Big–City Bags: Sew Handbags with Style, Sass, and Sophistication PDF by Sara Lawson


Big–City Bags: Sew Handbags with Style, Sass, and Sophistication
By Sara Lawson

city bag

Interfacing for Bags
Bag-Making Techniques
Fireside Bowl Bag
Go-Go Bag
Meringue Clutch
Wonderland Bag
Bee Sweet Bag
Oh Spit! Diaper Bag
Lucky Denver Mint Bag
Chandelier Swing Bag
Miss Independent Bag
Honeymooner Suitcase
Piccadilly Circus Bag
Sound Check Bag
About the Author

I am so intrigued by sewing. I love thinking about sewing-pattern instructions, shopping online for fabric, and devising new ways to finish projects. To me, sewing is like solving a puzzle, and all the different fabrics and techniques are pieces of that puzzle. There are always different ways to put the pieces together, but I challenge myself to come up with combinations that make each sewn item stunning and unique.

I began writing bag-sewing patterns late in 2011, when I should have been finishing up my handmade holiday gifts instead. I got a phone call from Pellon, an interfacing manufacturer, one day while I was Christmas shopping at the mall with my husband; the company was interested in a bag pattern for its Pellon Projects website. I told the rep that I would see about something after the New Year . . . and then I sent my Caliti Clutch sewing pattern to them about a week later.

Since then, my life has been a whirlwind of more and more bags. Between this book and the free patterns on my blog, I wrote 26 bag-sewing patterns in less than 10 months. It doesn’t feel like that many at all! It has been an absolute joy, and I am learning so much with each bag I make. Words can’t describe how wonderful it feels to be doing not only what I truly love, but also something that has the potential to spark creativity in others.

I have not used a store-bought bag in years. I truly believe that handmade bags don’t necessarily have to look handmade. I think I’ve taken on the term “bag lady” full force with this book, making it my personal mission to turn around the stigma surrounding those two words. Handmade bags should be stylish. They should be hip. They should be fantastic and bold. And if they happen to be mistaken for storebought bags, that’s a bonus!

The 12 projects here are all intermediate-to advanced-level patterns. The Internet is such a great resource for so many free sewing patterns that I did not feel the need to start with an easy pouch or tote bag, because you can find all those types of goodies online. The illustrations and instructions for each of my patterns are designed to provide a great foundation and get you on the way to your new bag in no time. I am so honored that you are holding this book in your hands right now, and I can’t wait to see what you create!

I hope you will take the patterns in this book and make them your own. Nothing makes me more excited than when a reader sends me an e-mail saying, “I made your bag pattern and I love it! I changed the flap a bit and added a longer strap, and it’s just perfect for me!″

One of my favorite topics is interfacing; you really cannot make a bag without it. Interfacing makes up 25% of my fabric stash . . . no lie! It’s one of those things that you just need to have on hand at all times, because you’ll use it in almost every project.

I use Pellon interfacing. If you live in a country where Pellon is not available, you may have luck finding the European brand Vilene, which is a fine alternative for making bags. Refer to the interfacing conversion chart below (which I put together with help from the lovely folks at Pellon).

Fusible Fleece (Pellon 987F)
You can purchase fusible fleece by the yard at your local fabric store. It is fusible on one side, which means you can feel the “glue” on one surface, and this is the side to position against the wrong side of your fabric. This interfacing has a bit of loft. I like using it, but I usually reserve it for a very specific purpose, such as to add extra body to the lining of a bag, to create padded straps without extra bulk, or to make small flaps. I don’t often use it for the bag exterior, because I have found that its loft can make the fabric look crinkly when used over a large area.

One way to smooth your fabric when using fusible fleece is by first fusing a layer of Shape-Flex (discussed on page 10) to the fabric, and then following it with a layer of fusible fleece.

Another great use for fusible fleece is to reinforce magnetic snaps. Every time you open and close a magnetic snap, it puts pressure on the fabric. To resist everyday wear and tear, slide the snap prongs through the fabric and a small square of fleece before closing the prongs. With this reinforcement, you needn’t worry about the fabric tearing under the strain of the magnetic snap.

Fusible Thermolam Plus (Pellon TP971F)
I absolutely love Thermolam Plus, a needled fleece that is denser and flatter than generic fusible fleece. When I’m making a bag or other accessory, I like it to have body; even for a simple tote bag, just two layers of fabric is too thin for me. This is a matter of personal preference, but I want my bags to have some substance and be able to carry 20 pounds without tearing at the bottom. So I use Thermolam Plus fused to the bag’s exterior fabric, sometimes in combination with either Shape-Flex or fusible fleece fused to the bag’s lining fabric.

Thermolam Plus, once fused, leaves the fabric looking nice and smooth. Test a small piece on your exterior fabric; depending on your iron, you may need to apply heat longer than the manufacturer recommends, but be careful not to damage the fabric. Sometimes I leave the iron in place up to double the recommended time.

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