Friday, July 10, 2009

My first Amy Butler Field bag turned out nice!

Would I sew this pattern again? YES

I finally found a block of time to sew myself a Field Bag and want to share my experience of it.
Let's start off by saying what you probably already know: It is a huge bag.

Finished size is 18 1/4 inch at the top of the bag and is 27 1/4 inches at the widest point. The Field bag is 15 1/2 inches tall (not counting the handles) x 5 1/2 inches deep.

It is named Field Bag for a reason! You'd love it for multi tasking as a shopping bag, diaper bag, beach bag, carry on and etc. Ideas are swimming around in my head to sew a matching garment bag from the Seams to Me book by Anna Maria Horner.

Wanting to use this as a carry-all type bag, I decided to go all the way and make the zipper top BAG.
This sewing pattern has two versions from which to choose. The Field BAG has a zipper and the TOTE has an open top without a closure. Both choices are the same size with the exception of the top zipper area.

This picture shows how the zipper is installed. I wish I could have found a better color match because the sport zipper has wide exposed tape. White is OK, but try to find a closer match when you make your bag.
Amy Butler's zipper instructions make this easy. This is what the top zipper panel looks like when it is ready to attach to the yoke of the bag. This photo shows another little trick of mine.

Somehow I ended up with a pair of hemostats. I don't remember when they became part of my sewing notions, but I use them rather often. (no, they do not have dried blood on them!) In this case, my cord had slipped down into the tube and I needed to fish it back out. (yes, I know hemostats are typically used to clamp the cord of a newborn) :-)

Hemostats make a great sewing notion!

The directions for making the piping are good. You won't have any trouble doing it even if you've never made piping before.

If you look real close, you can see the bump caused by the piping cord. If you have pinned accurately, this step is easy peasy! I hold my finger next to the bump to keep it tight to the side of the zipper foot.

When done, turn the fabric & check to see if you need to do any touch up.Looking at the bag at this stage shows the simplicity of this pattern design.

Another tip while it is fresh on my mind: Reinforce the seam which attaches the handles to the bag even though that step is not in Amy Butler's instructions. I like to play on the safe side when it comes to straps. It only takes a smidgen more thread and time to reinforce those handles!

I found the instructions to be well written for this step and the pattern pieces were accurate. The bottom panel fit nicely!

Here is what my first try looked like when sewing the front of the bag to the back of the bag (my sides seams did not line up.Remove stitches and do it again....................Mistake corrected.......I can live with this. On to the next steps of making the lining etc.

This bag moved along quickly for me until attaching the top zipper panel to the bag yoke. It isn't hard, but it took some patience because of working a a tight area.
I would advise beginners to make the Field Tote option,which is the same as the BAG, but without a zipper.
As you can see from my zipper photo, making the top zipper panel was very quick and easy. A beginner could do it. I'm not a Master Seamstress . I did it and you can too.

If you'd rather not spend time on the zipper, simply sew the Tote. :-)
Would I sew this pattern again? YES


  1. Love the bag! You know you keep posting these things and then I want to try them too! AAHH, I need more time in the day! Thanks for showing your oops, good to know someone besides myself uses her seam ripper!! I so HATE zippers, but maybe I need to give it another try!
    ~Michele from By Your Side

  2. Yeah.Time is a factor for me too.

  3. Great job! I still have yet to try a zipper. I bought a dress pattern for my 5 yr old and it includes doing a zipper so it's sitting waiting for me to attempt it. Love the fabrics!


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