I finally finished my Sew Together Bags last week! I went on the Movers And Makers Summit retreat this past weekend (a topic for another blog post), so I’m just now getting around to writing about the bags.
I felt well rested both Saturday and Sunday of weekend before last because my husband was so kind to let me take a mid-morning nap both days after the kids had been fed and gotten going for the day. I added it up and I think I need about 11 hours of sleep before the bags under my eyes go away! That’s not going to happen very often though, as I’d have to got to bed before my girls do to get that much sleep every night! Anyway, since I felt so good that weekend, due to the amount of sleep I got, I was able to make the most out of the rest of the time when I was awake. I finished up those bags and even photographed them!
I have some comments about the sewing pattern that may be useful to others. I do love this pattern, the bag is totally awesome and I was super excited to take it to Charleston for the Movers and Makers Summit last weekend. However, since I’ve never made a zipper pouch of any kind before, I was a little bit lost with the directions provided in the pattern. I think they were definitely adequate and written out well, but I needed more visual help than they provided. I have started using mainly indie sewing patterns lately because the designs are so much more modern and on trend. An added bonus is that the instructions are almost always very detailed and contain a lot of pictures. Indie sewing pattern designers really make it easy for beginning sewers to make a garment or a bag with very little sewing experience. In the past, all the additional descriptions and photos were just nice to have for me since I’ve been sewing for so long. However, with the Sew Together Bag, I needed the extra help. And of course, the internet was there to provide that for me! I found an awesome tutorial through browsing the hashtag #sewtogetherbag on Instagram. The Quilt Barn put together an absolutely fantastic sew along that was published almost a year ago. Heather, from The Quilt Barn, literally took a picture of every single step in the process of making this bag. Every picture is clear and taken from the best angle to show that step. It is an amazing tutorial that I am sure took a lot of work. And I am so thankful for it because these bags would have ended up as UFOs if I hadn’t had her tutorial to follow.
A few extra tips that weren’t mentioned in the sew along tutorial:
1. Use a sewing machine needle that is at least a 90/14 size or larger. Anything smaller will cause problems such as skipping stitches due to the thickness of the fabric layers, especially when sewing on the binding.
2. To make sure that the stitching on the binding was straight, I used the blind hem foot for the binding that goes on the side of the bag. I was not able to use it for the top zipper binding because the zipper teeth got in the way. For that I adjusted my needle position to the far left and sewed slowly, trying to keep the edge of the fabric lined up on the same place on the foot. The blind hem foot is not just for sewing blind hems, I prefer to use the this foot whenever possible to make a straight stitch. This method worked well when top stitching the interior zipper pouches. I also use it a lot when I am sewing a garment and it calls for an understitch, usually for a dress bodice. See this picture to show how I used the blind hem foot.
3. When attaching the top zipper and binding the sew along step makes a sandwich with the bag, zipper and binding. But, I sewed the zipper in place first and then sewed the binding on. I was worried about the zipper sliding around if it was just sandwiched between the bag and the binding. The extra step only took a minute and the stitching didn’t show because it was all covered by the binding. Tacking down that zipper was worth the extra step in my opinion, especially since I did not care to unpick anymore stitches for this project!
4. The zipper tabs are supposed to be made with the strips cut at a width of 1 3/4 inches. However this was not wide enough to cover the ends of my zippers. Luckily I had some binding strips leftover and used those, so I didn’t have to re-cut any fabric. So, I would recommend waiting until you get to that step in the process before you cut the strips for the zipper tabs and just measure the appropriate width that you will need. Here’s a picture illustrating that issue:
Lastly, some photos of my finished Sew Together Bags.