As a long time follower of Zoe over at Sozowhatdoyouknow I thought I’d volunteer when she put out a call for testers for her new bag pattern, the Anya. I was quite excited when she emailed me to say she’d like my help and for once I decided not to leave things to the last minute and got on with it straightaway!
Quoting from Zoe’s blog :
The Anya shoulder bag pattern is a deceptively voluminous, lined shoulder bag with an optional button tab closure which measures up at 38cm (15″) wide and 27cm (10½“) high without the straps. It can be made in a variety of woven fabric, from heavier quilting cottons to upholstery fabric and curtaining. It requires just 80cm (32″) of outer fabric and 65cm (26″) of lining (or less), so it is an excellent stash buster as well as a great show case for prints and solids alike.
The outer layer of the bag is designed to be made from a heavier weight fabric and although I wanted to make the test version with fabric from my stash, frustratingly I had used up most of my supply of this type of fabric when I made 20 Morsbags a while ago! In the end I decided to go with a medium weight cotton with a very sewing/haberdashery themed print which I bought ages ago but never found a use for. The lining was a piece of lovely Robert Kaufman chambray left over from this make. The pattern calls for a medium to heavy weight interfacing but I didn’t have any so used two layers of what I had to hand which worked fine.
I did have to discipline myself to make sure I followed the pattern to the letter rather than just deciding I might know a better way as I often do! I also made notes as I went along to make sure I could give Zoe (hopefully) constructive feedback. The whole thing came together really quickly and I really enjoyed making it.
There are some very helpful tips in the pattern including making sure that when you top stitch the straps you begin stitching from the same end of the strap for both rows to avoid the strap twisting. I’ve also always avoided making things with buttonholes and this forced me to do one properly and I don’t really know what I was worrying about.
I sent off my feedback to Zoe and it was really nice to see where this had been incorporated into the final version of the pattern! The pattern is now released and you can buy it here. The instructions are really clear and there are lots of photographs which make it ideal for a beginner. There’s also now an extra page at the end with a condensed version of the instructions – really useful as a quick reminder once you’ve made the bag a couple of times.
There is so much scope to make this bag your own with different fabrics and I’m already working on two more as Christmas presents (I can say the word now that we are in December!). One is using a curtain fabric remnant which definitely gives a great finish and the other with a similar weight fabric to the first bag. I think I might try another one with short straps and an inside pocket.
There is a giveaway on Zoe’s blog at the moment (deadline midnight on Friday) so check out her latest post with images of all the testers’ versions of the Anya.