Laura’s Blog Entry
Last year I decided that I wanted to learn some new sewing skills and try some different projects. I wanted to learn some more high-end, couture detailing, so I purchased a book, The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam. It includes all kinds of handbags, from a small clutch, to a tote, to an overnight bag, as well as many more. Soup to nuts.
I made this bag for Mari to carry all her music and supplies for her guitar lessons. The great thing is it has tons of pockets inside, as well as a harness to keep a laptop secure.
I made the exterior from recycled denim jeans. I do love reusing the denim. It has character and warmth to it. I also love the large scale lining print. Unexpected and fun!
What I like about the book is is explains all the different types of hardware and give fairly detailed instructions for installation as well as other techniques, like zippers, pockets and such. The designs are cute and there are quite a few that I want to make.
I loved finding all the hardware online. Etsy was the most affordable place, in most cases, to buy a few pieces of each kind.
My favorite bit of hardware is the vintage rectangular rings for the strap. So snazzy!
There were a few challenges with the book, though. First of all, it is not a beginner book, by any means. This was not unexpected. With all the professional detailing I’d rate it from intermediate to advanced. One issue is that while the instructions are pretty detailed, it is not like a tutorial where there is a photo for each step. Sometimes I had difficulty figuring out some of the steps because it was only explained in words. That said, I was able to eventually work it all out, so it’s not impossible by any means.
My only real criticism would be that while there is a list of materials on the page for each design, it does not include everything you need to make the pictured bag. The pattern occasionally directs you to another section of the book for specific techniques, like putting in a zipper or installing hardware. That was OK, but you have to go to those sections individually to see what supplies are required for those steps. I didn’t realize that, so I had to stop at one point and order some missing hardware. In future I won’t make that mistake, but it wasn’t clear to me at first.
I did get what I was looking for – a challenge and a learning experience. There were points were I didn’t think my old sewing machine was going to make it through all the layers of material, but it did better than I expected.
Here’s the lovely mess I made while cutting through about five layers of material to install the twist locks. Stressful, to say the least!
All in all this is a really thorough book for handbags. I kinda felt like I was on “Project Runway” while I was doing all the interlinings and installing hardware! I am totally making another messenger bag for myself. It’ll be great for my laptop. And Mari has already requested a tote bag. I’m gonna be busy…