I have agreed to teach a class to make the Clover Hobo Tote Bag designed by Nancy Zieman. I've never noticed the Clover bag patterns on sale anywhere, and I've certainly never met anyone who's made one. There is actually a good range of patterns, from lap top and ipad covers, shopping bags, handbags and shoulder bags, and the clever thing is that they have Perspex patterns which are stable enough for you to trace round directly onto the fabric! What a great idea! Added to which, the instructions are very detailed, and full of diagrams (very reminiscent of a dress pattern) so what's not to like? Well, the price reflects all this detail and thought. These patterns are at least twice as much as any bag pattern I've bought before, so are they worth it?
Firstly the Perspex pattern shape. It seems a good idea, until you're trying to draw round it and it's sliding about all over the place! Then when I was cutting along the traced lines with scissors, I rather longed for my rotary cutter. However, the fact that you can easily mark positions for pockets, feet and closures directly through holes in the Perspex made me reconsider.
Secondly, the instructions. These were very clear and had good tips, until it came to attaching the binding round the curved top of the bag. Nancy asks you to cut the binding at 3", fold in half and sew round the curve. Here is the resultant pig's ear I made of it - and that's after unpicking it once!
I usually make my bindings 2.5", so 3" seems rather excessive, and if I, as a fairly experienced sewer, have made such a poor job, how will my pupils fare? So I started again, and cut the binding at 2.25".
Even that wasn't perfect, but it was good enough.
Here is another view, showing the lining fabric.
And here is the completed bag. Looking good. So would I use another Clover pattern? Probably. The instructions were very clear, and I learned how to use fusible wadding, bag feet (really easy) and a magnetic closure (very easy), and although the pattern was pricey, the results are very professional looking. Now where can I go to show it off?!