We've all been beginners at bagmaking. I certainly wasn't born knowing how to make them. And if you've been sewing clothing, quilts, or home decor, you're going to be encountering new terminology and possibly new techniques.
When we proudly make something, we compare it to those beautiful posts we see and decide we're not up to par. And maybe give up. I almost did after making my first bag - from vinyl no less.
The Beginner Basics Collection will teach you bagmaking techniques with opportunities to show off the sewing skills you already have. Or maybe you have other crafting skills you'd like to highlight. The simple bag designs are the perfect canvas and The Bailey Basic Tote is a perfect example.
We gathered a pool of testers with the criteria being "beginner bagmakers with sewing experience." Most of the ladies have a year or less of bagmaking. Two or three have excellent proofreading skills. And a couple or so are self-taught sewists within the past year. Their close attention to detail has helped ensure that this pattern IS for the beginner bagmaker.
Take a look at their makes and comments, and be sure to check out any links provided to see more of their creativity.
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Jaime said, "I did a quilt-as-you-go type method using batting as suggested in the pattern. I pieced them ON the batting and then quilted the whole section once I had the length I needed.
The exterior is a cotton canvas fabric I found at IKEA. It's sturdier than a quilting cotton and allowed me to skip the SF101 (which is only used on the exterior IF you are using lightweight cotton)."
Jaime did two rows of topstitching along the accent panel, the top edge, and her straps. Her creativity on the accent strip is very eye-catching and made a unique bag. She plans to use her tote bag for knitting supplies.
Hjordis' beautiful fabrics came from her stash. About that super accent strip, she said, "I fussy cut by hand to ensure that I got the woodgrain straight because the print wasn't on the straight grain of the fabric."
She used all quilting cottons on her bag, so the exterior body was interfaced with SF101 before the fusible fleece was added.
Her husband plays the ukulele and is the lucky recipient of the tote bag. Follow Hjordis on Instagram @hjordisperkins.
Shirley took some extra time to make an accent strip that really shines. She pieced the fabric and then outlined the junctions with bias tape, using a 4m twin needle. She learned this "Stained Glass Quilting" from a Japanese quilter that takes time, but produces beautiful results. she used the fabric on the straps also.
Shirley said, "My tablet fits in the pocket nicely and sits just under the magnetic snap. I used medium weight cotton with SF101 on the exterior so the bag stands up by itself. The lining is Japanese cotton.
Thanks for the diagram on page 17 for the pocket reinforcement, I learned something new! (This is for a triangle edge on the Tablet Pocket.)
I was able to topstitch the back seam by rolling up the front panel as I stitched. The panel survived intact!
This is a lovely pattern - easy to follow and producing a very eye-catching result."
Lisha is new to bagmaking, but has apparently been learning well! She used cotton canvas for the main exterior with cotton batik for the accents and interior pockets. The lining is cotton from Rose & Hubble, and the interfacings are Vilene G700 Woven interfacing, and Vilene H630 Volume Fleece.
Lisha's comments about the pattern: "Your advice to PRESS and not Iron, made a big difference and really helps everything lay better for top stitching. This Beginner Bit will actually making you mindful of pressing and not ironing, and will be so helpful to beginners."
Lisha's classic-look bag wowed us all with her topstitching and the beautiful finish of her bag. Not a wrinkle or bump anywhere!
Niki said this pattern came along just in time - her young nephew is visiting, and he doesn't go very far without his "tap tap" tablet.
Her exterior is outdoor canvas, with the lining and accent piece made from quilting cotton.
Her nephew will be able to keep his earphones, snacks, and any cuddly buddies close at hand. He is all set for travel!
Mary Lynn Curatolo Marcolina
Mary Lynn did an excellent job fussy cutting her accent strip of Tula Pink cat fabric. She even provided us with a photo of her template!
The exterior of her tote is made with duck canvas and the accent is quilting cotton. She interfaced it all with WovenFuse and fusible fleece.
The lining and slip pockets are quilting cotton, with the Tablet Pocket lined with fusible fleece.
Nicki Thornock of Thorncrafting.com
Nicki's bag is all quilting cotton, including that beautiful sunflower accent. She interfaced everything with SF101. The exterior and Tablet Pocket were then interfaced with fusible fleece.
To see more of Nicki's creations, check her out on Facebook or at her website, Thorncrafting.
Kara Lynn Dausch Reno
Kara Lynn's butterfly beauty is 100% cotton canvas for the exterior. She use recycled jeans for the straps and on the accent which was machine embroidered to coordinate with the butterfly fabric. The lining is cotton and also used on the straps, which she also pieced.
Patricia Maxey made a tote for her young daughter. She used decor canvas for the exterior, accent piece and the lining. She chose to topstitch on the solid accent piece. Notice how she used the print on either side of the accent strip.
I found the bird fabric in the premium cotton at Joann's. I first drew out my design, and made a template from stencil plastic that I could see through for placement. I then copied my drawing to the panel. The tree is painted with acrylic paint with fabric medium added and the yellow leaves and buds are hand embroidered with Size 8 Perle Cotton.
I wanted to pick up more of the yellow as a "surprise" so I used that on the back of the handles. I then used some of the accent black on the pockets.
All fabric is cotton, so I interfaced with SF101 first and added fleece to the exterior and tablet pocket.
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A huge THANK YOU! to everyone who tested for The Bailey Basic Tote. While I love sharing their makes and the details about them, the time they took to proofread and offer their very honest feedback on the true merits of this beginner pattern is the most valuable. They then took the time to come up with designs that would show the best of the pattern, and whether or not it is an easy-to-understand and to-follow product.
I'm eager to see what you come up with for your Bailey Basic Tote.