Tag Archives: Michael Levine

Cruising the Caribbean

Cruising the Caribbean

Cruising the Caribbean

Well, I wish I were, but I’m not, so I turned my wishes into a bag.  Cruising the Caribbean is the name of my latest project.  A tropical fabric featuring shades of Florida, Cuba, palm trees and maps was urging me to be turned into a summer travel bag.  The pattern is my original design, the Jenny Bag, and the fabric was purchased from Michael Levine in L.A.  I added bright neon fringe from M&J Trimming, as well as crystalline light green beadwork.  Hopefully, someone will be calling “Bon Voyage” with her!

A Rose for Rosie

Lemon Breeze                                                         

A Rose for Rosie and Lemon Breeze are two more versions of the large zippered clutches created from the bright summery faux crocodile, sleek but textured.  Fabrics from Mood and Michael Levine (where I also purchased the leather flowers.)  By the way, my source for purse zippers is the Zipper Island website.  You can find any color and size, and shipping is quick!  They’re delightful to work with and I highly recommend them.  (No, they do not pay me. :))

Jeweled Garden

Jeweled Garden was a dream to complete.  The Chemisette pattern from CraftApple designs always goes together easily and is very versatile.  This time I used fabric from Laminates on Etsy and my faux crocodile from Mood.  The blue and gold beadwork ties it all together using a velvet teal ribbon.

Passion for Poppies

Sometimes I have a hard time letting a purse go, such as Passion for Poppies.  This Michael Miller fabric is out of print and very limited but I was lucky to find it online.  I paired it with Kaleidoscope by Notting Hill, then added delicate blue and gold beading with hand-dyed silk ribbon.

Cat’s Meow 

Cat’s Meow (backside)

I believe Cat’s Meow is the first purse that I’ve added a featured embellishment.  I appliqued the crushed black velvet cat onto the textured leopard.  But, since the cat seemed to fade into the busy leopard print, I needed something more to make her stand out.  I found some white thick thread, almost like cording, and couched it all around the cat.  That seemed to form a nice outline that accented her silouette.  I gave her a beaded floral collar and rhinestone eyes.  Then added a jeweled pendant to the top and a silky pink tassel to the backside zipper pull.  I’m very pleased with this creation.  It was definitely more time consuming, but also a rewarding challenge.

Speaking of a challenge, often I am sewing a purse that has thick seams and is way too much challenge for my favorite Bernina.  You know I love, love, love my old Bernina, and she is perfect for most everything I need to sew.  But…I do need a machine to tackle those super thick seams, especially since my fall/winter pursemaking will be starting before you know it, with thick faux furs, leathers, and upholstery.  So, yes, I’ve been looking at industrial machines online for research and tomorrow will be testing some out for purchase up in Houston.  Only one place offers them, but their prices look reasonable.  I’m looking at Juki, Seiko, Con Sew, and Pfaff.  I’m shopping for a heavy duty, cylinder arm, walking foot machine.  If you’ve ever seen anyone making shoes, it resembles the machine they use.  The presser foot raises high, so you can join together many layers, and the walking foot feeds the fabric through evenly, plus it all happens with a knee lift and a custom table.  I feel so guilty, like I’m cheating on Betsy, but she’ll still be used for most of my sewing since she has multiple feet and features.  I wouldn’t feel so bad if I had a machine that gave me a lot of trouble, but she’s great!  Anyway, if you’ve read previous posts, you know everything has feelings, right. 🙂  Anyone out there have an industrial machine that makes you happy?  I need reviews!

Thanks, and I’ll keep you posted.



Sew, Travel, Sew, Travel, Sew…

Sew, Travel, Sew, Travel, Sew…

This month we are fortunate to visit my two favorite cities:  L.A. and NYC!  Just returned from a short trip to L.A. to celebrate the engagement of our son, Bryan, and his fiancee, Liz.  We spent some quality time in Marina Del Ray and saw the wedding and rehearsal dinner venues for June. Looking forward to an awesome event!  This week we are having fun with our other son, Eric, and his girlfriend, Jill. Then Friday, it’s off to Austin to visit Jennifer, Tate, and the girls.  Loving the holiday family fun times!

While in L.A., I dashed down to the Fashion District for a visit to Michael Levine and Mood.  I spotted some brightly colored fabrics, anticipating spring/summer bagmaking. 🙂  We’ll be visiting NYC next week and our boutique hotel will be in the Garment District!  Oh, darn–ha ha.  Since many of my blog posts are about travel, you probably wonder when I have time to make bags.  Well that’s coming up in January, but I did manage to finish a few after the China trip and Quilt Festival, and I’ll share those with you now…

Loretta Loves Leopard

Loretta Loves Leopard

Rumor has it that Loretta Loves Leopard was purchased by a lady named Loretta. I’m so happy!  This faux fur textured bag’s pattern had extra room on the sides where you see I added two pockets.  Fancied the top with a little gold fringe and a cute doll accessory, then added leather gold handles.  Voila!

Beyond the Nest

Beyond the Nest

Beyond the Nest was one of those purses that I secretly hoped wouldn’t sell–but it did.  I love this bag!  It is my own Jenny pattern design, created from a fur/feathery fabric from Michael Levine.  The band is vintage crushed velour and I placed a beautiful brooch from Trims on Wheels.  The handle is an easy-to-apply and fashionable clip-on that I love from Studio Mio.



Cowabunga is a snazzy little Western bag that will be perfect for Texas Hill Country.  The faux cow-hide is from Cowgirls and Lace, and I simply added black and red fringe, dripping Western beads, and a few flowers to give it a chic yet country vibe. 🙂


London Flat again makes use of the crushed velour, plus a furry leopard, and beautifully textured golden upholstery fabric.  A large flower and clip on handles complete the look.  This is actually a pattern designed by Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter’s Dream that I had noticed at Quilt Festival where it was fashioned from cotton.  I decided to use denser fabric and create a fall/winter look using the same pieces, and adding more interior pockets.


After returning from China, I couldn’t wait to finish Shades of Shanghai.  This is also from the quilt world, a pattern from Pink Sand Beach called the Mahattan Handbag.  I like to fancy it up and since this had an Asian vibe, I added bamboo handles and a frog closure just for decoration.  The fabrics were a fat quarter bundle from long ago.  This is why you purchase fabric that grabs you.  I bought this not knowing what in the world I would use it for and it has become a stylish purse. 🙂


Now this is the same pattern, using another fat quarter bundle purchased long ago, but I added delicate dripping black beads, crushed velour gusset and handles, and sewed a purchased flower to one I made from faux leather.  I named her Vintage Victorian.


Boho Chic is created from a Cindy Taylor Oates pattern called the Lakehouse Bag.  I used a mod design fabric that has a denim feel and added a large boho style flower.  I knew when I saw these beautiful Hippie look beads that they would accessorize it perfectly, with a little braid sewn on top in the same shade of green. A very fun bag!


We have a newborn in the family now from my nephew and his wife, and since she’s a gorgeous little girl, I had to make her a “first purse,” right?  Fashioned from vintage chenille, this simple bag has cording for a handle and a ribbon closure.  Of course it has a pocket and an “It’s Sew Anny” label inside. 🙂  Something tells me she’ll be receiving many more over the years…


Okay, don’t faint…this bag is for me!  I had a very similar one I had sewn over four years ago and used every winter.  A few beads had fallen by the wayside and it had some fading, so I whipped up a new version and enjoy it so much!  This is from the same Cindy Taylor Oates book, but a style called “Caroline’s Bag.”

And that’s it for now–off to find more fabric in the Big Apple!  Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Business is Booming!

Business is Booming!

How happy I am to announce that Business is Booming!  A HUGE shout-out to the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas, who will now be displaying and selling my bags!  I am supremely honored to be a part of their fabulous organization.  Julie, the Museum Director, shares my love of lush fabric and we had a marvelous time deciding which of my bags would complement upcoming museum exhibits.  The museum is comprised of several galleries showcasing masterpiece quilts.  Leaders in the international quilt community display and lecture in the historic buildings from 1890.  Exhibits from all over the world change every three months.  For gardeners and garden lovers, Grandmother’s Flower Garden is adjacent to the museum which is a period garden that would be typical of Central Texas flower gardens around 1890.  A 13 x 85 foot mural, depicting 15 traditional 19th century quilts, adorns the outdoor garden wall of the museum.  Not to mention, there is a wonderful quilt shop right next door to the museum.  What more could you want?  If you need more information, just visit texasquiltmuseum.org.

And now let me show you the latest bags from It’s Sew Anny Designs.  Sapphire & Diamonds

You just can’t beat a lovely clutch.  Based on an Ali Foster design, I paired a royal blue crushed velvet with a lime green suede to create “Sapphire and Diamonds.”  The interior is Dupioni silk from SoHo Fabrics.  Adorned with a faux mother of pearl and rhinestone broach, she’s ready to party!  Yes, she was difficult to part with, but she’s already been adopted. 🙂


Velvet Gold was fashioned from an olive/golden velvety fabric I discovered at the Round Top Antique Festival.  Complementing the floral paisley is a velvet green bow formed from Mood Fabric that I purchased in L.A.  (More about that trip later…)  The handles had been in my stash for a time, waiting for just the right bag.  The pattern was from Charlie’s Aunt called “The Brief Encounter” bag.  It was the first time I’d used this pattern and I know it won’t be the last.  Love it!

You see two views of the bag called “Inside Out” which is completely reversible.  I even added a pocket on each side.  One handle simply loops through the other for easy access, and you have a lightweight functional bag that offers two colors and designs for a versatile accessory. Fabrics from Cowgirls and Lace, Dripping Springs.


Welcome Fall with Autumn Gold!  She’s a marriage of golden hues from Michael Levine (Los Angeles) and Cowgirls and Lace.  The Chemisette Handbag is a pattern from Craftapple Designs and is a delight to sew!  I had the perfect flower to enhance autumn tones so I simply added a broach pin to the back and the bag was complete.  The perfect size for those daytime jaunts.


“Chocolate Luxe” is a plush bag made from a watercolor chocolate velvet from Mood Fabrics.  Dripping beads, a jeweled emblem, and a lush faux fur collar all combine to make this one of my all-time favorites.  This is my personal design, “The Jenny Bag.”


An Amy Barickman pattern, the Rachel Bag, is one that uniquely opens from a zipper in the back.

I chose to call her “Lucy Goes to Town” and a close-up of the zipper pull reveals a little lady with her purse and heels on just ready to Go To Town. 🙂

I created another version called “Chasing Sunny” with a red suede handle and a zipper pull that adds a bit of bling with a rhinestone key.  The red faux crocodile fabric was discovered at Fabric Decor in Houston.  I used a golden faux leather to design the flower with a center button from Tender Buttons on New York’s Upper East Side.  This is why you must purchase items you fall in love with when you travel.  #l) You’ll eventually use them and/or fondly recall the happy memory of said travels, and,  #2) If you don’t bring them home, you may be longingly recalling the “one that got away.”  Some things just bring you joy. 🙂


Oh, my, oh my…  I should have kept this bag.  The fabric is another version of that silky velvet, only this time it is a teal blue from High Fashion Fabrics in Houston.  The band is a velvet suede-like fabric from Michael Levine, L.A.  The leather flower was also purchased at Michael Levine.  I happened to have the perfect shade of blue beads in my stash.  Happy Day!


A while back I discovered this magnificent fabric just rolled up on a table at High Fashion like someone forgot it.  No one claimed it and I happily  snapped it up.  I have enjoyed making two purses from the textured medallion embroidery.  This one is named “Tribal Fibers” and I enhanced it with a fringed leather key fob.  The handles looked appropriately rustic to me so I fashioned loops to accommodate them.  The faux ostrich is another Michael Levine purchase from our L.A. trip.


This time the medallion fabric was paired with a faux embossed leather from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs.  The leather handles were from Shirley in Switzerland purchased on the internet.  Adorning the bag with a little lady swinging from repurposed jewelry gave it a whole different vibe.  I named it “Maddie Medallion.”  Both bags were created from a pattern by ithinksew.com.img_4744

“Vintage Autumn” is such a sweet bag.  I feel like the handles have a vintage vibe, as well as the jeweled flower.  I believe the beautifully textured fabric was from Britex in San Francisco.  Beadwork is from Interior Fabrics in Houston.  And the pattern is another Ali Foster, called the Lucy Tote.


I chose to name this bag “Royal Velvet.”  It is a mini Jenny bag, fashioned from a rich velvety fabric from Mood in L.A.  The Greek coin button was found at International Quilt Festival, as well as the handles from Studio Mio.  The tassel trim is from Interior Fabrics.  An ensemble from many “in search of fabric” trips. 🙂

So, as you see, I’ve been mega busy.  But, another very happy aspect to my growing business is Cheryl.  Cheryl is a friend who has joined in my venture and is not new to the sewing world.  She is a former entrepreneur in the custom dress shop field.  You should have seen us last week as she cut and pressed and I designed and sewed.  We are an awesome team!

Cheryl is a lady of many talents.  She will live here and pet sit for us while we are in China.  China? you say.  Yes, I need silk.  Just joking–it was on our bucket list to stand on the Great Wall.  But will I cast glances in hope of fabric for sale?  You betcha!

Until the next adventure tales,

Love, Anny






Purses Have Feelings Too…


When my sister and I were little girls on a road trip vacation from Indiana to Texas, we would bring toys in the car, of course.  One of our favorites was the game Cootie.  With Cootie, the object was to be the first to build a bug-like object using a variety of plastic body parts.  Unfortunately, while traveling through Arkansas, one of the body parts landed out the car window.  Now it only made sense to us that if a body part was laying out on the ground in a far away state, we would have to deliberately throw out another body part to keep that one company.  Everything has feelings…

All that being said is to introduce you to a few bags that were created last year and didn’t make it into the blog.  We wouldn’t want a bag to have its feelings hurt, would we?  So before I go off to a therapy session, here are the omitted bags. 🙂

I actually made two bags from a Charlie’s Aunt pattern called the High Tea Clutch Bag.  The first one I call “She Wore Blue Velvet.”  The velvet, inside and out, is from Mood Fabrics.  Then I added a beaded ribbon.

She Wore Blue Velvet

She Wore Blue Velvet

The other is titled “Hidden Butterfly.”  That’s because I randomly sewed two little metal butterflies to the front, along with an upcycled jewelry piece.  I believe the fabric was from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco and has lovely textured suede flowers on ivory linen.

Hidden Butterfly

Hidden Butterfly

Next is a bag that was sold before it was even placed on the shelf–“Confetti Candy.”  I’m showing both front and back to display a variety of fabrics and trims.  On the front side I used a suede-like tangerine fabric from Mood.  Added to the front was a pocket of Kaffe Fassett floral with colorful popcorn fringe and a sparkling pink broach from Trims on Wheels.   The reverse side featured a magenta upholstery weight fabric from High Fashion, with a ribbon embellishment from Renaissance Ribbons.  Surrounding the bag is multicolor confetti loop fringe from Cowgirls and Lace.  The pattern is one of my favorites from Cindy Taylor Oates.

Confetti Candy

Confetti Candy


“Venetian Dream” is created from my original pattern, The Jenny Bag.  The fabric, from Michael Levine in L.A., is embellished with a heavily beaded trim and an elegant tassel.

Venetian Dream

Venetian Dream

I wanted to try my hand at using new purse hardware, which is what attracted me to a purse kit and pattern by Penny Sturges and Darci Wright found at Quilt Festival last fall.  It turned out well, and I learned to install a twist lock closure.  The pattern is Mini Messenger, and I named the bag “Elizabeth.”



Last year, after viewing gypsy bags on Pinterest, I was inspired to design a romantic creation.  “Gypsy Rose” is fashioned from the magenta fabric used on Confetti Candy, a coordinating pink faux ostrich, and a leather flower from Michael Levine.  It features a multicolor loop fringe from Cowgirls and Lace, a pocket of antique cut velvet, and a strap of vintage moss green velvet and leopard.  I still have not parted with this purse.

Gypsy Rose

Gypsy Rose

One of the most popular patterns I use is the Rachel Bag from Bag Boutique by Amy Barickman.   I wish I could remember where I purchased the zebra–perhaps Interior Fabrics in Houston.  The purse is accessed through a zipper down the backside and carried by a simple black bamboo handle.  The back features an organdy ribbon attaching a rhinestone heart-shaped key, hence the name “Wild at Heart.”  To create the front embellishment, I layered two buttons and looped over a silky black tassel.

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart


By the Sea is a fun bag I created from scraps of thick tropical themed fabric from a local Galveston upholsterer, distressed denim from Indygo Junction, faux ostrich from Michael Levine, and a plush vintage velvet ribbon from Los Angeles Antiques.  I sewed small beads on the eyes of the seahorses, and the crab and fish on the back.  The pattern is from Kati Cupcake Pattern Company and has twelve pockets. Such a challenge it was, using grommets with heavy thick fabric.  The problem is, the grommets are added at the very end, so you’re basically cutting large holes in your finished bag, and hoping that the grommets install properly.  And it’s actually hard to cut with your fingers crossed! 🙂

By The Sea

By The Sea

Cowgirl Chic was fashioned from faux cowhide and leather from Cowgirls and Lace.  The lush fringe was from Interior Fabrics in Houston.  Not sure I can part with this bag, either.

Cowgirl Chic

Cowgirl Chic

The last two bags really are for me.  They will accompany me on a Mediterranean Cruise this summer.  I needed a hands-free, cross-body bag for shore excursions.  Not large–just large enough for essentials.  The perfect pattern for this is the Chattisham Clutch Bag from Charlie’s Aunt.  Bright red faux crocodile is from Fabric Decor in Houston.  I did not embellish it, as the fabric speaks for itself.  The zebra bag’s flap is sewn from a vintage crushed velvet found on Etsy, and the ruby bauble is upcycled jewelry.


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Tomorrow my granddaughter, Madison, arrives.  She just earned her driver’s license, so when we’re not beaching, shopping, or creating, I’m sure she will be happy to chauffeur us anywhere we travel. And until next time, happy summer travels to you!

Love, Anny








Pivoting in Downtown L.A.


Well, I’m two days post op from minor knee surgery–tear of the medial meniscus.  Doctor O’Neill says my left knee probably was aggravated by a lot of pivoting motion.  Pivoting?  So the final blow to my knee was from mucho pivoting??  Hmm, I don’t play sports, I’m not what you’d call athletic these days, and my only real exercise is going to Curves.  But wait–!  Where was I last month when it really starting hurting so much more?  That’s right–L.A.  And here’s where the pivots come in.  As I explore the Fashion District in Downtown L.A.  I see—a fabric store–pivot–another fabric store–pivot–a trim store–pivot–more fabric–pivot–pant pant–well, you get the picture. 🙂  I was in Fabric Heaven and this blog entry is to share with my fellow fabric lovers.

It actually started even before we left Galveston.  I was purchasing vintage velvet ribbons from a fabulous Etsy Shop, Rosa’s Creations, and I realized the seller was in L.A.  I contacted the seller and decided to pay her store a visit where I could actually see all the ribbons she had to offer.  Oh My!  What a wonderland of vintage ribbons, antiques, and linens!  I worked with Ashley, who was so very gracious, and before long I had a luscious treasure trove of exquisite velvet ribbons.  (I couldn’t even bring myself to check them through baggage on our return flight.  I managed to fit them into my carry on bag!  No parting with those beauties! )

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Shortly after returning to Galveston, I fashioned what I’m calling the “Spend the Night Bag.”  This bag (a variation of my Anny Bag pattern) came together larger than I intended but it’s a fabulous travel bag.  Very sturdy straps with metal rings, six pockets inside, as well as another interior cross/bag secure strap and magnetic closure.   The fabrics are from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs, Texas.  Ruffles are a velvety upholstery weight, as well as a wonderfully textured faux crocodile turquoise band and strap.  But as I finished the bag, I realized it needed a certain something.  Velvety upholstery=velvet ribbon, right?  So, as scary as it was to actually CUT  aaaaahhh!  that sumptuous vintage velvet ribbon, I held my breath and reached for the scissors.  Hallelujah!  This was exactly what my creation was calling for!  And in the second picture, feast your eyes on the whole array of ribbons from that beautiful collection.  I’m sure you’ll see them in future creations as well.

After the visit to Rosa’s shop, what do you think I spied across the street?  MOOD Fabrics!!!!  Yes, except for NYC, this is the only other Mood Fabrics store!  As seen on Project Runway, this store is beyond belief.  The pictures do not do it justice.  It’s simply indescribable, and the staff was very courteous and helpful.  Wish I could just helicopter you all in to see for yourselves, but these pics will have to do.

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I hope you can enlarge that first picture to see the detail, but keep in mind that you’re only seeing half of the store.  If  you could look the other direction, you would see a similar scene.  Nirvana!  The second pic is just a sampling of the vast assortment of beautiful embellishments they offer. In the third pic you will see exquisite patterned silk velvets that I actually mustered the courage to cut recently. Yikes!  And, yes, I’ve also used one of those gorgeous hand-painted buttons.  Here is a recent bag (an Ali Foster pattern) that I styled with one of those sweet buttons.

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This blue leopard fabric has an ultra-suede feel to it.  The interior is a hot pink satin with pockets.  Embellished with a feathery row of black roses,  a black tassel, and hand-painted button on the reverse side.  Love this pattern and can’t wait to fashion yet another bag with it.

On the third day of our vacation, we headed right into downtown, L.A.  The Fashion District there is akin to NYC.  Blocks and blocks of nothing but fabric and trim stores.  (Hence the pivoting and pivoting and….)  Avant Trims  provided some beautiful embellishments, including the brooch that I added to a previous bag.  And Roma Deco had luscious fabrics including a multicolored over 100+ inch wide that I’ve already used for two linings.

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

Flowers and Brooches from Avant Trims

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag...

An Avant Brooch on the flap of this bag…

Lining from Roma Decor Fabrics

Lining from Roma Deco Fabrics

More lush fabrics from Roma Decor

More lush fabrics from
Roma Deco

My favorite was  Michael Levine, a huge store that was having their month-end clearance sale.  Yeehaw!!  This Texas gal dug in and scoured every aisle.  I LOVE the discoveries I made, including these fantastic leather flowers and colorful faux ostrich fabrics!!

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Aren’t they fabulous?  Here is a mini-messenger bag utilizing both.  (And one of the hand-painted buttons as well.)

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This bag turned out so well, I can’t wait to make another!  You can bet your bottom dollar, I’ll be returning to Michael Levine on my next trip to L.A.  Thank goodness our son lives there!  When we weren’t shopping, we visited Bryan and his lovely lady friend, Liz. All in all, it was a fabulous trip.  And once again, Rick was such a trooper, taking his Kindle along and never complaining as I shopped to my heart’s content.  I am one lucky gal!

My final show-n-tell is yet another Ali Foster pattern that I love.  This fabric feels like someone embossed black suede onto white leather–nicely textured.  It styles so well with plenty of body to keep the shape of the purse.  The pattern called for sewn handles but I had some handles in my stash from a while back that I thought would work well.  So I just made some tabs to hold these handles.  A velvety, yet sturdy fabric created the bow.   Black and white damask with a zipper pocket complete the interior.  The pattern called for the bow to have a center of the same fabric but I liked the look of this rhinestone buckle.


You probably wonder how this knee setback is going to affect my production of 15 or more bags for the Artwalk trunk show on Oct. 5.  Actually, I’m doing quite well (knock on wood) because I have now completed bag #13.  Whew!  Just writing about all this has tired me out.  I’m gonna go prop up this poor pivoted-out knee with some ice.  Until next time, HAPPY SEWING!