That’s as scary as I will get for Halloween. I’m not much for haunted houses or anything haunted in any way, shape, or form. In Los Angeles it seems we have an endless supply of haunted hayrides, haunted theme parks, haunted asylums, haunted abandoned hospitals, haunted mansions, haunted hotels, haunted celebrity star tours… Oh, Hollywood.
One of the things I have enjoyed very much while living in Los Angeles is the infusion of Latin culture. On any day or night you can find amazing food, great dancing and music, and at this time of the year you can find Dia De Los Muertos. Known in English as “The Day of the Dead,” this Mexican holiday features bright, festive colors and an often charming depiction of dead spirits living the fiesta lifestyle. It’s in the same vein as the European tradition of Halloween, which stems from Pagan traditions. These traditions are less about haunted houses and gory scare tactics but more about honoring loved ones who have passed on. I prefer to think that my deceased relatives and friends would rather help me celebrate my life’s successes, like an other worldly cheering crowd. I do believe in an afterlife and just as we continue to think of our loved ones who have passed, they think of us from the other side, too.
For this bag, I chose a very festive Dia De Los Muertos cotton print (originally purchased at JoAnn Fabrics) and I think the end result is really fun! This is the Cosmo Bag (same as on the book cover) by Amy Butler from Amy Butler’s Style Stitches.
I will tell you something that IS scary… it’s known as bad pattern instructions. In the case of the Amy Butler Cosmo Bag, the written instructions have a fair amount to be desired. I love the bag designs and the book is beautiful, but the lack of illustrations makes these patterns deceptively difficult. I’m a fairly seasoned seamstress and I spent two hours (count ’em, TWO) trying to decipher step #5 which is very similar to assembling a princess seam on a dress, resulting in a curved seam edge. Except that the instructions left me completely baffled and extremely frustrated. This could have been easily solved with a simple illustration and I found myself in similar predicaments a few more times throughout.
Mr. Giles was able to bring me back to the Ohm Zone and I was able to piece the parts together. Finally.
Here are some photographs that I hope will be helpful if you choose to sew this tote bag. It should save you quite some time trying to figure out how your curved edges should fit together because it’s does not feel natural or intuitive at first.
The Cosmo Bag is the very first bag pattern and listed “Easy,” but I don’t know if I would recommend this for a novice sewer. If you’re still getting your sewing feet under you, I would first complete a couple of dresses that are clearly marked “Easy” and a simpler tote like the free tutorial you can find on Noodlehead.
There are a lot of pieces to this bag because it is lined and has multiple pockets. With the added hurdles from deciphering the written instructions, this bag took me much longer than I had anticipated.
On the plus side, this tote bag was at the top of my unfinished projects pile (I actually cut the fabric last October) so I am super glad it’s finished! The pockets are extra handy for all the little things I need to keep track of like my car keys, jewelry, hair ties, etc. It turned out wonderful in the end and my new gym bag is so pretty it’s almost too pretty for gym clothes and barefoot running shoes.
For my novice Moxie readers, do you think this is a bag you would attempt to tackle?
For my expert Moxie readers, have you had any projects that really stumped you with the sewing instructions? How did you rise above it and what did you think of your finished project?
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