Hi there, my name is T. I am primarily a circus performer, with a degree in costume designer/ though I can now add quilter and bag maker. I just separated my sewing website from my circus website, so please bookmarkFlyingStitchLabs.com as it will be slowly filling up with things soon. Also, a HUGE thank you to Sara Lawson for inviting me to be part of Purse Palooza 2014.
Today, I’m going to be reviewing the “Perfect Zip Bags” by Elizabeth Hartman. In this pattern, you technically get three “styles” of bags, all three coming in a big size and little size; Style A: a rounded bottom clutchy darty puse. Style B: a flat rectangular zippered pouch, and Style C: a deeper version of the rectangular zippered pouch with boxed bottom corners so it can stand up. For this review, I’m going to focus on style A (the rounded darted bottom clutchy looking one) rather than the square shaped ones, because this has the MOST attributes found in the patterns.
First of all, these bags, are my FAVORITE zippered pouch patterns ever. The termination of the zipper is the cleanest I’ve found, and I’m REALLY picky about my zipper terminations. I don’t like all the zippered pouches where the zipper just sort of gets sucked into the vortex of the side seam.
Any of the bags call for a slightly sturdier exterior fabric, a lining fabric (for the visible inside of the bag), an interlining fabric to give shape and structure to the exterior fabric, and 5/8” fusible hem tape. Optionally, lightweight fusible interfacing can be added to fabrics or patchworked sections to give it more structure.
Additionally, you need a zipper (7”+ for the small sizes, and 9”+ for the large sizes). D rings or split rings, and swivel clasps are needed to make straps if you are adding them. I also added rivets to mine, because Sara Lawson had me pattern test the Rockstar Bag last month, and she totally turned me on to rivets.
One of the things not noted here are what feet are needed for your sewing machine. This is one of the issues I do have with the pattern. Elizabeth uses a 1/8” edgestitch foot (or sometimes called a “very narrow straight stitch foot”) which is a very obscure foot that does not fit most machines. As a substitute for that foot, she says you can use a zipper foot. However, having made this bag many times now, depending on the zipper foot, the techniques needed for these bags might not be very helpful to do with a zipper foot. So instead of the zipper-1/8th-narrow foot, I use my #5 Blindstitch foot (or stitch in the ditch foot or edgestitch foot). It does all my top stitching beautifully by moving the needle left and right, and I can ride the “knife” right between the zipper and the exterior panel perfectly. Additionally, I use my walking foot for the final seams to put the outside and inside fabrics together. It just holds everything together, and the edge of the foot IS a 1/2” seam guide, so it’s perfect.
Having made these bags over and over, I have substituted some of the methods Elizabeth calls for. Some are for time saving, and some are for ease of sewing.
Preparing the Zipper: I don’t use the hem tape at all with my fabric tabs over the ends of my zipper. I find that my fingers can hold it tight enough against the zipper that I can sew it in place without worrying.
Making the Style A Bag: Because I use a heavier canvas/denim exterior fabric for the base of the exterior fabric, I forgo interlining the outside. Since that gets rid of the easy to see 1/2” seam fold on the top edges, I just do a long basting stitch with a 1/2” seam allowance, and fold on that stitch at the ironing table to crisply fold the edge over.
When it comes time to putting the zipper on the exterior and lining pieces. I end up using my quilting ¼ foot to pre-sew the lining to the zipper, so that when I’m butting the exterior up against the zipper, I don’t have to wonder whether the lining is still in place.
My only other comment is to make sure the side seams brush RIGHT up to (but not sewing over) the zipper tabs. If there’s too much of a gap, you’ll see a whole bunch of lining after the ends of the zipper even when the bag is shut. It can be hard to keep your machine on track with the bulk of the zipper while sewing the final bag seams, but keep an eye on that zipper tab and aim right by it. In my first example (the blue one), you can see that I had a little more of a gap than I want, but in my second example (the purple), I got the edges much tighter by just veering in towards the zipper a little more. I think this inconsistent issue is due to the curvature of the bag as it approaches the zipper which makes following the seam allowance sometimes not as helpful as following the zipper tab edge.
As I said, I love this pattern, and it’s my GO TO for any quick zipper bag present for anyone. The blue one has yet to be claimed, but the Purple and Silver one is a surprise for my friend Ellie who dropped everything and reached for the stars, living her dream as a professional chef, her business Bijou: Jewels from the Oven uses the color combination of purple and silver. That one is for her.
Thanks again Sara for having me, and thanks readers for reading. I hope you sew some Perfect Zip Bags. Don’t forget to bookmark www.FlyingStitchLabs.com to see more of my work soon!