Break out your fabric stash: make beautiful bags (+ giveaway!)

Stash accumulators, material girls, and fabric fanatics: how do you wear your heart on your sleeve?

Large Market Bag
“Large Market Bag,” made with fabric from the Winter’s Lane collection by Kate & Birdie Paper Co. for Moda Fabrics

You let the quilting fabrics you love do double duty—and go bag-making!

Purse Frame ClutchGet ready to feature your fabrics in a whole new way with the dozen polished bags in the new book Style and Swing from Scottish designer Susan Dunlop. Susan’s refreshing bag designs are sturdy and structured, but they artfully sidestep complex techniques. From simple, elegant handbags for first-timers to intermediate-level layered satchels, you can work your way up the bag-technique ladder at your own pace. Plus, there’s plenty of wiggle room for adding your own flair: extra pockets, different handles, unique embellishments—endless possibilities!

Susan is our guest writer today, here to share a peek into her new book. Classic, uptown, trendy, groovy—which bag best fits your style? Welcome, Susan!


Susan DunlopHave you ever drooled over gorgeous handmade bags and wished that you could make them too? Well, Style and Swing: 12 Structured Handbags for Beginners and Beyond is just the book you’re looking for.

If you’re a newcomer to sewing, or you’re more experienced but haven’t made bags before, Style and Swing will walk you through the steps and techniques you’ll need to know. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked on bag-making and you’ll be able to stitch up the best bags ever!

The patterns progress from really easy to more challenging designs, building skills with each pattern so that your confidence can grow as you learn.

Projects from Style and Swing
Projects from
Style and Swing

A comprehensive information section is included at the beginning of the book that includes everything you need to know about sewing terms, required tools, fabric preparation, stabilizers, and how-to techniques. Even beginners will feel confident starting the fun-to-make projects included. Detailed illustrations throughout each project clearly show how to complete each step so there’s no guesswork involved.

Illustrations from Style and Swing
Example of illustrations from the “Layered Satchel” project

Beginners will benefit from starting with the “Funky Handbag,” which gently introduces you to the world of bag-making. The “Large Market Bag” and the “Uptown Shopper” projects are sure to be a hit, too. They’re both fairly easy to make and look absolutely stunning in bright, vibrant fabrics.

Projects from Style and Swing

“Funky Handbag” and “Uptown Shopper”

See all 12 bag designs in Style and Swing >

That’s not to say that you can’t jump right in and tackle whichever project strikes your fancy. Simply refer to the techniques section to learn how to complete a particular task. You’ll get great tips like this one:

Quick tip: skip the pins

Get adventurous and customize your bags to suit your needs. Have a go at projects such as the “Trendy Hipster Bag,” the “Groovy Satchel,” the “Tri-Fold Wallet,” or the “Layered Satchel.” Any of these projects will offer the challenge you’re looking for and you’ll end up with a finished accessory to be really proud of.

More bags to sew from Style and Swing
Clockwise from top left: “Trendy Hipster Bag, “Groovy Satchel,” “Tri-Fold Wallet,” “Layered Satchel”

The projects in Style and Swing will make perfect gifts for friends and family, or you can indulge in some self-satisfying sewing and keep them for yourself. You’re bound to find it hard to part with your handmade masterpieces!


Thanks for introducing us to the beautiful bags in Style and Swing, Susan!

Rate your bag-making skills: just beginning, building skills, or total bag-making buff? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Style and Swing eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Style and SwingBuy Style and Swing today and instantly download the eBook for free—you can start making one of Susan’s smart bags right now.

Print book (with free eBook): $26.99
eBook only: $18.99

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Audrey, who says:

“I am always looking to build my skills and in the bag making department it isn’t any different. I have made several bags and enjoy the process and product very much.”

Audrey, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


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