From Kristin: This pattern review was written by Bethany. You can read her introduction here.  


Betty Shopper by Amy Butler
Betty Shopper Bag Pattern
Extra-large tote style handbag
Main Fabric: 1.5 yards
Lining fabric: 2.5 yards
1 1/8 cotton canvas
1 3/4 yards Timtex( or in my case similar extra heavy duty sewn in stabilizer
Finishing: 4 extra large eyelets or grommets, 1 Spool coordinating thread.
Overall Design 3 stars
I made the smaller Betty which is still a sizable 25 inches across the bottom.The bag is just darling in it’s shape and I felt it would make a perfect tote for summer for the mags, handcrafts, and sunscreen.. ( Also it would be a really cute knitting bag.) I made mine using the quilting cotton recommendations and it is as light as a summer breeze. The main draw back design-wise is the small top opening, and lack of smaller interior pockets to corral smaller items. Both are pretty easy to fix.
Betty Exterior
The best thing about the bag is it will hold my water, magazine lunch, embroidery, and suncreen and probably even a light sweater in impeccable style.. and I didn’t even make the big version !!
Betty Interior
Written Instructions 5 stars
The written instructions for this pattern are very clear and detailed. Obviously written to keep even a novice out of trouble on their project.
Diagrams / Images 4 stars
There were lots of nice diagrams for all the steps. But I really wanted to see some additional practical images of the opening and interior of the bag.
Pattern Pieces 4 stars
The pattern pieces were pretty easy but for a real novice, there might be some confusion with the main panel piece, which is actually folded a couple of times to be used to cut other pieces of the bag.. It isn’t too tricky, just something to pay attention to. I did have to go back and retrim my innerfacing because I rushed a bit too much.
Overall Level of Difficulty Easy
This is a simple pattern to do even for beginners. There is plenty of steps; lots of cutting and basting and sewing, but it is all straight seams, no tricky insets or curves or anything. Just be patient with all the steps and buy plenty of thread.
The opening of the bag really is small compared to the overall size of the bottom. If I made it again and, I was feeling really clever, I might add some light weight gussets at the top. I think I would also add a smaller pocket or two inside.for keys and cell phone etc. This is a lot of area to look through for those items and It would be such an easy modification.
Fabric Recommendations
I did the quilting cotton version and it was nice and easy to work with. I was unable to find the recommended Timtex extra heavy interfacing so I used a Pellon interfacing doubled up. It worked all right, but next time I will try harder to find the recommended brand, as I do wonder what the difference might be. After finishing I am also curious how it would be to make it with oilcloth for the exterior. It might be quite charming.
Over all a Great Big, sturdy, stylish bag that will help me have fun all summer. With a few minor changes, it could be perfect.
betty by Bethany

[tags]sewing pattern review, tote bag pattern review, Betty Shopper pattern, Amy Butler pattern review[/tags]