Sunday, June 30, 2019

Hanging Garment Bag Pattern Errors

I recently decided to make a hanging garment bag.  My husband and I travel to Indiana frequently and like to leave some of our clothes on hangers instead of putting them in the suitcase.  The clothes get less wrinkles that way.  I had seen Cindy Taylor Oates’ pattern booklet, Trendy Totes & Carryalls.  The booklet includes a pattern for a hanging garment bag as well as one for a laundry bag, crossbody bag, weekender bag, smaller bag, and cosmetic bag.  I decided to purchase the booklet and make the garment bag.  The first thing I noticed was a pink insertion slip with 2 corrections to the weekender bag.  Those corrections did not affect me because I planned to make the garment bag. 

When I read the instructions for cutting the garment bag, I was sure there was an error in this pattern, too.  On page 17 the instructions read to cut two rectangles 21” x 36 ½” for the upper bag.  It then said to cut one of the pieces in half lengthwise.  It was followed by instructions to add a 2” x 36 ½” strip to both pieces and then insert a zipper between the strips.  This would become the front of the bag.  It was obvious to me that if two rectangles were cut the same size, one for the front and one for the back, and then one of those pieces were split up the center and two (2) 2” strips and a zipper were added to the width of those pieces, the front and back of the garment bag would no longer be the same width!  My gut instinct told me this would cause a problem when inserting a gusset between the front and back piece.  However, I rarely listen to my gut when working with a pattern.  I assume the pattern is correct and you know what “assume” does for us.  It makes a “donkey” out of you and me.  Even though I knew the instructions were incorrect, I continued to follow them.

The instructions for cutting the second fabric called for two (2) rectangles 7 1/2” x 21” for the lower bag.  Those instructions did not take into consideration the extra width added to the front by the two (2) 2” wide strips and the zipper, so of course, the lower back portion of the bag and strip above it would not attach properly to the top of the front and back piece.  This was mistake number 2.

The next instruction was for making the loop for the bottom of the bag.  The loop would be attached to the bottom of the back piece so it could be pulled up to and over the hanger.  The problem with this instruction was the gusset had already been sewn to the back piece.  Now I had to rip the gusset from the lower back piece to insert the loop and then resew it.  This made me wonder if anyone tested this pattern before it was printed and offered for sale to the public. 

The next instruction was to attach the gusset to the front of the bag.  Although I knew this task would be impossible because of the added width of the front piece, I pinned the front to the gusset anyway and, of course, it did not fit!  I ripped the gusset from the back piece and added a strip down the middle of the back to make it the same width as the front piece.  I also had to add a strip the same width to both the lower part of the bag and the strip that is attached above the lower part of the bag.  Then I cut and added an extra length to the gusset.  It was fortunate for me that I had enough extra fabric to make those additions to the back piece, the lower back piece, the strip above the lower back, and the gusset. 

Pictures of my finished hanging garment bag are shown below.

 What did I learn from making this hanging garment bag?  Trust your gut!  Don’t just assume all patterns have been tested!  This pattern booklet, Trendy Totes & Carryalls, has six patterns in it.  The booklet had an insert advising of two errors in the weekender bag and I found three errors in the hanging garment bag.  It makes me wonder if there are errors in the other four bags.  Who knows?  I may just be crazy enough to test them myself.  I did advise Cindy Taylor Oates of the mistakes by emails when I discovered each of them.  She responded to my email about the mistake in the width of the front piece causing a problem with attaching the gusset.  She said she would “check it out”.  She did not respond to my second email about the instruction for adding the loop after the gusset was already attached to the back piece.  Maybe that means she has no plans to reprint this booklet and doesn’t care about the errors.  She has an impressive array of patterns out and I would hope she would care enough about her customers to want to make sure the patterns are correct.  She also has a booklet, Duffle Bags with patterns for three sizes of duffle bags and two styles.  These look interesting, so I may sew some of them. 

Please continue to sew and try new patterns.  Just trust your gut and watch for errors!  


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