all well / amy bornman
A575EE28-8BA7-44C2-BA2D-C0E512945118.jpg

Notebook

Notes on process, on being, on feelings, on life -- honestly probably half for me and half for you. 

CALL FOR TESTERS - All Well Convertible Bucket Bag

Untitled+%281%29.jpg

All Well Workshop’s first sewing pattern to be released soon!

C40A459F-501D-4C16-AE48-1AEBDFA155CD (1).jpg

UPDATE 4/2/2019: We have selected our pattern testers for the All Well Bucket Bag — emails have been sent to all who reached out. Thank you SO MUCH for the overwhelming and deeply encouraging response to our call for testers. If you were’t selected this time and were hoping to be, please keep in touch and sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated. We would truly love to work with you in the future. Now, onto the testing!


The slide from winter into spring has been especially busy this year. My husband, Isaiah, and I bought our first house on the highest hill in Pittsburgh (right next to an observatory! I know where I’ll be spending my summer nights!). We also got a puppy (his name is Bo and he is perfect/rambunctious).

Here’s a photo of husband, puppy, AND house, because I’ve learned that when you talk about things like puppies people demand you show them a photo immediately.

Here’s a photo of husband, puppy, AND house, because I’ve learned that when you talk about things like puppies people demand you show them a photo immediately.

AND, more topically, I am gearing up to release my first sewing pattern! More like we are gearing up to release our first sewing pattern, because the process has been wonderfully collaborative. I’ve teamed up with my friend Amelia (@tomato.garlic) to bring this bag pattern to life. And we are almost ready to let it out into the world!

A little about the bag: This bag was born of necessity, as so many of the best things are. I was gearing up for a trip to the bay area to visit one of my best friends and I realized I had no suitable bag for carrying my personal items through the airport. I needed something large enough to fit my iPad and a book or two, sturdy enough to not lose any of my belongings, and versatile enough to get me through both travel and a semi-glamorous whirlwind tour of Napa’s vineyards. No one wants to be carrying an ugly bag while sipping sparking rosé! I got an idea in my mind of a bag that could switch from backpack to tote, drafted a quick pattern, and stitched up a prototype. And off I went! I used a long thrifted leather belt rotary-cut to size for the strap, grommets left over from and some canvas I had in my stash. The bag was a wonderful companion and I got to know it well over the course of my trip.

This striking-gold-on-first-try bag pattern drafting didn’t appear out of nowhere, though, as much as I’d like you to believe that fairy-tale origin story. I have some bag experience under my belt, which helped make this pattern happen. When I lived in Chicago, I worked for the soft-goods division of a design firm for a few months. I went to a skyscraper everyday and sat near a giant window and stitched on an industrial Juki. It was kind of wonderful and kind of terrible, to be honest. I had never wanted to have a “normal job” and this sort of felt like that even though I was sewing all day. It was in an office building, after all, and we didn’t have very much personal autonomy. But there was just a small group of us there sewing, and my co-workers were very kind. The best thing about it was how much I learned — mostly about bag construction and industrial batch sewing, two extremely useful skills. We made small runs of custom branded bags for companies lIke Skittles and Perrier, and I would sew or cut or iron all day long listening to podcasts or musicals. Every so often, our boss would ask us to design something, like a new variation on an old design or figure out a new pocket option — that was always my favorite task. Through assignments like this, and sewing lots of different kinds of bags over and over, seeing how they were constructed, I learned how to make bags and how to design them too. That background got me to the All Well Bucket Bag.

first sample of the bag, still going strong today

first sample of the bag, still going strong today

Why we love it: Honestly I’ve needed this bag for a long time. It has simple lines and pockets in all the right places. It can transition easily from bike riding (Amelia has tested it thoroughly in this arena) to carrying enough stuff to direct an elementary school musical about birds (which Amy has also tested thoroughly), to working at a coffee shop and looking relatively cool/normal (fits an iPad pro + all the accompanying gear great, and would likely even fit a small laptop and a couple of books!). Also, as I said before, it makes an excellent traveling companion. The interior pocket fits even the largest smartphone and keep it snug so it will never fall out of your bag, and I love to put my keys in one of the outer pockets so I can access them easily. The mini fits all the necessities, including a sizable book (which I carry around at all times even if there’s no way I’m going to read in the middle of Target or Aldi…). This bag is designed for canvas or duck cloth, a natural fabric that holds up to all manner of life and movement. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to set grommets — a skill so thrilling that once I learned it I wanted to put grommets in everything! We hope this bag will serve you so well and help you make your way through the wide world. I’ve loved carrying mine around with me, a new layer of me-made joy.

bag in-progress in the studio, no grommets or straps yet

bag in-progress in the studio, no grommets or straps yet

Amelia and I have been tweaking and refining the pattern and formatting it as a PDF so you can make this bag yourself at home! It’s almost ready to be released, so it’s time to test this pattern! Hooray!

Testing Details:

  • Time frame: April 9 - April 22 (you’ll get your testing copy of the pattern on the 9th, and we will need your feedback by the 22nd)

  • Materials: You’ll need 1 yard of 10 or 12 oz canvas, 2 yards of 1 in cotton webbing OR 3/8” leather stripping, OR extra canvas for the strap, your choice of either twill tape or bias tape for finishing seams (I like 1 in twill tape), and either (4) 3/8” grommets OR the ability to make buttonholes.

  • Response: We want your feedback on pattern clarity and bag function! Let us know what you think! Also, we’d love to see what you make! Send us photos of your finished test bag. Last, feel free to share all about the bag + testing process

  • Agreement: After you test, we ask that you delete the Test PDF we sent to you, but as a “thank you” we will send you the finished pattern when it’s ready to be released!

  • Sharing: We would love for you to share your process as you test! Please post on Instagram and other social media sites as much as you’d like about the pattern during the testing period! This is the time to get folks excited about the pattern, and we are a VERY young pattern company — this is our first pattern! — so we need your help to get the word out! Use the hashtag #allwellbucketbag and remember to tag @allwellworkshop in your posts!

If all of this sounds good to you and you’d like to be considered for testing, hit the button below and fill out our testing intake form!

If you’re selected to test, we will get back to you on Tuesday, April 2nd with more details. We will make our selections on Monday the 1st (April fools!), so respond ASAP if you’re interested! We have a limited number of testing slots, so our selections will be based on finding the widest variety of people with different sewing experience levels and interest in different configurations. If you’re not selected this time, keep it touch for future testing opportunities! Keep an eye on Instagram and sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated!

ALSO: If you aren’t into sewing but are into this bag — don’t worry! I’m also planning to make a small batch of bucket bags for my shop!

So excited to see this pattern come to life in your hands! Forever grateful for you.

early samples, mini with canvas strap on left, regular with webbing strap on right

early samples, mini with canvas strap on left, regular with webbing strap on right

IMG_0740.JPG
first sample (in old, messy apartment!) in backpack configuration

first sample (in old, messy apartment!) in backpack configuration

first sample (in old, messy apartment) in cross-body configuration

first sample (in old, messy apartment) in cross-body configuration

P.S. All the rest of my blog posts on this website are from JUST OVER A YEAR AGO! That’s wild. If you’re curious about what I was working on an entire year ago, read on! ——->