Saturday, August 30, 2008

Amy Butler's Covington Bag

Pattern Description: Inspired by trips to the English countryside, this graceful handbag incorporates a clever cinching top that changes the bag shape. From the market place to the palace, it’s the perfect bag for your weekend jaunts. Pattern makes up into handbag or shoulder bag, which are exactly the same bag except for handle length.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Not exactly because I made a few design changes to suit my needs. I omitted the drawstring, enlarged the bag by tracing it larger and added an outside pocket. I also changed to bag’s lining to add more interior space with pockets.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very. However, the wording is too redundant, therefore, it somewhat complicates what should be an easy-to-follow guide.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The pattern pieces seem so simple, but when sewn together, a unique purse with great styling magically takes shape. I think Amy Butler is a genius!

Fabric Used: Well—I just wonder what Amy would think if she saw that I paired the “temple garden pink” from her Tea Box collection with frumpish-y ultrasuede? It just seems to me that I have endeavored to force one of Amy’s wonderful mod designs to break out of its comfort zone and waltz into the world of little old ladies who meet to play mahjong while they much tuna-spread sandwiches. Anyway, I had intended to use another of Amy’s fabrics, but this combination just happened after I discovered that a remnant of ultrasuede I had leftover from another project complemented one color in the temple garden print.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: This bag is designed to be drawn closed with a drawstring that threads through a casing formed in the lower part of the top panel. Amy describes the cinched purse as being “foppish,” which I believe would perfectly suit character Harriet Smith from Jane Austen’s beloved novel Emma. Instead, I enlarged the top panel, reinforced the panels with Peltex, and included a set of magnetic snaps. I reinforced the magnetic snaps using plastic canvas, which is a tip from this site. I cut narrow strips of Peltex and sewed them to the top edge of the front and back pieces to added strength to the seam line.

I also reinforced the bottom panel with Peltex and used HEATnBond to fuse remnants of unbleached muslin onto the front and back pieces to add body. I sewed remnants of buff felt onto the side pieces to stiffen the bag somewhat. The side pieces were supposed to have been met together at the center crease and folded over and attached toward the front of the bag.

Instead, I pulled both sides to the middle, creating a pleat. This change made more room inside the bag, so I used the pattern for the lining (only front and back included) and drew my own pattern pieces to create lining for the sides and a bottom. I also made outside and inside pockets. Some of the fabrics used for linings were remnants purchased in a grab bag from Walmart. I mixed lime green with temple garden for the lining, so the lining wouldn’t be so busy.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I would like to make another exactly as Amy cleverly designed the bag. Sometimes, a foppish bag is exactly what I need for my inner Harriet Smith!

Conclusion My version turned out just as I envisioned it, and I love it.


sweetfunkyvintage said...

I have to admit that I LOVE amy butler's patterns! I used her free pattern on her website recently to make a business card wallet and it was pretty cute and I love any opportunity to use scraps from my scrap bin!
I bought the anna tunic pattern recently but haven't had time to try it yet!

Melissa said...

What a great bag! I made the AB Weekender Bag last winter. It was a lot of work, but worth it (I say that now, just like childbirth - the pain is forgetting, I'm sure it will all come back to me if/when I make another!). About the Threads mag, call their 800 number or email them explaining you got the first issue of your subscription and it was the one you bought off the newsstand. They should offer to extend your subscription one issue and if they don't do that up front, just ask. :-)