Monday, June 29, 2015

Road to California: Hunter's Design Studio

For week three we have Sam from Hunter's Design Studio. Isn't that bag fun?

We really like how the bold red makes the Road to California fabric a focal point.



Want to know a little more about this bag? Read on! 

Bag Introduction Questions

1. What is the name of your company and what is the name of the bag?


     Hunter’s Design Studio


     Chunky Wee Bag



2. What was your inspiration for this bag & for the way you used the Road
to California fabric?

     I originally made the bag to solve an issue – you can read about it here
The flap of the bag lends itself well to featuring a fabric motif, so I looked for one in the R2CA fabric that would fit.


3. For what do you recommend the bag be used & what are its features?


     Since I designed it, I’ve used it daily (one of several different versions that
rotate depending on my mood) I like that it wears well across the body, and inside is a ring of very useful pockets.


4. Is there anything special about the bag construction? If so, can you
provide a brief description of what is special and how it was done?

     Like many bags, it feels like you make parts and pieces forever, then
suddenly in one seam it comes together. Design-wise, I’m proudest of the connectors between the bag and strap – it took a while to figure out how to do that elegantly.


5. What components did you use and why did you choose them?


     I use fusible fleece in a lot of things – I like the body it gives, without being 
too stiff. I also use a small piece of foam core board in the base to help it keep its square feel


6. Is there a pattern? If so, what is the link? If not, do you have a website 
or other public space you would like us to share on the blog?

     Yes, the pattern is Chunky Wee Bag. I sell it on my site and on Craftsy, 
and it is also available through all major US distributors, so ask for it at your quilt shop.



Personal questions to add some flair



1.       What has been your biggest challenge in designing patterns?


     I like to add a lot of drawings to my patterns, and sometimes they get 
complicated to create (especially if zippers are involved!) Here’s my pattern designing mission statement:

http://huntersdesignstudio.com/about/mission/


2.   What advice would you share with aspiring bag makers?

     Bags are like recipes – they might be intimidating at first, but if you slow
down, and just follow the steps, they come together well. Also, bags tend to have lots of layers, so it’s important to slow down your sewing speed so as not to break a needle. I also assemble most of mine with the walking foot to help manage the layers.





Want to make your own? Be sure to check out Hunter's Designs' website as well as purchase the Road to California fabric to enter the challenge. 


Remember, if you want to make your own bag to enter in the 2016 Road to California Bag Challenge, you can read the rules and download the entry form here. Don't miss out on your opportunity to shine. Anyone is welcome to enter using any design. 

Miss a designer or can't wait to see who is next? Check out the schedule on the original post here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Road to California: Trisha Jane



Thanks for stopping by! Next on the Road to California blog schedule is Trisha from Trisha Jane.com.

Here is her design, Ulee Totes.



We enjoyed the three sizes of her totes and how they fit together perfectly. Do you love them, too? You definitely should read until the end for a good surprise! 

Trisha took time to answer our interview questions. Want to get to know her better as well as her inspiration for the totes? Here are her responses.

Bag Introduction Questions

1. What is the name of your company and what is the name of the bag?
     Trisha Jane -- The Ulee Tote is named after my sister Eulalia

2. What was your inspiration for this bag & for the way you used the Road to California fabric?
     I wanted to design a Spring/Summer tote that reflects California life style

3. For what do you recommend the bag be used & what are its features?
     It can be use for a daily purse to match a dress, skirt or top a great bag for the Farmers Market run. It can be made in three sizes Mini, Medium and Large. Can use any type of handle, cloth, bamboo, leather or chain.

4. Is there anything special about the bag construction? If so, can you provide a brief description of what is special and how it was done?
    The tote is constructed with Peltex#71. It gives it a sturdy purse like look. It is not recommended to throw in the wash, as it will lose its sturdiness. It’s a simple construction. Cut (2) pieces from n back fabric, (2) lining (2) straps (2) #71 peltex. iron on to wrong side of fabric sew together. Center straps on top raw edge of right side of fabric, sew in place. Sew lining both sides, leave bottom open for turning to the inside. Trim side top edge only. Turn lining to the inside. Press n Top stitch top edge of tote. 

5. What components did you use and why did you choose them?
    I chose the peltex #71 because I wanted a professional constructed look to the tote. The leather handles gave it that extra edge.

6. Is there a pattern? If so, what is the link? If not, do you have a website or other public space you would like us to share on the blog?
    Yes, there is a pattern. The Ulee Bag retails for $10. 


Personal questions to add some flair

1.      What does your perfect day look like?
               My perfect day is creating new patterns and especially sewing. Love to sew all day if I can.
         
2.      What word(s) describes you?
         
               I love colors. I love to smile  and have fun. Working corporate in commercial finance for 25 years, I wore black everyday. I don’t do that anymore.
           
3.       If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

                Design a perfect Studio, sew, design, and teach 

4.       What inspired you to start sewing? 
         I learned to sew when I was 8 years old. I became ill a few years back and needed to make a change in my stress level. This is when I decided to go back to what I love: SEWING and DESIGNING. 

5.       How long have you been designing patterns? How did you get started? 
         It’s been 10 months. I did design ready-to-wear for Zuliliy and for the Garment District. It was too much stress. So I decided to create what I design into patterns with the help of my sister Eulalia the graphic designer. She makes the patterns look so pretty. 

6.       What has been your biggest challenge in designing patterns
         Writing the instructions so that the sewer understand the steps 

7.       Which of your patterns is your favorite and why? 
          The Vintage Apron is my first. It has a petticoat underneath that is detachable, The Ulee Tote -- I made it to match all my Trisha Jane Classic Dress pattern. It reminds me of the 40’s, 50’s and 1960’s. Just like my mom. 

8.       What is your go-to notion/tool? 
           Thread by Gutterman, Clover seam ripper, Fiskars rotary cutter/blade, straw needle #11

9.       What has been your most memorable experience when teaching or traveling to shows? 
           When a student goes home and sends me pictures of the additional tote or apron they have made and having fun making them. As far as the Houston Quilt Show, it’s seeing the huge manufacturers that inspire all the Quilters/Sewing enthusiast. 

10.   What advice would you share with aspiring bag makers? 
           Keep sewing, have fun making all your projects and use lots of colors and bold prints. i.e. ALEXANDER HENRY, COTTON N STEEL, MODA, COMICS


Bonus: Trisha says the tote is featured in the magazine called Haute Bags. It's in the news stands by Stampington n Company. Go check it out. 


Want to see more of Trisha's work? You can find her any of these places: 

Website trishajane.com 
Pinterest Trisha Jane Patterns, 
Instagram trishajane24

Finally, Trisha has been so generous to offer the tote bags pictured below. There are three bags so we'll pick THREE lucky winners and send each of them one of the totes. How incredible is that? 

All you have to do is enter here. You don't want to miss out on this chance to win a beautiful tote, handmade by Trisha Jane herself!




If you have previously won a giveaway during this Road to California Series, you cannot win again. Sorry, but we want to be fair to everyone else and spread as many prizes around as we can :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Remember, if you want to make your own bag to enter in the 2016 Road to California Bag Challenge, you can read the rules and download the entry form here. Don't miss out on your opportunity to shine. Anyone is welcome to enter using any design. 

Miss a designer or can't wait to see who is next? Check out the schedule on the original post here.





Monday, June 15, 2015

Road to California: StudioKat Designs

Today we have designer Kat from StudioKat Designs who will be a judge in the Bag Challenge this year. Kat and her husband quickly became loved by the ByAnnie.com team when they were our neighbors at Road to California in January 2015. Her husband was always asking the girls if they had snacks (although he never took any), scaring them through the curtains, and looking out for them in case anything was needed. Kat even took time to sit down and talk with Kati about social media. They are very giving souls. 

Kat has also offered a very generous offer to every single one of you who read this, so keep reading to find out about that offer! 



Bag Introduction Questions


1. What is the name of your company and what is the name of the bag?

        StudioKat Designs, Inc.   ---  the name of the bag is "The Wrapsody".

2. What was your inspiration for this bag & for the way you used the Road to California fabric?

        Our trademark as a company is designing with interesting storage options that are easy to embellish and the Road California fabric was perfect for a fussy-cutting project. 


3. For what do you recommend the bag be used & what are its features?

        The Wrapsody is designed to be an everyday bag. There are 3 zippered storage pockets inside the bag and one on the exterior. The whole bag is secured by 2 invisible sew-in magnets.

4. Is there anything special about the bag construction? If so, can you provide a brief description of what is special and how it was done?  

We use this remarkable material called Soft & Stable.


5. Is there a pattern? If so, what is the link? 

Click here.

Personal questions to add some flair

1.       What does your perfect day look like?

                I love an uninterrupted day of sewing in my studio. It's fine with me if its raining or snowing, because then I have no desire to go outside. It doesn't hurt if I get a phone call at some point from my daughter or my grandson!  :)

2.      What word(s) describes you?

                Committed.

3.       If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would it be?

                I really feel like I'm living the dream right now. I honestly wouldn't dare to want for more than I already have! 

4.       What inspired you to start sewing?

                I was taught at a very young age to sew by my mom. I almost don't remember not being able to sew. My grandmother sewed for a living for Sears Roebuck. She made little boy's jackets and ties for almost 40 years. My mom sewed most of my clothes until I took over about age 13. Most of the things I'm proudest of that I have created have been stitched in some way. I enjoy cross stitch, and have dabbled in quilting as well as fashion sewing.

5.       How long have you been designing patterns? How did you get started?

                I've been designed patterns since 2004. I was stuck in a very unfulfilling job with the City and very badly wanted to retire a bit early. At first I thought I might try  starting a custom sewing business but it didn't take long before I realized there wasn't much way to make a living doing that. I've always had a passion for handbags and accessories, and have some very definite opinions about how bags should be designed and the rest is history.


6.       What has been your biggest challenge in designing patterns?


                I'm a perfectionist and I want everything to be perfect in a pattern, but at some point in the designing process one must decide that a pattern is ready for publication even though in my mind...it can always be just a little bit better. 


7.       Which of your patterns is your favorite and why?


                My favorite generally seems to be the one I am working on at the moment. Its certainly the one I'm most invested in, BUT, if pressed... the bag I always seem to go back to is the Boho Baguette. It's loose and casual and it looks good whether its full or half-empty and I like that.  :)   http://studiokatdesigns.com/products/boho


8.       What is your go-to notion/tool?


                My favorite notion is the sew-in invisible magnet snap, without a doubt.


9.       What has been your most memorable experience when teaching or traveling to shows?       

         
Hmmm... that would be hard to say. I've absolutely loved having the experience of designing and creating and actually making a living doing so. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself to see if its all real!

10.   What advice would you share with aspiring bag makers?


                Have a clear vision, a definite point of view. It's important so that you can differentiate your products from those of others. You want to have your OWN inspiration after all. And most important, you need to be committed and willing to work hard at ALL aspects of the business. :)





Want to find Kat on other parts of the internet?
Instagram: studiokatdesigns

Preface: Did you read our newsletter that explained the story of how we got numerous packages of miscuts of Soft and Stable? If you missed out, you should go read it after you enter the giveaway. Luckily, we weren't left hanging. We partnered with StudioKat to give you the perfect solution. One package will give you enough for two Wrapsody Bags and leftovers for small projects. 


Kat has generously offered $4 off the regular price ($12.99) on the Wrapsody pattern to everyone. You should use the code ROAD2CAPROMO at checkout. The code is valid through 6/20 midnight ET. 


But we couldn't stop there! We are also going to give away TWENTY 17" packages of white Soft and Stable. One package will make TWO Wrapsody bags. 


Enter the giveaway below and share with your friends. There is plenty enough to go around! 


Want to read about how we got 17" packages of Soft and Stable, rather than 18"? Please go take a look at our blog explaining it


If you have previously won a giveaway during this Road to California Series, you cannot win again. Sorry, but we want to be fair to everyone else and spread as many prizes around as we can :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Remember, if you want to make your own bag to enter in the 2016 Road to California Bag Challenge, you can read the rules and download the entry form here. Don't miss out on your opportunity to shine. Anyone is welcome to enter using any design. 

Miss a designer or can't wait to see who is next? Check out the schedule on the original post here.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

It's Raining Men

We are in awe that the year is already half way over. Didn’t we just ring in the New Year? With many patterns released, a new Craftsy class launched, new staff members, samples made for shows, travel plans, a brand new grandbaby and child, and moving locations, the team at ByAnnie.com has not stopped going. No wonder the year has moved fast. We have needed all hands on deck, and we couldn’t have done it all without the men behind ByAnnie.com.
Though the boys may get funny looks from the outside world for working in a “female” industry, many people don’t realize what they do. From helping us move things, unloading large shipments of Soft and Stable, running errands around town, getting boxes down from high shelves, and keeping us laughing, we need men around the warehouse. We currently have two men working here, Casey and Kendal, and they keep us laughing hourly with their humor and upbeat attitudes.
Annie and Glo came home from the gym late one night to find Casey hard at work. He kept snickering and giggling, then you’d hear a click click click. Glo kept insisting it was time to go and Casey would reply, “No, I have to finish my work”. Just what was he working on? See for yourself.

We appreciate that they want to try new activities to understand our products better.  Did you see our blog post, Boys Can Sew, Too? Kendal wanted to make a project for his girlfriend who is currently in South America. He and Annie worked together one evening to whip out this Daytripper 2.0. We think he did a great job, don’t you?


And what’s a little bit of men around without some humorous mistakes? Casey and Kendal got a little overzealous one afternoon and realized too late they were cutting 17” pieces of Soft and Stable instead of 18”. Whoops! We suppose they haven’t learned the “Measure Twice, Cut Once” rule.





Luckily, we found a solution.  Have you seen the Wrapsody pattern around the internet? We partnered with the designer Kat of StudioKat Designs during our 2016 Road to California Bag Challenge blog series to offer these miscuts. They are perfect to make two Wrapsody bags (with leftovers!). She generously offered $4 off the Wrapsody pattern exclusively to our blog readers through June 16, 2015. We’ll give 20 winners Soft and Stable. You’ll have a beautiful bag.  You can enter the giveaway here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Notions Art Ed. 1

Notions Art from ByAnnie.com

Annie and Gloria came home from the gym late one night to find Casey hard at work on his computer. Strangely, in between the click-click-click of normal computer work there was also intermittent fits of snickering and giggling. Although Casey is a very happy person, such sounds don’t usually accompany his computer work. When asked what was so funny, Casey replied, “Oh, nothing. I am just working on some artwork for ByAnnie.com.” A few hours passed and Gloria started insisting it was time to go home. Each time she would mention home Casey would reply, “No, I have to finish my work!” Then a few minutes later the snickering and giggling could be heard in Casey’s office again. Just what was he working on?

Check it out!






Casey’s story

In case you didn’t know, I am the man behind the camera for most of the newer photos on our website. While product photography presents some great opportunities for creativity, I have to admit that I find notions to be particularly boring. So, one fine night I decided to spice the world of notions up a bit. And, what better way to spice up the notions world than adding our fearless hero to the mix? Casey, the stiletto wielding, Defender of All Things Bag, was born! In his debut issue, Casey the Defender of All Things Bag, can be found screening his movements behind Wool Pincushion Mountain as he tracks the terrifying & free-ranging beast JustDessert-osaurus. Unbeknownst to our hero, however, JustDessert-osaurus is also tracking prey of his own. The beast is tracking the poor defenseless patterns Grab Your Grub and Got Your Backpack. Just after crossing onto a grassy field of Double-Slide zippers, JustDessert-osaurus let out a might roar! Soon the poor little patterns were running for their life and our hero had to act fast! So, with a mighty leap, he cleared Wool Pincushion Mountain in a single bound. “STOP YOU FIEND!” he bellowed as he raised his trusty Stiletto in the air ready to strike down the terrifying JustDessert-osaurus. And then……. how would you finish the story? Comment below!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Road to California: ByAnnie.com + GIVEAWAY


Naturally, this being ByAnnie.com, we kicked off with interviewing Annie, the woman behind Soft and Stable, handbag zippers, Craftsy classes, and all things purse related. Carry On! Travel Bag has been a favorite for awhile, and it was just the perfect project to highlight the Road to California fabric. You can read more about it in questions to follow. 

Annie has also decided that someone should be able to make their own Carry On! Travel Bag. We are giving away the pattern, finishing kit, and Soft and Stable to one lucky winner! All you will need to purchase to complete the project is your fabric. You can join the giveaway below.
overhead_travel_bag

Bag Introduction Questions 

1. What is the name of your company and what is the name of the bag?

My company is ByAnnie.com and the bag that we made is the Carry On! Travel Bag.

2. What was your inspiration for this bag & for the way you used the Road to California fabric?

Because of the large-scale design of the Road to California fabric, we wanted to make a large bag. We love the Carry On! Travel Bag because it will carry EVERYTHING we need for our trip to Road -- even our sewing machine for classes!

3. For what do you recommend the bag be used & what are its features?

The perfect travel companion, this functional bag is carry-on compliant and sure to turn heads wherever you go. A comfortable padded adjustable carrying strap and quick-grab side handles make it convenient for all sorts of travel. 
The bag has zippered and slip pockets on the front, back, and ends, as well as a full zippered pocket and three more slip pockets inside. With all these pockets, the Carry On! Travel Bag will keep everything organized and close at hand. 
Measuring 18.5"L x 13.75"H x 8"D, the Carry On! Travel Bag has plenty of room for all your class supplies, including a small sewing machine. 

4. Is there anything special about the bag construction? If so, can you provide a brief description of what is special and how it was done?

The first step to making the Carry On! Travel Bag is to quilt the fabric using a layer of ByAnnie's Soft and Stable in between the main fabric and the lining fabric. Once quilted, all the pieces for the bag (except handles, straps, and bindings) are cut from the quilted fabric. This eliminates the need for any other interfacings or stabilizers and makes construction much easier.

5. What components did you use and why did you choose them?

ByAnnie's Soft and Stable gives the Carry On! Travel Bag great body and stability and helps it really hold its shape.  
Because of the large size of the bag, we used 1.5" hardware and strapping to make the handles and carrying strap. This wider size of strap and handle is more proportionate to the size of bag than a 1" size would be. We chose nickel hardware for this bag and picked our new hardware Set 3850 which includes some great new triangle rings (http://www.byannie.com/shop/product/1-12-inch-nickel-set-3850/) for the sides of the bag -- love them! 
We also used our special handbag zippers when assembling the bag. Handbag zippers have a wider zipper tape than a regular dress zipper so are much easier to install. They also have a extra-large pull and come in 48 terrific colors. We used two Atom Red 30" double-slide zippers (ZIP30-265) to make this bag: One zipper was used for the top so that we can open the bag in both directions. The other zipper was cut into two pieces to make zippers for two of the pockets.

6. Is there a pattern?  If so, what is the link? If not, do you have a website or other public space you would like us to share on the blog?

Yes, Carry On! Travel Bag is available at 
http://bit.ly/1FSrs46


Personal questions to add some flair

1. What does your perfect day look like? 

The day is sunny and warm and I have nothing to do except sit outside on the chaise under a leafy green tree, alternating between napping and reading a great book while sipping on an ice-cold Coke.
 
2. What word describes you? 

Driven.  

3. What inspired you to start sewing?

Both of my grandmothers were quilters and I loved the look and feel of the quilts that they made. Neither of them lived close enough to teach me how to quilt, so I taught myself by studying the quilts that they'd made me and by reading the limited articles about quilting that were available in the early 1970s. Rather than making quilts, I now primarily use quilted fabric to make purses and bags to organize my quilting supplies. Seeing a mess and figuring out how to clean it up and organize it serves as inspiration for many of my patterns!


4. How long have you been designing patterns? How did you get started?

I wrote my first pattern in 2000. My goal was to make enough money to pay for my quilting habit. I took a class at the local college to learn how to design a website and launched ByAnnie.com with all of three patterns. I can't tell you what a thrill it was to earn an extra $10 every few days enabling me to add a yard of fabric to my stash!
Fifteen years later, ByAnnie.com has almost 1,000 products, including over 150 patterns complemented by ByAnnie's Soft and Stable and our own line of handbag zippers and hardware. With the help of a staff of 15, we ship orders all over the world and enjoy connecting with quilters and crafters on a daily basis through Facebook and Instagram.

 5. What has been your biggest challenge in designing patterns?

Finding time to design and write patterns while keeping a growing business running smoothly. Thank goodness for a terrific staff! 

6. Which of your patterns is your favorite and why?

That's like asking a mother which of her children is her favorite! I'd probably say that I like my patterns for organizational items best -- I really like to have a place for everything and everything in its place. I just made myself my very own A Place for Everything and Catch All Caddy. Those two projects hold a ton of stuff and are so handy!





7. What is your go-to notion/tool?

My trusty stiletto/pressing tool helps me hold pieces in place as I sew, protects my fingers, and enables me to attach beautiful bindings. I feel that it is every bit as important as a rotary cutter! 

8. What has been your most memorable experience when teaching or traveling to shows?

I love showing students how to break down a project into manageable steps so that they can make projects that look like they bought them rather than like they made them. . . and seeing the pride on students faces when they finish a professional-looking project.  

9. What advice would you share with aspiring bag makers?

If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't! Go for it with confidence.


Carry_On_bag



Want to make one of your very own? Enter the giveaway below and be sure to share with your friends. We can't wait until next week for more information, giveaways, and fun! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember, if you want to make your own bag to enter in the 2016 Road to California Bag Challenge, you can read the rules and download the entry form here. Don't miss out on your opportunity to shine. Anyone is welcome to enter using any design. 


Miss a designer or can't wait to see who is next? Check out the schedule on the original post here

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Road to California: Introduction


We are so excited to be sponsoring the Road to California Bag Challenge 2015. Many bag designers have made beautiful bags using the 20th Anniversary fabric and we are excited to be featuring them once a week on our blog. Each one has also generously provided a giveaway or discount code exclusively for the readers of this blog! How cool is that? Read on to find the schedule. 

So what is the Road to California Bag Challenge? 

About the Challenge

  • Cash prizes and merchandise totaling $1,000 will be awarded for purses or bags made from the 20th Anniversary fabric designed by Alexander Henry Fabrics.Click here to order the fabric.
  • The purse or bag may be any size or style, uniquely designed or made from a pattern, and can include other fabric, embellishments, hardware, or stabilizers.
  • Entries will be juried and the winners, along with a few additional selected entries, will be displayed at Road to California’s 2016 show.

                                          Objective


To encourage creativity, to have some fun with Road to California's 20th Anniversary Celebration commemorative fabric, and to showcase the talents and skills of bag and purse designers and makers.

Prizes

Best of Show: $400 Cash Prize from Road to California
1st Runner-up: $300 Gift Certificate from ByAnnie.com
2nd Runner-up: $200 Gift Certificate from ByAnnie.com
3rd Runner-up: $100 Gift Certificate from ByAnnie.com


For the rules and entry form click here. Please be sure to share this contest with your bag-making friends, too!


Now who are the designers?

Road to California Bag Challenge
June 8: Annie from ByAnnie.com
June 15: Kat from StudioKat Designs
June 22: Trisha from Trisha Jane
June 29: Sam  from Hunter's Designs
July 6: Marcea from Abbey Lane Quilts
July 13: Ginnie from Wonder Woman Quilts
July 20: Nancy from Pink Sand Beach Designs
July 27: Carolyn from Road to California