Sewing Pattern Review: The Birdie Sling by Amy Butler

on Jan 12, 2009 in Pattern Reviews, Sewing | 57 comments

I chose to sew this weekend. It felt so great to finish a project! Little sessions at the machine interspersed with reality.

The Birdie Sling by Amy Butler is a fun design. I haven’t made someone else’s pattern for a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a very simple pattern to make and I highly recommend it for beginning sewists. Very useful bag making techniques that are easy to accomplish make the process enjoyable.

A few thoughts:

  • I used a directional fabric for the straps. This required me to alter the pattern by adding a seam at the top of the strap. This was really easy to do because the strap is actually printed as two pieces that you tape together and the overlap on Pattern Piece A is 1/2″ (instant seam allowance). I just cut out 4 of Pattern Piece A and sewed them together to form the pair.
  • The instructions call for some very intense interfacing. I followed the directions and interfaced both sides of the straps and the upper bands with fusible. Same for the pockets.
  • I deviated from the instructions and used a woven, sew-in interfacing for the both the lining and the exterior. I really dislike using fusible on an exterior bag fabric and I’m glad I didn’t do it here. The drape of the Echino linen is way too beautiful to ruin. If I make this pattern again I would consider dropping the sew-in interfacing for the exterior. I’m not sure it’s needed when using a mid-weight fabric.
  • The instructions specify fusible fleece for the lining interfacing and fusible for the exterior. If you’ve made one of these using those materials please comment and let me know what you thought!
  • I always check for pattern corrections before beginning a project (here’s a link to Amy Butler’s, most pattern designers have them on their webpages). There’s a new illustration for Step 6 which I’m glad I saw. The band has the wrong orientation in the pattern even though the written instructions are correct. I would have been scratching my head if I didn’t have the update.

  • The curved gussets were a new technique for me. It adds a jaunty shape to the bag bottom, very fun.
  • I found pinning and sewing the handles to be fussy. I clipped the handle center point 1/4″ and that helped. Ultimately they turned out just fine but it’s a weirdish angle.
  • I skimmed the reviews at Pattern Review and took the suggestion to add a magnetic snap to the band. I used Linda’s (Craft Apple) fabulous Installing a Magnetic Snap tutorial and made mini-buttonholes for the prongs to go through. It was good practice for figuring out my buttonhole foot and I like the stability it adds to the fastener installation.
  • Next time I would hand stitch the opening on the handle closed before topstitching. I didn’t like how the seam gaped open a bit. I slip stitched it closed after topstitching but it never looks as nice doing it after the fact.
  • A 100 or greater sized Topstitching needle is a must have. There are a LOT of intense layers to sew through when finishing the bag handles and band. I also sewed the entire bag with my walking foot attached to the machine.
  • Be sure to have matching thread on hand for all of your fabrics. There are steps where stitches will show on all fabrics.
  • I used Echino Bird Perched on Beaded Web Yellow for the handle and band, Owl + Tiger on Flower Natural for the bag exterior, and Amy Butler Midwest Modern Honeycomb Aqua for the lining. Gutermann #820 was a PERFECT match for the yellow fabric.

Be sure to leave a comment if you’ve made this bag. I’d LOVE to see your bag or know your thoughts on the construction. Now off to try and get the next project on track!

pink chalk fabrics ~*~ new arrivals ~*~ free patterns ~*~ on sale