Pattern Review – HotPatterns Homage Tote

Pattern Description: From HotPatterns’ website: “Celebrating the design genius of the legendary Yves Saint Laurent, and inspired by the YSL Tribute bag, this fabulous oversized Tote is designed for decorator canvas, denim, corduroy, twill or brocade-but it will also rock in real or faux suede or leather. Oversized Tote has a darted base, with shoulder straps, snap or magnetic fastening, optional luggage-tag trim, and side zipper openings at each side. Tote is lined with interior zippered, cell phone and small open pockets. This spectacular Tote will make a great everyday bag for all seasons…make it in sturdy canvas for a perfect beachbag; try it in real or faux suede or leather for work; work it up in denim and pad it with some quilt batting for a totally stylin’ laptop/notebook bag.”

Sizing: Humongous! I think I could smuggle a medium sized dog (“Here Hoover!”) in this thing. Here’s a picture of the main pattern piece:

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, with some minor changes (see below)

How were the instructions? Dunno. I didn’t use them. I did a few things differently from the way they have it laid out in the pattern pieces, and I’ll explain that below.

Fabric Used: For the front, loops and one facing, I used a small piece of zebra print patent leather that I bought from Leather Suede Skins in New York several years ago. The remainder of the bag is black leather that I had left over from when I manufactured handbags. The oval rings are from a visit that Gigi, Phyllis and I made to Pacific Trims in New York a couple of years back. The lining is black nylon pack cloth, again left over from my bag manufacturing days.

Any changes? Yes. First off, I ended up piecing the front and back sections. If you are working with leather, make sure you have a hide large enough. If you don’t, or if your hide has the occasional hole in it (as is the case with the pony skin I plan to use on the next version), then you’ll need to piece it. HotPatterns is kind enough to mark the center line on the pattern piece, so just fold it in half and add a seam allowance (in my case, I added 1/2 inch) and cut:

Flip the pattern piece over and repeat for the other side. I needed to piece the front and the back, thanks to 1- not enough of the zebra stripe patent leather and 2- small holes in the black leather hide.

Second, I didn’t make my straps the way they suggested. Instead, I made them in much the same way that Gigi described in her Prada Key Leash Tutorial. The difference was that I didn’t glue the straps together. I may do so on the next version. Before stitching them together, I applied interfacing to the black leather to support it.

I didn’t bother interfacing the patent loops – the patent leather has enough body and no stretch. Similarly, I interfaced the black leather facing, but not the zebra patent. I did, however, use a small piece of leather to reinforce the back of the magnetic snap on both facings.

I applied the snaps prior to sewing the facings to the lining body. It makes life a lot easier. I think the instructions tell you to do that.

Another thing to note when working with leather, or any thick fabric for that matter. When you are sewing the straps to the bag, at one point you will be sewing through at least 6 layers. That’s a hard task for any machine, so breathe deep and take your time.

You can also see my tips for working with leather in This Post.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very, very cool bag! I love the creativity it allows. Have fun with and don’t scrimp on your hardware for this bag. The only thing it requires is 4 rings for the straps. Make them interesting and you’ll have a great bag to show for it! On the next version I make, I’m going to use some Riri zippers instead of the stock ones I had in my stash, and I’ll probably get some kewl rings from Pacific Trims for the straps.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I would and I would! This is a winner of a pattern. It is ginormous, so if you aren’t as amazonian as me (in stature or attitude), you might want to scale it down a tic before sewing it. But it’s a great pattern that goes together easily.

Conclusion: Love it! I can’t wait to get my ponyskin to make the next version!
Here’s a picture of the front:

And the back:

And here’s a shot of the inside:

Howd’ya like that zipper, eh? I thought about putting a tasteful black zipper in there, but then I realized I’d never find that pocket, so instead, can you say bumble bee? Bzzz….

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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