Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Style Stitches Challenge 1: Cosmo Bag finally finished!

Finally — it’s finished! I finished the first bag in the Style Stitches Monthly Bag Challenge, the Cosmo Bag, and I love it! It’s huge, has amazing pockets, is very comfortable to carry, and I love how the colors worked out.
So let’s talk about the pattern/book:
This is the first bag in the book, and the patterns are organized from easy to difficult. I’m not sure if the bags are supposed to progress in difficulty within their category (in other words, if the first easy pattern is the easiest, or if all the easy patterns are just mixed up), but regardless, this was labeled as an easy bag, one of three. I’m not sure I agree with that classification (and after reading several posts from other bloggers taking part in the challenge, it seems I’m not alone). I would say that most of the individual steps are pretty easy, but there are so many steps, most of them intricately detailed, and the finishing of the bag (the final steps) was one of the most frustrating parts of a sewing project I’ve done.

Also, it took FOR-EV-ER to cut out the many, many pattern pieces and then add interfacing to each and every one. I’m sure it added a lot to the final structure of the bag, but it took hours, literally hours, to complete it all. I wish I had allotted myself more time to work on the bag sooner, because I really waited too late in the month to get started and was pushing the deadline to finish (especially with all the sewing I’m currently doing for my sister’s bridal shower — more on that later).
That being said, I’ve never made anything using Amy Butler’s patterns before, and on the whole, I was pretty impressed. The pattern pieces all worked well (I had very little trouble with pieces not matching up properly.) and were clearly labeled. The instructions were generally pretty clear, but I definitely could have used more diagrams. There are very few of them, and the ones that were included I didn’t find terribly helpful. I found myself having to read and re-read many of the steps before I understood what she was telling me to do.
And while the glossary at the back of the book was helpful for defining terms, it didn’t really provide any instruction as to how to do things (i.e., it defined “stay stitch” but didn’t tell you how to make one, and since the bag instructions just tell you to “stay stitch” such and such (and then reference the glossary), that seemed a bit lacking to me. It seems like, at the very least, some of these terms could have been explained in the instructions a bit more, especially on the easy bags.
I’m also curious to see the bag in action. I think it will be helpful because it’s so big, and one of my favorite features is the huge pockets inside (basically, the entire inside is lined in pockets, four in all). However, I’ve read in some reviews that the pockets aren’t that helpful because they tend to stick out and sag a lot once you put things in them. We’ll see how that goes. It could be fixed with the addition of some sort of closure (e.g., button, snap, Velcro).
All that aside, I did finish the bag, and I’m so happy with the results. I learned a new bag construction technique, I got to work more with curves and clipping the seam allowances to smooth out the curves, I covered my first button in fabric (so easy and so cute!), and I can’t wait to take it to Dallas with me this weekend.

And now I’m ready to get started on the next bag ... more on that soon.


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had an issue with the "stay stitch" step! I was really scratching my head on that one for a while.

  2. I agree with you on the easy classification... to really be "easy" the instructions really needed to have a bit more oomph to them. But your bag turned out beautifully! (I love your coat too!) :)


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