Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Sew Together Bag...and the not so fiddly zipper tabs.

Sunday Sewalong at the GWSMQG are a highlight of each month...yeah I don't get out a lot!
Last weekend was the June Sunday, and a plan was hatched to have a group sew along - and what better to sew together than the Sew Together Bag. This is a downloadable pattern from Sew Demented on Craftsy

I really shouldn't have started yet another project,
but the fact,
* it is FINISHED,
* it was great to have assistance from someone who'd already made it,
* I cut into my Charley Harper fabric,
* it doesn't take up a lot of fabric,
* you can use scraps to make the outer shell, and
* you'll lose your fear of zips,
I figured I'd was ahead before I'd even started!

So two of the things that I learnt from following in someone else's footsteps are:
a)  that the zipper tabs are a fiddly as all get out, and
b) an 18" zipper is a tight fit if you're trying to avoid the metal bit, luckly I did have a 20" zipper (thanks @iamacraftykat).

The Quilt Barn has a sewalong on the blog that is worth checking out for great detail on the construction.

One problem I found with the pattern is the minimal photos and diagrams. The explanation of the zipper tabs seems a bit unclear and there are no photos or diagrams of this particular step. The way it is done in the Quilt Barn Sew Along, looks really awkward (to me, anyway)...much better to sew the sides first rather than all that pinning and trying to get folded seam allowances to stay put.
The way I sewed them is perhaps what the pattern instructs you to do, but with the lack of diagrams, it's hard to tell. The ones I sewed just slip onto the end of the zipper...

Anyway here goes with my version:

- fold your fabric in half and finger press the fold.
- open out and with wrong side facing up, turn up the short raw edge towards the fold and iron or finger press - I turned up mine about 1 1/4", on either side of the fold.

- the fold in half again with right sides together, and pin to hold in place.

- the width of the zipper and binding is 1 1/2" , so by sewing a scant 1/4" seam along each side of the zipper tab you will still have a wide enough opening for the zip to slide in to...

- sew 1/4" seam along each raw edge side LEAVE THE OPENING WITH THE FOLDED UP ENDS OPEN!
- turn right side out through the opening...and you have a tiny wee pouch with neatly folded in ends.

- there's no need to trim seam allowances (because you didn't go around a corner)...just gently poke out with a skewer, so the sides are neat and square.

- it's really easy to poke the zipper inside the wee pouch and push it down to the end...just scrunch it together a bit and shove, then smooth out! I just made sure there was no metal where I want to top stitch this in place.
- topstitch 1/8" in around all four sides.
The last step is to sew the bound ends to the middle of each side for your handle.

Look at all that Charley Harper lovliness! Such happy, happy colours! And cute birds! And gold and blue leaves! And a little red pincushion!

thanks for taking a peek over the fence...


  1. That looks amazing! Thank you for sharing how you got around the unclear instructions :)

  2. Just made my first sew together bag. I will definitely be making more. Very fun to make and lots of ways to get creative.

  3. Your bag is so cute! I am finishing my second sew together bag and have had trouble with the zipper tabs both times (it is the one area where I couldn't understand the pattern directions or the Quilt Barn sew-along). I was thrilled to find your post with great instructions...thanks so much!

  4. Thank you so much! I thought I was the only one who thought the instruction were not very clear! Your photos and instructions are VERY clear and I finished my bag!

  5. Thank you for taking the time to post these very clear instructions on the tab. I just could not understand until I saw this!


Nice of you to take a peek over the fence. It's lovely to meet you. Do come in, have a cuppa and a chat. I will talk back...


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