I recently bought some new project bags. They are a thicker mesh than I generally use. I thought it would be worthwhile to compare three different types of bags. We’ll see what projects look like inside them and learn about advantages and disadvantages.
All these are bags in my stash and have in them current projects with canvas, threads, and tools. The pictures of the two mesh bags are close-up. The picture of the clear bag is from further away because you could not tell the project was in a bag in the close-uo.
My favorite bags, pictured above, come from New Zealand, are from Helenz. I have written about them recently. I love the clear plastic bags sewn together with cheerful trim. I wish more bags had the zipper at the top on the front. As you can see from the picture the bags are completely clear. As you can see I have the canvas, many threads, additional canvases not on bars, scissors and a threader. There is also room for a small stitch dictionary.
However, there are two drawbacks. The first is that the plastic can stick together on the empty bags. This does not bother me, but some folks don’t like it. A second problem is that the bag is flat. This can make projects on stretcher bars that are close to the size of the bag might not fit easily.
Even with these slight drawbacks, they are my favorite bags.
Translucent Mesh Bags
I have these bags in many sizes. They come in a wider range of sizes than Helenz bags and, as you can see, projects inside are easily identifiable. The mesh helps make them stronger than most clear bags. It also prevents the sides from sticking when empty.
These bags are made by many companies and colors. You can also find the white bags with zippers in different colors. There is also a version that has a zipper that wraps around the corner. This version is good to get out larger projects more easily.
There are two kinds of these bags to avoid. There are some inexpensive brands that aren’t firmly sewn so they get gaps at the top. Others have cheap zippers that can lose their zipper pulls. I have lost bags to both these problems.
A second difficulty is bags that are made to store wet items for camping. You might consider buying these as project bags. These bags also have zippers on the front, but they are not at the very top. This shortens the bag by about an inch. This is a problem, especially with smaller bags.
Gingham on the Go Mesh Bag
This bag comes in a set of three from It’s Sew Emma. The smallest bag is 8×10; the largest is 13×15. The bags all have a gusset in the bottom so they can hold more than flat bags the same size. Although the manufacturer says that the bags can stand up, I found that unless the bag was pretty full, the gusset refolded and the bag did not stand up. I could not use it to make the bag taller.
I found that this bag was the most difficult to use. I could not easily see what it contained. it would work best under some circumstances:
if you only work on a few projects at one time (or work on only one project)
if you have a project with lots of threads, so you need the space.
It would also work if you needed to store of transport threads and instructions only for a larger project.
One word of caution: Keep your needles in a needle tine or case, not on your magnets. Needles can fall off magnets and the larger holes in this mesh can make the needles fall out of the bag.
There are many other brands of project bags including solid ones, fabric with mesh or clear plastic windows, and finer mesh. All of them have assets and defects. When you pick a bag to use, make sure you are able to identify the project it contains. The bag should be big enough to hold the project on stretcher bars, your threads, instructions, and all tools needed. The closing should be secure enough to keep everything inside.
The choice of bag is up to you, pick one that works for your project.