Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cell Phone & Applique Bags

Hi all -

Today I want to share a couple of bags that I made. I actually finished these bags a couple of weeks ago, but am just now getting around to posting about them.

The first bag is from the Cell Phone, Camera Case & Wallet pattern from By Annie. I made this bag for my sister, Linda, to replace a small bag of about the same size that she uses as a purse. Hers is wearing out and I think this will be a perfect replacement. Here is the front of the bag, which has a pocket with a little pocket with a flap closure:

 And here is the bag with a vinyl ID pocket:

The bag has a double zipper and several credit card pockets on the inside:

The bag is only about 4" by 6", so putting in the binding on the inside to cover the seams was a bit of a trick, but I like how it turned out. Since Linda doesn't use Facebook, I posted some pictures there to share with my Facebook friends and now my other sister has requested one. I think I'd also like one for myself, so you'll be seeing several more of these in the future!

The other bags I made are a set designed for hand applique:

These are also from a pattern from By Annie, this time from her Applique to Go pattern. I picked this pattern up from Annie's booth at Houston last year. The little bag in front is what attracted me to the pattern. It's designed to hold the hand applique bobbin sets from Superior Threads. Here's my bag with my bobbin sets:

Perfect! Usually I'm too lazy to modify the pattern or do any embellishing, but this time I decided to push myself. Instead of the accent band being a single piece of fabric, I decided to get a little fancier and put some borders on the fabric strip and add some embellishments. I really love how it turned out! And it was so easy to do!

Originally I was just going to make the bag, but once I got going I decided that I really wanted the work-in-progress roll, too. I have a huge amount of the main fabric, so this was a good way to use it. The applique roll is created around a shipping tube that can also be used to hold your pattern and some supplies. Pretty cool idea! She suggests you use a tube that is at least 19" by 2". Since I'm a firm believer in "go big or go home," I decided to start with a tube that was 25" x 3". I figure that will be big enough for any project I might decide to do. And if I were, for some reason, working on something larger, it would be too large to put into a roll anyway so this should be a good size.

I decided to also make some changes to this pattern as I went along. My first change was to make the "design wall" that rolls out 10" longer than called for in the pattern since that seemed to make sense with my larger shipping tube:

I think that was a good choice and this looks about right to me.

The next change was to use cotton batting for the roll out part instead of the flannel suggested in the pattern. I did this for two reasons: batting is stickier than flannel so would hold on to the pieces better, and I had batting at home but didn't have flannel. I'm not sure if the batting will hold up as well with time, but we'll see how that goes.

Another change I decided to make was to add some heavy-weight stabilizer (DecorBond) to the back of the main fabric to give everything more stability. I was afraid that the roll-out area would flop around too much if it was just the fabric and batting, especially with the larger size of my roll. I really like the feel of it with the stabilizer so I think this was a good decision. I would add the stabilizer even if I was making a smaller version of the roll.

The pattern had the little bit of the main fabric folding over on the top and the bottom of the flannel piece as you see in my picture, but it had the flannel being the same length as the main fabric so that it would be inside the cylinder where you slide in the shipping tube and would go all the way to the end with the ties. I didn't like the idea of having the batting touching the shipping tube because it would be really hard to slide in the tube and, in the process of sliding it in, there was a good chance the batting would shift and possible tear. I also thought it would be cleaner on the tie end to have a little bit of the main fabric, so I changed the pattern to put some of the main fabric on both ends of the batting. (I hope this makes sense since it is a bit hard to explain in words.) I also stitched around the perimeter of the batting area to give it more stability, which wasn't called for in the pattern. That really helps to hold it all together.

Finally, the pattern had you use ribbons for the ties. I didn't have any appropriate ribbon at home and I've found that ribbon wears out if you keep tying and untying it, so I sewed straps instead. This also allowed me to pull in the contrast fabric that I used in the little applique bag. I don't know if it matters, but I cut the fabric for the straps on the bias since I think that's making it easier to tie the straps into bows and I think they hold the bows more securely than straps cut on the straight of grain would have. But I could be wrong about that.

The one pattern change that worried me the most was the decision to use the cotton batting rather than flannel. One big problem with batting is that it stretches easily. Flannel stretches easily, too, but not as much as batting does. The stretching was definitely a problem right away, as you can see in the picture of the roll above. So, after completing the roll, I decided to add some stitching in a grid across the batting. That made a huge difference!

Inspired by my new applique tools, I decided to pull out a project from a Karen Kay Buckley hand applique class from several years ago and put it in my new roll:

I've made a bunch of progress on that one and hope to be at my next milestone point next weekend so I can share it with you!

Another project I'm thinking about, because of a suggestion from my friend Renata, is a matching tote bag with an "infinity" handle. Renata found a bag with this handle by Nancy Zieman. The bag uses a single loop of fabric that isn't directly connected to the bag, but instead runs through channels on the sides to create the handles on both sides of the bag, with the ability to pull them away from the bag on the bottom so you can slide the applique roll in there for carrying. That sounds really interesting to me so I'm thinking about using some more of my huge supply of the main fabric to make a bag like that. Should be interesting!!



  1. What fun projects! Although, I can't imagine how you worked that binding on that cell phone bag!!!!! Love your project roll and how you solved the stretching batting. I bet it works well and I look forward to seeing your appliqué project for your Karen Kay Buckley class!!! Wow!!!

    1. Thanks! I'm making slow but good progress on the KKB project. It has several pieces so it's been nice to store the ones that I'm not working on in the roll so they don't get folds.