Wednesday, July 20, 2016


The Bionic Gear Bag's Bang

As a quilter, a crafter, an artist wannabe- 
I am always game to try new things. 
To push myself- "to infinity & beyond!"
... yeah, yeah- you know the rest!

Have you created a Bionic Gear Bag yet?  

Back in December, a couple of ladies at The 
Tyler Modern Quilt Guild's Christmas parties gift exchange nearly came to blows over who 
would get to go 🏡 home with this one! 
And- It was not me :(

Some one said... let's make our own! 
And thus was born the absurd idea that all of us... 
could hang out for a day and sew these babies together over coffee & lunch.

All of us purchased our patterns on Craftsy and had them fully cut out and prepped before the workshop. 
Just looking at all the work that involved was enough to make me rethink further participation!

And of course, being me... 
it HAD TO involve SELVAGES! 
So, I started by piecing some of my most colorful & unique favorites into what would be the outside wrap fabric: from here on out to be entitled "A".

"A"... Gotta love my Selvages!

 I collected fabrics from my stash, my local quilt shop... whatever made me smile & mixed and matched zippers and created a rainbow of utter chaos!!! 
Pre-workshop prep alone left me repeating to myself "why? why am I putting myself through this? Just buy a bag at Michaels!..."

Look at all these pre-cuts!!!

It is critical to the pattern construction to not only properly cut & interface all pieces... but to label them directionally...

With Guidance,  Encouragement, & a patience for repetition of a saint from our 'Bag Specialist'  Rhonda Chapman, we got started early Saturday. 
My new machine at the ready to learn what the hell one does with a zipper foot & if I could use it correctly... 

It would not really be enough to describe myself as feeling intimidated. Honestly- my commitment to creating this damn bag
freaked the shit out of me & I could not believe I let these ladies talk me in to it!!! 

The first step was lining up all these pieces with all those zippers. Lot's of zippers! 
This bag has 5 zippers total and I chose 5 different colors for my first ever bag &/or zipper project.

B sewed to zipper 1 & G1

C sewn to zipper 1 & G2
And C sewn to zipper 2 & H1

As you add fabrics, you go through the alphabet:
creating zippered pockets on a lengthening chain that somehow- someway will eventually maybe somehow merge into a bag???

D sewn to Zipper 2 & H2... 
as well as D sewn to Zipper 3 & H3

Pieces E sewn to zipper 4 & H5... 
and F sewn to Zipper 4 & H6

And Finally... after several battles with my seam ripper... my zippered train of pockets was completed!!! I hope I will remember from here on how to put in a zipper... (perhaps not)... but I can proudly say, after repeatedly sewing things in backwards & resewing again & again- I think I finally got it down! (maybe?)

The BGB Train ready for the cutting board!

I'm not going to lie. I watched videos on line before this workshop just to learn how to cut this fabric pattern! And later someone removed them 
from YouTube- so I am especially glad I did when I did! I had to read most of the directions over and over and over before I kinda sorta (but not really) figured it out. 
The pattern is brilliant... but way too wordy for me 
to follow easily and without the camaraderie of the Tyler Modern Quilt Guild's workshop- I definitely would not have gotten this far. 

Alas... the worst was yet to come. 
Everything needs to be squared off before you continue. After nearly cutting off my finger a few years back, the ladies in my league are always eager, to lend a hand whenever I need multiple layers cut- so long as I stand back & stay safely out of their way! 

 squaring off & cutting away zipper ends

Thank goodness for a lunch break... not sure I could have taken much more seam ripper bonding time! HA!
"Seams" like I made the same piecing errors again and again...

Next up was the step where you put the sides on...
I ripped it out three times!  
"Within these seams- courtesy of my seam ripper lies a sample of my DNA...  it would not be my only blood shed!"

Messy... but eventually... sides "I" were joined

This bag is a massive tug of war!  
Twisting, turning, pulling and pushing!  The pockets are WAYyyyyyy to tight & I was scared for my machine!!!  I was scared for my fingers. I was scared for the safety of those around me in case I chucked all of it through the air! 
And that is as far as we got as a group.
It was time to let the folks at the shop 
go 🏡 home and fly solo.

Exhausted... and with a pinched nerve in my neck, I did not look at the bag again for a few days...

With all of the pieces & sides together- the final steps are binding, the long zipper, and the tabs...  
It was another long and slow process. 
Requiring a lot of clips... and again, my seam ripper!
***Note to self... start checking things are facing the right way before finishing the row!!!

I started by sewing A to the outside with a scant seam just to keep things together. I changed my binding color at the last minute & am much happier with its compliment for my snazzy pink zipper!

I used EVERY Clip I had!

attaching binding piece J 

After I attached bindings J on both sides, I flipped it over and whip stitched it by hand in place like any other quilt binding. 

The part that I had worried about most from the start was that final long pink zipper!

I am not quite sure if by now I had become a zipper pro... or if I was too fed up to care. 
But, whatever the case, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! 

Adding Wrap A to long zipper & edging K

And my final chance to shed some blood and use that seam ripper was presented attaching the zipper and tabs to the edges...but no matter... I am done. 
My BGB never became a football chucked across the house... and it is not in the WIP pile!

Attaching zipper tabs with pieces L

Look at all those damn zippers!  
Admittedly, I do have a few spots that I left "personalized". 
And more stray threads left behind by my seam ripper than I can count...

It's brightly colored, quirky, selvaged, and shouts Robyn's bag!
I love it!  

It was a great team building exercise for our guild! 
It was a major confidence builder. 
I learned a lot about my machine & my own patience & endurance.

Most of the ladies can't wait to make another one.
ME... not so much :P

But, I can't wait to fill it and take it to all my future workshops!!!

My Bionic Gear Bag

The pattern is available through Craftsy.  
Here is the link to the Bionic Gear Bag:

The beautiful &
Bionically Challenged 
Ladies of 



  1. Robyn, you are so funny! You were great and I had no idea you had never put a zipper in! I am glad I was there to witness your greatness! And yes, I cut out BGB 2 today...glutton for punishment or just OCD and had to do it?

    1. Glutton for punishment or OCD? difference if the result is as pretty as the "first" bag you created.
      BTW, I could never have done any of it- if you had not taught me how to thread my new machine out of the box... so technically, mine is a victory for us both :D