Friday, May 3, 2013

Finished: The Anita Bag

My neighbor wanted a bag that could accommodate a file folder. I could totally appreciate this, as my Everything Bag can carry my laptop, iPad, DSLR, makeup, water bottle, wallet, and sewing projects without batting an eye. She wanted something with plastic handles. There are lots of interesting purse handles on Etsy, and these twisty tortoise shell handles were among the ones I found. They were so reasonably priced that they cost more to ship than they did to buy ;-P I pointed her in the direction of some good bag patterns, and she picked The Anita Bag from I Think Sew.

The goal was for the purse to be able to stand up on its own; another characteristic I appreciate in a bag. That meant it was time to pull out the super stiff Peltex in place of the lighter weight interfacing that the pattern called for. Thus began the complications. 

I made two super cute lining panels. One side had an inset zipper pocket with a deer waiting for you when you unzip the pocket. The other side has an open pocket that you can slide cards or your phone into. The pattern wanted me to sew the exterior parts together and then sew the lining parts together leaving a gap in the lining seam between the side and the bottom. Then, the goal was to sew the lining and the exterior right sides together and turn the whole thing through the gap. Boo. 

I was able to successfully battle the pieces ands sew the lining and the exterior together. I also managed to turn it, but I didn't like how it looked. I'd sewn through parts of the interfacing which resulted in some wrinkles. I had fused the Peltex to the lining pieces, but I felt like the exterior pieces would look better with interfacing as well. I went to JoAnn's and found some 60" Pellon 809 Decor Bond: a single-sided fusible. I turned the purse wrong sides out again and unpicked my stitches. I still had a lining "bucket" and an exterior "bucket," so I fused two layers of 809 to each of the exterior front and back panels without taking the buckets apart. 

Instead of turning the purse, I disregarded the instructions and snipped the fabric so I could fold it back against the interfacing. I glued each little tab down and heat set it with the iron. Then, I had two buckets with nice looking edges. I fit the the lining bucket inside the exterior bucket and pinned the buhgeezus out of the bag opening. It was challenging, but I was able to work the purse through the machine and topstitch all the way around the opening. 

I felt like the plastic handles weren't wide enough for the opening once I was looking at them with the bag, so I held them in front of the heat of my embossing gun until they became a little more pliable. Worked like a charm!

To attach the handles, I cut strips of fabric and fused 809 in the middle, folded them up, then fused 809 to the back. I put the strips through the handles and folded them so the seams were hidden, then I stitched squares to hold the strips together. The Wonderclips came in handy to hold the strips closed. Then, I used them again to position the strips on the purse. With pink thread in the bobbin and gray thread in the top. I stitched over the squares again. The sewing machine was annoyed with me, because the presser foot was all up on the handles. Again, more finagling to get the thing through the machine, but it came out well. 

Next time, I'd be more cautious about deviating from the pattern. Using the stiffer interfacing and the plastic handles resulted in changes that took lots of time. I really liked having the different pockets and the magnetic snap on the inside. Ultimately, I'm thrilled with how it came out. I'm excited about making more bags in the future, but I am definitely taking a break for awhile ;-)

Happy Crafting!



  1. Love the handles and it's a great bag!

  2. You recovered very well :o) For next time, a layer of woven interfacing (like pellon shapeflex) plus a layer of fusible thermolam will give you a bag that stands up, but is flexible enough to turn through :o)

  3. The bag is lovely, congratulations on overcoming all of those obstacles in the making of it. Finagling is a great term!

  4. Nice work! I love the fun handles. Now I have something else to collect...instigator! haha

  5. I love everything about this bag- the fabric, the colours, the lining, the pockets! And those handles are fabulous! Well done of getting past the problems you had- the experience will hold you in good stead for next time!

  6. Claire that looks way more complicated than my silly Weekender Bag :P Great job!