Friday, January 8, 2016

Review: Power Trip by Patterns by Annie

Today, I thought I'd share my thoughts and write a review on the Power Trip Case by Patterns by Annie.

This one has been on my to do list for a while, and I thought that my trip to Glamp Stitchalot in Michigan would be the perfect reason/excuse/justification to go ahead and make it.

If you have been following me, you will not be surprised that I picked another one of Annie's patterns.  I think they offer the perfect balance of functionality and usability, and I don't think her Soft and Stable products can be beat for durability, stability, and giving your bags a nice, professional finish.

Also, this bag would be a great gateway project for somebody that's thinking about making Annie's A Place for Everything bag.  Some of the basic construction steps are very similar.  I've written a pretty lengthy blog post on it.  There are also some tips and tricks in there that you may find handy when making this bag too (especially the part about trimming back the Soft and Stable when installing the zippers).

Details:

This bag finishes at approx 7.5" tall, 10" wide, and 3" deep (if you are holding it in your hand by the handle).  It features 3 zipped pockets (2 interior and 1 exterior), 5 open mesh pockets, and 1 section with elasticized loops (in the center of the case along the inside of the spine).

For mine, I picked one of my favorite fabric combinations (yes, again) - Tula Pink MoonShine + Tula Pink Fox Field with white mesh, white elastic, hot pink fold over elastic, and Annie's handbag zippers in the lipstick color.

Mesh, elastic, zippers, and Soft and Stable are all available on byannie.com

Like most of Annie's other patterns, you begin by quilting a sandwich of Soft and Stable with your main and lining fabrics.  Once quilted, you cut the pieces into the sizes listed in the pattern and begin to assemble the bag's components.

All cut and partially assembled

One cool option that you can do with this bag is pick if you want to see more of the lining fabric or more of the exterior fabric on the inside of the bag.  It's as easy as flipping a piece over.  

Not sure what I'm talking about or why you might take this into consideration?  If you look at the pictures that Annie shows of the pattern on her website, you can see that some of the examples have the interior fabric facing outward on the interior and some have the exterior fabric.  While it isn't technically a functional issue, I think it's more of an issue of usability.  For my bags, I prefer to use the fabric that will allow the mesh to "disappear" into the background more.  Using the aqua print allows the white mesh that I picked to be as visible against the fabric.  I don't want the mesh to be a star of the show, I'd rather see the pretty fabric!  I also prefer to use a less busy print for my lining fabric so the contents of the pockets are easier to see against the lining.

Modifications:

I decided that I wanted to modify a few things on the pattern to make it work better for me.  These are not major changes, and do not have much of an impact on how the bag is constructed.

When making the bag, one common modification for me is to hand stitch the zipper side strip binding.  Why do I do do this, you ask?  By hand stitching them down, you don't run a line of stitching through the visible part of where the handle is attached on the center side strip/spine of the bag.  It's really an aesthetic choice more than anything.

The largest modification that I made is in how the pockets are installed.  In the pattern, the mesh pockets are open toward the zipper of the bag not toward the spine.  Why did I decide to do this?  Ah, good question.  It's all about how the bag will be carried.  With a handle on the spine of the bag, installing the pockets as the pattern instructs means that the pockets will be upside down when carried.  Even though the items wouldn't have very far to go if they started to slide out of their pockets, it's not unrealistic to expect that could happen.  

One thing to think about if you are considering making this same modification is the zipper pockets that are below the mesh.  The zipper pockets may be ever so slightly more difficult to access if you have a thick cord (like the black cord in the picture below).  It's easy enough to work around the issue, but I think it's worth the little bit of extra effort for how I knew I'd be using the bag.

To do this modification, you just rotate the assembled zipper pocket/mesh pocket units 180 degrees.  Using Clover's Wonder Clips to clip the pieces together and do a quick assembly test can be very helpful to ensure that the pockets are oriented properly.

Loaded up and ready for my trip!

One of the things that I almost always do to give my bags a really clean finish is to hand sew my binding like I do on my quilts.  If you want to do this, I recommend attaching your binding on the zipper side of the bag and hand sewing it down on the exterior panel.  Be sure that you are using the 1/4" seam allowance as mentioned in the pattern and that you are using bias binding.  You want the binding to be nice and smooth.  Wonder Clips, as mentioned in the pattern, are one of my favorite tools to hold your binding in place as you stitch it down.  

Even though it takes a lot longer to finish, I prefer the look of the hand stitched binding.  

Conclusion

To recap, I think this is a fantastic bag.  It worked very well for me on my trip.  If I planned to make this bag again, I think the only change that I would make would be to omit the stitching that holds the center down on the elastic installed into the spine of the bag.  In fact, I might even grab my seam ripper and remove those few stitches as soon as I post my review.
Here's a shot of both sides of the exterior plus the interior of my bag

2 comments

  1. Your fabric choices are terrific and I really appreciate your review. I'm going to add this pattern to my "to-do" list. I can think of a lot of people who would like one!

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  2. This pattern is on my to-do list. Thanks for the great review!

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