I am so proud to be sharing this great pattern with you all! It's super usable tote bag, designed by my Quiltmarket roomie and designer extraordinaire, Bari Ackerman of Bari J. Designs and Keeping it Real Sewing Patterns.
This is the cover of the pattern.
The first time I made this pattern up it was as a pattern tester for Bari. One thing I really love about her patterns is that they give very clear directions, and usually pictures of the more difficult steps in the pattern. Another great feature is her "keeping it real" commentary. These are tips Bari includes from having made the pattern multiple times, and great bits of info about how to avoid snags, or mistakes. This was my first Green Living Market Bag made up in Bari's Full Bloom line of fabrics.
I love the vintage look with the roses in the fabric and the velveteen ribbon.
The other two bags are both made with Bari's Country Lane line of fabric. One thing I really enjoy about Bari's designs and color palettes is just how many different ways you can mix them up. I could easily have mixed these in other combinations and come up with almost endless variations.
This version, again, is softer and more feminine. The biggest challenge for me with this pattern is sewing on the bottom triangles. Once you construct the bottom using french seams (great technique by the way, really makes the bag look finished, and much sturdier), you fold up the corners to make the bottom flat. See the last photo for a good shot of this.
I don't know about anyone else, but my Pfaff does not seem to like going through that may layers of fabric. I tried using different needles, I tried sewing very slowing. I broke multiple needles and kept getting my motor jammed. What worked best for me was to hand turn the wheel for 3 stitches through the thickest part. Works like a charm and gets through the super thick corner. Again, in Bari's tips, she addresses this.
This last red and blue version just knocks my socks off. I think I'll be keeping this one. A great part of this pattern is that the ribbon is used to tie the bag up so you can keep it in your purse, briefcase, diaper bag, or car for whenever you need to schlep stuff. For me, that is a very common occurrence!
After I made these three versions, I think overall the time it took was 2 hours for each one, start to finish, including cutting, sewing and pressing. Really quick if you need to bring a gift to someone, or want to change out your look with the seasons.
Bari has also written a book, Inspired to Sew, that is due out in January. It has wonderful projects ranging from small and quick to complex and fabulous. The photographs are gorgeous and inspiring.