April 30, 2013

Spring 2013 Collection: Meet Bijou!

Today is the second big reveal of the spring collection. Some of you might recognize Bijou from a few years ago! The pattern had gone out of print but I still had customers asking for this one so I decided to see if I could add some more sizes, tweak the design a little, and offer it again. My sewing/design math worked out beautifully so here they are, the Bijou Travel Trio!


I love to think of these bags as a lovely set of soft-sided luggage that you can customize to your liking with any fabric you choose. One of the things that I did to make the bags suitable for today's demands is to add a great padded exterior pocket that zips. On the medium and large bags, this pocket is large enough to accommodate a tablet computer such as the Microsoft Surface or iPad. The small size has a pocket to accommodate any regular size eReader or mini-tablet computer. Because this pocket is exterior, access is easy at the airport where you need to be quick to get through security! If you haven't used Soft and Stable yet, this is the product I used to pad the pocket and I love the result. Because the outside of the bag is made with Peltex, this pocket gets the benefit of that protection as well, so no worries about damage to your precious electronics here!

The largest size bag is the original size from the "old Bijou" pattern. I changed up the pockets by adding that snazzy outside zippered one and then added a smaller zippered pocket on the inside as well. These bags are surprisingly roomy and they hold a lot. From my previous experiences traveling with the largest size, it lays on its side well to slide under the seat in front of you when flying. I love having access to my stuff on the plane and this way you don't get dirty looks from the flight attendants!
I am excited about the medium and small sizes too! The medium is a great size for when you need to carry a little less. It is still very roomy and allows you to carry your computer safely. It would be a great project bag if you like to do needlework or carry around books, magazines, paperwork, or even snacks! I am planning on making myself a set to take to market. The largest will be used for flying and then the medium for carrying around our paperwork to and from market. The small will be great for carrying just the incidental items.

When I designed the smallest size, I thought about how cute it would be for a little girl to have a bag like her mom! It is small enough for a young girl to carry around and just think what she could put inside...doll clothes, books, craft supplies, snacks! It would be adorable!

One of the best features about this set of bags happened rather upon accident. Once I had finished a set, I needed to set them off to one side and get them out of the way of my sewing chaos. I realized that they will all nest inside one another! This is a wonderful storage solution for when you are not using the bags. You can have three bags in the space that one takes up! This is how I will ship the bags to and from market for the booth....perfection!

The sizes for these bags are as follows:
Large: 18"w x 12"h x 6" d
Medium: 15"w x 10"h x 5"d
Small: 12"w x 8"h x 4"d

One set of samples shown here were made from Michael Miller's new home decorating cotton sateen, Bekko. I love how the gray and white prints play together. The other set was made from Echino linen. For those of you not familiar with this fabric, it is a fantastic line of Japanese fabric. They always have such interesting designs. I find myself drawn to them often! The last bag shown in the pattern is a stand alone bag in the medium size and that is  Michael Miller fabric, Secret Garden by Sandi Henderson.

This bag design is for the intermediate to advanced bag sewer. It is constructed from Peltex with a fusible fleece zipper panel at the top. You could make it from a different stabilizer, but it will not have the same substantial feel that Peltex yields. I also advise that if you want to have an easier time making these bags that you use quilting weight cotton. The heavier fabrics do make the seams bulkier and usually mean that you need to use a denim needle in your machine. Time and patience are key here...but I promise that it isn't as hard to make as the Weekender....we all know the one I am talking about!

The pattern features many illustrations to get you through the construction process along with tips to get the bag just right as you sew. There is a large paper sheet with the pieces printed on it. You will find that it is double sided. I did this because I really want you to trace your patterns onto freezer paper. This is how I make the bags myself. I love that I can lightly iron the shiny side of the paper to the stabilizer to cut it out. It is quick and accurate without having to pin anything, and once you have made your templates, you can use them over and over again.

As I mentioned yesterday, we are in the process of adding the new patterns to the website. These will go live later on this week as I want to get through introducing you to all the newbies before we sell them!

Happy Sewing!