Friday, 9 November 2012

Across the Pond Sew Along - Week 1

The Patchsmith has joined with Susie (Susies Sunroom) and Amy (Amy made That) to create a new sew-along group.  Amy and I met whilst undertaking the projects from the Zakka sew-along.  Sadly the sew-along ended in September as we had worked our way through the book of patterns.  However, all is not lost – the Across The Pond sew-along group is now live.  I will be posting throughout the month concerning my progress as I work through the patterns to each month.  So why not join me as I begin a new journey along the fun, fabric and friends trail.
Each month we will be working our way through a different pattern.  Some will be our own designs and some will be patterns created by others.  Some patterns will be free and some will be purchased.  There are so many awesome patterns around that it seems right to include a mixture.  For our inaugural month we are starting out with the Anita Vacation Tote.  This pattern, designed by Amy, is available to purchase here.  To call this pattern a tote doesn’t do it justice.  It is so much more than that.  Amy’s pattern is a tutorial style pattern which will take you through the stages of installing a zip, making strong handles and adding a snap fastener.  So let’s not sit around chatting – let’s get sewing.
Week 1 – Choosing Fabric.
The first section of this tutorial pattern gives pointers and hints for selecting fabrics for this project.  Amy has a knack for picking gorgeous fabrics for her projects. Her style is eclectic – from modern to floral, brights to pastels.  If you want to see what I mean then check out her Flickr group of projects.  I, on the other hand, have a modern country style which leans towards the checks, ginghams, small ditzy prints.  I love the modern ‘Bonnie-and-Camille’ fabrics and I do use them but there is always a little bit of gingham somewhere in my work. 

As this is the first project in our sew-along and it is Amy’s pattern (no pressure then!!!) I set out to the fabric shop with an open mind. 

My first fabric, a gorgeous cappuccino heart print (did I mention I love hearts?) was an easy pick – it jumped out at me literally as I was trying to get another fabric.  It was love at first sight and I have so much planned for this fabric that I am hoping there will be enough scraps for a mug rug (I am such a tease - J).  The fabric also contains blue, red and green so there was lots of scope for blenders.  I purchased half a yard. 
Already at this stage I am wondering if I am not just a little too country so next I chose a Moda bright contrast which is not at all country but just seemed to go (well to me it does).  I purchased a skinny quarter (a quarter of a yard across the width of fabric).   
My third fabric, another ½ yard is called Old Primrose Inn by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  This one is definitely my style – a small ditzy star shaped print. 
And finally I purchased a skinny quarter of a Japanese print produced by Junko Matsuda – flowers, flowers everywhere – just love it.
So there you have it – four fabrics. The two long skinny quarters are going to make up the handles, pleat and accent band and the two half yards will make up the exterior bottom and the pocket strip. I already have a 6" zip so I just need half yard for the lining, a magnetic snap and one-and-half yards of fusible fleece.


I have never used fusible fleece before – I have used medium weight fusible interfacing for the two bags that I have previously made and it has always worked pretty well. Yes, ‘tis true – I am a total bag novice – I have only made two bags EVER! I made a messenger bag during the Zakka sew-along and a button tote from Everyday Handmade.

Amy’s pattern states fusible fleece so that is what I am going to use – I love trying new things – growing and learning. Amy recommends Pellon 987F fusible fleece. An equivalent weight/loft is Vilene H630 fusible fleece or Vilene Low Loft Fleece. The Cotton Patch has a good chart showing the difference types of fusibles – check it out here.

So I’m off to pick up the final bits and bobs and will be making a start on the construction. If you are following along with me then I am hoping to complete the exterior and the handles this coming week. Why not post a comment and let me know how you are getting on. Plus, post pictures of your progress along the way in the Across The Pond Flickr group – we would love to hear from you. Trust me – there will be giggles and mishaps along the way – it is in my nature as you will know only too well if you were on the Zakka trail with me.

Sew until next Friday .......



  1. This is going to be so much fun to watch. I want to join in but it may be a few more weeks before I can! I love your bags and mug rugs!

    1. Watching is good too Deborah - I often have a tale to tell and get into all sorts of situations. Nice to know you are looking on.

  2. I'm in with Deborah. And I look forward to your posts! They were always very helpful with the Zakka SAL. You chose a lovely match.

  3. I wish I could have gone along on the shopping trip for these fabrics. I love your selections...can't wait to see how they turn out! Also, I would have paid a buck to see that fabric jump into your arms.

  4. I can't wait to see your fabrics come alive!! They look so pretty!


  5. I'll keep an eye on you. Seems like easy going SAL.

  6. The material is very pretty. Amy, is that all you would have paid is a buck to watch that fabric jump into her arms? I think I would pay at least 2 bucks!!!!! lol