This pattern makes a BIG bag! The bag finishes off at 12" tall, 12" deep and 20" wide. I have never attempted a bag this size and I won't lie, I was slightly nervous. Especially since I was using pricey fabric! My partner in crime, Amanda, picked it up for me on sale, but if I messed up, it would be an expensive mistake! I used two prints from Heather Ross's Far Far Away II for the exterior and handles and a print from my stash in the interior. The advantage of using the Far Far Away II, is it's weight. It is a cotton linen blend, so it is somewhere between a quilting cotton and a canvas in weight. It was easy to sew and quilt with, but gives it a nice sturdiness. Because of the added bulk of using heavy fabrics and the multiple layers and batting, I used my walking foot for the entire bag!
Once all your pieces are cut out, and there are quite a few between the exterior, lining and batting, the main pieces and side pieces need to be quilted. The pattern recommends using high-loft batting, but I used Warm and White cotton batting, which is a low-loft batting. So, my bag is a little less puffy! It also doesn't stand up on it's own, but that doesn't bother me personally!
Whenever it is recommended to zig-zag stitch or serge, do it! You end up with exposed seams on the inside (which could easily be covered with binding or seam tape if you want), so be sure to take the time to do that. Once my bag was finished, I did a final round of zig-zag stitching to finish it off. It looks much more finished now!
Do NOT skip pre-washing it! I almost did and I am so glad I didn't! I hand washed mine, and as soon as the webbing hit the water the red bled like crazy! My shout color catchers are still packed away in a box somewhere, so I continued to rinse the jute for a while and then soaked it in soapy water and vinegar to help set the color. I dried it on high for about 30 minutes and then hung it to dry the rest of the way. It ended up being a lot softer after washing which was nice!
I am really, really happy with the way my bag turned out. I love it! It's going to be perfect for Sewing Summit as well as a lot of other overnight trips! I did not have a duffel bag so this will get a lot of use! :)
I hope that this was helpful, please if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment here or email me!
PS - Simplicity patterns will be 5 for $5 this weekend at JoAnn Fabrics!
Will continue to edit this post to address questions here!
- Totally simple construction! It's basically got 1 body piece, straps and the two ends, and everything else is simply embellishment. I think on a scale of 1-10 (1 being easy, 10 being hard) in terms of bags I've made, I would rate this as probably a 3 or 4, really not bad! Just don't let yourself get befuddled by the instructions. Stop and think about how it all fits together and things will make sense!
- The jute did not end up shrinking much at all! Just bled everywhere and softened up!
- I think this bag would look fantastic done in patchwork, if you don't have enough of one fabric for the exterior (it takes 1 5/8 yds and uses most of it)! I am planning on making another that's all patchworky, maybe even with a pieced block on the one end!
- It's really not particularly time consuming either! I worked on it here and there over a week! The most time consuming parts were the cutting and the quilting!