While I love my regular-sized bag, I really wanted one that was just a bit smaller. After I hatched this idea, I wrote to Michelle, of SewDemented, and received permission to write about this on my blog, as I thought others might like to make a Mini Sew Together Bag.
(Two Regular Sew Together Bags and Four Mini Sew Together Bags)
But how to do this so I don’t “steal” anything from her stellar pattern? I made up a worksheet that will help you convert the measurements of the big version to the small version. Yes, you’ll have to use your calculator for about 2 minutes, but then you’ll be able to charge ahead. And, yes, to make a Mini you have to have the original Sew Together Bag pattern, found *here.* To obtain the worksheet for the mini, head to Craftsy, but then come back here for the tutorial parts.
I was able to crank out four Minis in about a day and half; I think it went so quickly because I had already made a couple of the bigger bags. I still referred to The Quilt Barn’s Tutorial when I became stuck. To begin, make two copies of the pattern for the end piece, then flip one over, overlapping the pattern and making sure that the cut edge matches up with the dotted line, as shown. Align the top and the bottom edges; tape, then cut out. The piece, from lower tip to lower tip should measure 12,” and is the same height as the original Sew-Together Bag piece. Apparently there is some confusion over this step, but if you use the image above as a guideline, sliding the top piece down so that the lower edge is even and aligns with the piece underneath, it should work.
If you glance at the next picture, you can see the shape of the new side piece: it is a trapezoid, and is merely narrower from side-to-side, because you are eliminating one pocket and that excess has to be taken out somewhere. Again, the height of this piece is the same as the original. It is only the width dimensions from lower tip to lower tip that are smaller.
I ended up tracing this new smaller pattern onto a manila envelope, making sure I transferred the dotted line markings. After you sew together the side piece and its lining, as per the pattern/tutorial, lay it back onto your pattern and put pins at the dotted lines mark, as shown. Go the ironing board and iron in a crease on those lines. Zippers for the Pockets: Buy the same size zipper you normally would, but shorten it after installation by doing a thick zig-zag stitch at the end, as shown above in white thread. Cut off zipper evenly with the edge of the pocket pieces. If you have the pattern/tutorial, this step should be apparent. Again, these photos are not meant to replace the pattern/tutorial, but simply to show you places where I deviated from the pattern slightly to accommodate the smaller Mini. Zippers are in both pockets (yes, I am showing about three different Minis, with three different fabric sets). Attach the side pieces, lining up the pockets with the ironed-in crease on the side pattern. Refer to the tutorial for more information.
(Tab end of zipper)
The long zipper’s placement is 4″ hanging over each side of the Mini Sew Together Bag. If you have a light colored zipper, you can mark the zipper with pencil at the stop end (below) and then do that thick zig-zag to secure the end. You can use a 16″ zipper, but I just cut down my 18″ zipper.
(Stop end of zipper)
I sew the zig-zag stop, then attach the side binding, THEN cut off the zipper.
For the tab ends, I didn’t necessarily slide them all the way to the end of the zipper before I sewed them on (and by the way, refer to the pattern for an easier way to make them, rather than the tutorial). Instead I played with the tab ends a bit, sliding them up and down the zipper, seeing how big of a “handle” I wanted. Most of the time I placed the zipper about halfway into the tab end.
And that shiny thing in front? For those of us teachers who use white board markers, you know what a mess the eraser makes in your tote bags. The Community College administrators where I teach give us the white board markers free at the beginning of the school year, but we buy our own erasers. If you leave yours in the classroom, you can kiss it goodbye, so we carry the erasers (and markers) back and forth to class.To keep my sew together bag clean, I made a clear vinyl pouch, sewing a self-binding fabric strip around the top to hold my eraser. The dimensions were 7″ by 6 1/2″ of clear vinyl; sew two folded strips along the 7″ sides, then with WST, sew the side seams. Yes, I did a tiny “boxing in” of the bottom corner to accommodate the eraser. Mini Sew Together, fully loaded for school. But this would also be great stacked with hexies, or other smaller hand-sewing projects. Because the Mini is a smaller size, it will fit into…smaller places! I also made a matching tote bag to go with this for a gift, as California will be phasing out our plastic grocery bags. I used my Grocery Bag Tutorial, found *here.* The usual request applies: don’t embed the pattern on your blog, refer your friends back to OPQuilt.com to download their own. And if you Pin anything from this post, please use the correct post address. Many thanks! These little Minis are fun to make and fun to use, and sew up quickly for a cute and fun Christmas gift!
In case you are looking for the Circle EPP Quilt-A-Long, because I gave you two renditions of the block in November, we are taking a vacation in December. Merry Christmas all you EPP-ers and we’ll see you in January.
I get my zippers from ZipperStop in NYC. There are other places to locate good quality, inexpensive zippers mentioned on other quilty blogs and in the comments (so check them out), but I can highly recommend Zipperstop, having placed several orders from them. The zippers arrive quickly, and in the color range I like and I like the prices!