Friday, October 27, 2017

Pinterest Project - Project Bags!

Since I joined Flosstube, I noticed how popular project bags are. Stitchers are either making them or buying them. One stitcher said that she uses dollar store zipper bags for most of her projects, but wants a few pretty ones "just because". I get that.

I've made small zip bags in the past, more of a size for accessories.
These were fun to make, and they turned out really well. One thing that bothered to perfectionist seamstress in me were the unfinished edges inside. I knew that there was a neater alternative out there somewhere.

So I set out to find a tutorial for a pretty, lined project bag that was fairly easy to make. First I found The Twisted Stitcher's tutorial for a project envelope. I like the way this one looks. Instead of the zipper, this one closes with a flap. I must have been in a pink mode when I went to Joann's for the fabric for this.
This was so easy to make thanks to Vonna's instructions. She doesn't leave anything out, showing the viewer all of the steps used in making this envelope. I really like using the fusible fleece which gives the envelope body.
And on the inside, more pink. Ha ha ha. But look at how nicely everything is finished. No raw edges or fraying threads. I even made the pattern for this out of poster board so that I can make more of these. And I did make another one!
I absolutely will be making more of these. They are very easy to make and you don't have to be an expert seamstress to put these together!

Let's move on to zip bags. "Whitney Sews" is a Youtube channel that has a lot of fun and useful sewing ideas. Whitney's video tutorial for an "Easiest Lined Zipper Bag" is quick, but clear. She solves the problem of unfinished raw edges inside the bag by using French seams on the side seams. This is actually a great idea. My mistake when making this bag was using super-heavy interfacing. The tutorial instructions don't say anything about using interfacing, but I do like the bag to hold its shape. However, I should have used a lightweight interfacing to avoid bulk in the seams.
And wow, did that heavy interfacing create a LOT of bulk in the seams. I also cut the fabric to a weird size resulting in an odd-shaped bag. But that's all right. I can use this one for smaller projects. No problem.
Yes, I would definitely use this technique again, but of course with lighter interfacing. So if you want to sew an easy, uncomplicated bag, check out Whitney's video.

OK, now for something slightly more complicated. Averyclaire Needlearts has an online tutorial for a zippered project bag which looked promising. Then a fellow Flosstuber, Lisa, AKA Kindred Stitcher, went one step further and showed us how to make this particular bag in a video! You can find her video HERE. I'll admit that I had some problems with this project despite the clear instructions and Lisa's step-by-step video. First of all, I had trouble sewing the zipper in because it wasn't visible during the sewing process. That resulted in my sewing line getting too close to the zipper teeth in some places. Also, when I made my top stitch line by the zipper, I didn't catch the lining material. Both of these errors caused the zipper to get stuck because both the main fabric and the lining fabric kept catching in the zipper. Ugh. Definitely user error.
Cute, but yes, stuck in the closed position.
My sewing machine also balked at sewing through so many layers of fabric and interfacing at the top (the side seam above the zipper). It pretty much said, "uh-uh, not doing that". And my machine isn't particularly wimpy. I finally got a seam sewed up there, but it wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't pretty. So I had to put my problem solving skills into play and figure out a fix to this mess. Right now I'm in the process of removing all of the top stitching by the zipper and removing some of the stitching where the zipper is sewed in to close to the teeth. My plan is to restitch it and see what happens. I'll let you know in a future post.

Would I use these instructions again? I don't know. I definitely like the detail of this bag in that NO raw edges show on the inside! None. Now that I'm aware of the sewing-too-close-to-the-zipper-teeth problem, I can be more careful with that. But I don't know how I can get my sewing machine to neatly go through all of those layers.

And that, my friendly readers, is my project bag review. I have to admit that I did have fun making these and learned by making some goofy mistakes. How about you? Do you feel like getting crafty and making your very own project bag? I've provided several different options for you, all of them good. Which one do you think you'll make? Let me know if you do!


  1. Cathy I think you did a great job on making all of these project bags. I have not tried one yet but you have now talked me into trying one out. Have a great weekend. RJ@stitchingfriendsforever

  2. Cathy, I'm so impressed that you made bags using 3 different techniques!! They all look so well done. I just watched a floss tube of Twisted Stitcher last night and I love how she does it in real time and leaves nothing out, so I'll give hers a try for my first effort. I'm very impressed with your efforts and what a great review! Mary@stitchingfriendsforever

  3. The bags are so pretty.
    Thanks for the info.

  4. Great reviews! I love sewing things that are useful and I don’t like unfinished insides! It’s gotta be washable!
    Maybe get yourself a vintage Singer. My modern Juki balks at some seams but my 1950’s 404 will sew through without hesitation!

  5. What pretty bags you created! Thanks for passing along the information.

  6. Your bags are gorgeous! I wish I knew how to sew!

  7. Wow, they look great! I've thought about trying to make one, just haven't done it yet.

  8. Love your project bags! I haven’t made one, but I do want to. Thank You for all the information!