Clams in Summer

My dear friend, Debi, had a birthday a week ago. Her new age has a zero in it. So another friend who spends a part of each summer in a lakeside cottage on Lake Erie planned a birthday party for July 3 and invited the entire group of friends.

In the past year or so, I’ve sworn off making bags as gifts, because I think all my friends are maxed out on my handmade bags and accessories. But as this is my summer of decreasing the size of my fabric stash, I decided to make a byAnnie “Clam Up” bag. Debi regularly meets up with family members at their cottage in the woods, or at a house on the Carolina shore, so I thought the Clam Up would be great for stashing small items to tuck into her suitcase. I always treat my bags with Scotchgard® inside and out, so they’re nice travel bags. They can just be spot-cleaned if a stain pops up.

Disclaimer: The first two photos are not of the bag I gave Debi. I forgot to take pictures. But see below for the pictures that just arrived in a text after she got home from the lake.

When I dug into some of my stash containers, I found several pieces of Tula Pink prints that I had bought early in the pandemic for small bags and pouches I dreamed of making. Alas, now I’ve gone back to work and just finished a chock-full-of-music school year that left minimal time for sewing. The set I thought Debi would like were from Tula’s Zuma collection – Sea Stallion and White Caps. The colorway is called Glow Fish. I first thought of using Sea Stallion for the exterior and White Caps for the interior. But I wanted more of a “solid” for the lining. I dug into the Tula Mineral collection, of which I bought a bundle of half-yard pieces when they came out. I chose the color Agate (pink) and a hot pink zipper for the Zuma Sea Stallion, and the color Morganite (orange) and an orange zipper for the White Caps. And the intention to make two bags arose.

I made the Sea Stallion in size XL, then decided to make the White Caps in size L. These bags all are perfectly sized to nest. My initial idea was to nest them and give Debi both the bags, with a tube each of Aveda Hand Relief and Foot Relief tucked inside. But I ran out of time to finish the White Caps bag yesterday before leaving for the lake.

Many byAnnie bags are stabilized with a foam product, “Soft & Stable®,” that was designed by Annie Unrein, the founder of byAnnie. Stablizing with this foam gives you a bag with body. It stands up nicely and doesn’t collapse with the weight of all the goodies you’ve stashed inside. (Follow this link to see an excellent example of a bag with and without Soft & Stable.) But quilting it really is required to give the bag that body. I used Soft & Stable in one of the test bags I made this spring while trying to decide what pattern to use for my cousin’s bags. This is that test bag. I hate how it turned out. Because the foam was not quilted to the exterior fabric, it doesn’t look like it should, and the exterior fabric just flaps loose from the foam. Ugh! All that work and it’s just not the bag it should be. I was outrageously disappointed.

For the Sea Stallion bag, I just did vertical quilting about 1¼” apart. But when I sandwiched the White Caps with the foam and Mineral Morganite, I wanted to quilt those waves. I’ve had my Juki TL-2010Q for three years now and have never done any free motion quilting with it. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve done any free motion quilting at all since I had my Bernina 1630. That machine was retired probably around 2016. So I am very rusty on moving the fabric around under the needle. Actually, as I sit here lookin at the White Caps bag, the quilting is not terrible. I think I will start practicing and improve my technique!

That’s the tale of the two Clams. Once I got into this make, I remembered how much I like this pattern when made with the #5 zipper and the quilting. It goes together quickly and easily. I think I’ll be making more to get rid of more fabric.

And if you wonder what we love about hanging out at Lake Erie, get a load of this gorgeous weather yesterday.

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About Jan

Musician and geek and Juris Doctor; lover of fine art and fine craft; mother and grandmother and significant other and friend. Passionate about sewing.

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