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Mystery “Bag” Challenge – Annie from Annie Zorzo Accessories

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to the 9th big reveal!  I am so excited to share with you Annie from Annie Zorzo Accessories Mystery “Bag” Challenge creation today 🙂

So without further ado…over to the creator & owner of Annie Zorzo Accessories!

You could say I was a crafty kid with a deep love for anything creative, but when it came time to adult, life took me on a detour into Corporate Human Resources. As a believer in “everything happens for a reason”, I was in the right place at the right time when I was made redundant while living in London. I took the opportunity to go back to University to study the design and manufacture of Leather handbags at the London College of Fashion and have been designing and making my own bags ever since. I’m beyond excited to have designed my first ever PDF bag pattern as part of the Emkie Designs ‘Mystery Bag Challenge’.


Annie Zorzo Patterns will be available:
Etsy Store –  www.etsy.com/shop/AnnieZorzoPattern…
Craftsy Store: www.craftsy.com/profile/AnnieZorzoP…

Find me at:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AnnieZorzoAccessor…
Instagram: www.instagram.com/AnnieZorzo
Blog: www.anniezorzostudios.wordpress.com

Let’s get to know Annie a little bit more before we have a look at her wonderful creation 😉

1. Describe yourself in 5 words…
A loyal quiet achiever with a colourful wild-side!

2. Tell us something not many people would know about you…
I broke my collar bone on my third birthday by falling out of bed!

3. How long have you been sewing?
Off and on for 30 years, but the last 13 with new ‘bag’ focus!

4. Is sewing the only craft you spend time enjoying? If not, what other crafts help you pass the time?
I dabbled in scrapbooking when my kids where little but have little down-time for that anymore.

5. Do you only make bags? If not, what else do you enjoy making?
I’m an exclusive bag maker. I’ve never enjoyed making clothes and working out the different sizings.

6. What made you fall in love with making bags?
The whole design process from a 2D sketched drawing, to the working out of the pattern pieces and how they fit together, to making the final 3D product. It can be a bit addictive to see an idea become reality. Plus working with luscious leathers, adding gorgeous fabrics and finishing off with beautiful hardware – what is not to love!

7. Have you got any exciting things coming up that you think would interest us? We would love to support you if you do!
I have nothing booked in the calendar at the moment – this Challenge and the Sydney Finders Keepers Market where my big things for the start of this year, and with them both happening in the same week was huge and stressful. I’m going to take it easy for a week or so.

I then have an exciting custom project where I’m creating a bespoke London Style Satchel out of my clients Grandmas’ leather jacket. It’s going to be challenging but I’m excited to see how it all comes together. I have some other new bag designs floating around my head too that I want to develop and to get through my 2017 waiting list.

8. Which category did you decide to enter the Mystery “Bag” Challenge in? Why did you choose this category?

I decided to make a PDF Pattern. Creating PDF patterns is something that I’ve been thinking about for years and trying to do for the last 12 months. For one reason or another, it just hasn’t happened and now with this challenge, it was a ‘sieze the day’ moment and just make it happen

Admittedly the timing of this wasn’t ideal with my Debut Stall at last weekends Sydney’s Finders Keepers Market. But, I decided a couple of years ago to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that came my way and work out the ‘how’ later. I guess it worked out, as the PDF is here and I’m so proud of it! 

9. What is your favourite thing about your entry into the challenge?
From the bag perspective, it would be the Horse-shoe Gusset. The whole bag was centered around this idea and a creative use of piping. I wanted to step outside the usual with how piping is used.

Other than that, my favourite thing is the actual pattern! I did it! After all this time of thinking, testing, second guessing myself, scrapping ideas and starting again, I’ve actually done it! Best bit ever!

10. What did you enjoy most about the challenge?
My pattern testing process. I had so many people wanting to test my pattern. That blows me away – as a virtually unknown PDF Pattern designer, people from all over the world, that don’t know my style or designs under Annie Zorzo Accessories, were willing to help me out. I’ve learnt so much through my testers and am forever grateful for their time, efforts and feedback. A big shout-out needs to go to all of them and fellow Mystery Bag Challenge participant Alison Harley. Alison did the digitising of my pattern, and she did a masterful job!

Let’s have a look at Annie’s amazing creation…(oh and if you want a little recap on what the challenge was and what items were on the mystery list, just click here!)

Lucky last bag reveal. When I initially asked to be last it was based around the many family birthdays we have in March and April….. little did I know how busy the start of my year would become and how everything happened all at once! But we got here in the end and I’m so happy to be here…..what an amazing group of bags you’ve seen.

From the very start, I knew I wanted to use this opportunity from Emkie Designs to finally push me to create my very first PDF pattern. It’s been an idea I’ve now been tossing around in my head – but not actually doing – for several years. I’m forever grateful, firstly for being included in this wonderful group of bag makers, and secondly for being given this opportunity.

For my Mystery Bag I wanted to design a bag in my usual leather and fabric style, incorporating what is called a “Horse-shoe Gusset”. This is where two bags have been joined together through stitching that is in a Horse-shoe shape. To this I wanted to incorporate piping as a major element, and I wanted to use it in more than one way. If you think I’ve watching too many cooking shows with contestants cooking pork belly or peaches three ways….. you could be right!! I went through a few design ideas before I settled on the final one, but once I settled on this one, it all came together beautifully.


As my main mystery object, I used three different types of piping in three different ways.

1) A poly plastic piping used as standard piping into the seam of the bag;
2) A coloured braided piping cord, used as the closing mechanism in the bag; and
3) A twisted cotton piping cord encased in four individual pieces of leather to form part of the handle / strap.

To round off my mystery bag, I added the mystery objects of grommets – as part of the flap closing, d-rings to attach the strap, and a magnetic snap on the back slip pocket. The final bag features 2 main compartments, a external front and back slip pocket, an internal zip pocket and a central pocket created by the horse-shoe gusset that is the perfect size for a mobile phone. For such compact bag, it has it all.

With the prototype done, it was time to write the pattern and make a few tweaks along the way. I took out the piping handle to make it simpler and replaced this with a leather trimmed adjustable webbing cross-body strap, and I added an extra grommet on the flap so the piping cord can be tied closed.

Through the process of writing the pattern, it also occurred to me that if I took out the horse-shoe gusset there were two different styles of bags within the one pattern. And with the added step-by-step instructions of making and installing leather piping, and how to create a leather trimmed adjustable webbing strap, there is quite a lot of detail within the pattern that even an advance beginner sewer can have a go at….and they did! I had a few self-proclaimed Advanced Beginner sewers in my pattern testing group and they did a fabulous job.

Ava Grace – Style A:
Features a Horse-shoe Gusset, 2 main compartments and 4 additional pockets
(one being the perfect mobile phone size)

Ava Grace – Style B:
Features one main compartment and 3 additional pockets.
(piping and grommet closure replaced by a twist lock)

I must give a shout out to my pattern testing group. I’m so grateful for each and every one of them. They gave an unknown pattern designer a go and their resulting bags, and their feedback towards the pattern, are nothing short of amazing. They’ve loved the pattern and the process of making it…. and even though the pattern is long, it’s a relatively simple, fun sew!

Tester feedback towards the Ava-Grace….

  • Ava-Grace is a fantastic bag!!! I just love it.
  • It was fun from beginning to end.
  • Absolutely love this bag.
  • I enjoyed this project more than any bag I have sewn.
  • I am ridiculously excited about this pattern.

Tester feedback on the pattern….

  • Very clear and precise.
  • Awesome job for your first pattern.
  • Taught me new skills and techniques.
  • I learned a whole lot by sewing it.
  • The pattern pieces the best I’ve seen.

I am so thrilled to have finished my first Annie Zorzo Pattern and to celebrate it’s release I am offering the pattern at an introductory price for 48 hours so hurry over and shop NOW!

Annie Zorzo Patterns, Etsy Store –  www.etsy.com/shop/AnnieZorzoPattern…
Annie Zorzo Patterns, Craftsy Store: www.craftsy.com/profile/AnnieZorzoP…

So many thanks Emma for such a wonderfully organised Mystery Bag Challenge!

Isn’t Annie’s creations amazing! 

Now, if you have been following along on Instagram or Facebook you will know I have an exciting announcement to make on the 19th May (AEST)…so, only a few days for you to wait until I can reveal something AMAZING 😉

Until then, happy sewing!

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  • Reply
    Diane Farley Cook
    May 21, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I was lucky enough to be a tester for Annie’s Ava Grace bag. Annie is talented beyond words, and Ava Grace is a feature-rich little bag that holds more than I would have ever imagined! The pattern is beautifully drafted, and is my absolute favorite PDF ever, for the brilliant way the pattern prints out!

    • Reply
      May 21, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      That is awesome to hear 🙂

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