I can tell spring is right around the corner – the weather is gorgeous, the trees are blooming, and I’ve had a burst of productive energy! I manged to get some painting done (after procrastinating for months) and my Echino Boston Bags are finished! On a side note, I’m very happy I’m current on my tetanus shots because I was poked and snagged by more pins in the final process of putting this bag together than any other project I’ve worked on lately. So now, it’s time for a mini-review of the pattern!
Overall, I love the pattern. Even though it’s in Japanese, the illustrations are enough to walk you through the construction process and is easy to put together. It could be made fairly quickly as well if you use packaged piping and fusible Peltex for the interfacing. The only drawback that I see to this bag is that the raw edges (which are either ‘finished’ with a zigzag stitch or serged) are visible on the inside:
Coordinating thread hides most of the raw edge, but I think if I would do it again, I might look into binding the seams.
So how does the Boston Bag compare to the Sophia Carry-All?
As you can see the Boston Bag is larger (18″ across the widest part of the bag, 15″ tall, 5″ deep while the Sophia measures in at 14″ wide across the center, 9 1/2″ tall, 4 1/2″ deep) and is more comparable to Amy Butler’s Weekender pattern in size. I love that Amy’s bags are finished on the inside, but they are more time consuming to make and are generally more difficult to sew in comparison. The Boston Bag, however, could easily be sewn up in a day, although I would recommend either encasing the raw edge with binding or trimming the edges and zig-zaging them with a coordinating thread (or serging).
Be prepared to see this pattern being used over again – especially around the holidays. I think this would make a great gift!
Since I didn’t add the lining to the exterior fabric and Peltex, I had to go back and baste everything…. again. Even though it was time consuming, I think it was worth it, both sides are nice and smooth – no puckers! At the same time I added the piping (I opted for brown which not only matches the bird on the material but is also the same as the pattern photo).
While I was stitching away, I also inserted the zipper. With this part finished, all I have left is to do is stitch the fabrics together…. I’m getting close to being finished (crossing fingers)!
While the picture doesn’t look I’ve accomplished much, I feel like I’ve made a dent into the Echino Boston Bag.
I’ve managed to make all 4 handles which was a different experience for me. The directions call for using webbing inside the strap. While the handle is flexible and feels sturdy, I think I still prefer interfacing the handle with a fusible, folding and stitching – it’s just easier.
Once I finished with the handles, I attached them to the bag – so far, so good. Now I need to attach the lining to all of the bag pieces. This should have been done when I basted the exterior material to the Peltex, but 1) I didn’t want to have to try to sandwich everything together at once, it just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen (this is why I think the fusible double sided Peltex would work best) and 2) I didn’t want the stitching from attaching the stitching from attaching the handle showing on the interior lining. If I can get that completed as well as adding the piping, I think I’ll be happy with my progress!
I had planned on posting a review of Weekend Sewing but between a late night, daylight savings, and an early morning (The cheer squad for Taylor’s school were posted this early this morning – it was worth it, she made it!), I just don’t have the energy to do it! Instead, let me quickly update you on bag progress….. everything’s basted. This has to be one of the ickiest parts of bag making (IMHO). Next time, I’m definitely purchasing the double sided fusible Peltex – it will really save on time! Hopefully by tomorrow, I’ll have made more progress and have some photos to prove it.
Between Easton’s one short nap and a late night, I’ve managed to trace off the pieces of the Echino Boston Bag and cut everything out – twice. I ordered enough fabric to make not one, but two bags and have a nice size pieces left over for something small (box bag, maybe?).
One thing that I love about this pattern is that it has the seam allowances included! I’m not sure if this is ‘standard’ for Japanese paper patterns or not, so if anyone has any experience with them, please let me know. I also opted to use Peltex for the interfacing – if I would have though ahead, I would have sprung for the double sided fusible, but now I’ll have to baste everything together…. drat! As for the bag lining, I sifted through the stash and found a wonderful embroidered batik that matches the colors perfectly (it looks like it was made to go with this print). Since I spent so much money on the exterior fabric, I’m glad I was able to ‘keep costs down’ by using something I already had for the interior, plus I feel good that I’ve been making a dent in my stash fabric lately. Hopefully, I’ll have some time today to baste the interfacing to the fabric and add piping to the bag!
It’s been awhile since I made the kids pose for pictures, but since yesterday was Fat Tuesday, I thought I would break out the beads and have some fun. Unfortunately, Easton didn’t care for the Mr. T look so I never got any with him smiling….
In other news, my package from Superbuzzy arrived. Not only did I purchase the material for my Echino Boston Bag, but I also picked up a matryoshka print and my first Cotton Time magazine.
I’ve been interested in purchasing this Japanese magazine for quite awhile, but wasn’t sure what I was going to get myself into (especially for the price), but when I saw an issue that I’ve been wanting, on sale, I couldn’t resist.
I was really surprised at how big Cotton Time was. Not only is it larger than a standard magazine, but it was much thicker than what I expected (with nice glossy pages too). There’s also plenty of pictures inside (so lots of eye candy, which is good considering I can’t read a lick of what’s going on) as well as lots of illustrations to help you create the projects inside. Speaking of, I was surprised at how many projects were included… I think I may have found a new magazine addiction!
My Echino Boston Bag pattern arrived yesterday and I have to say I am so excited to get started! If you’ve been contemplating getting this pattern, but have held off because you were unsure of sewing in a foreign language, I want to put your mind at ease. Even if you don’t know Japanese, the illustrations should be enough to walk you through the bag’s construction. In fact, it looks to be (surprisingly) easy! The most difficult part is knowing how much fabric (I ordered WAY too much) and notions to purchase – between Superbuzzy and moving hand’s Japanese sewing and pattern translation I’ve come up with this list for those that are interested (these are approximations, you may be able to get by with less yardage if you play with pattern placement, etc):
Exterior Fabric: 1 1/2 yds of 43/44″ wide (110 cm x 130 cm)
InteriorLining Fabric: 1 1/4 yds of 43/44″ wide (110 x 100 cm)
Interfacing: 1 1/4 yds of 36″ wide (90 cm x 100cm)
1 20″ zipper (50 cm)
3 3/8 yards (3m) of piping
3 yards (2.6 m) of 1″ wide webbing
With all the bag patterns and books that I own you wouldn’t think I needed another design to add to my ‘collection’. However, the other night, while surfing, I discovered that Japanese fabric designer Etsuko Furuya has created 3 patterns for her Echino line. The one that really caught my attention was her Boston Bag – it gives me the same feel as Amy Butler’s Weekender, but maybe less frustration (my Weekender finally became a wadder after becoming frustrated sewing through all those layers)? I wound up ordering the pattern from Fabrictosew’s Etsy shop, but Superbuzzy sells this one as well. I’d love to hear if anyone has any experience with this pattern line and would love to see a finished project if you have one!