Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented

Next up for review is the Sew Together Bag by Sew Demented.

I will first say that I love this bag.  It's super functional and holds a ton more stuff than you'd expect.  With that said, I think the instructions in the pattern were not very clear for a person making this bag the first time.  While I haven't been sewing for a very long time (just under 3 years), I tend to do pretty well with reading and deciphering patterns without having to seek outside assistance (via a friend / sewing shop / video / class), and I honestly don't know if I would have made it through this pattern without this tutorial that The Quilt Barn did for their sew along.  I had actually read that in a number of reviews and Instagram posts, but I didn't understand how bad it really was until I bought the pattern.  I suppose that is a contributing factor in why it sometimes gets the nickname "the Swear Together" bag.  The photos from the sew along really did make a massive difference in the sections about zipper installation and attaching the side panels to the lining.

Aside from the somewhat muddy instructions, it truly is a great bag. I want to really be clear on this - I don't want to potentially scare anybody away from making one.  I've made 5 of them so far, and I have a feeling that I will make another at some point in time.  So, here's my obligatory collage of the Sew Together Bags that I've made.

Top Row - Priory Square bag made for Katy Jones' Fall '14 Quilt Market Booth (it's actually featured in the magazine ads for the collection!)
Row 2 - Tula Pink Parisville & Plume, Alexander Henry A Ghastlie End
Row 3 - Kaffe Fassett Paperweight, Kaffe Fassett Paper Fans (this one was a gift)

Why have I made it 5 times, you ask?  As I noted in the photo caption, the bag in the largest photo was made for the amazing I'm a Ginger Monkey / Katy Jones (yes, I'm talking about her again) to showcase her Art Gallery Fabrics Limited Edition Priory Square collection.  I use the first bag in the 2nd row to hold my binding supplies (needles, threader, Thread Heaven, etc).  The 2nd bag in the 2nd row is currently not in use.  I originally made it to hold an English Paper Piecing project on which I was working.  The first bag on the 3rd row is my just in case sewing kit.  I keep some of my sewing essentials in it (scissors, extra rotary cutter, a spool of my favorite 50 wt Aurifil #2600 thread, a folding tape measure, some glass head pins, and a seam ripper) just in case I forget my primary supply bag when I'm attending a class.  The final bag (3rd row on the right) was actually made for my boss.  I know how much she liked my Kaffe Paperweight bag (and to ease my guilt from reducing the hours that I'm working at the quilt shop), so I asked her to pick out some fabric for her own bag.  I'm not sure what she will do with hers yet, but it would be great for holding so many different types of things including makeup or small art supplies.

One of the coolest things about the pattern is that your materials list is pretty flexible.  In its most basic form, you will need 1 fat quarter for the exterior, 1/2 yd for the lining, 1/3 yd for the pocket lining, and 1 fat quarter for binding.  You will also need 1 - 18" zipper, 3 - 9" zippers, 1/2 yd of fusible lightweight interfacing (I used Pellon SF101).  There is also an optional pincushion which requires a 4" x 6" fabric scrap and either wool roving or a similar stuffing, and an optional needle landing made from a 3" x 4" piece of wool felt.  If you want to quilt the exterior, you will also need an 18" x 22" piece of either batting or fusible fleece.

For all 5 of the bags, I chose not to quilt the exterior, add the pincushion, or the needle landing.  Because I felt like I wanted my exterior fabric to have a little bit more body since they weren't being quilted, I actually used 2 layers of Pellon SF101 instead of just 1.  If you choose to go this route, I'd recommend that you get an extra half yard of interfacing.

While the idea of sewing 4 zippers may seem daunting, the way they are installed is very straight forward (honestly).  They are long enough that you can get some good practice but not so long that they become difficult to work with.

One easy tip for making this bag is to buy zippers that are longer than the pattern requires (I usually go with a 20" and 12" for the inside compartments). By doing this, I have extra space at the end to move the zipper pull out of the way, and I don't have to stop part of the way across the zipper or worry about the possibility of accidentally trying to sew though the metal stops. :)  In most cases, I can trim the extra length off (after moving the zipper pull to the inside) and either do a zero stitch length zig-zag or sew back and forth over the end (my primary bag making machine is straight stitch only so zig-zag isn't even an option) to create new stops.

On my most recent bag, I decided to finish the binding by hand (my friend Teresa does all of hers by hand). It turned out very well, but I don't think it was really worth the extra time to do.  I'm not usually a "good enough" kind of person, but it actually looks pretty decent on this bag.

I talked to another friend, Kaitlyn, and she quilted Soft & Stable instead of batting or fleece on the exterior.  I didn't have the opportunity to see the bag in person, but it looks great in her photos.  With as much as I love Soft & Stable, I might have to make another bag to test it.  ;)

Anyway, that's about it on the Sew Together Bag.  I really do recommend giving this bag a try.


  1. Thank you! This bag is on my radar for a class this fall for my embroidery students.

  2. Wow, These are looking amazing. You did it so nicely. I can't wait to make this for my daughter. Hope so she loves it. Thanks for the sharing this. I need a rotary cutter then.

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