In the spirit of not looking like a pack horse when going to a class or sewing event – this Sew Together bag pattern on Craftsy caught my attention.
Note (Oct 2014) – please recognize the first part of this article was written before I created the Bionic Gear Bag and was published on this site before Michelle Tucker (Sew Demented) and Melissa Richie (Weshallsew / Mountain Mel) launched a defamatory internet attack on me at the end of April, 2014) I’m leaving the first part of this post up because it *is* what I said at the time – and it was written before I drew out the plans for the Bionic Gear Bag – and I think it’s good to see that I didn’t slam Michelle around when I launched my own pattern. So here it is, from March 2014:
I’m self-admittedly *terrible* … seems I bring half of my sewing room with me every time I go somewhere to sew. This bag is designed to hold all of your sewing periphernalia that you take to classes & sew-ins. If you don’t carry much, it might work well for you. But I had to go a step further and design my own bag that would hold my magnetic pin dish and Wonder Clips… as well as being able to hold thread spools vertically – so I made my Bionic Gear Bag.
I learned a few new techniques when building this bag – and for that, along with a pleasurable day of putzing (love that part the best!!!!) … I think the price of the pattern on Craftsy was well worth putting a little ding into my PayPal account. 🙂
So I snapped a few pics just before final assembly of the zipper and the binding:
Ideally, I wish I would have had two more colorful zippers for the interior. I have a stash of 9″ zippers here – but I didn’t have three bright ones that would play nice with my fabric choices. And I was much too happy staying home and sewing instead of venturing out (and spending $15 in fuel just to get to a JoAnn’s!) to go shop for two zippers. So I made do… and you probably wouldn’t have held that white and pink zipper against me, would you, if I hadn’t said anything? lol
This is the first bag I’ve made on the Ellisimo Gold (not counting the zipper pouch – that wasn’t that challenging in the way of thick seams, etc, compared to this one). I was simply amazed at how nice she sewed through thick, challenging bumps. Never a grumble. And … best part of all… I got a chance to really use the new 1/4″ foot *without the guide* that I recently bought … the one on the right:
The foot pivots beautifully to go over some mighty obnoxious little bumps in this project. 🙂
I used an overcasting foot to assist in making the side seams nice before applying the binding and zipper. It went over the knobby little bumps where the pocket seams meet the edge quite nicely. The guide on the foot really helps hold the “zags” of the zigzag from pulling and distorting the side of the work.
And here it is….
How many classes or events have you gone to where you’re packed in with the other students like sardines? Trying to dig through your tote bag on the floor for a tool or notion can be the pits! Or… what about when something rolls off the table?
When open – and all filled up with your goodies, the side is constructed in a way that if it were open next to your sewing machine, you can place some of your commonly used tools on the open side – but the problem is, the side wasn’t big enough and the items needed to be heavy enough to hold it down:
The magnetic pincushion and the itsy bitsy little “microwave potholder” (yeah, I’m obsessed!) do not fit in the bag when closed. But I don’t go anywhere without those wonderful flat, heat resistant pins and the Clover Wonder Clips. I use the clips more than pins… but there are sometimes that you just gotta have the pins!
I’m kind of a scissor junkie. 🙂 Even my big, bad ass Gingher Pinking Shears need to be packed into a bag.
So here’s the review:
Pros: The Sew Together pattern was well worth the investment. The end product is very nice. I enjoyed the process of building this one. The exterior piece lends itself very well for the sewist to be creative with embellishments, if desired. And… when the author refers to herself as “Sew Demented”… well… I just gotta love a person like that. Happy to buy from her!
I’ve seen other bags with the zipper sewn into the binding like this – but this is the first time I’ve tried it. I wish I had first lined up the zipper to the edges of the binding and exterior – and sewn down a little 1/8” seam to just get everything lined up before making the stitches that really count on the final seam. Next time. 🙂
Cons: A few more diagrams or photos would be useful to help visualize a few of the steps. Nonetheless, the pattern is doable. I think the sides on the outermost compartments could have been cut differently so they don’t fold in so far when the bag is closed – but I get that the end flaps are to allow the bag to fully open (as was shown above in one of my pics). However, you still can’t open up both sides that far, so the next time I build one of these, I think I’ll tweak making that side piece a little differently.
The bag is just a tad too little for me. (It’s just like buying purses – size *does* matter!) … So this needs to be big enough to also carry my magnetic pin dish, my little fabric bowl of Wonder Clips, and I would prefer it if it could hold threads upright. As it is, it’s just a little too small.
UPDATE: I made a second one… so I gave this one to Bri for her to take along when we sew together at group sew-in days.
All in all, it is a great project!
Updated April 2014:
I really want to be able to hold all of my loose ends (including that darn pin dish!) … so I went a step further and drew up my own bag. My pattern for the Bionic Gear Bag was published on Craftsy this month.
I started by laying out everything I would want to take to a class, or retreat, or off in an RV, etc. I also did the same for computer cords and such that I carry when I work at a coffee shop – both of these are shown on www.bionicgearbag.com . In the end, I added more compartments – changed their sizes to be more workable for the things I carry (such as spools of thread and sewing machine needles) , I sized the zipper to work efficiently, and I also made sure the back wasn’t floppy and the front would make a shallow “box” when open to hold things.
The zipper installation was an inspiration to me to be able to build a bag that *would* be able to sit open nicely… and be able to hold the magnetic pin dish and my wonder clips…
Update July 2014: There has been more than a little “controversy” about me making the Bionic Gear Bag pattern. While I have been totally open and honest about building a STB first and then deciding to make a bigger bag… it’s been a little crazy that people will jump all over me thinking I shouldn’t have been able to own, nor sell a bigger bag. To me, it’s quite silly that someone can be critical (or even vicious) to me over this topic – but they don’t seem to question where any of these bags started out – including the Sew Together Bag.
About two months into the “controversy” (and that is being kind – Sew Demented and her tribe have posted hundreds of negative comments about me all over Instagram, YouTube, and my own pattern page on Craftsy) … anyway… more than a few sources of popped up mentioning a Japanese pattern that was a free Russian Tutorial back in 2011. All I’m sayin’… is that it’s very difficult to comprehend how a group of people can launch a hate campaign on me when it looks like the concept and pattern for the “other bag” started here…
Update October 2014:
I’m moving on. The hurdles and stress created by Camp Demented this summer is in the rear view mirror for me, now. This blog is going back to being a “happy place” and the nastiness of what went down this summer will be duked out in a court of law – and not here.
I’ve learned that for every one sourpuss – there are another 99 wonderful people that see through all of this and have been outrageously supportive.
Until next time,
PS: When you click on any of the links above, and ultimately make a purchase, a small commission gets thrown my way ( a few months from now! lol) that helps me pay for this site. Any leftover money goes to help my dentist buy new hubcaps for his Mercedes. 🙂 I appreciate your visit!