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PATTERN REVIEW: The Bionic Gear Bag (BGB) by Sally Thompson

March 5, 2015

1948 Singer treadle sewing machineEvery so often a pattern is created that I cannot refuse:

  • It impresses me.
  • It teaches me new techniques.
  • It helps me create a useful item.
  • It is too tempting to resist.



I found such a pattern: The Bionic Gear Bag (otherwise known as the BGB) by Sally Thompson (aka: RipStitcher across the web and social channels). 

Sally chose the perfect name for this bag. It carries everything you need. It is just as useful to sewers as it is to knitters as it is to those who carry electronics and even those who tote around a lot of other accessories. This bag works hard to bring organisation to your life. It is an amazing accessory that will help you keep you organised in your sewing room, your mobile office, and even in your bathroom!

Pattern Drawback:

The only drawback to this project is that pattern needs editing. It is over 80 pages long! That’s a lot of paper! Be kind to the earth and do not print this pattern. I hope the designer gives this pattern a good combing with an editors eye to make it easier to understand (and uses a lot less paper when printed!).

Sewing the BGB helps you reduce your stash. You likely have everything you need to create one right now. Go ahead and find that perfect bit of fabric and some matching zippers and turn them into your very own BGB. The BGB is easily sewn in a weekend. 


Once you make one, you will make more…many more! Immediately upon completion, you’ll notice little changes and additions that you’ll add to your next BGB and you’ll begin rummaging through your stash to find more fabrics and zippers. Before you know it, friends and family will want one. You’ll show it off to your stitcherly friends and, after the ohs and ahs, you’ll be discussing how to customise a bag unique to them. You will not be able to stop at one! You have been warned.

What is a BGB?

The Bionic Gear BagThe Bionic Gear Bag is the brainchild of Sally Thompson. She is a long-time sewer with years of experience teaching and sewing. She created the BGB with sewers in mind.

The BGB features:

  • A place for everything you need.

  • A flat bed “box” that allows easy access to the essentials.

  • Larger slots that keep bigger items handy, but out of the way.

  • Zippered pockets that keep your small bits and bobs accessible and secure.

  • Side panels that keep everything from sliding out of the bag when it is fully closed or completely open.

Who should buy this pattern? 

The Bionic Gear BagAnyone interested in bringing a little organisation and a lot of stitcherly fun into their lives ought to begin stitching their very own BGB right now! You will need a basic knowledge of sewing techniques, especially sewing secure zippers (lots of them!).

The pattern includes a comprehensive list of supplies, technique instructions, and detailed photos that will guide you through the entire process of constructing the BGB. The pattern also includes instructions for the dumpling fabric dish accessory.

What if I need help with sewing my own BGB?

Sally has created a number of video tutorials that are available on her website. She has created a helpful and supportive community that begins on her website, but other crafty creators are more than willing to help you out. 

  • Sally’s websiteJoin Sally’s email list to stay up-to-date on the BGB and other patterns, check out pattern errata, access video tutorials, and find out what other sewers think of the BGB.
  • Birdcage and Thread: Michelle Wootton has put her excellent sewing talents on display. Visit her website to access video tutorials that show you exactly what to do when constructing your own BGG and dumpling fabric dish.
    • Unfortunately, these videos are no longer available.
  • Sew Much Nicer (Facebook group): Whether you are in need of inspiration, encouragement, or just want to show off your BGB, this is the group for you. Over 1000 people from around the world share their experience and tips about BGB construction. 
  • The Collapsible Thread CatcherThis video tutorial will teach you how to use up your scraps and create a fantastic addition to the BGB. It folds down to allow for the bag to close. You won’t be able to stop at just one!

I’m sold! How do I buy the BGB pattern?

The BGB, and other Sally Thompson patterns, are available on Craftsy.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Vanderhoek permalink
    March 5, 2015 3:41 pm

    Wow, Bonnie, you hit the nail squarely on the head! This is the best bag that I’ve made! Great pattern, awesome instructions and lots of great people on the Facebook community!

    • March 6, 2015 7:45 am

      Julie, I nearly gave up on the value of Facebook and then I found the “Sew Much Nicer.” The members welcomed me, they helped me, and they shared photos and comments that encouraged me while I went through the process of making my own BGB. I have yet to find a group that is so giving and welcoming. “Sew Much Nicer” is like a family where everyone loves stitching and everyone helps each other. I love it!

  2. March 5, 2015 4:02 pm

    I agree 100% with this review. This is the perfect bag for carrying sewing notions/supplies, to use for travelling for all those pills, potions, cables and other odds and ends. Everything in one place and everything stays in place and in full view. And yes, I will be making more…. many more.

    • March 6, 2015 7:47 am

      I will be making many more too, Whirly 🙂 The BGB is not overly complicated. I made it through the first one with the help of folks in the “Sew Much NIcer” Facebook group and will now carry on. I have a few ideas for additions to the bag that will make it more useful as part of my mobile office set up.

  3. Penny Brown permalink
    March 5, 2015 4:11 pm

    I love this bag. I bought the pattern a couple of weeks ago, and have already made two.

    • March 5, 2015 4:24 pm

      You are ahead of me. I’ve made only the one seen here. Love the pattern!

  4. Beverly Lusk permalink
    March 5, 2015 6:30 pm

    The BGB is everything that was stated above. Awesome bag Sally!!!

    • March 5, 2015 6:31 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! Sally did a fabulous job on developing this bag.

    • yvonne permalink
      March 5, 2015 7:49 pm

      Where is the best place to buy the pattern. I’ve read about specials some times. We are in a tight spot and don’t have much money.i have a birthday coming though. All of you are so inspiring. God Bless .

      • March 5, 2015 7:50 pm

        Join the Facebook group. Sally often runs members only sales. Get the pattern on Craftsy.

    • March 6, 2015 7:49 am

      Sally really did create the perfect bag! I am usually the type who makes a pattern once and then I move on. It is not often that I plan on making more. The BGB is VERY different, though. I will be making many, many, many more 🙂

  5. Debbie Unelli permalink
    March 5, 2015 7:00 pm

    It’s all true! I’ve made one for my quilting gear, next one for hexi gear, 2 for each of my daughters, one for ‘girl’ stuff for their work offices, and one for tools for their apartments..hammer, measuring tape etc! I love this bag!

    • March 5, 2015 7:18 pm

      Those are all great ways to use the BGB.

  6. March 5, 2015 11:20 pm

    Bonnie!!!! Bless your heart! I’m so grateful for the kind words! In the beginning, I drew this bag out to work for *me* … and then a few friends saw it… and the rest is history. Thank you so much for taking time to do this. ❤ ❤ ❤

    • March 6, 2015 7:34 am

      Sally, your words mean so much to me! Here’s to many more BGBs!!

  7. Kathealaska permalink
    March 5, 2015 11:39 pm

    Wonderful review of an awesome bag. Thank you Sally ! ! And Bonnie

    • March 6, 2015 7:33 am

      I am so glad you like the BGB (and the review)!

  8. Kelly Kilpin permalink
    March 6, 2015 12:46 am

    I absolutely agree with everything you have said. I am an advanced beginner and am on bag number 4. I am obsessed!!

    • March 6, 2015 7:32 am

      Number four! Wow! You are rockin’ the BGB!! I have just the one, but more are planned. I’ve run out if zippers 🙂

  9. Annika permalink
    March 8, 2015 7:54 pm

    I got the pattern the same Times’ atbgetbmy cancer diagnose. I couldent koncentration to reda the pattern, but i Love to se all yours work, and that inspiretations. Soon i think i am ready to get started sewing, i hope I can reach it, before the dockors Will se me 🙂 It take some time In Sweden.
    Thanks for all your picture
    Hugs Annika

  10. June 17, 2015 3:12 pm

    I ordered the BGB pattern through paypal, and the payment was accepted. But how do I download the pattern? I checked on craftsy and it’s not there. Is this a paperpattern that you mail to me? Looking forward to making one. TY

    • June 17, 2015 3:14 pm

      Just wait a bit. The pattern ought to show up shortly. Try refreshing your browser too.

  11. Becky permalink
    July 23, 2016 9:01 am

    I’m a visual person and I really wish there were videos showing how to do the outside zipper/handle. At this point I don’t understand how to do that. That’s all my bag lacks to being done. Very confusing instructions!

    • August 13, 2016 10:31 pm

      Yes, the videos are gone. Michelle Wilton had created excellent tutorials. She carefully explained every step and created videos that were helpful and professionally produced. Have you tried contacting the pattern author for help?

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