Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Sew Together Bag

If you use Instagram you will probably have spotted many pics of the Sew Together Bag (pattern from Sew Demented).  I don't think a day has gone by where I hadn't seen another version of it, just take a look at all the pics with the #sewtogethertag.  

The first few times I spotted it I thought it looked cool but not something I wanted to to make.  But the more I saw the more I wanted it so eventually I gave in to Instagram peer pressure and bought the pattern!   I'm not so keen on pdfs so I bought the paper version from Sew Hot and spent a while looking for the perfect fabrics.  I decided on the beautiful Winter's Lane collection pictured below.

I'm not a fan of project prep I have to admit, I'm impatient and just want to get on with the sewing so I was a bit frustrated at the time this took to get everything cut and interfaced and find zips the right size and colour.  I decided to do the prep on one day and sew on another, I was pretty excited about making it and seeing the finished results.

Firstly I have to warn you if you are thinking of following this pattern unless you are very experienced you are likely to find the instructions lacking.  I was a bit concerned when I first read the instructions as a lot didn't make sense and there are very few photos , it's very text based.  I have heard from a few people that it's a bit of a tricky pattern, and there are plenty of blog posts out there with people sharing their tips and experiences.

Luckily a quick search on Google and I found the brilliant Quilt Barn Sewalong which has photographs of every single step, plus much more detailed instructions.  I highly recommend you have this next to you as you sew.  I couldn't have managed without it.

I had expected the zips to be the tricky bit but they were simple, the whole first part of the project was easy, constructing the lining and making the zipped pockets.  I was feeling pretty confident by the time I got to the end of that - and then things got much more difficult!

I have to admit I didn't have any light interfacing to hand so I used medium, but this made it harder when it came to joining layers. The sides were my first little struggle but I got through it and it was all looking pretty good at this stage (although I wish I'd tucked my zip ends in a bit better on the blue and grey zips).

When it came to joining the lining to the outer layer things got more difficult when sewing along the edges where the side bit (in red) was.  My machine did struggle in a few places and I had to drag the fabric through. I also somehow ended up with a fold of excess fabric on one side so had to unpick that side and restitch it.

But the binding was a nightmare.  Firstly my machine struggled sewing through so many layers in places (1 layer interfacing, 2 layers fabric, 1 layer zip and 4 layers binding fabric!), and with the size and weight of the bag and trying to manuouvre it under the machine made it very difficult to keep the stitching straight.  You are also stitching the zip into place whilst sewing the binding so everything needs to be really well pinned.  My binding ended up with folds or creases in a few places. 

Sewing the second side of the outer zip (and binding) is even harder because with the first side attached you have much less maneuvering space.  I was totally gutted to finally get to the end of sewing the second side of the zip only to find when I tried to close the bag that the zips weren't aligned and it twisted the bag.  The zip must have gotten pulled out of alignment when I was trying to force it under the presser foot :(  Make sure that both sides are lined up perfectly before you stitch because it took a long time to unpick and restitch the zip and the binding.  I was pretty sick of it by then and almost gave up!

I did persist and finally got the bag finished but I have to admit I'm not overly happy with it.  The binding doesn't look good in a few places (the unpicking damaged it slightly and there were a couple of folds/creases in it).  I feel like it wasn't worth all the hard work to make it and I can't bring myself to use it at the moment.

I'm sure when I feel less frustrated with it I'll probably realise it's totally fine and useable, but I won't be rushing to make another one any time soon.   For now I'm just going to put it away and come back to it in a few weeks when I'm less annoyed!   Then hopefully I'll find a good use for it as it's be a shame not to use after all the blood sweat and tears!

I did buy a pattern for another Instagram favourite at the same time as this one - Hazel Hedgehog - by Elizabeth Hartman (see pics here) so hopefully I'll have more luck with that one when I give it a go!

Have you tried the Sew Together Bag?  How did you get on?  Are you tempted it give it a go?

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