Mini Sew-Together Bag

Mini Sew Together Bag_1Woohoo!!  It’s a Mini Sew Together Bag! A Mini Sew Together Bag has two pockets and is smaller than its big sister.

Mini Sew Together Bag_2 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. Mini Sew Together Bag_3

(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.* Worksheet Visual Mini STBag Before I give you a PDF of the worksheet, please promise to not print out bunches for your neighborhood sewing group, but instead send them over here to print it off this blog.  Likewise, feel free to link over here for others to print off the worksheet/pattern, but don’t embed my worksheet in your blog.  Please also consider becoming a follower of this blog, as I often have tutorials and free patterns.  Many thanks.  Here’s the downloadable PDF worksheet: Sew Together Bag Worksheet_updated Mini Sew Together Bag_4 open

(What’s that shiny thing in the mini on the middle left?  Keep reading!)

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. SewDemented’s pattern and that tutorial are made for each other. Mini Sew Together Bag_4b end pattern 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 it aligns with the piece underneath, it should work together.

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. Mini Sew Together Bag_4d Marking 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. Mini Sew Together Bag_4e zipper Pocket Zippers:  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.  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. Mini Sew Together Bag_4cZippers are in both pockets (yes, I am showing about three different Minis, with three different fabric sets). Mini Sew Together Bag_4e1 Attach the side pieces, lining up the pockets with the ironed-in crease on the side pattern.  Refer to the tutorial for more information. Mini Sew Together Bag_4f zipper

(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. Mini Sew Together Bag_4g zipper

(Stop end of zipper)

Mini Sew Together Bag_4h zipper end

I sew the zig-zag stop, then attach the side binding, THEN cut off the zipper.

Mini Sew Together Bag_tab end

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.

Mini Sew Together Bag_5 That shiny thing?  For those of us teachers who use white board markers, you know what a mess the eraser makes in your tote bags. (QUESTION: Why do we community college proffies carry our own white board markers?) Mini Sew Together Bag_5a 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.  (ANSWER:  Community colleges are broke out here.  They give each of us our own personal set of markers at the beginning of the term, but we buy our own erasers.  If you leave yours in the classroom, you can kiss it goodbye, so we carry them back and forth to class.) Mini Sew Together Bag_5b stuffed 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, um, smaller places! Mini Sew Together Bag_8 Mini Sew Together Bag_8aI 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 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!


Circles Block #6 duo 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!

49 thoughts on “Mini Sew-Together Bag

  1. SEWING LADY!!!! You have been so busy….your bags are beautiful. Christmas must be around the corner. I love the smaller bag. Thanks for all the hints and inspiration.

  2. I can’t wait! I didn’t get any cut out tonight, but I did get most of my Christmas decorating finished…I was just going to do the tree, but then I kept going and it seemed silly to stop. Mini Sew Together bags soon, though!

  3. Lovely bags, I love lots of pockets and this is the ideal thing for keeping everything organized, whether for classes or sewing stuff. I would love to make these, I will put them on my long to-do list. Thanks for sharing,

  4. For this kind of thing, a tool that comes in very handy is a proportional scale. It’s simple — just two cardboard circles edged with numbers and joined by a rivet. You set a baseline reduction or increase. E.g., if you want to go from 10″ wide to 8″ wide you line up the 10 on the outer wheel with the 8 on the smaller wheel. Then you just find your original measurements on the outer wheel and read the opposite number on the inner wheel. If you are enlarging, you go the other way. A great tool for this kind of thing, and very handy in all sorts of quiltmaking. Changing the size of blocks, quilts, etc. Can find these in an art supply store (very inexpensive) and I suspect some of the general arts and craft stores. Can’t remember where I got mine — it was 20 or 30 years ago!

    Glad you are taking a break in at least one area over the holidays.


    • P.S. I need to get my Sew Together Bag pattern yet — been meaning to ever since we had our discussion last summer. Also, Wawak’s Sewing Supplies is a great source for all kinds of zippers in all kinds of sizes. Great prices.

      • Wawak’s also has metal (and plastic, I think) zipper stops and tops and pulls for that more professional look.

  5. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my mini bag and am so honored to be a recipient. It’s the perfect size for so many things–how will I choose how to use it? You are not just a great quilter; you are a genius seamstress as well.

  6. I have made 18 Sewtogether bags and the only change I’ve made is making it narrower (due to a cutting error or because I bought zippers the wrong size)…..I am so excited to have this two pocket version! Thank you!

  7. Aren’t you a clever thing? This is a great idea! A smaller one will certainly more useful! It is going on my Summer Stay-cation To-Do List! Thank you again, for sharing your expertise Elizabeth!

  8. These are so so cute. It’s really funny to think of you carrying around your own eraser. I find it hard to motivate to make “other” things, although I just finished my first ever pincushion for our guild Christmas party swap.

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  10. Thanks for the mini directions! I just bought the pattern and am dying to make my first one, now I need to make a mini me too 🙂

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  12. Love your minis! I have not yet made my Sew Together Bag but when I do, I’ll be able to make my mini as well. Thanks for figuring this out and sharing with us!


  13. Hi, I’m Inez from Holland and a week ago I purchased the pattern of the sew together bag at SewDemented. I made 2 big bags. I saw your little ones and liked them very much. I filled in the worksheet and changed the measurements, but now I have a question. I really don’t understand what to do with the sidepanels. Can you please explane that to me another way. It’s maybe because of my English I don’t understand the way you explaned on this blog.

    • I’m a native English speaker and I don’t get it either… It measures 9.5″ from the lower (widest) part of the trapezoid to the other side when I match up the dotted lines. What am I doing wrong? I’ve cut everything out except this piece. Do you mean that the end of one template should match up to the dotted line of the other template? Because that equals approximately 12″….. Then, do I not cut the fabric from the original template? Use the trapezoidy thing to cut it?

      • Ellevala, I have tried to write to you but you left me an incorrect email address.

        Please leave me a comment with the correct email and I’ll explain how to work through your confusion.


        On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:45 PM, OccasionalPiece–Quilt! wrote:


  14. So now I’ve read it a lot of times. I think I know how to do it now. I have to shrink the pattern between the dotted lines, so the total from tip to tip will be 12″. Is that what you mean? But what about the hight? Will that be the same as at the pattern from SewDemented? Is there anybody who can give me the answer?

  15. Thank you for your mini bag addition to the regular Sew Together bag. I love the Sew Together bag and know I’ll love the mini as well. I like to sew gifts year round.

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  18. I’m so excited to make this mini bag! My 13 year old daughters think it will be perfect for carrying unmentionables in their backpacks! I’m also stuck in the side panel piece and how I’m supposed to modify it. The instructions don’t make sense to me. Can you help, please??

  19. i have found that that a cheap pack of washcloths are more economical and work better than white board erasers. Thanks for the bag pattern.

  20. Hi! I was excited to see your pattern. Count me among the confused about the side panels. I guess I can slide the two copies so that it’s 12″ from tip to tip but is the height the same as the original bag? Only the width decreases?

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  26. Just found your Tutorial for the Mini Sew Together Bag. I am Sewing a regular at the Moment and have been trying to work out how to make a smaler Version. This is perfekt!! Thankyou so much!! I want to make one for my mum to Keep her Jewlry in when she is on her Travels. Can not wait to make this!!

  27. Thank you for sharing your mini tutorial. I have a good use for one a bit smaller than the original. Can you say what the dimensions are of the mini? I’ve tried to sort it out from the write up but I’m not clear why is accurate.

    Thanks to anyone who can answer this question.


  28. thanks so much for the mini measurement chart – I’m just finishing up a standard for my mum then I’ll be making a mini or two for me !! oh and I made up the side panels from your explanation – perfect !!! thanks again 🙂

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  32. Thank you for sharing your tips on how to make a smaller version. I have just finished my first full sized STB and can’t wait to make another one.

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