A few years ago, Grainline Studio and the Fringe Supply Co jointly published a pattern for the Stowe Bag. I think it was conceived as a handy bag for knitting projects. I knit from time to time but it is not a passion. I'd much rather be sewing (or drawing).
I've been meaning to make it for a while now just because it looks interesting. I finally made it because my reusable grocery bags evaporated. I keep them in the back of my station wagon and one day - poof - they were not there. DH believes I left them somewhere.
The Stowe comes in two sizes and has an interesting shape, I think. My first one was made in the smaller size. I followed the instructions carefully and learned a lot about its shape.
|Version 1 with the flat pleats|
I had never noticed how clever the construction of a plastic shopping bag is. It folds nice and neat and it fits on the metal hooks at the check-out stand. Cool engineering, IMO.
The instructions were straight-forward with the possible exception of steps 13 and 15. In step 13, the flat pleats are created and then in step 15, it is boxed. I *think* it is boxed on the exterior but I cannot be sure. The picture provided makes no sense. The step 15 picture is a boiler-plate picture for conventional boxed corners which is not possible after the pleats are stitched down in step 13.
Grainline Studio created a short video to illustrate step 15 but I'm still confused. I sure would love to see one of these bags in person. The only way I can see to create boxed corners after the pleats are stitched down is to top-stitch them in place from the outside of the bag. You can sort of mush it into the shape shown on the front of the pattern and top-stitch in place.
After chewing on this a bit, I decided that I did not really want pleats AND a boxed bottom anyway. It creates too many little slots for fuzz and debris. So I settled on conventional boxed corners.
|Version 1 with conventional boxed bottom|
I used a thrifted denim shirt for my bias binding on version 2. My goal was to use this pretty hand-woven cotton from Guatamala (Spanglish Fabrics). I did not have enough for the larger bag so I added a piece of medium weight denim to the bottom.
|Right side of the bag before side seams are sewn|
I also used the denim for the internal pockets. I considered omitting the pockets but it does give the bag more body and strength.
|Wrong side of the bag showing the pockets on each side.|
The bias binding was completed after sewing the side seams.
I am really enamored of the way the handles are formed at the top. Also I added a little hook for attaching a coin purse or keys to the inside of my bag.
|Inside the bag - check out the way the handles are formed. So clever and much stronger that plain handles.|
|Version 2 - also with conventional boxed bottom (you can barely see the denim peaking out of the bottom|