Friday, April 15, 2011

Joel Dewberry's Sewn Spaces Yoga Mat Bag - Pattern/Book Review

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been going to Bikram Yoga classes. I've gone enough that I thought it was time to make myself a bag to carry my mat. Not just for going to class, but also for at home. Instead of being propped up in the corner, I can actually hang my mat up now.

I just happened to be trying to organize my HUGE collection of sewing books and I noticed a pattern for a yoga mat bag in Joel Dewberry's book Sewn Spaces. The pattern looked pretty straightforward, but I liked the use of multiple fabrics, so away I went.

This is pretty much the amount of detail that is shown on any of the projects in the book. It's sub title is "fresh and modern fabric projects for your life and home". Most of projects are home goods with a few other things thrown in. There are cards, a teddy bear, and some great patterns for chair pads and the like.

I chose to use some of my Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush not just because I love the prints, but also because they're darker and I thought they wouldn't get dirty so quickly.

As I started to assemble the bag, I realized pretty quickly that the directions were pretty brief. I learned a long time ago to READ THE WHOLE SET OF DIRECTIONS BEFORE STARTING THE PATTERN. I must have read through pretty quickly, foolishly "ass"uming that it was an "easy" pattern and I didn't need to look too hard. I was mistaken.

For the LIFE of me, I couldn't figure out how to make the drawstring casing so that it wasn't closed shut. The pattern referenced an earlier project in the book to make the drawstring itself, which I also read too quickly. If I had looked more closely, it talked about using buttonholes as an entry/exit point for the drawstring. But to be truthful, after re-reading it multiple times, it still wasn't clear in terms of order of steps to get the buttonhole made, and not sew the layers together. I had to rip it out not once but twice. I'm really glad the bag is for me, because the top is sort of uneven and stretched looking.

I am quite happy with the way the bag came out overall. I love the look, the mat actually fits in the bag the way it looks in the book, and now that I've made it (it took about 3 hours total), I could easily make it again in half the time. The pocket was a little bit tricky, but not too bad. I don't have a button cover maker yet, so I still have that to do, to add a button to the pocket.

Notes about the book and pattern...first and foremost, I LOVE Joel Dewberry's fabrics. I love his color choices, and aesthetic. I love the projects in the book. The choice of projects is great, and the photography is very pleasing. That having been said, you would actually have to read the whole book, or make the projects in order (which I NEVER do) to understand all of the directions easily. The patterns are not written for beginners, I don't think. There are very, very few pictures of how to lay things out or what things look like as you're sewing. That's one thing I really utilize in a lot of patterns I make. The illustrations and drawings. Finally, I think for just a few more sentences, which would easily fit onto the page, the directions would be much more clear.

I also got a gorgeous spring day to take pictures, so I took them all outside. I couldn't take an action shot of myself with the bag. Maybe on Sunday when I go back to class I'll have my husband take a picture of me.

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