Switchback September Bag challenge
[ Island Batik Ambassadors 2021 ]

September Bag Challenge

Island Batik teamed up with By Annie and tasked us with a September Bag Challenge. I knew this would be a complex project…when I looked at the pattern, it was 19 pages! But you can climb any mountain by taking it one step at a time. Let’s take a look at my Switchback bag from ByAnnie, made with Island Batik fabrics.

ByAnnie September Bag Challenge

Preparations for the September Bag Challenge

Earlier this year, Island Batik asked us to choose the pattern and fabric. It arrived in the July shipment – watch my unboxing video here, and see the project components here.

I selected a few prints from the Free to Fly collection, and decided on Waterfall, from the Foundations line, as the lining and strap color.

Free to Fly collection from Island Batik
Free to Fly collection from Island Batik

After skimming the pattern to get familiar with the flow of the bag construction, I used the cutting diagram and labels to prepare all the pieces.

bag pieces labeled

I set up my machine with a Schmetz 90/14 needle and Aurifil thread for the quilting step. I did straight-line stitching on the base pieces, and got a little more decorative with a Serpentine stitch for the flap and pockets.

Quilted purse flap

Pieces and Parts

I had lofty goals of completing this project in a week. Simple math told me that if I could finish 3 pages of instructions per day this was an achieveable goal. My optimism is rather hilarious at times!!! I still have a part-time tutoring job, longarm clients and a teenage daughter to drive around so I rarely got more than one section of one page done per day. I took many progress photos and posted them on Instagram, so check the September Bag Challenge highlights to see the whole project come together.

The Right Tools for the Job

I was intimidated by the zippers. As you know from my April project, I am new to the world of zipper installation. The Switchback bag has two zipper pockets and the main zipper closure. ByAnnie zipper tape is so easy to use that these components came together with no trouble at all.

Zippers and pockets

Sewing along a curve is another skill that I developed from this experience. The bag flaps and corners are all rounded. I found that sewing slowly and rotating the pieces carefully gave the best results.

Final construction had to be put on pause when I could not sew through the multiple layers of stabilizer and strapping towards the end. A quick search for help online, and a phone call to another quilter with bag-making experience reassured me that a Schmetz Size 16 needle would help. Thanks for the advice, Mom!

September Bag Challenge Complete

ByAnnie patterns instruct you to cover all raw edges with binding. When you are in the middle of the project, you think it is a never-ending process, and kind of unnecessary for interior pieces. But wowza, the finished product looks SO GOOD! Take the time and attend to small details. It is well worth it!

Switchback September Bag challenge

A huge thank you to Island Batik and By Annie for supplying all the materials for me to make the Switchback purse/backpack. I am looking forward to taking it on my next adventure. What is your favorite bad style to travel with?

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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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