Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Traveling in Style with Island Batik and By Annie

September's challenge for Island Batik ambassadors was to make one of the bag patterns By AnnieLast year's By Annie challenge was the first time I made one of Annie's patterns and I absolutely fell in love, it opened up so many bag possibilities!  I had my eye on a big bag, the Ultimate Travel Bag 2.0.  Annie sent a kit with all the supplies I needed to make the bag.  I admit, it was the first thing I made when my second ambassador box arrived.



 The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, By Annie, Schmetz, and Aurifil.

This year we also got to pick our own fabrics, which was a real treat!  I picked fabrics from the Butterfly Blooms collection by Kathy Engle. I absolutely love the Butterfly Leaf print that I picked as my main fabric.  The coordinating fabric in the straps and accents is Animal Leaves and has delightful lizards and dragonflies in the swirls and leaves. For my lining, I picked the blender Bubbles in Raspberry. I also picked out a fourth fabric for the interior pockets, Mini Leaf in Moonstone, but when I watched Annie's add-on video, I realized that I would rather make the interior pockets out of mesh, so I used some white mesh that I had and saved the fabric for another project--you'll see it in December.  

Annie's patterns are very detailed and very thorough.  It took me 9 days to make my Ultimate Travel bag (remember that I have a full time job and kid) but if you make your way through her steps, you will end up with a very professional looking bag.  I love all the pockets on this!  On the outside of the bag there are pockets on either end, a slip pocket on the back of the bag, and a combination slip pocket/zipper pocket on the front of the bag. Inside, there is a full-sized pocket with a zipper on one side that can be fabric or mesh and divided slip pockets on the other side. You bind the slip pockets with Annie's fold-over elastic so they have a lovely bit of stretch --and it's decorative too!

in process

I will say that there are sections with a lot of layers.  Annie recommends a 90/14 top stitch needle and that's now the only thing I will use when making her bags, and I start each bag with a new Schmetz top stitch needle.  I used Aurifil thread and switched back and forth between color 5003 (wine) that matched both the butterfly fabric and the lining fabric and Aurifil 1148 (light jade) that matched the coordinating fabric. 

I used the bag as my "personal item" when I flew to visit a friend in July and it was perfect.  I used the full-size interior pocket for my ipad, my wallet fit in the zippered pocket; everything important had a spot.  I also took it to work one day when I needed to change my clothes at the end of the day and a coworker saw the bag.  I got kinda the ultimate bag compliment, she asked me if it was a Vera Bradley and I could proudly say, "nope, it's an Emily Leachman!"

action shot in use on my trip

I absolutely love my bag, and this just furthers my love of Annie's patterns.  If you have struggled with bags in the past like I have, check out her patterns.  She has a series of free projects with support videos to help you learn her techniques, and many of her patterns (including Ultimate Travel Bag 2.) have supporting add-on videos to explain the trickier elements.  Be warned, though, that once you make one of her bags, you'll want to make them all!  If you need more inspiration, check out all the Island Batik ambassadors this month to see their By Annie bags.


  1. Beautiful and useful, that's a wonderful combination. Love the bright colors of that butterfly fabric, makes it much easier to keep up with.

  2. What a fun compliment for your friend to ask if that was a Vera bag!! You are rocking those bags Emily!!

  3. I love the fabrics you chose! They're so beautiful together. Have a great day!

  4. Love your fabric choices - the batik is much nicer than a Vera Bradley! What fun that you were already able to take it for a spin a few times. Looks totally awesome and functional.

  5. So fun to see you enjoying the Annie patterns and bag making! What a great compliment on the bag, too! Nicely done, Emily!

  6. Awesome Emily Leachman bag!!! So many fun pockets!

  7. That was a nice compliment!! Your bag looks wonderful. Having lots of pockets is very handy. I have started several bags but have not finished any. There’s always other gems that come along that I catch a gleam of and am off chasing.

  8. Great fabric choices and so glad you are enjoying the bag! Great post!

  9. Butterfly Blooms is a beautiful collection and the choice of teal handles on fuchsia bag is just so energizing. Love it. I am a new member of the Annie Fan Club and this one is next on my list.