May 26, 2014

Doggy Beach Bag - Lessons in Large Scale Prints

Our Florida friends have a little dog Dunkin
who goes with them everywhere,
including the beach.
There's even a Doggy Beach near their home!

That's what inspired me to make this...
Doggy Beach Bag!

I had fun designing my own tote,
using ideas from lots of other
purse and bag patterns I've made before.

It is a really large and sturdy bag...
about 16" wide by 19" tall...
Dunkin could fit inside comfortably!

{This is my little dog, Ginger...and she's not going inside that bag!}

I started with these fun prints from Terry's Fabrics
in duckegg blue, gray, cream, and brown.
I love to use stripes and circle dots,
to set off a focal fabric.

Clockwise from top:

Right Lines, Great Spot and Man's Best Friend
all in the duckegg colorway.

These curtain weight fabrics are sturdier than the
quilter's cotton I normally use.
I lined the outer bag pieces with Pellon 101SF
fusible interfacing, to add stability,
but it was not really necessary.

One great thing about working with
the high quality prints from Terry's Fabrics 
is that they do not tend to fray.
I've had that issue in the past with some other home dec fabrics.
It's so nice to make a project without a sense of dread!

I'd like to share some tips for working with large prints:

1. Choose larger projects for larger prints.
This just makes sense, right?

{There are exceptions, of course, but the bigger prints are shown off best this way.}

I really love the way those big giant spots
look on the back of the bag!

2.  Select three different prints to allow for great design opportunities.
Using only 2 prints, or more than 3, is fine...just more complicated.

I chose one print for the outer pocket,
and a different fabric for the bag body.
The third print, the stripe, was brought in for the lining
and some other detail work.

The three prints are varied in scale and value,
and they just look great together.

3. Directional prints, including stripes, need special consideration.

When cutting stripes, be extra careful to keep them straight.
Also note placement of pieces,
so they will not end up sideways or even upside-down.

4. Feature favorite parts of the large print, where they will be noticed.

Keep in mind which areas will be hidden
on the bottom or within seams, during construction.

{Here's a sweet little face that I wanted to be sure to include.}

5. Partner the fabrics to show good contrast and interest.
Try using "opposite" prints for outer and inner bags.

For the outer pocket on this tote,
I chose the striped lining fabric for the pocket accent.
It's a nice and neat finish, and it shows up well
against both of the other fabrics.

On the inside of the bag, 
I used the spotted exterior fabric to make the interior pocket.

6. Try something different!
Even an old dog can learn new tricks.

This stripe was actually printed horizontally across the bolt,
which is very unusual!
I love striped handles, and this time I tried
using the stripe lengthwise...and I love the way it looks!

I hope this post will encourage you to try some
large prints in your projects.
It's a whole new world of fabrics to choose from,
and you'll be rewarded with great looking results!

{I think Ginger would love a nice new doggy pillow.}

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  1. Oh Amy. fantastic!! Just love it! Are you going to put up a tute?......

  2. What a wonderful bag. I love the fabrics and colours and would love a tute too. No flies on Ginger either avoiding being a bag dog and holding out till a much more acceptable cushion is made!

  3. Great combo Amy. I love those giant dots. Perfect tote!

  4. That is just the cutest tote! not to mention the dogie!!

  5. Oh Amy, this is darling! I love those doggie faces.

  6. I love everything about this post - everything!

  7. Amy, what a nice Doggy Beach Bag! You sew so lovely coordinated fabrics and your tips are so precious. I used Terry's Fabrics and I was so pleased. Your little Ginger is a beauty!

  8. A fantastic post, I love getting a nice large print and pairing it with coordinating prints. I have never heard of Terry's fabrics, thanks for sharing.

  9. What an awesome beach bag!! I see handy pockets on the front, right? The fabrics are just perfect together, too! I need to try some home dec weight fabric on a tote....

  10. Gorgeous bag, your finishing always looks so neat and professional!!

  11. My Mom would love this !!! I do like a large print too..i made bags with I think with some Frog Prince fabric way back..years ago now! Hmm now I will have to go find it !

  12. Very smart look you've put together with these larger prints! Great bag design too. Thank you ever so much for the tips about putting together prints in a project and for taking the mystery out of using larger prints. Using heavier fabrics for bags just makes a ton of sense, since they'll be taking a beating at times. You make it seem very logical and doable for the rest of us. I've been wanting to make a bag with an outside pocket and I think this is just the inspiration I needed. Great Job, Amy!

  13. This bag is amazing! Thanks for always sharing your tips. They are very helpful!!

  14. This is an incredible bag Amy! Wow - I do love those fabrics and the way you put them together! The trim along the top of the front pocket is a great way to highlight the other fabrics. Even more, I love your little Ginger! It's a good thing she doesn't fit in the bag... someone might want to take her home with them!


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