Anya Bag

Way back at the end of last summer, and just before our lives got crazy for a while (see my post of September 13th) I was accepted as a tester of the lovely Anya Bag by Zoe, writer of So Zo. I was excited to be a tester as despite the fact that I’ve sewn, knitted and done crochet for as long as I can remember, I’ve never tested a brand new pattern, pre-release.

Unfortunately my photos of the construction process met with a watery end when I dropped my i-phone down the toilet, and no, they weren’t backed up! However, I still have my lovely bag which I’ve taken photos of again to show you.


I made mine from from a lovely fresh, mint green polka dot furnishing fabric which I’d bought from the sale rack at my local fabric shop, Fine Fabrics, Sheffield, for a couple of pounds, and I lined it with a piece of leftover curtain lining … so it came to the princely sum of about £2. I know Zoe of the So Zo blog likes to be thrifty, so I hope she’ll approve!




I need to show you a photo of the button I used as this has been in my button box for a number of years now, and actually came from a dress I made for my first pregnancy, just over 30 years ago! Once the dress had been worn for both of my pregnancies and was no longer needed, I removed the buttons, and I use them occasionally where they can make a statement. This one sits nicely on the tab of the Anya Bag.




So, here’s my (somewhat belated) review of the gorgeous Anya Bag:

  • I made it in a couple of hours on a wet late summer afternoon, so it’s a great project if you fancy sewing something up quickly
  • my fabric didn’t need pattern matching so I used less than the suggested length – so a great stash buster
  • the written instructions and online colour photos were extremely clear and explained and visualised every single step – especially the clever bit of magic you do when sewing a bag with a lining and have to turn it the right way out at the end!
  • it was handy and environmentally friendly to have the instructions on my tablet at the side of my sewing machine
  • I loved the tip for pressing the pleats at the top to make them lie crisply. It helps to define the shape of the bag
  • the straps are a great length for a shoulder bag, but I plan to make another at some point, with longer straps, so that I can wear across the body and make it hands-free!

I enjoyed seeing what fabric other bloggers used for their Anya bags. It’s amazing how a simple change of fabric redefines a garment or hand sewn item and gives it a new character and suggestion of use. I particularly like Handmade Jane’s version, and Scruffy Badger’s, in denim and tweed …. however, I remain jealous of the lovely crisp print which Zoe used for the bag in her photos!

Zoe’s pattern is available from her website, at a great price of £5!


And so to bed!

The approach of autumn has highlighted the need for some cosy pyjamas which are actually long enough in the arms and legs to do the job. Bring on Butterick 6296 which I purchased from Minerva Crafts! The blurb on the envelope describes a “very loose fitting top”, which sounded perfect. Who wants to wear tight-fitting pjs? They’re quite a classic pyjama with the breast pocket, sleeves, legs and jacket front borders being piped. I’ve not done a lot of piping before, but a couple of online tutorials soon sorted me out and reminded me of the technique.

The pattern also has an option with shorts and a short sleeved top, which I’ll try out when the temperatures rise again. I went for jacket B and trousers D.

It’s classified as ‘Easy’ which I would equate with a Beginner, and it was certainly ‘easy’ for me to sew up, but I think there are a few techniques which a true beginner might find difficult for a first project.

So first of all, I ordered myself some lovely fresh Spotty Cotton Lawn and some ready-made Chambray denim piping from Minerva Crafts and whipped this pair up for myself. I sewed French seams for most of the seams, using my overlocker to sew the first stage of the seam which always makes for a crisp finish.



The pattern suggests sewing a gathering thread around the bottom edge of the pocket and then drawing it up to create the curved corners, but I prefer to overlock around the edges of pockets like this one and then use the iron the neatly press around the edge and turn the overlocked edge inwards as I always feel it creates a a less bulky result.




Another classy feature of these pjs is that they have a back yoke and front pockets on the trousers. It’s tempting to think that this overcomplicates a pair of pj trousers, but they are rather classy and the back yoke actually makes them fit nicely and takes out some of the bulk. The pockets are handy too because they’re quite deep and if you like to lounge around in your pjs like I do, then there are myriad things you can store in them!

I’ve read reviews of this pattern where sewers have said they find these pjs a bit roomy, but for me that makes them a winner because they’re not restricting and they are great for an evening lounging on the settee. They are super comfy in my opinion!


And here they are! I’m too new to this blogging lark to post a photo of me in my pjs, so for now here they are on a coat hanger and on the bed! (Ooops – not very well pressed!)


Since I finished them they’ve been washed and dried and back on that evening because I love them so much! I’m on the lookout for some brushed cotton now to make another pair ready for when the winter storms begin!