Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: The Stirling Self-Finishing Small Tote

Stirling Small Tote Front
Susan kindly loaned me a black Stirling bag which I've photographed for you.  Note the bag is black, not blue, but the morning light-camera combination turned it a lovely blue shade.  I guess I should be glad the camera didn't decide to make it the color of baby poop, right?

Stirling Tote Back
The bag above is the small tote bag.  The opening on the front is exactly 8 inches square and there is a sheet of paper you peel away inside the opening to expose the sticky back that you press your finished canvas against.  There is a small lip of leather all around the opening except at the top, where the overhang is much larger.  I think stitchers probably will want to put a row of tent stitches around their design's perimeter and perhaps do 2-3 rows at the top of the canvas.  I don't think anything will show but a row of stitches will prevent the bare canvas from showing if someone is looking at an angle.

Stirling Logo
The back side is all leather with the Stirling logo embossed at the top. The shoulder straps are roomy, long enough to go over your shoulder but not so long that you can't carry the bag by the handles without dragging it on the floor.

Interior with Pockets
The interior of the bag is plaid fabric protected by clear plastic.  Thee are three little pockets made from the same clear plastic.  The leather handles look sturdy and the outside leather is fairly thick and substantial.  The purse width is narrow. This is not going to hold a great many items but it will carry the basics in style.

Here's the Stirling website with all their products so you can see the colors available in the small tote bag besides black and see the other items they sell.
http://www.stirlingcases.com/products.php

I've only read one other review of the bags.  Linda had a problem with hers and got immediate attention that fixed it.
http://nystitchingsisters.blogspot.com/2010/07/sterling-bags-great-experience.html

I've seen the Lee leather bags in person.   They seem sturdier and more classic in style to me.  They are also more expensive.  If I wanted a bag that I'd use for a decade or more that would never go out of style or wear out, Lee is the way to go.  If you want a more fashion-oriented, cheaper bag that comes in a variety of colors that you can put away after a while, Stirling is the bag for you.

I hope with Christmas coming this is a useful review in case you wanted to put this on your wish list or were considering buying a Stirling bag for someone else.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow