Monday, 16 August 2010

A review of the Dharma Eco-friendly bag by Serendipity Studio

The pattern contains instructions and a pattern on the reverse that you have to copy. The instructions are for a bag in 3 sizes, all with an elasticated pocket on the front which the bag can be folded into. No more having to buy plastic carrier bags when you make an unexpected trip to the shops. Also if you make all three bags they will 'nest' inside each other once folded up.

If you want a true foldaway bag that will fold small then I would recommend using a mid-weight cotton outer and lining fabric. I wanted something really robust as i'll be using it for packages daily, so I chose a home d├ęcor weight cotton/linen blend (Echino by Etsuko Furuya) with a mid-weight cotton lining in purple.

The end result of my bag is gorgeous and I love it. I'm not sure whether it was the instructions or the fabric I used but it was easy to create the side pleats and the hidden seams. It looks perfect!



Cons of this pattern:
* You have to copy the pattern pieces rather than being given them on pattern paper. I photocopied mine and stuck them together to save the expense of pattern paper.
* The pattern has hand drawn diagrams rather than photos but after a few reads it is self explanatory.

Pros of this pattern:
* Even in the medium sized bag there is tonnes of room.
* Handy elasticated pocket which, when you know how to do it you can use on other items.
* The end result is great!

Some extra notes on the pattern that may help you (i .e. where I got stuck and how I got out of it):

At point 4 the pattern tells you to cut a rectangle for the pocket (depending on your chosen size of bag), 9.5” wide x 17” long. If your pattern doesn't have a right way up I guess it doesn't matter which way you cut it. My fabric had a right way up print and I couldn't get my head around which way was wide and which was long (I thought it was describing the pocket and as the pocket has elastic in it I wasn't sure). With hindsight, Serendipity Studios were talking about cutting your fabric on the width 9.5” by 17” down your fabric length.
The 9.5” is going to be the top of your pocket. The 17” is going to be folded so the side of your pocket is 8.5”. Also the pattern goes on to say to fold the pocket piece in half lengthwise. I think that is an error and it should say width-wise.

At point 18 the handles are sewn together. Now I know (again with hindsight) I was being a bit thick but just to be clear: you will have 2 sections at this point (each one is made of an outer fabric with an inner fabric attached at the top). When the pattern says turn one the right way it doesn't mean one handle of 1 section but rather 1 whole section and put this inside the other whole section. If you try to attach one handle to the other of the same section like I did you end up with a bag handle that looks like a halter neck and murmurs of 'where's my seam ripper?'.

At point 26 there is a lot of finishing sewing. I didn't do any of that. I just sewed across the handle seams through both layers to connect each handle and my bag works fine!


  1. Thanks for the review! I like reading pattern reviews.. makes it easier to guess whether or not I'd be able to follow it! Love your echino bag!

  2. @Manda
    I always seem to say this but....if I can make it anyone can :)
    & thanks for your comment on the echino bag!