Art Student Tote

Ever since I saw this pattern, I knew I needed a bag like this. I like big bags. Always have. If I can’t fit at least three books, a variety of pens, wallet, phone and the occasional whisk or lemon reamer (all of which are in my bag right now), I’m not interested. People make fun of me, but chances are if you randomly need a swiss army knife or a bottle of glitter, I’ve got you covered. So I was instantly smitten with a bag designed to fit a full sketchpad (and supplies) in its depths.

Now, I’ve made tons of quilts, but I have this weird mental block when it comes to sewing things that aren’t quilts and pillows. I buy patterns, get overwhelmed by the amount of directions then put them on the “someday” pile. One of my crafty resolutions is to get over that.  So I bought some sumptuous Anna Maria Horner velveteens, some of her beautiful new jacquard ribbons, and went to work!  And you know what? It wasn’t that hard at all. Now I have a beautiful bag and I’m feeling brave enough to tackle the adorable Oliver +S patterns and make the Weeb’s some cute clothes!

My thoughts on the pattern. This was fairly easy, once I slowed myself down and read each direction carefully. I’d call this an advanced beginner in terms or difficulty. I  made a few minor changes to suit my taste. I used heavy duty interfacing throughout (rather than the suggested combo of light and heavy). I like my bags to hold their shape and have some heft to them. I was a little worried that would make it difficult/bulky when I went to join all the layer together, but a switch to a stronger needle and it wasn’t an issue at all. I topstitched the ribbon to the straps after making them, but before attaching them to the purse. I used a washable tape to keep them from shifting while I sewed them in place(using my #10 edgestitch foot gave them a very polished look). I like being able to sling my purse across my body, as I’s usually schlepping a toddler and the occasional puppy. I read a few other reviews stating they wished the handle was longer, so I added an extra 14″ to the length and its perfect! I also decided to sew the straps through every layer all the way to the top. I think this helps keep the lining in place and it helps with over all stability.  I just used a different color in the bobbin so the stitching won’t be too obvious on the inside. And there you have it! I’m already planning on making another one of these for my Mum…. mostly so she doesn’t steal mine when she comes to visit:)

show hide 14 comments

pinkcaffeination - January 26, 2012 - 6:29 am

This bag looks fantastic inside and out!

Alexandra - January 26, 2012 - 6:43 am

Thanks! So far every time I’ve walked by it today I had a little “Sqeee!!!” moment in my head….. and occasionally out loud:)

Kimberly - January 27, 2012 - 2:47 am

Gorgeous! I love it. Are you sewing on the 4th? If so, please bring it. I really want to see it in person.
I can’t believe you got a comment from Ms Horner herself. Lucky you!

Gail - January 27, 2012 - 10:02 am


Alexandra - January 27, 2012 - 10:05 am

I’ll be there and so will the bag:) I know when I saw that I had a mild freak out moment! I told Ben it felt like the equivalent of Martha Stewart personally telling me it was a “A good thing” :)

Kristen - January 27, 2012 - 8:39 pm

This is a gorgeous bag, Alexandra! I love it!

Susan - February 3, 2012 - 12:32 pm

Would two yards of ribbon each be enough for this bag?

Alexandra - February 3, 2012 - 12:38 pm

Depends on which option you make and whether or not you choose to lengthen the straps. For the thinner ribbon, you’d be fine with 1-1.5 yards. As for the thicker, I want to say I used closer to 3 yards. I can’t recall off the top of my head but I lengthened the strap by 12-14 inches (on top of the 120″ strap strips) so I ended up using more.

Susan - February 3, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Thank you! I adore your version of the bag of all I’ve seen so far. Your ribbon choice plays well off of the fabric. I have enough of those ribbons (well, maybe not three yards, but two) and fabric, but may have to take out my AMH stash for auditions to see. Your large version is enviable, but I may not need that big a bag. Thank you for taking the time to respond – AND certainly for the inspiration!

Alexandra - February 3, 2012 - 12:44 pm

Thank you very much, and thank YOU for taking the time to read this:) I’m attempting to be a better blogger, trouble is, I’d rather be sewing!

Susan - February 3, 2012 - 1:55 pm

One more question, if you will indulge me please. :-) Someone asked you over on flikr how it was to work with the AMH velveteen. I’m not finding that print (presuming it the pocket fabric) in velveteen, but in flannel. Did you work with the velveteen or the flannel – and for just the pocket? Thank you so much yet again! (I’ll letcha get back to sewing now.)

Heather - February 4, 2012 - 4:39 am

That bag is delicious Ale!! I love everything about it, you are awesome.

Basmati - March 7, 2012 - 6:03 pm

such a great tote, well done! I just discovered that I own this pattern too :)

SoozeM - August 13, 2012 - 2:41 pm

Your bag is gorgeous, well done!!

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