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Monday, November 16, 2015

Green Bee Scoop Tote

Recently, I participated in Purse Palooza hosted by Sara of Sew Sweetness. Throughout the month of October, bag pattern reviews were posted by a variety of bloggers and sewers. These reviews provide a great resource for anyone considering making one of the reviewed patterns.

For my bag pattern review this year, I chose to sew The Scoop Tote by Green Bee Patterns. I purchased this paper only pattern as part of a kit from Craftsy (affiliate link). 

This post contains affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission on purchases. 

The Scoop Tote kit is offered in a variety of fabric combinations on Craftsy, but this specific one (affiliate link) (using Cotton + Steel All the States Canvas Print and cream Basic with Metallic accents) is currently on sale for 60% off! That's a great deal for just the fabric alone, which in my opinion, includes a good bit more than needed.

The Scoop Tote is a medium to large sized bag with finished dimensions of 18" Wide x 13" High (excluding handles) x 3" Thick that a confident beginner could easily sew. The design includes scalloped, "scoop" details along the upper purse edges as well as pleats at the top where the straps are attached. The pattern offers two strap lengths (18" vs. 22"), and I chose the longer option which makes placing the bag straps on my shoulder a simple task with one hand.

Materials per the Actual Pattern:

  • 1 yard each of main bag fabric and lining fabric/strap lining
  • 1/4 yard strap fabric
  • 2 yards Decor Bond fusible interfacing
  • 1 magnetic snap
  • Spool of all purpose thread
All yardage amounts based on 44" wide fabric, and the pattern recommends using mid weight quilting cotton or cotton, cotton/linen canvas. 

I originally had planned to use Decor Bond per the pattern instructions, but after meeting a woman at the fabric store who had made this exact bag and felt it was a bit stiff on the exterior panels and lacked support along the bottom, I changed my plans. I didn't envision The Scoop Tote being a super structured bag, so instead, I fused Pellon Shape Flex minus the seam allowance to all pattern pieces for both the bag exterior, lining, and straps. In addition, I fused Pellon Peltex to the end panels and the bottom to give the tote extra support when fully loaded with all my stuff. Again, I made sure to cut my Peltex the size of the Bag Bottom and Side Panel pieces minus the seam allowance of 1/2".

With the use of Shape Flex and some Peltex, I am very pleased with the overall structure and feel of my Scoop Tote.

Per the pattern instructions, The Scoop Tote has one very large slip pocket on the inside. I felt this pocket was too big and that items would easily get lost or fall out of it. To help prevent that from happening, I sewed a seam down the middle making two smaller pockets. These two smaller interior pockets are ideal for holding a small notepad, pen, lip balm, mints, keys, etc. 

The two pockets on either Side Panel of the exterior are the perfect size for holding my iPhone 5.

I like the convenience of having my phone so accessible, but because it is so visible and this bag is so long, I always make sure to have my phone on the end of the bag facing forward when I am carrying it. I guess I am paranoid that someone could easily take my phone or that it could fall out!

The pattern does not include an option for a zippered closure, and I wish that it did. The Scoop Tote has a very spacious opening that makes accessing my wallet and other interior items quick and easy; however, I feel that the magnetic closure doesn't provide enough security or prevent items from falling out when the bag is sitting on a surface. See how open either side of the magnetic closure is?

A zipper closure could be easily added using this tutorial which I will definitely do on my next one! Also, another note about the magnetic snap. I found that its placement is a little too far down from the top edge of the bag. If it were moved up roughly 1/2", I think it would make it easier to snap it shut and provide more clearance above the slip pocket yet not interfere with topstitching around the top edge of the bag.

As I mentioned earlier, I opted to sew the longer length straps which I love. I have no problems fitting my arm through the opening and hoisting the straps onto my shoulder with one hand. When cutting out your fabric, please don't forgot to mark the outer strap edge as noted on the pattern piece. I failed to do this, and as a result, I sewed the straps onto the bag in the wrong direction the first time. Since the straps are sewn onto the bag body last, it was a fairly simple fix to pick out the stitching and flip the direction of the straps. I'm glad I did because the straps are cut so that when attached properly to the bag, the curvature fits your shoulder properly.

The Scoop Tote by Green Bee Patterns (affiliate link) is a really well-designed pattern with easy to follow instructions full of detailed graphics. I sewed this one in an afternoon, and despite my comments regarding my personal preferences toward the bag structure and closure options, I would definitely sew this bag again!

Have FUN sewing!

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