17 April 2012

Pattern Review: The Emily Bag - My "Grown Woman" Bag

My friend Jabree told me that every grown woman should have a "church bag" to carry all your stuff in. I had sketched one out I was going to make but I came across this pattern and really love the shape of the bag and it's a good size too.  Here's my review...

The pattern is #108 - The Emily Bag from http://www.ithinksew.com/

Pattern Description:

The huge size of The Emily Bag follows the style of big modern bags, providing the carrier with a vast amount of space in which to carry a range of items, from small to bulky. The Emily Bag is sure to be a hit at the beach and during the sunnier seasons.

Pattern Sizing:

Finished Size: 18” WIDTH X 14 ¼” HEIGHT X 7” STRAP HEIGHT X 7” DEPTH


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions are very well illustrated with photos for every step. . I tried to follow the instructions pretty closely so I could give a proper review but some things I just could not bring myself to do. For example, it tells you to pin the pocket lining to the zipper and bag lining and then flip it over and stitch - essentially instructing you to sew blindly over pins. I just wouldn't do that and risk damaging my machine. Instead I pinned from the back (because you really needed to) and then put pins in the front and removed the ones from the back before stitching. This was the one thing that caused me to raise a brow but most people will develop their own techniques for inserting zippers/pockets anyways.

The only other thing was that no pattern pieces were provided for the bag bottom and the handles which I'm perfectly fine with. However, I just happened to notice some extra dimensions on one of the pattern pieces. You basically have to figure it out on your own because it's not mentioned in the instructions that you need to cut these pieces.

There were a few places where the instructions weren't altogether clear but the saving grace is the illustrations. So between the instructions and the photos you can figure out what you're supposed to do.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I LOVE the shape of the bag and that it's large enough to be used as a tote - and not your grandmother's typical rectangular quilted tote.

I appreciated that a separate pattern piece was provided for the lining. Often you use the same piece for the outside and the lining. If the bag has pleating you're doing double the work to make pleats on the inside which won't be seen and it can be difficult to place pockets over the pleats.

This was my first attempt at (1) zippered pocket and (2) square bottomed bag. Usually the bags I make have gussets so it was good to try something new.

Fabric Used:

Home Dec canvas from JoAnn. I had initially purchased it to make a tote for church using a design that I sketched out but decided to use this pattern instead. I had to be very creative to get all of my pattern pieces out of the fabric I had but I just made it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The pattern calls for a single pocket on one side of the lining. I added pockets on the other side of the lining. I did a double layer of pockets with sections in the top layer. I also added my initials to the inside of the bag. In hindsight I would have done the embroidery directly to the bag lining instead of on the pocket. However I'd already inserted the magnetic snap and didn't want to put that in my hoop nor did I want to remove it and risk weakening the prongs.

I interfaced the bag and the lining with fusible woven interfacing. The pattern only called for the lining to be interfaced as an OPTIONAL step.

I had intended to reinforce the bottom of the bag but I had already closed up the lining before I remembered.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again. I have some black faux leather fabric I've been wanting to make a purse from.


My "church stuff" 
 My initials embroidered on one of the pocket layers.

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