Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anna Maria to Zebra

Some cherished fabrics from Anna Maria Horner and Echino combined with Kwik Sew 3749 to make bags for some dear ones.

I would love to have kept all of these, but especially the last one, the Echino zebra and deer print. I had one yard of this fantastical fabric, and I wanted to get two bags out of it. To squeeze the pieces side by side across the printed border, I used the lining pattern for the face of the bag as well as the lining. By eliminating the pleats from the panel, I was able to make more efficient use of this special fabric, and I think I preferred showing the fabric flat in this case as well. The contrast velvet is a remnant from a client project: fabulous, huge, down-filled, purple velvet pillows. The tiny fringe trim you see between the cuff and the body of the bag is the selvedge from the velvet dot fabric.

The pattern is a peach. Straightforward, perfectly drafted and a great canvas for all sorts of alterations and extra features. The separate panels for the cuff and the side panels provide opportunities for using contrasting fabrics or different portions of a printed design. On the blue Anna Maria Horner fabric, the print has columns of a floral design alternating with columns of dots. I like the way this bag design allows us to relate the features of the print to the structure of the bag. I wish my photo illustrated this point more clearly!

Inside the bags I ramped up the pockets a bit from the pattern suggestions. Instead of one big pocket, I placed a separate cell phone pocket in the side panel of the lining and then a large divided pocket on the inside of the main panel. I also added a key loop. One of the recipients has commented on how she enjoys the pencil slots sewn inside the large pocket. I find all the little details in bag sewing to be, quite honestly, tedious, but there's no denying that the user really appreciates them.

In total I made six of these bags. They would be quicker if not for the curved seam sections and the interior details, but still I found them rather quick. Maybe about three hours from cutting to finish? If you are able to use a heavy upholstery fabric for the exterior, you will probably be able to do away with the interfacing, which saves a good bit of time. Some of my bags required interfacing, some did not.

Oh, I almost forgot! The pattern doesn't say much about pressing your seams open as you go. Skip this step to the detriment of the finished appearance of the bag. I tried it both ways and pressing made, as always, a quantum difference.