Friday, July 22, 2011

Amy Butler with a dash of Ricochet...

Before I start with my actual blogging, let me say that I really appreciate YOU!  I know there aren't a whole lot of you out there, but I know you're reading, and I love it!  Thank you!

Just finished a big ol' tote today and I thought I'd use it as a platform to gab about artistic process.  This tote is based off of Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag. 
Amy Butler's Cosmo Bag.
Fun, functional, and cute!
If you know anything about Amy Butler, you know she is a diva in the sewing world.  Besides her vibrant and often botanical-based fabrics, she has numerous patterns and colorful books that showcase her design.  My current Amy Butler obsession is with her Cosmo Bag pattern.  It is so stylish!  The shape is such a curvy and chic take on the everyday tote.  And it's so roomy, easy to carry, and full of pockets.  When fashion and function collide, you know you have a winner. 

One of my major flaws/traits is that I resist rules with an almost phobic vengeance.  I don't like schedules, rules, recipes, and yes, patterns!  It is not that I am too lazy or rebellious to follow directions, it's just that I don't feel comfortable with them.  I like things to be different every time I experience them.  I like to experiment.  I like to tweak and tinker and expand and edit my world until it is MY world.  I take "theirs" and make it "mine" and that's what I'm all about. :)

So as much as I truly loved and appreciated the Cosmo Bag, I could not recreate one.  I knew I would get way too much enjoyment out making it my own.  Plus, I had already done it once with my Amy Butler Hybrid Diaper Bag.  So, I was on a roll and ready to really put my hand to some designing. 

My muse was a cool pillow with a blown up brocade design on it.  I found it on a google image search, but it came from here.  I saw that pillow and thought that I could apply that to the side of my next Cosmo Bag. So, I looked up some brocade patterns and found one I liked.   I used my computer to blow it up and print out a poster-sized version. 

Hindsight is 20/20, and now that my tote is done, I see how I can make my next one even better.  You see, I centered the design on the side of the bag, and I think it will look even better if I apply it off-center next time. 
With the design centered like it is, my eye can't help anthropomorphizing that pattern and trying to make out facial features. I probably shouldn't have mentioned it to you. If you haven't made out the big nose and mustache, you have now and I've totally ruined it for you. Sorry! But maybe we can all take this as a lesson learned and not make the same mistake again. 

Besides adding the brocade motif to the front, I made some other modifications to the pattern.  For one, I stitched the side pockets to about half their depth.  Such a narrow pocket should never be so deep.  What if you drop a quarter down there?  You can barely dig your hand all the way down there to grab it, much less find the coin and fish it out.  So I made it more practical depth.  As for the interior pockets, I don't know how far I've strayed from the pattern in that area.  I just made the interior to my own liking and didn't consult the pattern at all.  Basically I made a half panel on each side of the lining.  On one side I simply put in some some Velcro and made a huge divider-pocket.  On the other side, I stitched in 3 pockets of varying sizes and depths. 

The handles are vinyl, but look and feel convincingly like a supple leather. Vinyl and leather are not materials that Amy Butler has embraced in her designs. But, big leather totes are so hot right now, I couldn't resist adding a splash of pleather myself.

<<== Here I am taking a terribly unflattering pic that is not doing the tote or myself any justice.  But, a girl does what she has to to get the job done.  Sometimes, sacrifices in quality must be made for the good of the blog.  Or maybe I just needed to stray from the norm and make this MY post...

Happy crafting and art-making to all my readers out there.  Please comment and let me your thoughts.  I would love to hear from you and promise to respond either in the comments or through email.


  1. Your stuff totally rocks. I love the design and think it will look awesome off center, too. Good job. You never cease to amaze me!

  2. Thanks Jodi! I've already got another off-center one cooking in my brain oven! :-)


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