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Sew Bags; The Blog Tour Re-cap



I teach sewing and design because I believe that everyone possesses some innate creative ability and once you tap into that and discover your passion, it can build confidence that flows into all aspects of life.

These past few weeks, I have had to take a deep dive into my own confidence reserve.

As the publication of my book drew near, I knew that it was time to begin to organize a promotional book blog tour. In order for the book to sell, people have to know about it - right? By May, sheer panic set in. Besides the fact that I am terribly introverted and likely would never own a phone, let alone leave the house given the chance, I had to ask complete strangers to read my book and to (PLEASE!) make something from it and share it with the world.

At first, I thought, who am I going to ask? Fabric companies? maybe. Celebrities? nah. Some sewing blogging superstars with comanding audiences? (well…..) Then I began to scroll through my Instagram feed and consider who’s posts I always look forward to reading. Who seems approachable enough to ask? Who would even recognize my name if I did message them? Finally- who has a similar philophsy to teaching and style and would “get” my message. Well- that certainly narrowed down the possibilities considerably. Since I teach sewing, who better to ask then other fashion-forward sewing teachers too.

As it turns out, sewing teachers might just be among the nicest and most approachable people ever! Each of the following women are incredibly busy with a business, projects and families of their own. I owe them a huge thank you for the kindness that they have shown me by generously sharing their time and talents. I hope that each of you will read their posts and draw inspiration from their interpretation of my bag patterns.

Jesy, Needle, Ink and Thread

In a conversation with a friend who is also a sewing teacher, she asked me if I know Jesy. I answered that I didn’t. She told me to check out her work and mentioned that she is exceptionally talented and super nice! As it turns out, besides teaching sewing, Jesy was a former co-owner of Sew Dayton, has contributed a project to a new book as well as sewing custom projects and alterations. If she can pull that off, maybe a small bag wouldn’t be too much to ask:) Jesy agreed and was in!

Jesy made the Bunny Backpack from Sew Bags.

Adorable, right? I love her smile.

Jesy’s Tooth Fairy Pillow project is featured in this book, 50 Little Gifts.

Julia, Old Spool Sewing

Several months ago while looking through Instagram, a friendly smiling face appeared in my feed. I clicked on her post and woah! Another fun sewing studio for kids. Her studio looked bright and filled with lots of smiling kids. Then I saw this cute, cute red wrap top. Well, I do love a wrap top so I commented. She wrote back and then BAMN! #insta-friends:) As it turns out, Julia went to Parson’s and has a degree in Fashion Design which she now uses in her efforts to inspire and cultivate creative talent. So…. I asked Julia too- And she said yes!

Julia made the Abigail Boxed- Bottom tote - complete with hand dyed shibori!

The red wrap-top

Julia was a contestant on Slice TV’s Stitched.

Katie of Katie Kortman

Last summer I saw on Facebook that a new sewing and art studio for kids had opened in a neighboring city. Intrigued, I clicked to find out more. It turns out, Katie had moved in like the week before. I guess as a military mom of 4, she was well practiced in the art of moving and managing kids and projects. I reached out to introduce myself and see if she was taking on new students as I was maxed out at the time and know that families would be thrilled to hear that there was another place to send their kids. This was before Katie blew up Instgram with her hashtag game and spinning color wheel of fun. So- is it safe to say I “knew” Katie before she was famous?? Somehow she fit my project in with everything else she is juggling. Hello- new Spoonflower collection!!

Katie’s handprinted suede Savannah Cross-body bag.

Katie’s fabric collection with Spoonflower.

More fabric and color inspiration!

Tree, Stitchless TV

A few years ago during Makers for Fashion Revolution, #makersforfashrev, I discovered both Tree of Stitchless TV and Kate of Sewing with Kate. Tree had posted a picture of a bathing suit that she had made with a custom printed fabric. I commented that years ago, I worked with a swimwear designer and had made many, many suits over the years. She immediately wrote back and we have followed each other’s feed since. While we have never met in person, I do feel a strong creative connection with Tree. She is absolutely fearless in her approach to both teaching and sewing. And, as many of you know, I loathe TV and YouTube but make a special point of sharing her videos and tutorials with my students. They are that good!

One thing that Tree always emphasizes is her belief that with a bit of experience, anyone can learn to design a bag or garment and experience the absolute thrill of using and wearing something that you made yourself.

When you see something like this, it is an immediate signifier that the person both knows what they are doing and is fearless in her approach.

How beautiful is this coat that the wearer made in one of Tree’s workshops?

Ribbon embroidery on mohair. Seriously.

Kate, Sewing with Kate

Kate had me at first glance of her Sashiko. Anyone who spends that much time sewing by hand is someone who really understands the importance of attention to detail. Hand sewing allows a much finer degree of control over the fabric and fit, compared with using a machine. Kate understands that. Also- perhaps since she is a mom of a bunch of kids, hand sewing is portable and thus, gets done and is a great way to keep your hands busy while endless waiting for kid sports and activities.

After gushing over her sashiko samplers and bags (she has an etsy shop with patterns too! ) I then saw her clothes. That was it- I was a fan for life. Come on now, how freaking fantastic are these next two dresses? The embellishment and that leather. So I had to ask….would you make one of my bags?

Kate made the Rachel Drawstring Pouch- and hand stitched the sashiko pattern before sewing the bag.

This proves that there is nothing better than a well- fitting garment with one stand out feature.

Leather shoulder inset of my dreams.

I just love how each of these ladies took the original pattern and spun it to create something that is unique to their style. That is my ultimate goal as a pattern maker, sewing teacher and now author. To impart the lesson that you don’t have to just follow the pattern; treat the suggestions in your pattern as starting points and use your own imagination and skills to make the bag that suits you.

Happy Sewing!

XOXO, Hilarie

Please remember to tag me on social media with your makes using the hashtag #sewbags. I can’t wait to see what you share.