Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bailey Island Hobo - pattern review

You all know Aunties Two and their fabulous patterns, right?  Well, I finally broke down and drank the Bailey Island Kool-Aid!  I had a roll of Tonga batik pretties purchased just for this project; I finished the bag yesterday. 
I'm a novice-to-not-quite-intermediate bag maker so my ignorance may shine here; you are warned.  I'm writing this  because I found so few maker reviews; I was unsure and procrastinated a "stoopid" long time over starting the bag.
Ain't it purty?!?  It made its debut yesterday and I received many compliments.
The pattern itself:
I'd call this an intermediate bag:  the sewing is simple enough, but the first gather nearly brought me to tears - ugh my wrists!  The strips can feel tedious; I broke it up into a few sessions and that helped.  And I did not figure out a graceful way to sew the buttons over the magnet snaps.  I got them in place but it was ugly.  The resulting bag is very, very pretty, feels like it will hold up nicely to abuse, the handles are a good length for my average-height body, and it's a great spot for that monstrous-huge-but-lovely set of buttons you couldn't resist that time. 
Where I did not follow the pattern:
The pattern for the small bag has you join 12 tubes (a little like the clothesline Bali Bag but with batting inside) and then cut the resulting quilted piece in half and join the halves to make your main piece.  I joined 24 and cut that in half, leaving me with a large piece I can use to make another bag with different binding and accoutrements or put to another use.  I also added a half-inch to the binding strip to make the handle channel easier to contend with.  The pattern doesn't specify thread type but I used quilting thread, a bright variegated King Tut. You'll need your walking foot.
What I would do differently next time and why:
I would cut my batting to 2.25 instead of 2.5, to make the foldovers neater.  I would pull the old Visetti out of the attic for the assembly - it's a LOT of layers and even my reliable Pfaff choked a couple of times (and I broke a needle.) 
I would make the pockets a little taller: I shove all kinds of stuff in my bag and these feel a mite small.
I'm not thrilled with the magnet/button placement.  I think I would try putting the magnet right at the top, in the binding/handle channel next time.  In theory you could put the magnets in there, cover them up with the binding strip and still place your buttons wherever you wanted them.  I like a bag that's roomy, and I can't fit a good-size paperback in this one and still snap it shut.  The bag has a lot of body and it wants to open if you don't snap it shut - so either carry a big book (always a good idea anyhow) or put your gallon of milk right atop your wallet.  (If you're the kind of gal who thinks putting a gallon of milk in your handbag is a crime, I apologize; in my world a really good bag has to free up my hands.)
Other thoughts:
The big version is very, very huge: don't jump in to make that one unless you're carrying a LOT of stuff. The strips when assembled would make a fabulous small area rug and I'm thinking of putting my made-on-purpose leftovers to this use.
I emailed Aunties Two with a question at one point; their response was fast and courteous.  So they get extra stars for great customer service.
And just for fun, here it is with a creepy lawn elf:


  1. Great bag, awesome post with all the good/useful thoughts. I totally like the bag and feel the elf shows it off best!

  2. LOVELY bag, indeed ! I just love the pattern and those joyful, sunny fabrics. Great job, my friend !
    I'm VERY intimidated with bags making and only start one when a sweet quilter friend sits by my side to guide me... but she's a seamstress, whereas I couldn't even sew a button before starting quilting - which makes all the difference ! ;>)

    ENJOY your sewing (and your bag!)

  3. many Thanks for your review! All your comments & suggestions will be so helpful when I take the plunge and get my bag going. Maybe I'll start chopping up batting this week. I've got a great big box of batting scraps. And your finished bag is really lovely!
    I've never put a gallon of milk in my bag, but I could see doing it! =)

  4. What a great bag! You have been productive! I always end up having lots of tweaks to a bag pattern that I discover after the first assembly. Good information.

  5. First of all... great review! I have this pattern and have been hemming and hawing about making it. I picked it up at Quilt Market last year along with a couple of others. The bags are really well constructed and I was very impressed. But I will take your suggestions to heart! I totally trust you! By the way, I love your version. The colors are totally me! Perhaps it was meant to be a gift... wink, wink... ;)

  6. I just started quilting and found this bag offered as a class at a local sewing center. Am I going to be in over my head, I don't sew?

    1. I don't think so; mostly you're gong to need perseverance! Follow my tips and do it in sessions, especially sewing those tubes together. Use a new (sharp!) needle and take a deep breath before the hardest bits. I only just rotated to a different bag for awhile so it's had a good test; it's totally worth a bit of tedious sewing for the end result!