Updated June 5, 2020.
Helenz Bags (from New Zealand) were the first project bags I ever bought. Over 12 years old, they are still going strong and I still love them to pieces. Both pretty and strong, these bags have many features other bags don’t that mean they will stand up to wear.
First, they are transparent. While I’m happy with the plastic grid bags I often use, many translucent and mesh bags make it hard to see the project. Since I find projects by looking at the bag, opaque bags only work for me as tool cases. I have lots of friends who prefer mesh and translucent bags, I like clear bags best because with lots of projects, clear makes things easier to find.
Secondly, the plastic is strong and thick. I don’t know how thick it is, but I have never had either scissors or needles poke through this plastic. That’s one secret to why they last so long. Be careful when comparing clear bags. Many clear bags have plastic that is too thick or too thin. Thick plstic is very stiff. This plastic gets holes.
I’ve had plenty of bags where the zipper did the bag in. On some the zipper is cheap and the pull came off, making the bag useless. In others, it’s sewn along the top with big stitches. If those stitches start to go, you have a big hole in your bag. Some bags have snaps, but there are never enough of them to keep all your threads secure.
Helenz Bags don’t have the zipper at the very top. Instead it is on the front just about at the top. This exposed zipper is easy to see and easy to open. It uses a heavy-duty zipper.
Finally, there is the bags’ construction. The plastic isn’t sewn together, it’s covered with seam binding and the binding is sewn, along with the plastic, to construct the bag. This means there are no rough edges inside to catch on delicate threads. It als means that smaller stitches can be used to sew the bags very securely.
This is all practical stuff, but it also allows Helenz Bags to add cheerful plaids to the edges. Two traditional tartans, Royal Stuart and Black Watch, are available. They are also available in polka dots in several colors.
On the down side, when empty the plastic can stick together. I don’t mind this, but for some stitchers this is a major sticking point.
The bags come in several useful sizes: 8×5,7×10, 11×13, 13×11.5, and 15×15. Your local shop can order them, but they are also available from Needlepoint for Fun.