Recently I had the great experience of being a pattern tester for Sara of Sew Sweetness with her new Tudor Bag pattern. This was my first time testing a pattern, so I was a bit nervous of the process. And by nervous I mean I HAD TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. THOROUGHLY. No skimming over them. No referring to pictures only. Nope. I had to do this right! (We won’t talk about how I didn’t start out doing it right, ended up ripping out a bunch of stitches and made myself start the process over and do it correctly.)
I learned that as a pattern tester you need to make sure the instructions are clear so that a beginner could understand them. You have to look for errors. As a consistent skimmer-of-pattern-reading, this part was challenging in that I like to get to the good part quickly. The sewing!
Luckily for me (and you!), Sara is an amazing pattern writer. She includes lots of pictures and her instructions are very well written. I found hardly anything to comment upon. And thanks to her I finally learned how to sew a square bottom onto the bag. Thank goodness!! The heavens opened and I was singing hallelujah praises over here. I’ve never been able to get that down right until this pattern with Sara’s instructions!
I went edgy on Sara. I’m not sure that she appreciates an edgy pattern tester, but I tend to be a rebel at times. I recently purchased this amazing Alexander Henry Skulls and Roses fabric and I knew it needed to be a bag. I didn’t have a pattern that would showcase the fabric properly though, until I saw THIS pattern. Oh. Yes. This pattern is PERFECT. I also wanted to add some pleather (I think it’s actually vinyl) to give it more of a biker look.
I used a tutorial on how to make faux leather straps from Geta’s Quilting Studio. It worked great! Until I realized that I had to attach the straps to the bag and I didn’t want to make extra stitching lines. My solution was to line my needle up with the first hole stitched and very slowly continue stitching, making sure that my needle entered each previously stitched hole. I realized I was going to run out of my black Aurifil 40 Wt thread while sewing the straps. I was able to switch to a red 40wt thread that matched the fabric and that really added some wow to the pleather. I love being able to turn a potentially bad sewing issue into something amazing!
This bag came together very easily. As I mentioned, Sara’s instructions are so clear I’d highly recommend this bag pattern to a beginner. The pattern is a “choose your own adventure” pattern, which means you can choose exactly what features you want on your bag. Zip-top closure or magnetic? I chose zip-top. Bag handles, bag strap, or both? I opted to go just with bag handles. Front pocket? Yep, I need a place to quickly stash my keys and phone. Purse feet or not? Yes, please and thank you! This is such a great pattern that I am definitely making another bag or two or three with it.
I love the roominess inside. There are four pockets inside, two on each side. I’ve managed to use all the pockets and now I have a very organized bag. LOVE that!
Details about the bag (for those that like details):
- Exterior Fabric: Alexander Henry Skulls and Roses
- Accent Fabric: Black faux leather (vinyl?) from Hobby Lobby
- Interior fabric: Kona in Cardinal
- Pockets & Outer Pocket Lining: Andover Chillingsworth Skull Damask in Black
- Thread: Aurifil 40wt in 2460 Dark Carmine Red
- Hardware: Emmaline Bags Handcrafted metal label, Handcrafted zipper pull and purse feet
Big thanks to Sara for the opportunity to test this pattern. This really is such a versatile pattern, I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes making bags, or wants to start making bags. One of the big bonuses to a Sew Sweetness pattern is that Sara is available if you get stuck or you need help!
I’d also recommend you heading over to Sara’s blog post HERE to get details on the pattern and to look at all the other tester bags. They are gorgeous!
Have you been a pattern tester? What did you think of the experience? Do you want to become a pattern tester? Which designer would you most like to test patterns for?