What woman doesn’t want to spoil herself with a high-end handbag?
Unfortunately, sometimes the cost of a department-store bag can spoil the fun.
However . . . if you know sewing-machine basics, you can spoil yourself silly. How? By making high-fashion handbags yourself at a fraction of the cost. And the big bonus: you can personalize them with your favorite fabrics.
From sweet little swinging numbers to sophisticated shoulder bags, a roomy duffel, and even a backpack, you’ll get to choose the fabric, choose the style, and choose those little details that will inspire passersby to do a double take and ask, “Where’d you get that great bag?” And you can answer, “I made it myself!”
We’re excited to have Sara as a guest writer today, here to tell us more about her second bag-making book. Welcome, Sara!
I like bags with interesting details, so each of the patterns in the book will give you a taste of different bag-sewing techniques—such as how to install a zippered pocket—plus bag-hardware techniques, like how to install a twist-lock.
New in Windy City Bags are helpful hints sprinkled throughout, noted with the heading “Sara Says.” These are suggestions for design details or tips to help your bag sewing go more smoothly.
The “Sara Says” tip above is my favorite from the book. I like to use large-scale prints for my bags, and it’s important to spend time looking your fabric over before cutting—the old saying of “measure twice, cut once” definitely applies here!—in order to get the maximum eye appeal for your chosen print.
As in my first book, Big-City Bags, pattern instructions are accompanied by easy-to-understand illustrations. Windy City Bags features a pullout section at the back of the book with full-size pattern pieces; all rectangular pieces are called out in the cutting instructions, making it easy to use your rotary cutter to cut those rectangular pieces out. Rotary cutting for squares and rectangles is very exact!
Example of illustrations in Windy City Bags
The Trompe le Monde Bag features two techniques to try: a thumb catch closure and piping. Piping is a fun feature you can add to almost any bag, and this pattern lets you give it a try in a low-stress way. You’ll be able to feature the biggest fabric print from your stash on this bag, as I’ve done with a “Nightshade” print from Tula Pink!
I’d always wanted to design a rounded bag that looks three-dimensional rather than flat, and I think the Hey Mercedes bag ticks those boxes! The straps on the front and back are curved to mimic the shape of the bag, and there is a great pocket on the front. Everything closes on the lining side with a magnetic snap.
This retro-inspired Sweet Talk Bag has some fun detailing and uses O-ring hardware on the straps. My favorite feature is the magnetic snaps in each of the side panels. The snaps cinch the sides in when the bag has just a few items inside, but stuff the bag full and you can easily open up those snaps. How fun!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at some of the Windy City Bags projects! Interfacing and purse hardware are important features of bag making, so in addition to the project instructions, there are detailed chapters in the book discussing interfacing types and methods for installing purse hardware. These chapters will be helpful as you get to sewing some bags. Happy bag making!
Thanks for spoiling us with a sneak peek of your new book, Sara!
Handbags: made a bounty, made a few, or ready to give bag making a go? Tell us in the comments
and you could win a copy of Windy City Bags! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Sandra, who says:
“I have made a few simple bags but would like to progress on to something more sophisticated like those in the book.”
Sandra, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!