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the Swansea bag {pattern review + giveaway}

2015 April 23

Today I get to be part of the “Time to Travel eBook Blog Tour” put together by Sewing with Boys. And yes – I know, I don’t have any boys! I was surprised to get an email from them last month asking if me (with my 2 girls) wanted to be part of this tour. Though their eBook is written with boys in mind, it’s totally appropriate for girls too. I can see them using each of the patterns included in this just-released book. (Scroll down for your chance to enter to win some great prizes!)

As part of the tour I was given a copy of the Swansea Bag pattern written by Stitch Blue Designs. It’s one of the 4 full patterns included in the eBook, along with lots of tips and printables you can use when traveling with kids. The design is modeled after a military-style round duffle bag. And let me tell you – you need this bag! (As usual, despite getting the pattern for free in exchange for this review, my opinion is my always honest and my own. Thanks for reading!)

The girls just started their pre-summer swimming lessons and use a great wet bag for my youngest every week. However, when I saw this pattern I thought it would be perfect to use as a wet bag for my oldest so they could both have their own. Never mind that beach/pool weather is coming soon (I hope!) and we’ll need a carry-all then as well.

The finished Swansea turned out even more perfect than I could have asked for, and it’s huge! We almost don’t need a second bag since the child sized version I made holds both kids’ pajamas, shampoo/soap/hairbrush, large water bottle, snack AND two beach-sized towels. Whew!

Here are a few things I love about it:

  • It’s really large – we’re going to use it SO much this summer.
  • French seams throughout (and the instructions for them are very well explained). This allows the bag to be made super-quickly because it is completely finished inside without the need for a lining!
  • The optional pocket is just the right size for so many things! And I love how it looks with the pocket flap.

Alterations to the original pattern:

  • Added a french-seamed clear plastic liner to make it semi-waterproof.
  • Used two lengths of natural clothesline instead of 1.
  • Buttonholes instead of grommets. Because it’s a wet-bag I didn’t know what the metal would do if continually exposed to water.
  • Dark-coloured contrasting bottom band – because my daughter fell in love with the white-background fabric and I could see it getting instantly dirty!

Thoughts on the pattern:

  • Clearly written, illustrated instructions.
  • Confident beginner friendly pattern.
  • Variations: Two sizes: Child and Youth/Adult. Two closure options. Optional outer pocket.
  • Printed pattern pieces for all pieces – even the large rectangle needed for the body of the bag. That means no measuring and squaring up!

Things I might change next time:

  • I would definitely use a lighter gauge plastic if I lined it again. Making french seams in plastic is not easy on my machine and a lighter gauge would be just as waterproof.
  • I’d love to try one with grommets. It would make a great Christmas gift for my nephews.
I’m so happy I got to be a part of this Sewing with Boys tour. Even if I don’t have any boys! I truly love the Swansea bag, and its quick construction makes it even better. I can see making a lot more of these!

The Time to Travel eBook is on sale until the end of this blog tour (May 1) for only $9.95 – The Swansea bag alone is well worth that cost! Check out the official Sewing with Boys Tour Page for more information, blog tour daily links and to see each of the other patterns in action.

Grand prize: $50 gift certificate to FabricWorm and a copy of Time to Travel* ~ 2nd Prize: 1 yard of fabric from Mabel Madison and a copy of Time to Travel* ~ 3rd Prize: a copy of Time to Travel* ~ But that’s not all! If you buy the eBook during the tour, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $30 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop!

Enter this giveaway through the Raffelcopter widget below. If you buy the eBook and win the giveaway, Sewing with Boys will either refund your money, or send the copy on to a friend of your choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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61 Responses leave one →
  1. Lee permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I love to sew for my daughter , who is graduating from graduate school this May! You made a lovely bag!

  2. Gill permalink
    April 23, 2015

    The boys and girl I sew for would love this!

  3. BrendaM permalink
    April 23, 2015

    Wow – that looks very roomy. The larger size would be perfect for my adult son for weekends trips.

  4. Delaine permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I sew for my great nieces and nephews. The girls love frilly, girly things and the boys love stuffies! Thanks!

  5. Michele TImms permalink
    April 23, 2015

    This looks like the perfect bag to go to the beach or swimming pool!! Thanks for the tips too!!

  6. Lixie permalink
    April 23, 2015

    Looks like a very handy bag. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Patti permalink
    April 23, 2015

    The little boy that I sew for is my grandson! He would love this bag to carry his things when he visits his other grandparents!

  8. amy permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I sew for my little grandson. Am working on an ABC quilt for him right now.
    This pattern looks like it has great directions which would help a beginner like me who hasn’t made any bags yet!

  9. LINDA permalink
    April 23, 2015

    Hi, love to sew for Charity Girls+Boys! Don’t know their names, but love them anyway! Thanks to you+FQS for sharing a great giveaway~

  10. LINDA permalink
    April 23, 2015

    Hi, love to make quilts for Charity Boys+Girls ! Don’t know their names, but love to sew for them ! Thanks to you+FQS for a grand giveaway!

  11. Sarah J. permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I love sewing for my little girl because there’s no shortage of ideas and patterns out there, but my little guy is sometimes a challenge (and we have TONS of hand me downs for him). I’m trying to make him a few more things (since he loves it and is waaay less picky about fabric than my girl!). I am always looking for something to make him so this book looks really fun!

  12. April 23, 2015

    I have boys and girls. So it is fun to be able to plan projects for both. And although my girl is a bit of a tomboy, she mentioned it would be cool if I got her a sewing machine so we could create together!

  13. Sarah permalink
    April 23, 2015

    The little boys I sew for love trains and construction equipment. The big girl I sew for is a teenager which means I have absolutely no idea what she likes or what is “cool,” lol. I love the bag you made! Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. April 23, 2015

    I love how this bag turned out, and I love seeing it “in action”! Obviously, I need to go back and reline all of my versions with vinyl! ;) Thank you for sharing in the tour!

  15. Vicki H permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I have 6 grandsons to sew for. I am always looking for ideas for them.

  16. Sandy K permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I sew for my granddaughter, she love skirts.

  17. Dot H permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I sew quilts and pillows for my grandkids. I have one grandson that loves to help me sew.

  18. Lori Morton permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I loooove your bag! Soooo cool!

    I sew for my Grangirlie (clothes, quilts & things for her room, doll clothes)… & she is learning to sew with me this year…small projects so far! :) We jus had a new lilttle Granbaby, & I have made him several baby things & a quilt…know will be doing more as he grows.

  19. Claire Ross permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I have no kids so sew for myself and my friends xx

  20. Linda Webster permalink
    April 23, 2015

    My son is grown up now but I used to make his pyjamas. And capes for his Star Wars figures!

  21. Jacklynn Grimm permalink
    April 23, 2015

    The last little person I sewed for was my great niece Denice, I made her a quilt in pink 1930′s reproduction prints for her dolls. Thanks for the chance to win! jacklynnsteven at netzero dot com

  22. April 23, 2015

    I love the colors and size of the bag. I think my granddaughter would love one in the exact colors.

  23. April 23, 2015

    My mother was the one who sewed for us…I sadly have no children to sew for.

  24. April 23, 2015

    The little girl I sew for is 2.5, but wears a size 5! It is so nice to be able to make her age-appropriate clothes that fit her properly. And she is always so very appreciative of the things I make her too. “Ooooooh, it’s beautiful! THANK you, Mama!”

  25. Laura permalink
    April 23, 2015

    my god-child would love a bag like this – she is not quite a teen as yet.


  26. MaryLou permalink
    April 23, 2015

    That is a great bag! I love it. Right now I’m sewing for my twin two-year-old granddaughters – my little loves.

  27. Allison C permalink
    April 23, 2015

    My son is 21mo and so easy to please. He loves everything I make for him which I’m really enjoying.

  28. Karen A permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I sew for my 5 great nephews. They have all received quilts.

  29. Kathy E. permalink
    April 23, 2015

    The little girl I am currently sewing for is going to be a big sister in October! I will continue to make cute clothes for her as well as her new sibling.

  30. Janie permalink
    April 23, 2015

    I sew barbie bedding for my granddaughter. She loves the pillows and quilts her barbies get just like hers. Thank you for the giveaway.

  31. Pegggy permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I love the bag. Cute fabric & cute pattern.

  32. Chris permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I have 3 grandsons ages 3, 5 and 8 that keep me busy making all kinds of things. I do wish I had a granddaughter but I have 3 nieces so I can sew for them anytime the urge hits me.

  33. Chris permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I have 3 grandsons, ages 3, 5 and 8 to sew for. They keep me busy with all kinds of projects.

  34. Katie stevens permalink
    April 24, 2015

    loving the bag so versatile

  35. Katrin permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I love to sew things for my nieces. The younger one was so amazed when she got her first self-made bag.

  36. Debbie Rogowski permalink
    April 24, 2015

    i also have 2 girls who have 2 girls, but even so I started out sewing for hubby lol

  37. auschick permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I sew for my 3 y/o daughter who is super sassy and always in charge! I also sew for my 1 y/o son but haven’t done much for him just yet.

  38. Veronika permalink
    April 24, 2015

    My girl is 2.5 and my boy is almost one- they are both driving me CRAZY right now with their sleeping (or lack thereof!). But I do love them to bits and I do love that bag!! That is the perfect swim bag and I love swimming :)

  39. April 24, 2015

    what a great bag and very useful.

  40. Meredith permalink
    April 24, 2015

    Hi Sherri! We just met tonight at Creativ – so great to chat a bit and I’m glad to have found your blog! I would love to make this bag for my daughter and nephews for summer at the cottage!

  41. Emily C permalink
    April 24, 2015

    My hubby loves video games, so I make him things like cases for the 3DS and his tablet.

  42. Laura E. permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I am lucky and get to sew for my girls and little boy, so I get the best of both worlds! They think I make the best toys and bags and clothes, better than the stores :)

  43. Kathy Davis permalink
    April 24, 2015

    I sew for my granddaughter, Nellie. She is 2 1/2, has blue eyes and blond curly hair and she loves to paint

  44. Ellee permalink
    April 25, 2015

    I sew for my 1-year-old granddaughter and my 2-year-old nephew. Since they already have so many clothes I sew non-clothing items like quilts and pillowcases. This Swansea bag looks like a winner for sure!

  45. Tabitha K. permalink
    April 26, 2015

    I sew for my five year old grand daughter and she loves everything I make for her. I love being able to pass something on to her that she can do in her life. Thanks so much!

  46. Nicole Sender permalink
    April 26, 2015

    I sew for my grandson! Lots of baby items at this time.

  47. April 26, 2015

    I sew for my grandaughter who is nine and is starting to get interested in sewing herself, and also for my 8 month old grandson

  48. Jodi R permalink
    April 26, 2015

    My Big Girl (4 1/2 years) loves Dinosaurs, My Little Pony, Princesses, Cars, Batman & Angry Birds… yes her interests are diverse and I am happy about that.

  49. Kathie L permalink
    April 26, 2015

    I have a 9 month old granddaughter who is too small to carry this bag!! I’m making her bibs and dresses.

  50. April 27, 2015

    I’m just starting to sew for my two girls, well at least gathering the ideas to sew for them!

  51. April 27, 2015

    You did a great job making that bag!

    The boy and girls that I sew for are all grown up now. But when they lived at home I did a lot of sewing for them. Now it’s mainly Christmas gifts that I make for them.

    Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win those awesome prizes.

  52. Kristine permalink
    April 27, 2015

    I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old (both girls)that love picnics and dress up. I don’t sew a much as I want to, but it’s fun to see them use what I do end up making.

  53. April 28, 2015

    Sherri I love this so much!! I always love your in-depth and interesting reviews and being on the “receiving end” is such an honor! Thank you for taking the time to check out one of our patterns and for sharing such a gorgeous girly version :)

    • April 28, 2015

      You are too kind as always – Thanks so much Amy! I’m so glad! (and it’s all true!) :)

  54. Mara permalink
    April 29, 2015

    I sew for both my son and daughter! But I must admit I find more things to sew for girls.

  55. April 30, 2015

    No little boys or girls in my personal life, so I sew for kids in need.

  56. Annmarie permalink
    April 30, 2015

    I sew for twins – 5 year old girls. Lots of pretty things. Pink & purple of course. That is such a unique bag – I can think of lots of uses.

  57. Mary permalink
    April 30, 2015

    I sew mainly for my grandson,,,the cutest little boy on the planet! (I might be biased. LOL)

  58. April 30, 2015

    I sew just for presents :)

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