it for real! Now that I've put this zipper in, I don't think I'll have a problem next time. It wasn't even the actual putting in of the zipper, that was easy. It was actually attaching the top panels (which had the zipper already inserted) to the bag itself. It's the bulk, man, it gets me every time!


The pattern instructions are very good. I did have a question about one part of the cording instructions but I emailed Amy's studio about clarification. I just received word that STEP 11 F can be omitted. This is a mistake in the pattern, a very small one and it didn't take long to figure out that step 11 F was not necessary.
Like I said, I would be very comfortable recommending this pattern to a "beginner" for the Tote (no zipper). I would define this person as someone who has constructed a bag of some sort and someone who has worked with multiple layers. I don't think I would recommend this as your first bag ever. It's a lot of fabric and a ton of interfacing. The investment is too large to let frustration take over and the whole thing to land in a box in the closet (I speak from experience)! The pattern calls for 8 1/2 YARDS (if using quilting weight cotton) of Stacy SF-101, which in my opinion is the only interfacing!! I love this stuff! It also takes some Thermolam Plus which is the best fusible fleece for bags. Now, even though I had a problem with the zipper (it really wasn't a problem, it looks fine, it's just that a good time was not had while trying to put this sucker in), I wouldn't say you have to be "Advanced" to tackle it. Just be confident, read your instructions a couple times before diving in and GO SLOW! If I can do this, you can!


The instructions for the cording are fabulous. The pleats are no big deal. The bottom of this bag has a wide inset that you'll need to pin and ease in the curve. Easy as pie!

Some "please learn from my mistakes" tips:

1. Make sure all interfacing is completely adhered to your fabric pieces. In some cases, you'll have 2 layers of interfacing or one layer of Stacy with a layer of Thermolam over that. If those layers are not completely adhered to your fabric, you are likely to have some rippling.

2. This bag gets heavy with all of the interfacing. Put your sewing machine on a table that is big enough so the purse doesn't hang while your sewing. It needs to be laying on a table so the weight doesn't make what you are sewing pull to the left. (This may have been the majority of my problem with the zipper.)

3. Don't think this a 4 hour project. Of course, the tote is much quicker because there is no zipper but if you are adding the zipper, give yourself a few days to complete the project. Even without the zipper, you'll need to give yourself a few days. Very few of us have the luxury of being able to sew straight through with life happening all around us. Make sure your family is okay with this project being out for a couple days. It will take a while to cut all of your pieces out, attach the interfacing and fleece and make your cording. That's not even getting to the actual construction. Don't be rushed. Take your time, and enjoy the creative process! Your finished product will be well worth the time invested!


This cutie will definately hold everything I'll need for a 5 hour flight! Then it will double as my beach bag! I can totally see this as a diaper bag too. It has 4 large pockets, two on each side of the lining. Then, of course, you'll need to scour your local antique store for the perfect piece of vintage jewelry, a la Amy!!

Pattern Rating:

5 super hip and cool stars*****!!


msbossy said...

Thanks for the the advice on the time it takes, but not to be put off. The results are great. Here's my tips and materials needed in cm rather than yardage

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

Thanks for the link to your cm recommendations and for those of you who are overseas and can't find Pellon, msbossy has recommendations for you in that area as well. THANKS! Your bag looks great!