July 14, 2012

Anna Maria Horner Art Student Tote

I came across this bag during the Purse-a-palooza blog hop and I knew I had to make it.  I searched flickr for some inspiration and came across some really great bags.  Earlier today I ran to Joann Fabrics to see if I could find anything, after all, I had a 50% off one item coupon, those suckers rock.  Took me some time but I bought these fabrics:


The website doesn't have the one I used for the lining but it was in the calico section and was 40% off.  It's very similar to the Denyse Schmidt lines that Joann now carries.  The one on the left is a Legacy fabric, the one on the right is Denyse Schmidt's Meadowlark collection for Joann.  

This is the front of the bag, there are two pockets down the center.

The lining (this is more a muted blue than bright)

That's my 15" laptop in this bag, that's how massive it is

The back of the bag

What I *LOVE* about this bag:
- It's MASSIVE!  This would make a great overnight bag or beach bag.  It's seriously huge.
- You can add as many pockets as you want.
- It totally rocks my socks.

There's nothing I don't like about this bag that's for sure!

As for the pattern, I have some suggestions:
- Measure and rotary cut all the pieces, they're all nice easy numbers either on the whole, quarter, half, or three-quarter marks, no funky eighths or sixteenths.  You won't need to cut apart the pattern sheet if you do this, wish I would've had that light bulb moment before I cut mine up.
- The pattern piece layout is horrible.  She has you open up the fabric and make new folds.  No need for that, you can use the fabrics original fold without a problem.  For the contrast fabric (straps), it calls for 3/4 yard, I had 8 inches x WOF left over, so a generous 1/2 yard will do, especially if you rotary cut all these pieces.  There is also NO cutting guide for the interfacing.  
- This bag calls for lightweight fusible interfacing, get at least a medium fusible.  I, thankfully, had read that tip before I bought it.  Since it calls for essentially denim zippers and 8 metal D rings there's going to be some weight on the front.  You'll be happy you got a heavier stabilizer.  I also had a LOT of leftover stabilizer, close to a yard.  No biggie, I'll use it eventually so it's all good!
- When you construct the lining, you will be sewing through 6 layers of fabric and 2 layers of interfacing, I went slowly with my machine and didn't have a problem with a standard 90/14 needle, you may want to use a sturdier needle.
- You could absolutely get away with regular zippers rather than the metal/denim ones it says to buy.  It also calls for a magnetic snap but I left it off, one snap on a bag that's almost 24 inches wide is not enough.
- I would interface the front pockets if I made this bag again.  
- Steam will be your friend with this due to the interfacing.  It will help it adhere better, especially when it comes to the stiff bottom.  
- Heavier duty pins, your ultra fine quilters pins will cry and collapse when constructing this bag.  

Most Pellon interfacing is 20" wide.  When you cut it do so in this order to make the most of your interfacing:
- Cut the pieces for the strap first.
- Then take the edge and fold over to get pieces for the front of the bag.  You will do this twice.
- Finally, cut the pieces for the lining, cutting the length you need then cutting the pieces you need from that.  

The directions are kinda wordy and you sometimes have to read them a few times to make sense of them.  If you like wordy this is your pattern!  

I would recommend this for a fairly confident beginner at the earliest, this is definitely not the first bag you want to make if you're new to sewing.  There aren't any fancy seams or funky techniques so you're good in that department.  

Go get the pattern and get going!  This is the massive bag you're looking for!


  1. interesting review. I have found that there are MANY big name pattern designers that do not write accurate or sensible instructions. I hope I don't do that! I have a fabulous technical editor though...so doubt there will be errors.


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