the evolution of The Everything Bag

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You probably guessed this from the title, but my final So You Think You Can Sew project is a bag. And not just any bag- a camera bag/laptop bag/purse in one. An Everything Bag. But first a little background on how this Everything Bag came to be.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, pre-Burke-and-Piper, Adam and I traipsed around Europe for a summer (it was obviously pre-dental school as well, because we had the budget to ‘traipse’ for a summer).

That summer, in the leather market in Florence, I fell in love with a purse. Maybe I should call it a bag (it’s pretty big). I loved that bag and used it every day for years- it was well made, carried all my teacher stuff (do you know any teachers? The most universal teacher-trait is their love for carting around loads of stuff), and was just generally fabulous.

A few years after that Europe Summer, we welcomed Burke into our family. Luckily, along with Burke, I got a new and fabulous bag to love (courtesy of Drew and his trip to the leather market in Morocco- are you sensing a theme here? Apparently, international leather markets are my bag-store of choice).

And a couple of years after that, while I was pregnant with Piper Jane, I made myself a diaper bag (actually, I made two diaper bags- one for me and one for my sister, Kedron), full of all of the pockets and compartments the Morocco bag was lacking. A few months later, I got a new laptop and a new computer bag. And a couple of months after that, Adam surprised me with a Big Girl camera- though, no camera bag. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I just pile my lovely, expensive camera into my Bag Du Jour (currently the rotation includes the diaper bag, a fabulous blue bag I’m borrowing from Trish, and the leather Florence purse/bag).

You know where this is headed- I needed a new bag. And courtesy of tons of research (and even more pinning), I came up with my dream bag. The only problem? My Everything Bag is a compilation of specific features of about seven different bags. I love the camera-readiness of a Jo Tote plus the laptop pocket of a Kelly Moore bag (but wider to accommodate my bigger computer) and the many-pockets of a Cake by Petunia bag. I love the blue-and-leather-trim combo of the Lovingly Prescribed doctor bag by Anthropologie (except that light blue would be destroyed by my kids/life in aboutย  a week). Oh, and I love tons of hardware. And classic styling (think wool/herringbone/leather). Yep, pinterest! my research had created a bag monster. And so “Make a Custom EVERYTHING Bag” was added to my To Make list.

The two things working in my favor? Last year, my sister ran into a similar problem and commissioned a diaper/camera bag of champions (so I had an idea of where to start). And the finale week of So You Think You Can Sew was themed “Contestant Choice.” Perfect.


To be honest, it was quite the undertaking.

But totally worth it (I feel like I describe all of my projects that way- not low-maintenance, but worth the effort… perhaps I should rename the blog “Worth the Work”- haha).

In all seriousness, I don’t really know if there is another project that would be more useful to me currently. The fact that I can carry my camera and camera gear, my laptop, snacks and drinks, Piper Jane necessities, Burke necessities, my planner (it has its own pocket! Well, actually, everything I mentioned so far has its own pocket!), my wallet, keys, cell phone, and other assorted everyday purse paraphanalia is miraculous.

But the fact that all of those things will be 1- Safe (courtesy of foam and felted wool padding and some thick interfacing), 2- Organized in their own spots, and 3- Accessible (probably because they each have their own spot) is a dream come true. Everything Bag indeed.


So there it is. The evolution of my Everything Bag. And more pictures than you probably ever wanted to see (can you tell I am a little excited?). Stay tuned- later this week I’ll give you the 411 on all those pockets and extra features (yep, there are functional fabulousnesses that I didn’t even share yet).

And here’s the link to the SYTYCS voting. It’ll be open until tomorrow (Thursday) night at 8pm EST. If you have a minute, would you head over and vote?

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  1. Genius!! You have really outdone yourself this time. Seriously…this is such an awesome idea. And now I want one! Can’t wait to vote for you tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Nicole! And I promise to have the ballerina dress tutorial up soon. When is that wedding??? I can even email it to you if the post scheduling is too late. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Again, so fun to connect about sewing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Dayna (and thanks for all of your emails/votes so far!). Ooooh, and don’t let me forget to email you the berry printables (would you send me an email reminder)???? I love it that you’re doing a berry theme! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This looks incredible!! I love when style meets functionality perfectly like this. Do you have strong arms/shoulders? This looks heavy ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. That’s.. pretty stinkin’ awesome! The teacher me would have begged and pleaded for you to make me one! (the mother me actually carries around A LOT less even with a camera than the teacher me).. And I also shamefully drop my camera (even without a lens cap sometimes.. eek!!!) into my diaper bag/purse of choice… There should be a name for people like us.

    1. Thanks Briana! And WHEW, yep, quite the undertaking. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I might take a little sewing break for a bit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Wow!!! Impressive!! I voted for you!
    Any chance you’ll ever share or sell your pattern? I have a lot of scrap denim and leather, and this would be a great way to use it up.

    1. Tiffany, I love it that you have a bunch of scrap denim/leather. That’s great! Putting together a pattern/tutorial is definitely a possibility! I took pictures/wrote down details along the way. It was QUITE the project, so it’d be an endeavor to write it up, but right now I’m planning on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. WOW is all I can say. Man I hope you win! I am a very newbie to the sewing world, but ABSOULTELY love this. I would pay you to make me one! You ROCK!

    1. Bobbi, THANK YOU for the compliments.
      And I only started sewing when I had Burke (he’s 3 now), so I completely understand the ‘sewing newbie’ feeling. It’s amazing what you can do with a little practice and a seam ripper- hahahahaha! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. So I didn’t have a chance to see the new site until now… and when I try to subscribe through google reader… it can’t find a feed! Am I missing something? I’ll never remember to check it without my reader and I’ll be sad not have it there! Any ideas?

      1. Okay, so I manually added it (as opposed to using my subscribe button on my toolbar) and it worked just fine! yay! Thanks. My browser has been taking off the http… and I wonder if that had anything to do with it? Weird. But I love the new site and I’m glad I got it to work! Thanks!!

        1. Oh, I’m so glad! I feel like those things can be so finicky! ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad you figured it out, though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha! Thanks Stefanie.
      I took pictures along the way and wrote down details, but OH GOODNESS, it is going to be quite the project to assemble the directions! However, rest assured, there will be a tutorial (or perhaps a pattern) coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love that you could fit your kids in the bag if you needed too. You have talent girl! This bag looks professional, and probably will hold up better than most average store bought ones.

    By the way, I subscribe through Google Reader and I appreciate it when I can see the whole post in the reader without clicking over. Currently I can only see the summary of KoJo-Designs in my feed. I understand if you use the summary setting for loading purposes though.

    1. Hey Haley! Thanks for all of the bag compliments!
      And I will check into why that’s happening in Google Reader- no it isn’t on purpose. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for letting me know!

  8. WOW! Kirstin, this looks professionally done–nice work! I totally found you through the contest (and am voting for you, obviously) and am looking for a bag right now. I’m super excited to see the tutorial! Congratulations… for being AWESOME!!

    1. Haha- thanks Mary for the compliments (and your vote!). ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad to have you here.
      And I was just looking at my notes and pictures- a bit overwhelming. However, there will be a tutorial or pattern in the works sometime soon for sure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Kirstin: I need that bag for my camera equipment!!! Although I look forward to the tutorial, I would most definitely be willing to purchase an already made bag. Think about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Love this- thanks for the compliments. And though I certainly won’t be taking on one of these projects anytime soon (oh my it was a ton of work… WORTH IT [hahahaha], but work!), I will be putting together a tutorial or pattern sometime soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Chris! It was a ton of work, but then also super functional for us right now, so worth it! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Loving the chance to see your house progress, by the way! SO COOL!

    1. Thanks Natalie. I keep telling myself that I am getting ripped arms from all of the stuff I lug around, but mostly I am just killing my shoulders and back I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I am a Nurse Practitioner student and RN and this bag would fit everything for work or class easily. Please tell me a tutorial and pattern are in the works. I would so love to make this for myself!

    1. Cat, I am making something similar right now as a baby bag for my sister. You’ll have to modify the dimensions (to make it bigger), but it’ll definitely work to make an everything bag. Tutorial should be up next month sometime. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I didn’t ever put one together Deseria. However, I made a similar bag for my sister and the tutorial should be up soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Have you come out with the tutorial? I would love to make this bag!! I am willing to pay for a pattern!! This is the perfect bag!!! I LOVE IT!!!

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