The Forth of July here in DC was a rainy grey day, so I decided to spend the day crafting. Prep work on my current quilt project wasn’t going well (more on that in another post), so I set that aside and put together this Sew Together Bag (Paper pattern) (Digital pattern).
The Sew Together Bag was designed to hold sewing notions. The exterior zipper not only creates the bag enclosure, but also forms really cute handles. Inside the bag there are four open pockets separated by three zippered pockets. It also has a small pincushion sewn into the side of the bag.
I made my bag using Tula Pink’s The Hypnotizer fabric in Raspberry from the Chipper collection and some coordinating green and purple polka dotted fabrics with dark purple trim. I used matching green and purple zippers.
The pattern has a fairly small number of pieces that I was able to cut out very quickly. Most pieces are rectangles; for these the pattern gives dimensions and you can use your rotary cutter and ruler to precisely cut these. The side panels are rectangles with a corner trimmed off. The pattern includes a paper pattern for these pieces, but they are still easy to cut with the rotary blade. All the lining pieces and the exterior piece are also cut from iron on interfacing – I used Pelon ShapeFlex which worked very well.
Creating the interior with the zipper pockets
Creating the interior is done by chaining together sandwiches of lining fabric, zippers, and pocket lining fabric. This goes pretty easily, however, I made a small modification based on advise from the quilt shop where I bought the pattern. The pattern calls for 9″ zippers, however, the woman at the quilt shop said that the 9″ inch zippers *just* fit and cause the assembly to be very tricky and fiddly. She suggested buying slightly larger zippers and trimming them to fit after attaching them. I bought 11″ zippers and it went together very easily. Creating the pockets is then as easy as folding the whole thing at a zipper and sewing through a full set of a pair of lining fabrics and a pair of pocket linings.
Adding the exterior size panels
The side panels wrap around each of the interior zipper pockets to create an accordion-like system.
The tricky part here is to make sure the edges of the interior zipper pockets are very even because the bag is sewing with a 1/4″ seam allowance, which doesn’t give much room for any difference in the layers. I had one pocket with a pocket lining that didn’t quite reach the edge of the lining fabric. After sewing the seam to hold the exterior side panel to the pocket, I opened the pocket and discovered that the pocket lining was still loose. I had to rip the seam out, trim the pocket edge to make it a little more even, and be very careful to shove the pocket as deep into the fold of the side panel as possible while resewing the seam.
Wonder Clips really helped in keeping all the layers together. I can’t recommend Wonder Clips more highly.
Completing the bag
The large exterior piece is then attached to the interior assembly. The seams are covered with accent binding. The pattern instructions called for the binding to be attached to one side and folded over like the binding on a quilt, but I created double folded tape to sandwich the seam instead. Using my bias tape maker tool and only having to sew the binding once, I think this was faster. I wasn’t able to use this method on the binding on the zipper however. I’m still working on my binding skills. While they are getting better, my stitching isn’t always as even as I would like. This was good practice.
The finished bag
All in all, I really like this pattern and I can definitely see making more of them. This one will be used for my pieces and notions for assembling a hand pieced quilt, but I think this pattern also would be a really cute toiletries bag.
- Exterior fabric: 1 fat quarter
- Lining fabric: 1/2 yard by width of fabric
- Pocket lining: 1/3 yard by width of fabric
- Binding fabric: 1 fat quarter
- 1/2 yard fusible lightweight interfacing (I used Pellon SF101 ShapeFlex)
- 1 18″ zipper
- 3 9″ zippers (I used 11″ zippers and trimmed the excess – this made the assembly MUCH easier)
- Optional Pincushion – fabric scrap 4″x6″ and stuffing
- Optional Needle Landing – wool felt 3″x4″ (I didn’t include this)
- Matching thread