Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: The Beatle Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts

Yes, a bag.  If you groaned when you saw that this would be another bag, that's just too bad!  I am a bag junkie, and I am not afraid to admit it.

So, the Beatle Bag is a pattern from Abbey Lane Quilts that has been pretty darn popular.  It's been so popular that they just debuted a smaller size at fall Quilt Market (yes, I have the pattern but I haven't had time to make it yet).  I've seen quite a few pictures of this bag, and it looked interesting.  For carrying all of my stuff, I still think that By Annie's A Place for Everything bag has my loyalty.  This little darling, however, is the perfect size for my English Paper Piecing (EPP) project.

I used Tula Pink's Camo Deluxe from her newest collection, MoonShine, for the exterior with her Hoppy Dot from her Fox Field collection for the straps and binding.  The interior is her Vintage Stars print from her Fox Field collection

The materials requirements for the bag are pretty straightforward.  You'll need 1 fat quarter for the bag exterior, 1 fat quarter for the inside of the bag, and 5/8 yd of an accent fabric.  In addition, you'll also need Velcro, Soft & Stable, a ring for the exterior strap to loop through, and 4 Beatle Bag inserts.  You may also need pin cushion filling and double sided fusible webbing (I did not use either of those items).

When I purchased this pattern, I had the option of buying it as a kit that included the vinyl pages that were already sized/configured to work with this pattern.  So I said, yes please!  If you have the option, I'd seriously consider spending a few more dollars and purchasing it as a kit because the vinyl is a nice weight, it's already the correct size for the bag, and there are pre-cut holes that the inside straps feed through..

I did have a couple of issues with this pattern.  The first is more of an annoyance because it is an error in terminology.  The pattern uses Velcro (aka hook and loop tape) in several places.  One place says to use the loop side and then sew the soft side.  Well, the loop side IS the soft side.  You can't sew the same side in 2 different places, it just doesn't work.  So, the correction is to first sew the hook side (the scratchy one where it says to install the loop) and then the soft side (the actual loop side) when it says to install the soft side. If you don't believe me, feel free to read all about which side is which straight from the manufacturer - 's FAQ page.

The 2nd issue that I had was with sourcing the 2 1/8" ring that is used to hold the bag closed.  I found all kinds of rings that were 1.5-2" on the exterior, but the 2" inner diameter was hard to find.  I actually went out on a limb and checked at my local Home Depot where I found them sold in a pack of 2.  EXCELLENT!

Of course I had some modifications.  I wouldn't be me if I didn't change up at least one thing!  My biggest changes are the omission of the pincushion and using bias binding (instead of straight grain).  I'm not generally into pincushions of the non-magnetic variety, and my sensitivity to nuts can be problematic if I was to forget about the crushed walnut shells that are often used to stuff pincushions and put a pin in my mouth (yes, it's a bad habit that we all seem to do far too often).  So, leaving it off made sense.

As I mentioned, my other change was to the binding.  While this bag doesn't have a lot of curves to be bound, it does have darts at all four corners.  In order to make that transition more smooth, I decided that I'd rather use bias binding.  It allowed me to get a nice curve on those edges with the binding remaining flat over the corner (and I didn't have to use the fusible tape to hold it down).  Per usual, I also hand bound the edge instead of machine binding.

So, anyway, I've used it, and I love it.  It's a great little bag,  I could see myself making this one again, but it probably won't be anytime soon.  I'm anxious to get my Itty Bitty Beatle Bag made so I can give an accurate assessment.

A quick view of the empty bag before it gets loaded up.  The right side is where the pincushion would have been.

All filled up with my EPP supplies (Tula Pink's Diamonds in the Sky if you are curious)!


  1. I can not figure out the darts. Can you help?

    1. Hi Lisa! I think this is a pretty good description on how to sew darts: I don't remember having any issues with the darts in the pattern. I hope that helps!