|Pattern Description: Screen Play is a pattern for a handy tote made with window/pet screen fabric that is available at hardware stores (and select quilting stores). This tote measures 13" wide x 9" tall. Includes instructions for 4 sizes. You may also enlarge or reduce your tote by measuring your favorite shopping bag to create your own "custom" size -- big or small. This is a FUN tote bag using scraps or fat quarters sewn to window/pet screen material.|
Pattern Sizing: Four different sizes are included in the instructions - S, M, L, Xl.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? As I mention in my blog post, I have made 25 or more of these bags. Years ago they were sold in the Tucson Symphony store. I've given many to charity auctions and, upon request, made a number for friends and the grandkids' teachers. (For me, the bag takes 4-6 hours, as I figure out where I want exterior pockets and do a lot of fine finishing. I don't "gift" that amount of work to just anybody!)
The uses for these bags are limitless. I have a Large that I use to corral all the components of the current knitting project. My grandkids use one to tote books back and forth to the library. A Medium carries DGD's ballet slippers to class; my Medium discretely carries my undies when I go to my water aerobics class. A small bag would carry a little girl's hankie to church, or a sandwich to work with me. An XL carries games and balls and puzzles when we go to the lake cottage every summer. Limitless!
Fabric Used: Phifer Pet Mesh (a vinyl-coated polyester screening product that resists snags from pet claws) and quilting cotton.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Note: I purchased my pattern in about 2003 or 2004. See SouthernStitch's review for information on a similar pattern. She also gives different resources for screen purchase. Also search PatternReview for SP-#200 - same bag with slightly different number.
I originally used tri-folded strips of the Pet Mesh for the handles. But after noticing the wear and tear over years of use, I have begun using 1" black belting, available from a variety of sources. (I usually make black bags. If you're using colored mesh from SewThankful or similar resource, look for a belting product to coordinate.) Sometimes I attach it the same way the pattern instructs (just sewn to the top decorative strip); sometimes I attach it lower and sew it up the front and back of the bag.
[After applying the top decorative strip to the outside of the bag but BEFORE TOPSTITCHING THAT STRIP and before sewing the sides of the bag...] I make an interior zippered pocket out of a heavier fabric and attach it where the top decorative strip is attached. I used to make it wrong sides together and turn it right side out, but then I got smart. If using a 7" zipper, I cut two pieces of denim - one is 7.5" square, the other is 7.5" x 9" or 9.5". (For 9" zipper, front would be 7.5" x 9.5", back would be 9.5" square.) (Those dimensions are for size Large.) I stitch the zipper to the front (smaller) piece, right sides together, taking about 1/4" seam. Then open out, turn seam allowance to the denim side and topstitch for a clean finish (essential to keeping the zipper working for years). Then place this front piece onto the back piece, wrong side of front to right side of back, matching bottoms and sides. You'll have 1.5-2" of the back showing at the top. Topstitch the remaining zipper edge onto the pocket back. Then baste the sides and bottom. Cut a 1-7/8"-2" wide strip of one of the fabrics you used on the front, or else a solid black (if making a black bag and using black denim, as I do). Fold the strip in half lengthwise and attach as you would a quilt binding with mitered corners. (Not familiar with this technique? Here's a tip: http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/review/2904.) Run the binding from the top of one side around the bottom and continue to the top of the other side. Then press the binding out, wrap to the back, pin and stitch-in-the-ditch to secure. No need to finish the top of the pocket. Now open out the decorative band on the outside of what will be the back of the bag, place your pocket ON THE INSIDE so that the top extends 1/4" over the original decorative band line of stitching. Sew the pocket in place 1/4" in from the edge, along the original stitching line. (I pin my pocket in place, then flip the flat bag over and just stitch along the original stitching line.) When I get to the point of finishing the bag by turning that decorative band to the inside and turning up 1/4" for its hem, that hem will cover this stitching line and conceal my unfinished pocket edge.
For the base of the bag, I use plastic needlepoint canvas, cutting it a smidge smaller than the finished bottom, then making a little sleeve/"pillowcase" for it and topstitching that sleeve closed. I lay the base inside the bag, although it could be tacked in place or secured with Velcro(R) dots on the four corners.
I usually include a button closure, and use a coated elastic band (think ponytail), sewn into the top decorative strip at the top center back to secure the back to the large button, sewn at the center of the top decorative strip on the front. I buy these at the corner drugstore - one pack in black and one in multiple colors will last me for years of bagmaking.
To further personalize the bag, I add something to the zipper pull - coordinating ribbon or a wire-wrapped bead or charm.
I always spray all the fabric on the bag (pockets, decorative strips, handles) with Scotchgard(TM) as these bags get a lot of wear.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and a resounding Yes.
Conclusion: Great multi-purpose easy-sew bag. Good way to use up leftover quilting cottons or other favorite fabrics. Good place to show off piecing techniques.
Note: If you want a quick and easy gift using these techniques, get Nancy Ota's Zip It pattern. This little bag goes together in a couple of hours or less. I use the "Gadget" size when traveling to carry my cords and adapters for my electronics. It's a great teacher or thank you gift. Uses are myriad!
My blog post shows more pics of the Screen Play finished products.