3 “Sew Together” Bags Completed!

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.




By |March 5th, 2015|Bag Sewing|0 Comments

Progress on Sew Together Bags

I originally started this project as Christmas gifts for a friend and my sister and then one for me. Of course I didn’t start on them well enough in advance, but I took several days off of work before Christmas to get the house ready and thought I could finish up the bags during that time. I have read that it takes most people about 3 or 4 hours to complete one bag. I thought that since I was making a batch of them that I would save some time and I still maintain that assumption, although I did not record the actual time it took me to complete the bags, but I am sure it was over 4 hours though. I ripped out a lot of stitches on these bags, which is time consuming, but I will do it in a heartbeat if it is going to effect the quality of whatever I’m sewing. One nice thing about doing 3 bags at a time was that for each new step in the process, I would try it out first on the bag I was going to keep, then once I moved on to the other two, they looked much better than the first try and I didn’t have to rip any stitches out of the 2nd and 3rd bag.

I just love the fabric I used for these bags. It is from Hawthorne Threads in house collection called Calliope. I specifically wanted to use this fabric because it is produced with a digital printer! It was my first purchase of digitally printed fabric and I was very pleased with it overall. There are a lot of other fabric companies whose fabric has a better hand than this; Art Gallery being the best of course. This fabric was stiff when it arrived in the mail, but after one washing it softened tremendously. It is on the thinner side, but certainly adequate. The weave seemed tight though, and I tried to use a fine needle on the sewing machine because the larger needle was leaving behind noticable holes, as were the pins. But, with this project, a fine needle is not a good option. The quality of the printed design was excellent though. The navy color washed well and the designs were sharp, not blurry at all. So, I would rate the fabric quality as good and the print quality as great. Since I bought this fabric Hawthorne Threads has released even more collections and they are all delightful! I only hope I can produce such good work when I start printing fabric.

I posted several mid-project photos of my Sew Together Bags in my Instagram feed and follow me for more mid-project photos of my current sewing project (and pictures of my adorable girls). Here are the pictures I posted on Instagram; they were taken with my mobile phone, so they aren’t the best.

I had just finished the guts of the bag in this photo and found some extra zippers in my drawer.  I can make another bag sometime soon I hope!IMG_20150101_173615

I finally bought some wonder clips.  I am hoping these come in handy when I get to the binding.IMG_20150107_193624

So, why is it taking me so long to complete these bags? Well, I got the flu the week before Christmas, so that prevented me from doing any of the Christmas preparations (or sewing) I had planned on and I ended up spending my vacation days in bed.  Being pregnant with the flu was a pretty miserable combination, but I made it to the Christmas Eve service at church and we still managed to have about a dozen family members over on Christmas day. Everything worked out for the holidays except for my sewing plans.  I didn’t do much sewing right after Christmas but I tried to get started on this project again in January. And then I got depressed.  I will just be brutally honest and tell you that my prenatal hormones went totally haywire in January and all I accomplished that month was a bunch of crying and feeling sorry for myself.  After a month of nearly driving my husband out of his mind, I started taking an antidepressant.  It made a world of difference and made me feel better immediately.  My husband called it a miracle of modern medicine!  However the medicine does make me really tired, but hopefully I’ll get adjusted to that quickly and not want to sleep so much on the weekends.  I’m sure that won’t take much longer and I’ll be able to finish this project up soon.

Additionally, since I have been sewing at such a slow pace lately, I am thinking that I will not get to the pajama pants that were next on my 2015 sewing list before the weather turns warm. I’ll just save the fabric until next fall. So after I finish these bags I can start on the Norah dress for my oldest daughter. I am looking forward to that project a lot more than PJ pants anyway.

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

By |February 15th, 2015|Bag Sewing, Fabric|1 Comment