Having been in the quilting and bag making ‘biz’ since 2005, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really interesting people in the industry.
Sometimes you meet these people in the most unlikely places – like China. That’s where I met Bonnie Browning and Ann Hammel for the first time. Both are part of the American Quilter’s Society, the largest quilting membership organization in the world.
I’ve been asked to prepare a bag pattern for AQ magazine
I’m humbled to have met both of these ladies in the course of my travels, and earlier this year I was extremely pleased when Ann, editor-in-chief at AQ magazine, asked me to prepare a pattern for the September 2017 edition.
When I met Ann, her position in the company was writing and editing the AQS e-newletter called OnPoint. (Ann subsequently interviewed me for that newsletter). In 2016 I was pleased to discover that she had been promoted, and was now the Editor in Chief of the American Quilter’s Society magazine: AQ.
Bonnie Browning is the Executive Show Director for the American Quilting Society.
You’ve likely been to one of the many AQS shows she has organized. This year, there will be 6 of these 4-day events sprinkled across the US. These are world class, not to be missed, quilting shows.
Ann and Bonnie traveled to China together in 2014 to review the show I was involved in.
Ideas for the pattern
Initially the edition was to have a travel theme. I considered a number of possible projects for this theme, including a hanging cosmetic kit and a zippered cosmetic case.
Working through these ideas on paper in February it seemed to me that they would run into too many pages of instructions for a magazine. Then I started into an idea for a folded jewelry case. It was supposed to be simple and quick to make.
Ooh La La was too complex for a pattern in a magazine
Every designer likely has one big character flaw to contend with.
I know mine; it’s the tendency to create things that are a little more detailed than they maybe should be for the larger audience – that audience being beginner and beginner-intermediate sewers.
As I was creating the pattern for the jewelry case, the Ooh La La bag, it become clear that Ooh La La was not the pattern for AQ. I wanted to put zipped pockets into it for watches, bangles and hoop earrings and cool little snaps to hold the necklace and ring bling. But that would require too many diagrams for a magazine.
Back to the drawing board I went…
Then I thought about another backpack pattern
March came in like a lamb but I was ripping around like a lion. My deadline was mid April. What to do?
Earlier in the year I had created a backpack, the Daytripper, and I still had a lot more ideas for other backpacks floating around in the back of my head. So I set to work and created a new pattern which I’m calling the Market Street Backpack.
But reviewing the resulting instructions I could see that, once again, I had a bag pattern that was more book-like than article-like. Granted, I was getting a bit more succinct. The Market Street Backpack was a great backpack with a nifty shape but once again – not the one for AQ.
Back to the drawing board I went again…
A new shopping tote? Maybe, but not for the magazine
Now it was the end of March.
Inspired by a divided bag lining idea, I went at it again. This idea came to me in a flash. I’m still in the prototype stage with it. It’ll be called the Yorkville Shopper.
It’s a brilliant bag if I do say so myself. Sadly, although it was more bare bones than the previous patterns, it was still not ‘the one’.
Back I went again…
This time I settled on a design
Never say die.
Now it was the first week of April. With the AQS deadline approaching at breakneck speed I locked myself in my studio.
I sketched out an idea and started to work through the problems encountered with the construction. Sadly, even after all these years it takes me some time to work out of corners I sew myself into!
Part way through that first week I heard that Betz White, a pattern and fabric designer, was looking for designers to use her new Juxtaposey line.
I contacted Betz, who contacted Riley Blake, the fabric company, to send out the fabric. Somehow the lines of communication got crossed and the shipment was delayed. I am expecting to receive the fabric any moment but there is no way I will make my deadline since I photograph my instructions as I create the final bag.
So with apologies to Ann, my new pattern, the Zip and Flip Shoulder Sling, will be a few more days.
But this experience has inspired more creativity in a short period of time than I have ever known. Think of a speeding bullet, think of a runaway train, think of me.
Also, expect a few more bag patterns to choose from in the coming months!
Back to the sewing machine I go…
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