Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sew Together Bags

I can finally post pictures of the Sew Together Bags I stitched right after Christmas last year!

These were gifts for my sisters.  I didn't have them finished in time for Christmas gift giving, so I just now gave them to them in person since we were all together this evening for dinner.

I LOVE these bags!!  I was glad I didn't have to part with them until now.  :)   It's the coolest pattern, and you can do a thousand variations of them and never get tired of the possibilities.

It's so fun to slide open the exterior zipper and see all the interior pockets....

... where you can showcase even more fabrics!

Renee picked out the fabrics for her bag,

and Alison's fabrics were leftovers from the various T-shirt quilts I stitched for her over the years (with the exception of the exterior fabric).

I'll admit, they aren't the easiest bags to make.  They're not something you can crank out quickly.  But they are worth the effort, and you'll be able to say you belong to the elite group of sewists who have  tackled these bags. :)  I probably wouldn't have worked up the courage to stitch one, but I promised Renee I would make one for her after we saw one in person at one of the vendor stands at the Quilt Odyssey quilt show in Hershey last summer.  I'm glad I did!

A few tips:

It's difficult to make one of these bags with the pattern as your only resource.  I found Quilt Barn's Sew-Along's series of posts to be invaluable.   

I also found From the Blue Chair's tips to be helpful as well.

Give yourself plenty of time.  And while you're at it, you may as well stitch 2 or more bags.  I stitched the first one just to work out the kinks, then stitched the second one; it went so much faster!  So, I decided to stitch at least 5 more.  I cut out all the interfacing pieces all at once - way more time efficient that way.

Yes, stitching all that binding is a bit tricky.  But, take your time and be willing to rip and restitch if necessary; it's so worth it in the end.  I found glue-basting to be the secret.

Zippers can get pricey.  If you can't find the zippers you need at your local thrift shop or in your zipper stash, check out this Etsy shop.  They sell sets of zippers in the sizes needed for these bags (how ingenious is that!); you can select your individual colors, and they are a bargain.  
I prefer to buy a longer length zipper than the pattern calls for, then cut it down after I've stitched it.  It's so much easier that way - you can slide the tabs out of the way and won't have to fiddle with them while stitching.

Check to see if your local quilt shop has a class on The Sew Together Bag.  My favorite quilt shop (for more reasons than one!) is offering a class right now.

Be sure to peruse all the pictures of Sew Together Bags on Pinterest - the possibilities are endless!

Here's a peek at some of the additional bags I'm preparing to stitch.  This time I want to try machine quilting the exterior of one of the bags.

I love this fabric combination!  :)

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