The Island Batik Ambassador’s Challenge for October was “It’s in the bag Challenge“, using Bags by Annie. The bag I choose to make was Laptop Computer Carriers II, which contains two options. I was sent all the materials needed to create the bags free from Bags by Annie.
Including the Soft and Stable for the padding on the bags.
I selected fabric from the Island Batik Fabric “Bee Kind” fabric line to make my bags, this fabric was sent to me free as part of the Island Batik Ambassadors program.
I have not made many bags over the years, and most were very simple bags using a front, back, handle, with a pillowcase lining. So this challenge was one I was both looking forward to and one that I was a little scared to do. I kept putting off getting started, as I didn’t want to make a mistake.
I decided to finally get started a couple weekends ago and got the fabric out. The instructions are easy to follow. The instructions have little tabs that you can cut apart to attach to the pieces as you cut them. They are labeled with the item that you are making (Laptop carrier or laptop case), the size of the pieces, and the name of the pieces. This really helps, as the instructions tell you this information, and it is easy to find the correct pieces. (I copied them so I wouldn’t cut up my instructions or lose them for when I make the bags again later.)
When cutting the pieces, the instructions have a layout for how to lay the pieces, so you do not waste any fabric, and get all the correct pieces cut. After cutting out the initial set of instructions for pieces. You take the main fabric, the lining and the Soft & Stable foam stabilizer and create a sandwich, and then quilt.
I used my Janome 550e embroidery machine to use end-to-end designs by DesignsbyJuju.com. The fabric for the Laptop Case was of BumbleBees, so I used the Bumblebee Honeycomb Hearts End-to-End Quilting Embroidery Design. This design was given to me free from DesignsbyJuju.com.
When I started working on the Laptop Carrier, I realized that while the fabric design has bees on it, it was more of Hummingbirds as well, so I went to DesignsbyJuju.com and purchased the Hummingbirds End-to-End Quilting Embroidery Design.
After quilting these pieces, you then cut into smaller pieces. Then it was time to start the assembly.
I started with the Laptop Case as this seemed to be an easier design of the two. I was in for a learning curve, and after going thru a couple of the steps, I was confused (doesn’t take much when I am trying to rush). However, By Annie knows where you may get stuck, and they have some great videos (free) that you can watch to help see what you need to do. (Add on Videos)
NOTE: take the time to read all the instructions and watch the videos if needed. It is really easy to do, once you understand what is needed.
The first video I watched was the Zipper Pulls. This helped explain how to use their zippers by the yard. Once I watch them it was so easy to see how to add the zipper pulls to the strips. It was actually kind of fun putting them on, watching them fall off the other end and start over. (Ok, I get sidetracked at points).
A few steps later, I realized I need to watch another video, and watched Easy Does it Video, this one really helped with how to do the binding. These bags are created with no exposed seams, not on the outside or the inside. The video’s show you how to create the binding, and how to attach.
These two sets of videos helped me get the Laptop Case completed. When I started to work on the Laptop Carrier, I watched the Carrying Strap and Pad video, that helped me figure out how to add on the hardware on the straps. I was adding the D-rings and got stuck. The video helps you figure out how to add. Once I watched the video and re-read the instructions, it makes complete sense, and I was able to continue.
The inside mesh pocket was actually easier to make than I would have thought. You add a strip of binding to the two sides of the mesh, and then attach the zipper to the fabric. Mesh stretches so easy and can get distorted, so the fabric makes it more stable. The mesh was cut larger than to help with the stretching and stitching.
After the pockets were added, and it was time to add the side pieces, you are instructed to use a circle to trim the corners. I didn’t have a 2 1/2″ circle, so I went hunting around the house. I found the size I needed in the kitchen. The Pam spray was the perfect size. You never know what items you will find in my sewing room. (Good thing I had two, because when I was cooking lunch, it was still in my sewing room, waiting for me to finish the next bag.
Next you add the side/top pieces to the bag. You mark centers for the four sides and match to the four points in the zipper/side strip. Then pin or clip them around the outside.
I used the Quilter’s Perfect Klip large clips that I received when I did the Pinktober Breast Cancer quilt. They were easier to use because of the thickness of the fabric layers. Both the sides and the back are quilted layers.
After sewing the sides to the back, I then added a binding to the sides, this hid those lose ends so that you do not see them. Then repeated adding the front and binding those edges. As you can see in this picture, there are no exposed ends, everything is neatly covered up. This not only makes it look more professional, but it also gives the seams more strength and can handle more use.
There is lots of room inside for not only a laptop but other items as well. This was my 14″ laptop in the bag, and there is still room around it.
After a careful pressing around the sides, The Laptop Case was completed.
My husband asked why I didn’t personalize the yellow fabric, and to be honest hadn’t thought about it. It would be nice to embroider a name or even a saying on the bag. Next time I make this bag, I am going to add something there.
Now that I have completed the Laptop Case, it was time to start working on the Laptop Carrier. This had new features and options, but again, the Add-on videos at byAnnie made the process easier.
The Laptop Courier was a challenge, but since a lot of the techniques were used in the laptop Case, this bag went together much easier.
One of the new techniques are the different straps. They are fabric tubes with strapping in the center.
First step was to sew a tub, and then press the seams open. You don’t want to press the tube in half, as this would make the turning and pressing harder. So, I found a piece of a dowel rod that fit inside the tub, to help press.
I hand pressed the seams open around the dowel rod.
Using an iron, neatly press the seam open over the Dowel rod.
The seams are pressed open, without adding any extra seams.
Turn the tubs, putting the seams inside, then press the seams flat, with the seam going down the center of the strips.
Next, you add the strapping in the tubs. You can use a safety pin to pull the stripping thru, or a bodkin.
Then sew 1/8″ seam down each side of the tubs.
This was done for all of the strips required for the bags, including the shoulder strap.
When doing the shoulder strap, I watched another ByAnnie video to help create the strap. The instructions make it so easy to complete. It included a padding for the shoulder as well.
Next you work on the sides, and all the pockets. You bind all the outside edges, similar to finishing a quilt and so easy to do.
Following the instructions make this bag go together so easy, with all seams finished, and looks professionally made. There is lots of padding to protect your computers.
There are two pockets on the outside, one with a zipper.
There is a side pocket on each side of the bag.
There is on pocket on the back.
Inside there is a zippered padded pocket, along with three pockets on the other side.
I had so much fun making these bags, I am already looking forward to making more Bags by Annie, just can’t decide what I want to tack next. I never thought I was a bag person, but I guess it all depends all on the pattern, and Bags by Annie are the perfect instructions and videos to create these bags.
Island Batik fabric is so easy to work with, and create such wonderful looking bags. I had fun using the Bee Kind fabric and I love using these new bags to carry my work laptop back and forth to work.
Here are both of the bags.
Thank you to the wonderful sponsors for these bags, Island Batik and Bags by Annie!
If you enjoyed my Bags by Annie, check out the other Island Batik Ambassador’s pages.
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