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BAGMAKER STORY: A WORD FROM ULRIKE

April 1, 2024 by
BAGMAKER STORY: A WORD FROM ULRIKE
Casey Unrein

We receive a lot of wonderful emails at ByAnnie.com and are so appreciative of all who take the time to share their stories and pictures of their projects. Thank you!

Recently a ByAnnie bagmaker sent us some great photos and kind words and we just had to share them with our sewing community.

Thank you, Ulrike, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to encourage and inspire us with such a warm email and lovely pictures.

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Dear Annie and all your team members,

I am thinking about telling my ByAnnie story to you for a while, but it took some time to get this started. My English isn’t very good and I think my story may be very similar to the story of many other ByAnnie bagmakers. But now I am recovering from a vein surgery and not allowed to sit…so I can write it down while I am sitting in my bed... legs up.

I made my first ByAnnie bag after I saw a video on YouTube with Tula Pink. She showed her Running With Scissors bag and I decided to make it.

The videos have been very wonderful and Annie’s tips have been incredibly helpful. I made this bag in January 2020 and I took it to my last quilting class before COVID changed everything.

Obviously I had to make a Take A Stand bag and used Tula’s Handmade fabric which came out at the same time.

During the past two years, while traveling wasn’t possible, I got the habit of making a new ByAnnie bag every time I had a few days off. I purchased all her Craftsy classes and my next project was the Travel Essentials bag and I used some of my favorite Liberty prints.

I struggled a lot with bindings. No matter how hard I tried I never got it perfect. But with every project I got better… though it is still a challenge from time to time.

My next project has been Under Cover and it [has been] protecting my sewing machine since then. I have sewn in the magnets upside down and the flap doesn’t close properly, but I used a safety pin and now it looks fine.

Then in the Summer of 2020 I made my Ultimate Travel Bag and used my absolute favorite Liberty Quilting Cotton print.

My Mom fell in love with it and I gave it to her as a loan for a lifetime. I will never give this bag away. I think this print is perfect for a travel bag and it is already out of print.

I am sorry to say, but we aren’t at the end of my ByAnnie journey. By the way, actually I am a quilter and started quilting in 2015.

Next in line…this Christmas gift for my quilty friend in Dublin. She stores her embroidery stuff in it and loves her Catch All Caddy.

Because Mom kept my Ultimate Travel bag, I made this Divide And Conquer for myself, and it was quite a challenge but it came out lovely. When I am using it, no one ever thinks it could be handmade.

When I am quilting fabrics with Soft and Stable, I often make the pieces a bit larger, because I love making Clam Up bags out of the leftovers. I made many of these useful bags. They are perfect gifts and I am using them for my Wonder Clips and safety pins.

Another summer project was the Everything In Its Place bag (A Place for Everything) for my sister's birthday. It was the original pattern because the update came out later.

I nearly forgot to mention the cover (In The Mix) for my Kitchen Aid.

And all the Christmas presents I made… Glo and Go bags for my nieces.

Travel Essentials bag for a friend. I never made a better binding than on this bag, unfortunately the success hasn’t been permanent.

This year I made two Double Zip Gear Bags for my better half to learn the pattern and for my brother-in-law who wanted to store his camera in the bags. I made bellowed dividers for his lenses.

Oh! I forgot this year's summer holiday project, my Ruler Wrap made with Liberty Quilting Cotton. I doubt that I will ever take it to class, but it is protecting many of my precious rulers.

And this year's Christmas gift for my friend in Dublin: she got a Running with Scissors bag.

I entered this picture into your photo contest, because I think it looks lovely. My Mom and my niece with their Back At Ya and Got Your Back backpacks. I had problems with these projects, because all the layers have been so thick. My sewing machine nearly gave up.

And now, believe it or not, this is the end of my presentation. I made this [A Place For Everything 2.0] bag during the past week.

I am so sorry to bother you with all my pictures, but maybe it makes someone happy to see that a lady across the ocean is having a great time with your patterns and products.

I love your patterns so much, they are clearly (written) and easy to understand and they always come out nicely even with some imperfections . Your zippers, hardware, mesh, and vinyl are truly the best in the market and I gave away all my zippers from other brands.

I wish Annie and all her Team members a wonderful new year, happiness, health and success!

Ulrike R.

Munich Germany

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Annie’s response:

Ulrike,

Thank you SO much for your wonderful letter and all the amazing photos that you sent of your beautiful bags. What an amazing and creative journey you have had!

Your story and photos are fabulous and they really touched my heart. It made my day to see and hear how much you've enjoyed sewing our patterns and how you have blessed others with beautiful gifts.

I especially loved seeing the bags made with those beautiful Liberty of London fabrics and seeing the unique quilting design that combines straight and angled lines (as you did on the Under Cover and Take A Stand). I'm going to steal that idea for the next bag that I quilt myself! It's beautiful! I also really enjoyed seeing the backpacks you made for your mom and niece.

My apologies for our long delay in replying. Things have been really busy here for the past several weeks and your email was just forwarded to me. I'm sorry that no one responded to you earlier!

I would love to share the story of your journey with our other customers. Would you mind if we shared the photos and your story in a blog post? I know that others would love seeing the projects you've made and hearing your story.

One note: On Switchback, have you tried tightening the strap on back so that the sliders are just touching the rings at the top? That helps prevent the bag from slouching and coming open.

We talked about this in the Introduction video for the project. You can see it here: https://www.byannie.com/switchback

Just scroll past the pictures of the bag at the top and go to the first video which is titled Switchback: An Introduction. You'll see some pictures showing how the sliders should be positioned at around 00:20.

We also talked about the straps in our Facebook Live in week #14. You can find it by going to www.ByAnnie.com/Live.

Scroll down on the page and then use the drop-down menu under Past Episodes to find Week #Week #14: Switchback.

The section about the handles begins at about 34:21. Notice how I adjusted the sliders to keep the straps tight against that bag. Unless you are carrying really heavy things in your purse, that should keep the bag from bending.

Again, thank you so much for sharing your story. Please let us know if it's OK for us to share it with others!

Happy stitching,

Annie Unrein

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Ulrike followed up with:

Dear Annie,

Thank you so much for your lovely email. I really appreciate it very much!

There must be hundreds of emails coming in every day at ByAnnie, so I really don’t take this for granted. I am a nurse working in an operations center and due to the pandemic many team members had to quarantine or had COVID, so I am familiar with a tough schedule.

After I clicked on the send button of my email I realized that I forgot to mention the most important thing I wanted to tell you and your team. In this chaotic time period with all the stuff going on in the world, not only the pandemic, your reliable patterns and videos and your wonderful teaching skills are giving me some kind of peace and comfort. There are always these moments while I am making a bag, when I think this can’t work out, the binding won’t be enough, or the pieces won’t fit together. But they always do and I never ran out of binding and my bags are always looking good.

Thank you very much, you are doing a wonderful job!

Feel free to post my story in your blog and copy my quilting. It isn’t so special, I just like the triangle pattern and I like to use a straight line quilting for the zipper and side strips because it is faster to quilt. I like cutting and quilting every piece of the bag separately, because I can use up leftover pieces of Soft and Stable und smaller pieces of fabric.

Actually I finished a Bowl Me Over bag recently and it is the first bag I made without quilting the pieces. I used a dark blue main fabric, some Essex Linen and a little pop of Liberty quilting cotton. It is my everyday bag now.

I love quilting, especially on Soft and Stable. When I purchase new quilting rulers or want to try a new pattern, I often make a quilt sandwich with Soft and Stable and use it as a practice piece.

They make lovely placemats and I also use Soft and Stable for wall hangings, like the wall hanging I made during my Bronte sisters quiltfolk workshop.

I love the “pop” Soft and Stable gives to the quilting. For the pocket pages of my A Place for Everything I used cheater prints from Lori Holt and did some free motion quilting to outline the shapes. They are now looking as if I pieced them, it was so much fun to try this.

I have seen all your ByAnnie livesstreams, I watch them on YouTube, because I am not on Facebook. I won't give up on my Switchback, I have seen the video you talked about the positioning of the slider, but I couldn't find the perfect position yet. I will re-watch the video and try it again.

I think you mentioned once that there will be an update on the hanging cosmetic bag pattern? Is this still the case? I love this pattern, sewing in the bottom bag is just like magic. Fortunately my local quilt shop is carrying your patterns, for the Soft and Stable, zippers and hardware I have to order online at Saskia Niemann's shop. I know you have been at her shop teaching a class, unfortunately that has been before I started my bag making journey.

Now I promise I won’t bother you with more stories and pictures. Once again thank you and your team for all the wonderful work you are doing.

Happy stitching and stay safe and healthy,

Ulrike R.

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Annie's follow-up:

Ulrike,

Thanks so much for your reply and the additional pictures. They are fabulous.

Your unquilted Bowl Me Over is fabulous and would make a great every day purse.

I love the idea of practicing with quilting rulers on small pieces of Soft and Stable and then making placemats with them. I could use some placemats at home... and have yet to practice with any of the quilting rulers and ruler-work foot that I bought, so that might have to be my next project!

I totally agree that the quilting on the Lori Holt fabrics makes it look like you did some amazing quilting!

Thank you for giving us permission to share your story and photos. I know that others will be similarly inspired!

I am so happy to hear that our patterns have brought you some peace and joy during these stressful times. I cannot even imagine how stressful things have been for those of you in the medical profession. You deserve so much thanks and praise!

It's great to know, too, that your local shop carries the Soft and Stable, zippers, and more and that you've found Saskia's shop. She is such a delight!

Finally, yes, we are working on an update for Travel Essentials. It's ALMOST ready to publish. I will make myself a note to send you a PDF of it as soon as it is ready as a small token of my appreciation for your kind words. Thank you again!

Happy stitching,

Annie Unrein

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We have to agree with everything Annie said. We loved reading Ulrike’s story and comments. Thank you, Ulrike, for your kind words and thoughts, and thank you to the many bagmakers who reach out every day with pictures, stories, and feedback.

Let us know in the comments what project has been sitting on your sewing table lately, and how close you are to getting it finished!

Feel free to email us with questions at [email protected], and be sure to tag us in your projects on social media at @PatternsByAnnie.

Don’t forget to submit your photos and stories to our monthly photo contest. You could win a $50 ByAnnie coupon and be featured on our social media. LEARN MORE HERE.

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