06 June, 2016

Pattern Review: The Bionic Gear Bag

An honest, unbiased pattern review of the BGB pattern.
What bag is it?
It's the Bionic Gear bag and you can get it either 
here or here depending on what site you prefer BUT the pattern is super expensive, it is $17 for just one pattern!  ...No, you didn't read that wrong, seventeen bucks is really expensive for a pattern.  
I'm a knitter and a pattern for just $7 is costly but $17? That kind of money would buy me & my two kids lunch or it would buy 5 fat quarters of fabric or it would buy a new cookbook.
Honestly, I can't believe I coughed up the money for it but I really wanted to make my brother something for his birthday and this was the only thing I could decide upon.

So, I paid megabucks for a pattern, was it worth it? 
Personally, I don't believe that the pattern is worth that much mainly because its a just a pattern for a small bag/pouch and the pattern itself is written terribly.

So what is it (apart from the ridiculous price) that I don't like?

Well, .....
~ the pdf document is a massive 82 pages long
~ I couldn't figure out what pages to print because there is no note at the start or a Contents page.  In fact, I ended up going to an online sewing group especially for the bag & asked as I couldn't figure it out on my own
~ Oh my gosh... the waffle, the dribble, the unnecessary words, sentences, stuff about her mother, her grand-daughter etc
~ I thought I bought a pattern not a book
~ I thought I bought a pattern not a tutorial
~ There is not actual 'pattern' or easy to read sewing instructions
~ It's written like a tutorial and I quote "I’m writing this as if we were having fun and doing this project together.  :)".
No!!! I wanted to buy a pattern not a ruddy tutorial.

~ It hasn't been update since forever
~ It talks about why she 'invented' it ... umm, I don't really care I just wanted the pattern not why etc, if I wanted to know why, I'd read your blog/website
~ It refers to a website that is out of date & gives you a password to access special features on the site but there is no where on the website to add the password
~ It over explains the most basic things, over & over & over again
~ By page 7, I was so confused that I just wanted to poke my eyeballs out
~ There are no quick-easy-to-reference sections just lots an excessive amount of worthless words & photos that really don't explain anything at a glance
~ It keeps referring you back to their website & the useless password
~ She talks about a "Futz Factor"  ...wtf?
~ When you really need some diagrams to help explain things like "Mark a dot 2” in to the left from the future right side" ...there is nothing to aid you and it fact tells you to go "the site" but doesn't bother to give you a direct link
~ gah... the overuse (& un-necessary use) of the words "Lather, Rinse & Repeat"  ....once again..wtf?
~ and if you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to get the Bionic Dumpling Dish included with your pattern, it includes things in the materials list BUT doesn't bother to tell you where or how to actually put them into the dish. Totally useless.
~ Silly me thought that paying $17 for a pattern that it would be a PROFESSIONAL pattern not an amateur pattern.
The bgb / bionic gear bag pattern, is it really worth the money? No.

It's possibly the worst written pattern in history ...but the finished result is really cool!  Yes, totally weird! 

I wish the designer would 'cut out all of the crap & waffle' and just have a plain pattern with instructions instead of a "hey, I made a bag & put together some instructions that'll be lost in my long-winded tutorial because I'm going to assume that you can't sew for shit" type of thing that costs the earth to buy.  She assumes that you need help, instead of giving you confidence in making it all by yourself. I think she should invest some time & effort and approach Craftsy about making a Crafty Class and then we could all enjoy it and it be more fun. I really enjoyed making my Tinker Tote & I did it via a Craftsy class - it would be a great format for her to use as she seems to like 'helping us' learn so much. 

Am I being harsh? No.
I joined some of her Facebook groups to get the confidence to sew this bag and then promptly deleted myself from them because geesh, things got spiteful when people asked polite questions about their orders.  I was at home with an illness and decided to login to Facebook and check out the groups for fun and what I saw made me so sick to the stomach with the horrid way she treated people that I run from that group so fast. I do not condone bullying in any format for any reason.

Ok, so all this sounds a bit tough but I was just so shocked by the pattern that I wanted to share and if this helps you to decide to make this or not or to choose another pattern then go for it. Live a little, perhaps try the pattern and see if you agree with me or not, tell me, try another designer just keep making!   If still in doubt, try one of these patterns and then you will understand what I'm talking about when I talk about a good pattern!

So tell me, have you made this bag and what did you think of the pattern? 
Perhaps you would like to review the pattern in the comments too.

this post contains affiliate links because hey, I need to make my money back someway!!


  1. No, I haven't it scared the hell out of me so now I really don't want to invest the time or effort into it! But I giggle as I write this! I agree if only others could write excellent patterns like Anna - Noodlehead we would all be making one. Wink

    1. Yes, Noodlehead patterns are the bees-knees of patterns!

    2. a day late and a dollar short, but your review is so spot on. it made me laugh. What a HORRIBLE, rambling, mess of a pattern. When I learned to sew, a pattern instructed what to do and we did it. Good luck finding any instruction in this one!
      IMO, Michelle's 'Sew Together Bag' (Sew Demented), which Sally copied this from, is much, MUCH better.

  2. You hit the nail on the head with this review, Marie!!

    1. well, at 82 pages it was a pretty big nail to hit!

  3. Yes, the pattern is badly written - I started the process by making a 2-page extract with the pertinent information. But... I really like the construction and size of the bag. If you don't care about the front tray idea, it is even possible to find the original at http://www.liveinternet.ru/users/orhideya6868/post167708356/ from 2011 for free.

    1. Yes, it's a bit sad when you have to make your own notes just to be able to understand the pattern.

  4. I have made the bag 3 times and hope to make many more. It is a great bag. I do not think the pattern is badly written. The designer is chatty, but I appreciated her many construction hints. She makes a point of advising users that there is JUST ONE pattern piece to print ( all the other pieces are cut from measurements). She advises those who want to save paper and ink to read the instructions from a laptop or other device. I did find making the bag a challenge the first time...there are several techniques I had never attempted. BUT, all 3 of my bags came out beautifully and it was a fun and satisfying experience. I say, Go for it! Challenging, but so worthwhile!

    1. I agree, the bag is great but the pattern is truly badly written. There was so much 'chatty crap' in it that you can't actually find the pattern. It is written as a tutorial like you'd find on a blog not something that I'd expect to pay $17 for.

  5. M. Biswell links your review to her YouYube video, which I found humorous and interesting. I'm more intrigued than ever to see the 82 pages, but I certainly don't want to put money in the alleged zipper money stealer's pockets. A commenter, on Craftsy, said that she purchased it but has no use for it. I offered to buy it from her and my comment was deleted by the following day. I don't understand why she shouldn't be able to sell her pattern if she's not going to use it. It's hers, isn't it? I just cannot fathom how in the world you can come up with 82 pages for what amounts to an altered version of the Sew Together bag? I have that pattern, and it's 14 pages. Anyway...thanks so much for posting this information.

  6. Thank you so much for this review! My sister is a quilter and when i found this i thought it'd be the perfect gift for her... Was a bit worried about the price but i believe in supporting people who create things. After reading your review, however... I've dealt with knitting patterns that long-winded (*cough*wingspan*cough*) and i really don't enjoy them. (Wingspan? I printed the 1-page line-by-line stripped down version and that's all. I've. Needed.) I mean, honestly, the website posted above with just the photos of the process and all the text in a language i don't read was enough for me to draft this sucker on my own. So thank you - by saving the $$ i can buy three other (well written) patterns and STILL make this bag for my sister. :)

  7. I have made this bag and find it is wordy but not badly written. It does have hints for where you might have issues. YouTube videos help too. As for the price, it is within a dollar or two from what I have paid for other bag patterns here.

  8. I have made many of these Bionic Gear Bags. I have also taught this pattern to literally hundreds of women,in several groups, that just love to get together to sew; especially quilters that aren't familiar with creating bags. Once they have made one, they better understand the process. The designer also encourages those that purchase this pattern to make these to sell! You would recoup the cost of this five-fold since they garner approximately $100 each BGB! No matter what pattern someone designs, there will be a few that don't understand it, appreciate it or enjoy it. There are thousands of people on the Sew Much Nicer Community on Facebook that are there to help you over any bumps in the road that you may experience. This pattern has been created with newer sewers in mind to help them along step by step. Some sewers, such as myself, that have a lot of bag making experience, find this pattern to be informative and give great, timesaving tips. There is also a free pattern, the Dumpling Dish, included with this one. Oh, and when you download the pattern, you will see, if you look, that you only have one or two pages to print; the "I" pattern piece and the materials list (if you choose to). The rest is meant to be followed along using your laptop or tablet. I find this to be preferable since losing a paper pattern is all too easy. Since this bag can be used for so many different things, makeup, electronics, office supplies as well as sewing, it is certainly a more versatile bag than many others.

  9. I agree 100% with Marie wrote, the pattern instructions was full of crap, nothing useful. The bits that may have been useful were not written clearly & it was very hard to follow what she meant! I stumbled along & made my first bag, which turned out really well. I have since made another bag & written my own instructions, all of 2 pages! I am now going to make bags 3 & 4! By the way, I am not a novice sewer, I have been sewing for over 40 years!

    1. Oh PLEASE could I have a copy of your edited instructions.... :)
      DP2@sky.com. Thank you x

  10. CraftyRie, So did you ever get a chance to make the bag? Tessa

    1. Yes I did Tessa. I wouldn't review something without trying it (making it) several times, the blue bag above is one of the bags I made.

  11. The link for craftsy (last paragraph) for good patterns sadly, doesn't work...

    1. Ahh, thanks for that -- all fixed now!

  12. I agree with all that you've said-I love the bag, but the instructions, oh my, I lost the will to live. I joined the FB page too, I think I lasted 3 days, but once again, oh my. "Those" girls from school are still behaving the same way 60 years later.


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