Tutorials

My Sew Together Bag Adventure

Spend 5 minutes on instagram and you will stumble across thousands of images of @sewdemented’s sew together bag. And now, having made one, I completely understand it’s popularity! 

So besides just sharing some pretty pictures (of which there are more below 😍), I also wanted to share what I’ve learnt so far. I say ‘so far’ because I will definitely be making at least one more (for me this time!)

Top 5 tips for STB Beginners

  • Start with the pockets. They are pretty straight forward and it will give you a sense of accomplishment!

  • Get creative with the outside panel.  It’s a great place to experiment on a small scale with a new epp or fpp pattern. Even if you are a complete beginner, patterns by @quietplay and @tartankiwi are so well written, you are almost guaranteed success. 

  • Check out #sewtogetherbag on instagram. Seeing images of how the bag comes together will help you visualize yours. 
  • The hardest part is sewing the edges. Spend a couple of minutes hand basting the bottom edge of the lining between the pockets to the outer panel as its easy to miss them when sewing so many layers.  (See below)

  • Head over to instagram, find @monpetitebiscuit and dig up the sewalong she coordinated. EXCELLENT advice on the tricky bits! Seriously! 

More details

The bag itself is the perfect size, with ample space for all the sewing and crafty notions one needs. Especially if, like me, you don’t have a designated craft room but rather tend to craft and sew all over the house. It’s also an excellent pattern with a mix of elements that vary in skill level required and creative flexibility. 

For example the outside of the bag is a simple rectangle, or two smaller rectangles if using a directional print. This provides an excellent opportunity for testing out new paper piecing or quilting skills on an small scale. 

I decided to appliqué an Alison glass print (Art theory) to a rainbow gradient fabric (by Benartex  fabrics), using a tight zigzag stitch with rainbow thread (METTLER silk finish No 50). I then quilted off set straight lines using a variegated light grey thread (Tula Pink aurifil thread No 4060)) to create the diamond pattern. 

For the inside lining and pockets, and side panels,  I used Emma Jean Jansen’s Terra Australis 2 collection, arranged in a rainbow. It’s relatively easy to use directional prints here like the mini Australia’s on the inside of the pockets because you make each side of each pocket in order from  left to right. Trust me, it will make sense when you see the pattern diagram. 

The hardest part for me was joining the lining to the outer panel along the sides of the bag. Take the recommendation to use your walking foot seriously. I also switched to a heavy duty needle which helped a lot.  Remember you are punching through lots of layers. In the interests of full disclosure, I did have to unpick and redo my side edges because I had missed some raw edges. Therefore I recommend hand basting the middle bottom sections of the side panels. They are the trickiest bits to ensure they are caught in a seam. 

And then there is the final product. I made this sewtogetherbag for the #overtherainbowswap and it’s currently on its way to the US. I also included a few extras for my partner, including a small flying geese pincushion in coordinating fabrics and essex linen. Hope she likes it!