Cosmo Bag Pattern Review

 Three days ago I finally got into my Style Stitches book by Amy Butler. I'd read several reviews of the Cosmo bag pattern on blogs around the internet and was a little intimidated. Even with 14 years of sewing under my belt, the past 4 designing and drafting my own patterns, these reviews made me afraid. So I got the book last month and it took me this long to start the pattern. I dreaded the endless cutting that I'd heard about, was afraid that the curves would be a nightmare and I'd have puckers galore where things should be smooth and even.  I'd read over and over again that although the pattern was labeled beginner that it was anything but easy.

But it wasn't like that at all.

I'd say that a beginner could easily do this. Sure it has a lot of steps but they are basic construction, there aren't any advanced techniques in this bag, it just requires patience and pinning. I hate pinning but it helps greatly here.

 It was a lot of cutting but I broke it up into two evenings. One evening I cut all of the fabric pieces and the next evening I cut all of the interfacing pieces. Once the cutting was done I spent an entire day sewing, the entire bag probably took about 14 or so hours total. I did it all in 2 days because I'm impatient like that. I just couldn't wait to see it finished!

Like I said, the construction was not difficult, easily beginner. Remember, easy doesn't always mean quick. There are a lot of pieces to sew together here and taking your time to pin the pieces will make a better finished product. Also, don't skimp on the pressing, it makes anything you make look 100% better. I found that the instructions could be streamlined to be more efficient though. When putting on the band and handles she has you sew the band on one side, clip, then iron, then repeat for the other side. I preferred to sew the bands on both sides then clip then iron at once. The same with the handles, instead of pressing and top-stitching after each handle, I just sewed all 4 on, took them to the iron and pressed them then came back and top-stitched. It just saves time. I also did the pockets and sides the same way. It just made things a bit faster and more efficient, I didn't skip any steps, I just organized them better.  I did add top-stitching around ALL of the seams on the outer part of the bag. I just top-stitched about 1/4" away from each side of the seams. I also decided to do a 4-hole 2" button instead of the smaller shank-style covered button that is called for. Because of this, I didn't wait until the last step to sew on the button, I sewed the button onto the outside right before I sewed the lining to the bag. I didn't want my stitching to show through to the lining.
  

The interior of the bag came together quickly. I only made one small change, I added a gusseted pocket for my cell phone. I felt that it would just get lost in those huge interior pockets and the outer pockets are really to deep for my phone. I measured my phone and added 1/4" to each side and the top and bottom, it turned out great and holds my phone perfectly. I lined the top of the phone pocket up with the top of one of the interior pockets and stitched it into place.                                            
 See the pocket there? I made it gusseted just because I like the way it looks, I can easily see it inside of the dark purse with that bright blue outline!

The large pockets in this bag are great and easy to make. You just baste the pockets onto the finished edge and sew a line up the middle to form the pockets. You could sew the line off-center or even sew 2 lines and get 3 pockets if you wanted to, it just depends on what you like.
 The side pockets. Where do I begin? I like them....kind of. They are a bit too narrow at the top for my hand to fit into them. And they are DEEP. Really useless for anything other than water bottles or a small umbrella. I like them BUT next time I make this bag (oh yes, there will be a next time, I had FUN making this bag!) I will measure about halfway down the pocket and make another pocket to go on top of it. I'll make it the same way so what you will see is another blue edge about halfway down. This will make 2 pockets on each side, so 4 total and the smaller ones should be the perfect size for a cell phone, small wallet, passports, whatever. And you'll still have the longer pocket for your water or umbrella.

See the top-stitching on the sides there? That is what I was talking about before, the pattern doesn't call for it but I like the look that it gives and it reinforces the seams even more, this is a huge bag so it needs to be strong if you are going to stuff it full of stuff!
 Like I said...HUGE bag! This is my 40 lb. 4 year old! She was sitting down inside of the bag, she asked me to pick her up in it but I didn't want to push my luck.

In short, I love this bag and I love this pattern. I am sorry that I waited so long to try it. I can't wait to make another one, I'll add the smaller side pockets and I'll probably add a large kangaroo style pocket to the front, I'll have to make some extra copies of the main panel and fiddle with it a bit in order to figure it out.

If you are just starting to sew, don't be intimidated by the steps in this pattern. There isn't anything hard about it at all, just take your time and follow the steps. If you feel your curves getting wonky, use your seam ripper to hold them down a bit as you sew. Also, use a tailors ham to press your curved seams, it will make a huge difference on how they lay down and they will not pucker!
I originally intended on using this bag when we fly to Japan, it is large enough to use as a carry-on, purse, and camera bag all in one! But now that it is finished I love it so much that I am going to use it as my daily purse. It is a hell of a lot bigger than the bags that I usually carry but I really, really love it!

I purchased the fabrics at a local quilt shop, Jo-Ann, and fabric.com. The outer printed fabric is a canvas home-dec fabric, the blue is a kona cotton, and the interior fabric is a batik. I found that the patterns requirement of 2.5 yards for the outer fabric was WAY too much if you are using a  54" fabric, I could probably make another small bag with what I have left. . The 6.5 yards of woven interfacing was accurate, I used almost every bit of it.  Use the interfacing that she calls for, it really makes the bag sturdy but not stiff.

Buy this book, use this pattern........and the other patterns! And no, I didn't get paid to review this pattern, nor was I asked to, I just thought I'd offer another perspective on it! 

Comments

  1. Thank you for this review! I also have been sewing/designing for a long while and have been a little freaked out when reading the other reviews of this pattern. I am starting my Cosmo in a few minutes and thought I would do one last quick search for reviews before I cut my ever-so-pricey Amy Butler fabric and I'm so glad I did! Great Job!

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