Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review : By Annie’s On the Go


This post is part of Purse Palooza. For contest rules, full details, and schedule, please click here! Today’s post is from Tracey.

Tracey in Israel here.  I’m super excited to be part of purse palooza this year, thank you Sara for asking me.  I have been making bags for a number of years now.  You can see my work here http://www.traceylipman.etsy.com and here https://www.flickr.com/photos/traceylipman

I’m reviewing the ‘On the Go’ Bag by Annie Unrein of Soft and Stable fame.  Described as ‘Small but mighty, this stylish 6″W x 8″H x 1½”D bag with a secure zipper closure has plenty of pockets to keep you organized’.  I like my bags organized so this pattern appealed to me.

Photo One

For me the signs of a good pattern are

  • Are the instructions easy to follow?
  •  Do the pieces fit together nicely?
  • Can I learn something new from this pattern?
  • Does it have everything I need/want in terms of pockets, closures etc. and if not can I add my own?
  • Do I like the finished bag and the process of making it enough to want to make the bag again?

Are the instructions easy to follow?

As a visual learner I was worried that this pattern would be hard to follow as there is a lot of text, with few pictures.  This is Purse Palooza so I took a deep breath and jumped out of my comfort zone.  And boy am I happy I did.  There is no guess work, Annie’s instructions are precise with clear step by step instructions.  Through her words she helped me visualize what needed to be done so after a while I forgot there were no step by step photos.  I strongly suggest that you read all the text as Annie really does tell you everything you need to know, with tips and diagrams as needed and links to video tutorials on her website should you want them.  I also like that the diagrams are computer generated and easy to follow.

So yes, the instructions were easy to follow.

Photo Two

Do the pieces fit together nicely?

This fit together so well I wanted to give Annie a hug to say thank you for not making me squish, pull, stretch or pleat the gusset (anyone who has made a bag knows what I am talking about J ).   From the binding to the gusset each piece consistently worked, which meant I really enjoyed making this bag.  So Yes the pieces fit well together

photo three

Can I learn something new from this pattern?

Yes I also learned something new.  I never thought to use binding like Annie suggested, she makes it so easy, this is my new go-to technique.  I am no longer a bindaphob (made up word, meaning phobia to binding J )

TIP:  To save a step when you are binding the gusset to the bag.  Match the raw edges of the binding and gusset lining and sew the binding to the gusset before you attach it to the bag.  This way you can sew the binding and gusset in one step.  Then follow Annie’s instructions to finish the edge with your binding.

It is also the first time I have used Soft and Stable.  I can honestly say I now see what all the fuss is about.  It does what it sets out to do, it is soft enough to be able to squash the body of the bag when going around a corner but stable enough to bounce back and hold a bag’s shape.   It is slightly thinner than the ½ cm foam I managed to find locally, which made it better suited for a small bag like this.  With a bag this size if you don’t have soft and stable you could probably use a fusible fleece and shape flex alternative, so don’t let that put you off making this bag.

Does it have everything I need/want in terms of pockets, closures etc. and if not can I add my own?

Yes this bag does have a lot of pockets but I think every girls bag should have an inside zipper pocket for her to put her personal items.  I also wanted to use magnetic snaps instead of Velcro.

Annie’s instructions call for you to make a large sandwich with the external fabric, soft and stable in the middle and then the lining, quilting them as one big piece to hold the soft and stable in place.  This piece is then cut into smaller pieces for the front, back, flap, pockets and gusset.

For this bag I didn’t do that, instead I cut each piece separately.  I added my lining pocket and snaps where needed and then I made a separate sandwich for the back, front, gusset, pockets and flap with the external fabric, soft and stable and lining.  I sewed around the edge of each sandwich to hold the pieces in place.

Photo Four

Using this method this pattern is very definitely customizable and less daunting for people who don’t like quilting.  I chose to quilt the front and back pocket as I wanted to highlight the panel fabric I had chosen, but if you don’t like quilting then there is no need for this.

photo 5 (1)


Things I liked about this pattern

  • Clear  easy to follow instructions (even, in my opinion, for the visual learner)
  • Pieces fitted together like a dream
  •  As each piece has straight edges they could be cut with a rotary cutter (or scissors if you don’t have a rotary cutter)
  • Pattern is customizable
  • This pattern is available as a PDF or paper pattern.  I am a big fan of PDF instant downloads and it was a big plus for me that it was available in this format.
  • I like that Annie gave a sheet with labels to cut out and pin to each piece
  •  As far as I can see there are no restrictions on selling bags you make from this pattern.

Things I changed

  • The biggest change I made was in the way I cut out my pattern.  I cut each piece individually, rather than in one piece as the pattern suggested, this allowed me to customize the bag and make the rest of the changes I wanted to make.
  • I personally don’t like exposed zipper edges so I used a piece of binding to cover them
  • I am not a Velcro fan so I changed this to a magnetic snap.  I centered the snap over the place Annie said to use Velcro.
  • I added a magnetic snap to secure the back pocket too.
  • I left off the flap vinyl pocket.
  •  As I only had ¾” hardware for the strap in my stash I cut my strap 3 inches wide, rather than 2”, so it came out wider than Annie’s original bag.
  • I replaced the inside credit card pockets with a zipper pocket

photo six

I would rate this pattern as intermediate.  The instructions are clear but I would not suggest this pattern if this is your first bag, because of the gusset.

I had a lot of fun with this pattern and I have already made some more of these bags.

photo seven photo nine photo eight

I completed each bag in a day and once I had finished my daughter said ‘wow, how did you find a bag that has everything I need’ so I guess I had better go and make her one too.  Thanks again to Sara for putting on Purse Palooza, highlight of the year for us bag fans and thank you to Annie for a great pattern.

If you want to see more of my work you can find me here http://www.traceylipman.etsy.com and here https://www.flickr.com/photos/traceylipman

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15 replies on “Purse Palooza :: Pattern Review : By Annie’s On the Go

  • Krista

    Excellent review, Tracey! The fabric you chose for the first bag you highlighted is so unique and special. Your fabric combinations are pretty. I really enjoyed looking at your work on your flickr page, too!

    I’m always on the lookout for a way to do binding and get over my phobia of it. Thanks for that bit of information, too! 🙂

    • Tracey

      Krista thank you. I wanted to try something a big different and had lots of fun with this pattern, I’m happy you like it.
      Hope Annie can get you over your bindaphob too 🙂

  • Diann Cornell

    I like the bags you made and I think I might like this pattern. I would have liked information on how the handles are attached and much more information about the pockets as the pattern was written. I would have liked to know how many pockets were included, what type and exactly where they are on the bag. Then of course you might not make the bag exactly that way, but at least those of us reading would have a sense of the starting place. I find it frustrating that reviews, not to mention the websites selling the patterns often leave off this sort of information.

    • Tracey

      Diann, you are right, I should have said how many pockets were included, sorry for leaving that out. Annie’s original pattern has a large back slip pocket. The flap has a pocket with three slip pockets inside that. In front of that is a vinyl slip pocket (I left this out on mine). Annie puts three credit card slip pockets on the inside (I replaced these with the zipper pocket). The strap attaches to the front and back with D rings on the body panel, you can see this on the front of my bag. There is another D ring on the back panel. Hope this helps

  • Sandy Murphy

    Thanks for the great review Tracy, and I am super keen to have a go at this bag. Just the right size and still professional looking. I found your etsy store when i was looking for inspiration for the necessary clutch wallet and I love your bags and wallets.


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