If I didn’t think Anna Maria Horner was a goddess already, I do now. I spent the day on Sunday, minus a short chauffeuring task, with the Multi-tasker Tote (AMH MTT), a recent pattern from Ms. Horner. As I suspected, I did have trouble understanding the directions. It is the way I learn and not completely about the directions. I do think there were a few tiny parts that could have been clarified just a little bit more. I know they have a certain number of pages they can use to create a pattern and have to worry about font, enough photos, etc, so I really am not going to complain too much.
In all fairness, I think making 20 or 30 of the Eco Market Totes gave me a feel for what should be going on in the tote making process. Doing a multitude of those totes and making little changes in the pattern made me understand the bones of tote-making. The AMH MTT is much different than the EMT, but in the end they are totes and their goal is to carry things.
In general, however, this is an amazing pattern. The way it goes together looks completely mysterious one minute and the next minute it is gorgeous and elegant. I was completely blown away, because it made me think about tote bags in a new way. I don’t think it is a beginner pattern, however I would say that any intermediate sewist who has a few tote bags under her belt could use this pattern to make a bag.
In the above photo, you can see the bit that is folded over to accommodate the straps, including my lovely top stitching. 😉 I haven’t finished the straps yet, so there is another photo of this project to which you can look forward!
One of the steps I had trouble with was step #8. I really couldn’t figure out what the directions were trying to accomplish. Finally, I realized that she wanted me to sew the bottom of the pocket together! To accomplish that I had to pop the pocket (pattern piece is called pocket panel) out a certain way. When you do orient the section correctly, the whole thing looks like the section above.
Remember I mentioned the gusset tutorial in the Bag Bazaar book? I didn’t have a chance to try it out. I found AMH’s directions to be stellar. You press a crease into the side of your bag, then you line up the bottom seam with that crease and you have a perfect triangle. I drew a line (not part of the directions), because of my A type personality. Perfect box bottom. I did it before I realized what was happening and was amazed at the results.
I love the fabrics that I chose for the current tote, individually. I am not happy with the two of them in combination in this project. Too many flowers, I think, which means that none of them stand out. Yes, I will be making another! As I mentioned in a previous post and as you can see from the photos, I used the Denyse Schmidt fabrics as a trial run.
My biggest challenge with this project is the requirement of Pellon Peltex Double-Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer #72. I didn’t have any in my fabric closet, which didn’t worry me. I sewed and fused two pieces of Timtex together and the put Steam-a-Seam 2 on the outside and fused it to the bag. Having a stiff bottom is GREAT! It makes the thing stand up and much less floopy. Using my jerry-rigged method, I could easily see where something already stiff and fusible would be a lot easier. I searched the web and found it by the yard for $10+. I also found a bolt of it for $99+. Huh! I can’t make another of these using my jerry-rigged method, because I am out of SAS2. I have to decide whether to get a bolt (seems like overkill) or pay, what seems like, and exorbitant price for a yard. Anyone of you have any perspective on the price of Pellon Peltex Double-Sided Fusible Ultra Firm Stabilizer #72?
Kristin LaFlamme reviewed this pattern on her blog as well. It is a very complete review. She mentions a couple of the inconsequential typos I also saw and does some interesting things using recycled materials. Her rendition of the pattern makes me think about adding additional pockets to the outside. Adding a pocket to the outside would be especially successful when I don’t have a focus fabric (as shown on the pattern above) or fabric suitable for broderie perse.
Update: this was given to Dolores as a gift.