Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Tote Bag Pattern, Amended Review

I received a tote bag pattern for Christmas.

The Stand 'n Stow pattern from Atkinson Designs. I was very excited because I have their Cash and Carry pattern too that is excellent. Unfortunately, I can't give the Stand 'n Stow pattern an "excellent" rating.  I must change my review after making a second bag with the correct fusible product. The Stand 'n Stow pattern is also excellent.

So here's what happened. I went to my LQS with the pattern and asked if they had the fusible product called for in the pattern. They did not have any but said they would order it for me. A week or so later they called and said the fusible product I ordered was in. So I went in and bought some. It was just like fusible fleece though. I asked if they were sure this was what I ordered because it didn't seem right, but they assured me it was. I made the bag with it and had a terrible experience because it was not the correct product. Earlier this week I got another call from my LQS telling me that the fusible product I ordered was in. I said "Hmmm.... I got a call a couple weeks ago that it was in and bought some. Is this different?" She said yes, that they had originally ordered the wrong product but didn't realize it until later. They reordered and this new stuff is definitely what the pattern calls for. So I went and bought some yesterday and made another bag. Boy, what a difference the correct stuff makes.

The flimsy stuff on the left in the photo is the stuff I used in my first bag. It is really just fusible fleece. The stuff on the right in the photo is the correct product and works wonderfully.

With the pattern you can make three different size bags - small (7 3/4" by 7 3/4" by 4 1/2"d), medium (12" by 12" by 7 1/2"d) and large (14" by 13" by 9 1/2"d). So far so good, I love the three size options. I made the medium size bag. It is a good grocery tote size. I thought the fact that it can stand up by itself would help the baggers so that won't be so grumpy when they see me coming with all my cloth bags.

The instructions were well written and easy to follow, as I expected from the Cash and Carry pattern.

However, the trouble starts with the order of some of the steps. For me, it was simply impossible to complete the bag as instructed. My problem was trying to shove the last four bits of fusible fleece into the sewn channels. Now matter how hard I tried, even following the tips given in the pattern that worked for other sections, these pieces would not go all the way into the channels and lay flat. I tried for thirty minutes Tuesday evening to do this step. After thirty minutes I gave up trying to properly place just one of the four pieces in this step. Wednesday afternoon I tried for another fifteen minutes and finally decided to just rip out the last step so that I could slide in the fusible fleece and then redo the step I ripped out. So basically, I switched the order of two steps. After that I was able to complete the bag fairly easily.

Ignore all this crossed out bit. With the correct fusible product the pieces slide easily into the channels. I made my second bag in just a little over an hour.

Here is my completed bag, using the correct fusible product.

For this second one I opted to just use the lining fabric for the handles instead of using both fabrics for the handles. I like this look better of just using the lining fabric for handles but I constructed them just like the pattern said even though I was using just one fabric.

So I apologize to Terry Atkinson for my original post about the Stand 'n Stow pattern. I have removed that post. The pattern is excellent and so is the bag!


Melissa ;-) said...

I LOVE your fabric! Have a ton of fun on your retreat!

Laurie said...

I have this pattern too and haven't tried it out yet...thanks for the tips. I'll keep them in mind and send a pic when mine is completed :) have fun at your retreat! Laurie

Mama Pea said...

Wow. I didn't even know it was President's day weekend. We don't get the day off, and electronic calendars I use don't have that kind of info on them.

Your bag is drop-dead gorgeous! Love the fabrics and how bright they are. Now I want that pattern, and I'll have to have you tell me the proper order of steps if I get it!

Have a great time on your retreat! Can't wait to hear about it!

Susan @ Blackberry Creek said...

That fabric is luscious! What it is?

Mama Pea said...

Great new bag. I'm curious what the new product is. (I hope your quilt shop gave you some money back or something for selling you the wrong stuff.)

I have an embroidery project where I'm using the really stiff stuff like you are holding, but I think I'm using something much thicker than what she called for. And now, I'm going to end up with really fat book pages. So, I've got the project on halt to try to figure out what I'm going to do. I have a lot of time, effort, and thread invested already. Not the pattern's fault. I think it's the fault of the store who advised me on what to buy.

Nice amendments!

Chris S. said...

I seem to have an issue with the inside seam binding. How do you "tuck" it in on the bottom. It is so tight after sewing the binding on.

Lynn said...

Chris S, I am not sure what you mean by tuck the binding in on the bottom of the bag. I didn't have that problem. If I had an email address for you I would send you some photos of the inside of my bag and maybe that would help you. My email address is in my profile. Top right of this page underneath the header image. Click on the "view my complete profile" link and you can email me directly rather than leaving a comment.

Chris S. said...

After making a second one, I have a better technique. Boy if you can make one in a little over an hour, I would love your quickness. They aren't difficult, love then and all the ladies in my family are going to get one for Mother's Day.