I have had the Anna Maria Horner Art Student Tote pattern for over a year now and finally got around to make it last week.
My sister was having a birthday and I had been wanting to make her a bag for a few months now so it was the perfect time to try out the pattern. I loved it! It was really straightforward and nothing too complicated.
I dug into my stash and used one of my all-time favorite prints: Hello Luscious Blissful in Fashionista and paired it with another great print from my stash for the straps: Sophie Blue Fiesta Petal. I also used some fabric from my stash for the interior: Strawberry Fields Summer Picnic in Vanilla. I love the combination of fabrics... They really remind me of my sister so it was perfect for her bag!
This bag is massive! I made version A which is the middle size of the three options available in the pattern. I love that the sides can cinch in when the bag isn't super full but be let out when it needs to be filled to the brim.
When I came across this pattern a couple years ago I totally fell in love with Stephanie's version and knew that my bag needed some fancy zipper pulls too. I got a cheap pair of earrings from Hobby Lobby and worked them over a bit to get them to work as zipper pulls.
I love the back of the bag almost as much as the front. So if you wanted to make an easier version of the bag I feel like you could totally leave off the front pockets and it would be just as cute. There is plenty of pockets on the interior that it could totally work without the front pockets... but then again, those zippers are pretty darn cute! Anna Maria Horner knows what she is doing! ;)
I spent about an hour one evening cutting out the pattern pieces and then the next day I spent about 12 hours on the bag... ironing all of the interfacing and fusible fleece took FOREVER! So if you were using thicker fabric and didn't need to add all the interfacing and fusible fleece it wouldn't take nearly as long... Like I said, the pattern was very well written and pretty straight forward. I did make a few slight alterations to mine...
1. This is actually something I wish I would have done.... All of the pattern pieces are rectangle, so I wish I would have noticed that before I actually started cutting out my pattern page- I wish I would have just measured the pieces and then cut them to be exact with a rotary cutter. I ended up having to square up my pieces after using the pattern and free handing with scissors- so it would have saved a lot of time if I had just done it all with my rotary cutter.
2. I used fabric from my stash so I don't know exactly how much fabric I used, but I do know that I used less than the pattern called for. Especially for the straps... so if you do use a rotary cutter to cut your pieces out, you could probably get away with using less fabric.
3. I used quilting cotton for the entire bag so I used a light interfacing on everything (including the interior and interior pockets) and then used fusible fleece on all of the outer parts of the bag including the handles. (I did not use the fleece on the outer pockets or side straps however and the light interfacing seemed to be plenty for those.)
4. I used 2 layers of fusible Peltex in the bottom of my bag. I was definitely glad I did that... it helped the bottom of the bag to keeps it's shape. (I believe the pattern just calls for heavy interfacing.)
5. I made the zippers on the outer pockets go in opposite directions instead of the same direction and I think it adds a bit more interest to the zippers... Especially with the zipper pulls on them.
I really love the way the bag turned out... It was kinda hard parting with it! ha ha! But my little sis totally loved it so that made things easier! ;)