Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review: Bari J. State Street Tote

This post is part of Purse Palooza 2012.
For full schedule of guest post pattern reviews and prizes, click here!

Jeni from In Color Order is well-known throughout blogland for Art of Choosing fabric selection series (and she is also teaching…again!…at Sewing Summit on a similar topic!) and also for her vintage sheets Etsy shop! Pop on over to her blog and take a look!!

I’m excited to be here today to share my experiences with the State Street Tote pattern by BariJ! Thanks for having me Sara! 🙂

Materials

The bag can be made using either quilting cotton or heavier weight fabrics like home dec or cotton linen blends.  You can either use two fabrics for the outside or create patchwork panels.  I am a major sucker for patchwork, so it was a no brainer for me! I decided to work with Rhapsodia by Art Gallery Fabrics because it just has such a summery cheerful feel to them.   For interfacing, I used Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece and Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex Fusible Woven.  I love fusible fleece and this was the first time I had used it in conjunction with a woven interfacing (as recommended in the pattern!) like Shape Flex.  I LOVED the result, no wrinkles! 🙂

Rhapsodia State Street Tote by jenib320

Rhapsodia State Street Tote, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.

Along with fabrics and interfacing you need a few notions to make this bag.  Bari gives you the option of using a regular magnetic closure or a spring closure.  I used a magnetic closure since I already had some on hand! You also need plastic canvas for the bottom and could opt to add purse feet if you’d like!

I used my walking foot for this entire bag! It makes things so much easier when you’re sewing through lots of layers!

Pattern Pieces

Rhapsodia State Street Tote by jenib320

Rhapsodia State Street Tote, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.

There is only one pattern piece for this pattern (hooray!), the rest of the pieces are square or rectangular so you can simply rotary cut! The cutting doesn’t take long, and would be even quicker if you choose to use two fabrics instead of patchwork!

Illustrations/Instructions

Rhapsodia State Street Tote by jenib320

Rhapsodia State Street Tote, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.

The instructions are very clear, and there are illustrations to accompany some of the more involved steps.  The actual physical pattern is very nice.  It’s all in color and printed on nice paper. Very inviting! If you’re new to sewing there is also a section on simple patchwork instructions as well as a sewing glossary.

I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern, which is unusual for me!
I’m notorious for not following directions, I usually find some way to
deviate.  The only thing I ended up doing differently was I left out the
plastic canvas for the bottom.  But, that wasn’t on purpose! I had it
all cut and ready and forgot about it until the bag was already
finished! It seemed to have plenty of structure without it, so I set it
aside for another project!

Difficulty Level

Rhapsodia State Street Tote by jenib320

Rhapsodia State Street Tote, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.

I think that a confident beginner could tackle this bag.  The instructions are really throughout, but it does require you to do quite a few things.  You’ll be quilting, creating boxed corners, and stitching through lots of layers.  Totally doable though, would be a great skill-builder bag!  As with any pattern, read it cover to cover before cutting or sewing anything and you’ll be fine!

Conclusion

Rhapsodia State Street Tote by jenib320

Rhapsodia State Street Tote, a photo by jenib320 on Flickr.

I love my finished bag! It is a great size and I like the outside pockets a lot.  I did all the cutting and interfacing one afternoon and all the stitching another afternoon.  I like that I can fit a lot in it, but it’s not super bulky.  It’s sturdy and the patchwork gives it a little extra whimsy! I’ll definitely be making this bag again! Next I want to try one with a spring closure!

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