Wonder how to make high-end handbags? Sara shares all (giveaway!)

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.

Festival Bag

Windy City Bags by Sara LawsonSo, how are those high-end handbags made, anyway? Big-City Bags author Sara Lawson knows, and she’s back to share a dozen new bag patterns plus her savvy sewing know-how in Windy City Bags.

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!

Sara-LawsonHello book-lovers! My name is Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness, and my second book, Windy City Bags, is chock full of 12 brand-new bag-sewing patterns.

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.

Windy City Bags by Sara Lawson
Find “Sara Says” tips throughout the book

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!

Trompe le Monde bag
Trompe le Monde Bag

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.

Windy City Bags book - Hey Mercedes Bag
Hey Mercedes Bag

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!

Windy City Bags - Sweet Talk Bag sewing pattern
Sweet Talk Bag

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.

Buy-it-NowCan’t wait to start your next bag with Sara? Buy the book now—or buy both of Sara’s books and earn free shipping in the U.S. and Canada.

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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!


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