Friday, October 5, 2012

Art Student Tote Pattern

Hi friends! I'm Emily, long time Sew to Speak enthusiast and blogger over at The Boy Trifecta. In preparation for starting a new job, I decided that I needed a new bag. In addition to my new job, I also teach classes at a few of our local universities, so I needed a bag big enough to haul around text books and student papers along with all of the stuff I carry on a day to day basis.

I searched for AGES for the perfect pattern before remembering the Anna Maria Horner Art Student Tote  pattern. It's perfect - big enough to lug around all my crap, but not so big that I look like I'm carrying a gym bag to work. I went with the yarn-dyed Essex linen for the body, and the Spotted in the Crowd print from the new Anna Maria Horner Field Study line. (Side note - this pattern is PERFECT for use as a diaper bag, and I know the shoppe has this same spotted print in laminate- great for the inside of a diaper bag!)

There are lots of awesome things about this pattern.

First, there are precisely ZERO curves in the entire pattern. That's right - to sew this bag, you need only to be able to sew a straight line. It also means that is you don't want to cut up your pattern sheet, you can just measure the pieces and cut from the measurements, since all the cuts are rectangular.

Second, if you've feared sewing zippers, the zippers on the outside of this bag are pretty much the easiest zippers you'll ever sew. A great introduction to sewing with zippers.

Third, there's enough hardware on this bag to make it fancy, but not so much that it makes it tedious to sew. Just the right amount.

And finally, like I mentioned before, the size is great. Big, but not unreasonably large.

I do have a couple of tips for sewing this bag. First, buy a glue stick. Use it. If you've never used a glue stick as a sewing notion, let me tell you, it will rock your world. There are approximately 9,938,980 miles of straps on this bag (I might be exaggerating a little, but you get the point) which must first be sewn, basically by making a long, continuous strip of straight cut binding and sewing it shut. The glue stick comes in handy while sewing the strip shut, and keeps you from having to use a ton of pins. The glue stick is also handy while attaching the straps to the bag (just glue it down and sew, rather than pinning).

Second, when preparing to attach your strap to the bag, the pattern instructions tell you to flatten the strap (which is a big loop at this point) in half and mark both the end points. When dividing your strap in half for this step, make sure you get the seams that connect the strap into a loop all on one side. This is important because, when attaching your strap to the bag, you can orient your strap so that all these connecting seams are on the back of the bag, instead of the front of the bag. (I promise, this might sound like jibberish now, but will make perfect sense if you've got the pattern in front of you).

Finally, it's worthwhile to note that if you are using the same fabric for the lining and the contrasting straps like I did, you can get by with 2.75 yards of fabric, as opposed to the 3 yards called for on the outside of the pattern.

This is a PERFECT adventurous beginner pattern. The pattern directions are great, all the seams are straight, and you get experience sewing with zippers, magnetic snaps, and d-rings. Really, I loved this pattern and would recommend it to anyone looking for a simple pattern with impressive results!


Marta said...

Great review --it's so helpful when someone writes about their experiences with a pattern to help others who want to make it. I'm cutting my tote tonight and will remember to grab a glue stick on my way home (can't believe I don't already have one on hand). Thanks!

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