Zipper Bags

Do you ever start a project and think I am really not meant to make this? Originally I had brought the 2 blue fabrics used on these bags to make reading pillows but silly me didn’t read how much fabric was required and I didn’t have enough when I started to cut them out plus I didn’t have the correct size pillow inserts. I also needed to make a 3rd gift from fabric in my stash. No dramas plan b I will make 3 Zip and Go’s, easy pattern which I have made before.

Zip And Go Pattern

I brought the zippers to match each bag, cut out the fabrics and realised I never had enough fabric to make the straps out of the same fabric. Again no dramas all the fabric had white on it I’ll just make the straps out of white calico from my stash which I did. The Zip and Go pattern has clever instructions where you measure the front panel and slice it at different times in the instructions to insert the zips. I sliced my first panel as per instructions and realised I cut it ¾” too short. Now what to do. I was running out of ideas and time to make the gifts. I had all this usable fabric, I didn’t want to waste it.

2 Zip Bags Pocket

Now I think by this point I was up to plan c. Having made the Essential Wristlet pattern more times then I can remember I decided to use the zipper instructions from that to insert top opening zippers on the bags instead with a front pocket. It was a way to save all the fabric I cut and it was a pattern I was very familiar with.

2 Zip Bags 3

I was originally going to make the zip and go pattern as Christmas gifts this year for the same kids so I had all hardware in my stash. Sewing away it occurred to me that the straps I had made weren’t going to fit the hardware I had in my stash. I make my bag straps on tote bags and regular bags finished size 1″. The zip and go’s have a narrow strap and the hardware I had fitted the narrower strap.  I then had to do a quick online order to get 1″ hardware and have it sent Express Post to have it in time to finish them. I also had to remake the D ring tabs for the bags as I had made them for the smaller size. In the end I think having the tabs in white brings the bags together more as they are the same as the straps and it doesn’t make it look like I have just clipped on any old straps I had.

2 Zip Bags 4.JPG

The straps have sliders on them and I always get confused on how to sew them. I have to look at my handbag each time I attach them as even with pictorial instructions my brain get confused. Just as I was sewing the hardware on my last strap I still stitched it wrong so the slider wouldn’t move so I got my un picker out. When I started sewing them correctly I then broke a needle. I had my glasses on but luckily it wasn’t one of those fly off and hit in your face needle breaks which is why I wear my glasses sewing now.

2 Zip Bags 2

I’m pretty proud of myself. Even though I had drama after drama making these bags and they ended up taking about a week to make instead of a weekend like I’d planned. I never got stressed or angry making them. I ended up with 3 usable bags to give as gifts. I actually did mid week sewing on these which I don’t normally do. Normally my mind thinks if I am going to sew I need a big chunk of time but I did 20 – 30 mins each day and I got them completed. Using white thread meant I was able to batch sew them so I did one task a day during the week. Install one half of the zipper on all the bags one day, the other half of the zippers the next day. Top stitch all the zippers one day. Little chunks of sewing got the small tasks done so when I had a day off work I was able to finish them. By breaking sewing up into small tasks like I did on these bags I might be able to get through sewing all the things I want to make. I’m fortunate enough to not have to pack up my sewing area after each time I use it so mid week sewing is achievable for me.

2 Zip Bags 1

Even though I have now been sewing for 8 years I’m still learning from every project. This project I learnt how important it is to fully check your materials and instructions before you start. Go back and double check the small details as you are making the project, don’t assume or go on autopilot too much. You don’t need a lot of time to sew, break the tasks into small steps and you can get things done.


Zip And Go – First Attempt

Zip and Go is a pattern from Dog Under My Desk for a long time but I’ve never gotten around to making it. Recently I was looking for present to make so I decided now was the time to try it.

On the DUMD facebook group I have seen many people make this before and I was always amazed at how they pattern matched the front of this bag. Most times I don’t even attempt at pattern matching as I am hopeless at it. In the process of making this bag I found out how everyone was achieving this crazy pattern matching wizardry, at different parts of the pattern you slice the front portion therefore creating the pattern matching! Like all of Erin’s patterns the tutorial that accompanies the pattern is really clear and easy to follow. This bag is actually relatively simple to make following the tutorial. I made this over a weekend and actually enjoyed sewing it. Often of late if I am sewing to a deadline I haven’t enjoyed the process of sewing, more rushing to get the item done. This bag was actually really pleasant to make.

Admittedly I did buy the fabric for this bag. I was too busy to look through my stash for suitable fabric so I went to my local material shop and brought it.  To be honest of late I have gotten out of the habit of fully planning my sewing projects ahead of time and checking for suitable fabrics and notions in my stash before heading to the shops. I did make my gift list for this year but I haven’t stuck to it at all. I am behind on other gifts for this year as I just haven’t felt like sewing or the pattern I picked I wasn’t instantly gelling with therefore I never made it and gift deadline after gift deadline snow balled and suddenly I’m racing to get things done. This gift was done on time but I have 3 gifts that I haven’t done yet and birthdays have passed. I will get on track again, time to kick myself up the butt and play in my stash to find gifts I actually feel like making.

In terms of this pattern I am going to make it again. I have plans to make as Christmas gifts but it might also get made for a few birthday gifts this year too.


Kids Messenger Bag

I have always wanted to make a simple messenger bag. I had seen this tutorial by Zaaberry for a kid’s size bag floating around Pinterest for some time and decided to finally give it ago.

It is a great to tutorial to follow with the instructions easy to read. This is a very basic bag with no closure or pockets or anything inside but you could easily make this more complex and add details to this if you wanted to. I kept it basic and followed the pattern. For the outside fabric I used some spotted quilting cotton I picked up last year because it was on sale and I liked it, I knew I would find the perfect project for it.

The fabric for the flap and the lining is a cotton I picked up a few years ago just because it was pink and had chocolates and pastries on it. The print on it is very bright and visible on both sides of the fabric which is how I made a minor mistake. I have placed one lining fabric the wrong side up. Some fabrics you can clearly see which is the right and wrong side of the fabric, on this fabric it is a little bit trickier. This fabric was only faintly lighter one side and if you weren’t paying attention fully like I must not have been when I grabbed it to pin it and sew it you put it the wrong way. I only discovered it after I finished the bag and I left it. It is not extremely obvious and aside from that the rest of the bag is fine, it is on the inside and still looks pink and brown.

You learn some from every project. On this bag I learnt how to make attach a simple bag flap and also that you need to pay attention to each individual fabric to see how it needs to be treated – it is a directional print, is the right side and wrong side visible. These things may sound basic but sometimes you forget them like I clearly did.



Blue Rose Bag


Using some of the leftover blue roses fabric I decided to make a bag to match my skirt. There are so many bag patterns out there and I have a few in my stash but I’m a creature of habit and decided to make a pattern I knew but put a spin on it.  I used the box corner version of the Essential Wristlet pattern by DUMD. I made a bunch of these as Christmas gifts last year and they are pretty quick to make up.


The pattern is a PDF so it very simple to enlarge. I played around with the printer settings a couple of times and was most happiest when I printed it at 150% which was my original plan when I thought of doing this. Your basically making it 50% bigger than the standard pattern piece. I used a 12″ zipper. Added two D ring tabs instead of one, I cut them 4″ x 4″ I made a cross body strap which was approximately 4″ x 60″ I used the technique I learnt in making the Activity Go Case to finish the raw ends of the strap neatly.

The lining in black cotton. This will hold all the basics I need for a night out – Wallet, keys, phone. It is a simple bag I can throw across my shoulder and I know I have everything I need.


Denim Tote Bag

Whilst I had a jeans needle in my sewing machine from making the denim skirt I decided to make a tote bag from stretch denim I had cut out a few months ago. I needed a bag to replace my favourite tote bag which was beyond repair after nearly 10 years of use.

Denim Tote

The finished measurements are 16″W x 15″H Construction wise this bag is very simple as it is just rectangle piece of fabric folded in half. On the ends I did a double fold to hem the raw edges. Once folded in half I did the side seams on the overlocker (serger) The handles are a tube of fabric that I top stitched down the length both sides. They are attached to the outside of the bag. I did a lot of stitching to ensure they were anchored securely to the bag sewing in first a square shape than diagonally across both sides. I didn’t want anything fancy with this bag I just wanted a simple bag I could carry over my shoulder, was light enough to roll up to stick in my handbag or pocket but durable enough that I could stuff it with what ever I need. Hopefully this one will last me the next 10 years.

Scrappy Shoulder Bags

Retail Therapy

When I made the Bella Bugs I cut the pieces from a fabric panel. Each panel had a picture of the finished toy plus some other decorative detail which was too good to just toss in the bin so I decided to use them up.

Scrappy Shoulder Bags

Scrappy shoulder bags were the idea I came up with. Each bag has the picture of Bella Bug on it. I folded over a seam around each piece and pinned it in place on the front of each bag which was a piece of cotton drill. I then hand appliqued around each square to secure it. So it wouldn’t just look like a scrap bit of fabric stuck on the front I decided to go machine applique around each one. I gave myself the challenge (I do love a challenge) my MC11000 has something 200+ stitches I decided I would use a different stitch on each side of the panel piece. I couldn’t use the same stitch twice even if it looked really pretty. I only had to find 16 different stitches. That’s not as easy as it sounds. I had to balance out the stitches on each piece so that they were different looking. I didn’t want one to have all wavy stitches or have really dense stitches all the way around. It was a lot of fun having a play and a think. Some stitches look better than others but none look terrible.

Scrappy Shoulder Bag Straps

Each panel piece had 2 rows of butterflys on it. They were screaming to be bag straps. I stitched them right sides together before turning them out and top stitching along each side. The outside of the strap is one long piece, the inside is 2 smaller pieces joined together. I didn’t put any interfacing in them as they are only kids bags. They hold their shape very well.

Scrappy Shoulder Bag Inside

For the inside I used some poly cotton that I had in my stash. I don’t usually use poly cotton but the colour of this worked well with the bags as I was going for purple tones. Also it was a way of using this fabric that otherwise would still be sitting in my stash. After I assembled the bag I top stitched around the edge with the same colour thread I did the applique in. Again this to me made the applique on the front tie in with the rest of the bag so not to make it look out of place.

These turned out really well. Obviously I’ll match it up so the toys and the bag go to the same owner. These scraps were too pretty to let go to waste so I wanted to put them to good use. I particularly love the straps. Everything from these came from my scrap or fabric stash. They are a real Sew My Stash project.


Selfish Sewing – A Bag For Me

Hot off my sewing machine this morning I finished a 2 Zip Hipster for me.

2 ZH Mine Front

This is the second time I’ve made this bag after making one for a friend back in April. You would think second time around it would be easier but unfortunately no. I actually had a bit of trouble with this bag. From the start I will say it was me and not the pattern, the pattern is awesome it was just the person reading it. I probably rushed this more than I did last time. My stitching isn’t the neatest. I had to redo a couple of seams. I didn’t fold back items I should have resulting in having to reverse sew with my trusty unpicker. I broke 2 needles on this bag. Once I forgot to remove my zipper foot before I began to top stitch, I had my needle position moved over so wham needle snapped. Lesson learnt always pay attention. Also last time I think I must have rotary cut the pieces as they are all basic rectangles but this time I cut them by hand which meant they were a bit out of alignment.

2 ZH Mine Strap

This time I think I used a thicker pellon than last time. This made it harder to stitch at times particularly in the bag strap. I broke my second needle when I tried to secure the strap at the end. I didn’t want to risk another needle so I hand stitched with rows of back stitch.

2 ZH Mine Lining

When I brought the fabric for this bag I tried to look stylish and professional (something very different for me) and used the same print fabric for the outside and the inside. The pattern is almost like a leaf or grass print. The outside with black background with blue print, the inside in light blue background with a slightly darker blue print.

I’m sure I’ll make this bag again. I’ll have to look at different pellon next time. I might sticker to thinner pellon as its easier to sew. You don’t really need a thick pellon in this bag or the strap. This is a great pattern with easy to follow instructions. I worked on this bag over a couple of days. I was just having one of those projects where you face hiccup after hiccup but in the end it all gets done.