Annette handbag #1

By way of easing myself back into the process of bag making, I decided to ‘have a go’ at the Annette bag. I have had the pattern for a very long time but simply never got around to it.

Screenshot of the Annette bag by Swoon Sewing Patterns

According to the Swoon website the Annette bag is perfect for all occasions. The tote is stylish and practical with a sleek and classic look. The bag features handles, a removable shoulder strap, two exterior pockets and optional decorative feature. The bag can be made in fabric or vinyl/faux leather. Bag dimensions are listed as width: 13″ (33 cm), height: 9″ (22.9 cm), depth: 5″ (12.5 cm).

This bag pattern was the project undertaken at Kittenish Behaviour’s most recent Sewing Retreat but unfortunately I was unable to attend. However, Sian has released a vlog demonstrating how to add an internal zip closure to the bag rather than a zip at the top of the bag and this was the prompt for me to try the pattern.

As this was going to be a ‘trial run’ of the bag, I chose fabric from my vast stash of ‘landfill’ furnishing fabrics. I had a small piece of print featuring birds in autumnal shades plus some geometric print in a coordinating colour. I decided to use nickel hardware as there seemed to be plenty of that in my bag-making stash.

Construction notes: I used fusible interfacing to stabilise the furnishing weight linen and ‘headliner’ stabiliser. ‘Headliner’ is a foam stabiliser (an alternative to Bosal ®) that is used in the car manufacturing industry to line the insides of cars e.g. roof and door panels. As it is not fusible I machine basted within the seam allowance to the interfaced pieces of the bag. Inside the bag I added a zip pocket, a divided slip pocket that is specially sized for my ancient mobile phone and an extending key keeper. I added 6 bag feet and my own ‘Carousel Cottage Crafts’ label.

Internal pockets
Extending Key Keeper

Conclusion: Unfortunately constructing this bag was not a particularly pleasant experience especially as I made so many basic errors during the process it has rather coloured my view. I don’t think that I will use it very much, if at all.

Small Bird Panel

It all started to go wrong when I realised that I had cut the outer of the side pockets in the wrong print and by the time I realised the error, there was insufficient of that print fabric remaining. When attaching the D rings for the handles I did not notice that I was blocking out the head of the large bird print on the panel.

Large Bird Panel

I was impatient to get the internal zip fitted and did not take the time to check online for instructions. I now know better! I took on board Sian’s suggestion to leave part of the side panel lining unstitched so that I could turn the bag right side out through that larger opening. It was still a wrestling match. Had I taken the time to layer and clip the seam allowances the top edge of the bag would be neater as would the top stitching. Although I was aware of the dimensions of the finished bag, to be honest it is larger than I like. I cannot envisage that I will ever use the external pockets as I don’t consider them to be secure enough, except perhaps for a water bottle. I have a strong suspicion that my next bag will be the Carpet Bag by Mrs H. I have previously made at least 3 versions of that bag and it is definitely my favourite!

Project #41 completed 7th September 2022