I had a marvelous time at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Retreat last weekend. I met so many people, and had a great time seeing all of the wonderful quilts and other sewing projects people are working on. I saw several finished Sew Together bags too, and consequently got a little help while making mine. The pattern is pretty straightforward, you can pretty much use fat quarters and/or scraps to make the outside. If you've already made a zipper pouch or small carry-all or makeup bag before, this is a great pattern to make for a very useful bag to hold anything from basic sewing supplies, circular knitting needles, or makeup brushes. However, putting together the "innards" of the bag with 3 separate zipper pockets, can be a little tricky.
My only critique of the pattern would be that it could use 1-2 more pictures of the zipper/inner pocket assembly. If you aren't at all familiar with bag construction, or have trouble visualizing how a pattern should come together when sewing without some visual aide, it can be difficult to do it with this particular pattern. I made the mistake of starting this part at midnight, and was lucky to have several more experienced (and alert!) sewers on hand at the retreat to help me make sense of what I was reading. I didn't want to have to sew in 3 zippers more than one time each! The end result is well worth it though, I LOVE this bag, and am already doing a little re-measuring to make a slightly larger one to make using laminated cotton, for when I travel or as a makeup bag.
The side panels were also a little tricky to put on, but this wasn't due to the pattern instructions. Since I quilted the outer panel, using the QAYG method (quilt-as-you-go), the edges became rather thick - that's 5 layers of fabric to sew through in a very small space. Then at the end, when it comes time to add the binding around the whole bag, it got even tighter. I ended up having to skip over the thickest section, and tacking it down by hand to make sure it was secure. I also sewed the side handles on by hand, which others at the retreat who'd made the bag, said they had to do as well.
All-in-all this is a great bag to make, especially if you want some "extra" practice putting in sippers (there are 4), or zippers may not be your favorite thing to sew, but you like having them in your finished bags! This pattern definitely falls under the "the first one is tough to make, but all the rest will be a piece of cake" category for me. There are so many of these bags popping up on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and other blog posts, just Google the pattern name and you'll see a lot in hundreds of fabric combinations. It's a great pattern, and so useful beyond just holding sewing supplies. I highly recommend putting it on your "to make" list.
I'll be recording a podcast episode this week, and will talk more about the retreat, and Lancaster PA where it was held. Suffice it to say, I had a ball, and already (mentally) signed up for next year! (sign-ups for a retreat next year are not open yet. I think the amazing organizers, Jessica Levitt, Andrew J, and Katie are still recovering)