all well / amy bornman


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

Posts tagged sewing pattern
All Well Bucket Bag - Garden Lookbook

The All Well Bucket Bag is available now! Click the button below to learn more and buy it!

THE DAY IS FINALLY HERE! Happy All Well Bucket Bag Day! In preparing for the release of the All Well Bucket Bag pattern, I had a wonderful afternoon in the garden enjoying the warm weather and wishing I could fill my bags with flowers all the time. If only Amelia could have been there to celebrate with me — too bad we live all the way across the country from each other! Still, we’ve been making long-distance collaboration work. I’m so thankful that she was willing to jump into this huge project with me — neither of us have ever fully produced a sewing pattern before! We’ve learned a TON, and are so excited to keep going. (PS — if you’re interested in learning how to digitize your own sewing patterns, Amelia is working on a wonderful blog post series with really great information!) There’s a new sewing pattern in town, it’s time to party in our own gardens!

I love how these images turned out. I feel like they really capture how I feel about the bag. It’s made to be work in gardens, with blue jeans, to be smudged with dirt. It’s made for all sorts of life in all sorts of settings. I can’t wait to see where you take yours!

All Well Bucket Bag - Supply List + Release Announcement

The All Well Bucket Bag will be available on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019.


We are so happy to announce that All Well’s first sewing pattern, the All Well Bucket Bag, is releasing next week, on Tuesday, April 30th!

My friend and collaborator Amelia Greenhall and I have been working hard on the pattern for the past few months and we are looking forward to releasing it so it can become a beloved part of your wardrobe! We have loved using our Bucket Bags, tweaking and refining them, carefully choosing straps and fabrics, and we can’t wait to see what you do with it!

The pattern has four bag variations built in. I’ve made (and very regularly use!) all of the bags shown here! Here’s a quick overview of the variety of bags you can make with the All Well Bucket Bag pattern.

  1. Convertible Backpack/ Tote


A comfortable bucket-shaped backpack that easily switches to a cross-body bag or shoulder bag by pulling the strap through the front two grommets and knotting or otherwise shortening the strap. I took this variation on a big trip all around California and it was an amazing travel companion. I loved the versatility to make me feel like I had the right bag in the airport and out to dinner alike!

2. Shoulder or Cross Body Tote


The perfect tote bag with some extra special details! The bucket shape makes the bag wonderfully roomy for carrying everything you need, and the simple shape is minimal and beautiful. The strap is the perfect length for wearing over the shoulder and can also sit as a close cross-body for biking or keeping your gear close and secure. I teach art and theater classes all over the city and this bag goes with me to help me schlep all my gear! It’s perfect!

3. Mini Crossbody / Tote


I’ve been using this bag as my everyday purse, and I have loved it! It’s beautifully neutral, easy to reach into, the perfect size for my keys and phone and wallet and receipts and even a book or two! The double strap is an interesting design detail, and It has a wonderfully casual feel that works great with what I love to wear. I get compliments on it all the time! It’s an unusual shape for a purse but never feels out of place or strange. I love it!

4. Mini Backpack

No image for this one yet, but imagine the top backpack smaller! Great for kids or for bike rides or just about anytime you’d like some flexibility in how you can wear your bag!

We wanted to give you the chance to choose which variation you’d like to make and collect your supplies before the pattern comes out! This is the official supply list for the All Well Bucket Bag Pattern. In the pattern booklet we will include lots of tips on sourcing and supply selection, so all of that information will be available soon!


We recommend cotton canvas, duck cloth, or similar, 10oz-12oz weight (339gsm - 407gsm) for best results.  

The amount depends on the bag size you plan to make.

Regular Bag, Backpack or Tote: 1 yard / 1 meter fabric (this will leave you with a little extra — if you’d like to be precise you can buy 3/4 yard / 3/4 meter)

Mini Bag, Backpack or Tote: 3/4 yard / 3/4 meter fabric (this will leave you with a little extra — if you’d like to be precise you can buy 1/2 yard / 1/2 meter)

Interior Pocket fabric can be self canvas or a lighter weight fabric. Extra fabric is needed if you want to match plaids, stripes or prints. Extra fabric also needed for canvas straps.


  • The Standard Necessities: Sewing machine, Iron, Ironing Board, Pins

  • Thread (all purpose works fine, but heavy-duty thread is also a great option for sewing with 12 oz. canvas and above and for sewing leather straps)

  • Heavy-Duty sewing machine needles (for 12 oz canvas and up and for sewing leather straps)

  • Four (4) grommets 3/8” (10 mm) inner-diameter  (#2 size) + grommet setter tool - double sided grommets recommended. (Or you can skip this and make buttonholes.)

  • Straps - you can choose between three options:

    • For the Convertible Backpack, Tote/Crossbody, and Mini Convertible Backpack

      • Leather: 72” by 3/8” (10 mm) wide by 1/8” thick (183 cm by 1 cm by 3mm) for the Convertible Backpack,

      • Cotton Webbing: 72” by 1” (183 cm by 2.5 cm)

      • Cotton Canvas:  72” by 2” strip of canvas (183 cm by 5 cm)

    • For the Mini Tote/Crossbody (for more of a purse length strap)

      • Leather: 78” by 3/8” (10 mm) wide by 1/8” thick (198 cm by 1 cm by 3 mm)

      • Cotton Webbing: 78” by 1” (183 cm by 2.5 cm)

      • Cotton Canvas: 78” by 2” strip of canvas

Note: The strap length listed here is our sample length, but the ending strap length of the bag is totally up to you! For tall and/or plus-size makers we recommend adding up to 12” to your strap, depending on variation. We recommend you always start with extra and pin before sewing into place to see what exact length works best for you! You can use a measuring tape as a fake temporary strap for an easy way to measure! Or measure the strap length on your favorite bag. Remember that for both the regular size tote and the mini bucket bag, the strap makes one continuous loop through the four grommets, so the final strap is doubled like in the photos.

  • 72” 1 in. cotton twill tape or 1/2” double fold bias tape

We can’t wait to share this pattern with you officially soon! We will announce the pattern first via the All Well Workshop newsletter. Hit the button to sign up and be the first to know when it’s out!

You can also follow us on Instagram for frequent updates too — find us @allwellworkshop. You can always let us know what you think at and We truly can’t wait to see what you make!

All Well Bucket Bag -- Origins + Inspiration

Origins and Inspiration for the All Well Bucket Bag — Pattern coming soon!

The All Well Bucket Bag pattern release is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited! Tester versions are pouring in (you can browse on Instagram at the #allwellbucketbag hashtag, and I’ll be posting a tester roundup on the blog later this week!), and they are so beautiful!

As the release looms, I’ve been reflecting on the pattern development process, amazed at how something that felt like a small idea at first has become something real that other people can make! I thought I’d share some of the road-to-the-bucket-bag with you, a little bit of my design process and personal background. Then, later in the post, I’ll share some inspiration for future All Well Bucket Bags!

Origins: Bag-making started for me with an interesting stitching job I had when I lived in Chicago. I worked for a few months for a design firm that made small batches of custom bags as promotional material for big brands. I can’t give many details about what we made, but I can share that I learned A TON about the principles of bag design and construction — what makes a good bag, what materials work best, how to cut, what sorts of pieces each kind of bag needs and how they get sewn together. I began to learn that it’s all just simple shapes combined in endless permutations. I learned about straps, about grommets, stitched a million zippers, learned some industry tricks, got to use a beautiful industrial sewing machine daily. It was a hard job too (imagine sewing the same bag over and over, eight hours a day, for a week straight to try to finish a big order!), but looking back now I’m realizing that the knowledge and comfort with bag-making I was absorbing through my work was incredible. I got good at bags! We made bags of all shapes and sizes — duffle bags, tiny pouches, totes, backpacks, all manner of zipper, and it was at that job that I stitched my first bucket bag — or rather my first fifty bucket bags. The one we made there had a totally different design finish, different straps, different pockets, different proportions, but I learned what makes a bucket bag a bucket bag, and it was one of my favorite things we ever made. I especially liked sewing the circular base, feeling satisfied every time I finished one without a single pucker. (Also seam-ripping a lot!). I knew then that I wanted to make my own bucket bag design someday for my own personal use.

And then I promptly forgot about it.

A year later, I was living in the Northwoods of Wisconsin knitting my second-ever sweater and I realized I needed a project bag. I had spent all my money on the big pile of wool yarn I was staring at so I couldn’t buy the Fringe Field Bag that everyone was posting about. I looked at the product photos thinking about how to hack it to make something like it for myself and I realized that what I really wanted to make was a little short and squat bucket bag! The old design idea rushed back to my mind! I started with a circle base and went from there, ending up with a sweet little bucket bag project bag with a drawstring top, bias tape bound seams, a couple of grommets, a cotton webbing wrist strap, and two interior pockets for holding stitch-markers and things. It was exactly what I needed. Photos below of my first project bag prototype (PS I’m planning to make a tutorial for how to hack your All Well Bucket Bag pattern into a project bag like this one! Stay tuned if you have some yarn or other needlework to wrangle!)


So I filled it up with yarn and knit a sweater, and then forgot about it again.

Another year later I was gearing up for a trip to the Bay Area and the Napa Valley with my three best friends and I realized I didn’t have the sort of bag I really wanted for the trip. I was severely limited in my luggage space (airlines killing me with cheap seats with only a mini-sized carryon bag allowed!? What’s that about???), so I needed my “personal item” to be a real workhorse that would also look cute at a vineyard where I’d soon be sipping dry white wine. I knew I wanted a backpack for travel ease, but I wondered if I could also make it switch somehow to a cross-body bag, my favorite way to wear bags. My husband had recently found a super long belt at a thrift store that he urged me to use for a strap and I had some natural canvas left over from some garment sewing I’d been doing. At first I thought of making a standard tote — and then I remembered my bucket-shaped project bag! I thought about it for a few days and came up with this design recipe I posted on my old blog as a starting point.

The dimensions listed here aren’t the finished dimensions of the pattern pieces of the bag — BUT if you’d like to use this design recipe for your own hacked bucket bag design go for it!!! This is the gist of the construction!

The dimensions listed here aren’t the finished dimensions of the pattern pieces of the bag — BUT if you’d like to use this design recipe for your own hacked bucket bag design go for it!!! This is the gist of the construction!

I dug out the manilla pattern pieces I’d made for the project bag (thank goodness I didn’t just do it on scrap paper and throw it away! I’ve been known to do that sometimes!), and riffed on the dimensions of that design. Same circle base circumference, eliminate the original four body panels and switch it to two large and taller body pieces instead to accomodate more stuff, move the two interior pockets to the outside for ease of quickly grabbing a boarding pass or stashing a granola bar, one small interior pocket for my phone, four grommets instead of two (already in my studio because of flag-making), and one long strap the length of the super long thrifted belt. I measured my iPad to make sure it would fit, height-wise, since I knew I would be bringing it along.

And the first All Well Bucket Bag was born!

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

My first prototype turned out great, which was a good thing because I made it the day before the trip and had no time to tweak it. I was still a little nervous to take something newly handmade on the trip — would it fall apart on me in the middle of a hike or in the security line at the airport? Would there be something annoying about it that would bug me throughout the trip? Was there some glaring design flaw I hadn’t noticed at first? It went all over with me throughout the trip, and it was wonderful! I especially loved that I could switch it to a cross-body bag to take out to dinner and feel a little less like a traveller. (and oh my goodness we had some very good dinners!)

After the trip, I kept using the bag! It went everywhere with me, quickly replacing most of my other bags. It was then that I started to think that maybe this was a bag that other people would like to make too, and it was also then that I met Amelia, and the rest is history! We’ve been clarifying and tweaking the design little by little, and we are so excited to release the bag soon! We are so proud of what this pattern has become, and I have still been enjoying using my bag samples daily. We hope you’ll love it as much as we do!

Plans and Inspiration: I’m excited to try some new things with the pattern in the next few weeks. A lot of testers have been experimenting with surface design for this pattern. It’s an excellent candidate for block or screen printing or even hand-painting because it doesn’t use a ton of fabric and canvas is super easy to print or paint on! I made a hand-painted sample recently that I love!


I’m planning to start my first indigo vat this summer and you can BET I’m going to dunk some canvas to make some hand-dyed indigo All Well Bucket Bags. Materials-wise, I’ve also been curious about Waxed Canvas and Cordura — it’s a super-durable nylon fabric that really waterproofs whatever you’re making but is still nice to sew with. We used it for a few bags at my bag-making job and I really liked working with it. I might use it to make a more rugged version of the bucket bag! There’s an amazing local Pittsburgh design studio that makes waxed canvas bags lined in Cordura and their result is super durable and beautiful! A couple of testers have made the All Well Bucket Bag with waxed canvas, and they look incredible!

Also — I’ve been really inspired by some testers lining the bag! Currently the pattern has you bind all your seams with twill or bias tape (like you can see in the interior of my first project bag) — but I’m going to try a lined version to see if I like it — maybe we’ll make that a pattern variation! It’s a great way to add some extra structure to the bag body and eliminate the stitching lines from the interior pocket on the back body piece.

I’m already planning to make a tutorial for hacking the bucket bag into a needlework project bag like the one I started with — and also maybe one for making a quick circle cross body bag sort of like this one I’ve been eyeing at Baggu. (great canvas bag inspiration all around!). In theory you could just cut four of the bottom circle base piece from the bucket bag pattern and then cut one much shorter main body piece and modify the other one into a zipper piece and add a strap and it would be great! Will look into that hack too! Could do a mini and a regular! Ah! Ideas!

Amelia also has an amazing round up of bucket bag design inspiration with tons of color/fabric ideas and other design ideas on her blog! Check it out for tons of great ideas! So many amazing canvas fabrics and configurations out there to choose from! Endless hacks!

We can’t wait to share this pattern with you officially soon! Subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to hear about it, and follow us on Instagram for frequent updates too! Let us know what you think at and Can’t wait to see what you make!