So September’s book club offering is ‘The Bag Making Bible’ by Lisa Lam. I have been a fan of Lisa and her website U-Handbag ever since I first got into sewing, so I was very keen to read her book. It definitely didn’t disappoint! It is a fantastic resource giving details of tools to use and different techniques to create beautiful bags. All patterns are included with the book and she gives clear step by step instructions, reinforced by close up photos.
This is a comprehensive sewing book which I am sure you would return to time again. Great for first time sewers and those who are not afraid of the sewing machine, the projects progress in complexity, until you are making a bag which is all singing all dancing with all the trimmings!
One little extra touch I like is on the back cover there is a glossary of terms which can flap over to the page you are reading – she really has thought of everything to make bag making straightforward!
Go out and buy this book, you won’t be disappointed!
For Handmade Monday #32 I thought I would tell you how I got on with starting the Molly Handbag pattern by Reba Collins.
I had decided on using a contrast fabric for just the ruffle part of the bag (the spotty fabric), with the bold flower fabric for the main body, top band and strap. I then used the rest of the spotty fabric for the lining. I printed out the pattern pieces and using Reba’s instructions cut out my pattern pieces, saving on time and fabric by double folding the fabric.
I then ironed on the fleece interfacing and the woven interlining, this was a new experience for me as I have never used either of these, but oh how I loved how they change the feel of the fabric! I have already thought of other projects to try which uses them!
Attaching main body to top band
The next step was to make the ruffle and attach to the top band. By machine basting I could then use the threads to pull the fabric into a ruffle. Using lots of pins I then attached the main body to the top band, shaping it to fit the curved shape.
Slowly the bag was coming together and I was really pleased on my fabric choices. The pattern was also so easy to follow – Reba has written it so well, with pictures and notes to supplement and help with the tricky bits.
I now had the exterior completed and just had to trim the corners to give the bag a flat bottom. This posed the greatest challenge so far, trying to match the bottom and side seams was quite tricky!
However it all seemed to work out, turned it ride sides out and here it is! My next step is to join the lining pieces and add the strap. I hope to get the rest of the bag finished soon so will blog how I get on!
Register for Reba’s weekly recap and get the Molly Handbag Pattern for free. Also check out Handmade Monday and see what everyone else has been up to!
Whilst away in Yorkshire for a long bank holiday weekend, I have brought with me some of my sewing books that I have had given to me as presents but never had the chance to read in detail. It gave me the idea to share with you, on a monthly basis, books I feel may interest you. So here we are with August’s review – 3 books all quite closely related in content.
The first one is Simplicity’s ‘How to use a sewing machine’ by Marie Clayton. This is definitely a great present for someone who is new to sewing. It gives a great overview of choosing a sewing machine, the different parts to the machine and it also discusses sergers and how to use them. It gives details on how to do seams, hems, pleats, tucks and different bindings/trimmings. It also has a very brief section on embroidery and patchwork. At 144 pages it gives enough detail for those starting out and needing basic info. I would definitely recommend it and would be good for those of you running workshops/classes to have as a reference book or to recommend to your customers.
The next book is ‘The Sewing Book’ by Alison Smith, published by Dorling Kindersley. It is a great lead on from the how to use your sewing machine book, as it goes into a lot more detail. It really is a reference book that you can dip in and out of. It covers all the techniques you could ever think you might need to use, including those relating to dressmaking and soft furnishings. It has a section at the back which gives projects using many different techniques. Another great buy for any level of sewer!
The last book is ‘The dressmaker’s technique bible’ by Lorna Knight. I have to say I was a little disappointed with this book, only because the content is very similar to that in ‘The Sewing Book’. It gives you info on selecting and reading patterns, working out your size and adapting patterns as well as all the techniques you could ever think you would need for dressmaking. Again a great reference book to help when deciphering instructions on patterns.
I guess you could argue that the topics covered in all books could be found on the Internet. I often feel quite overwhelmed when looking things up on the web and I feel it’s much easier to have a book in front of you than a computer screen when trying out new techniques etc. Plus with the age of Kindles etc we should really try and keep the spirit if good old fashioned books alive! I am definitely a book hoarder and there’s nothing like the smell of a new book!
After joining Twitter 3 weeks ago and hoping to expand into the world of sewing I was delighted to find a tweet from Reba Collins asking for someone to test her Molly Handbag pattern. I eagerly replied and now have the fab job of exploring her pattern! I will blog how I get on along the way and will ultimately give Reba some feedback on how her pattern works.
The first and most enjoyable task is to choose some suitable fabric. I have many designers who I love and I am torn between several different designs. The handbag pattern involves either one colour exterior or a multi colour exterior – I have chosen to do the latter, but finding coordinating fabric will be a challenge! So while I decide please leave me a comment on what your favourite fabric is. I think I will probably go for something by Amy Butler but would love to branch away from the common designers so your input on some more unusual designs would be great!
Off now to continue my fabric search – life can be so hard!
The John Lewis Mini may be one of the smallest sewing machines on the market, however it still has enough ‘go’ in it to compete with the rest. My sewing started when I was given one of these little beauties for Christmas. It has all the features you will need to do most basic projects including a choice of different stitches and also comes in a range of colours! It operates on a drop in bobbin system and has a free arm for doing small projects. If you are looking for a machine for your child or even for yourself to see if you enjoy sewing without spending big bucks then this is the one for you. So far I have made cushion covers, lap quits and even a tunic for myself. One of the things I really liked was that it chugs rather than whizzes the fabric through therefore giving you time to keep up with it. On the downside, it struggles with quite thick material and you can’t change the feet on it, however once you start more advanced projects and know sewing is for you then you can branch out into a bigger model. I have just bought a Singer machine so will see how I get on with the plentiful stitches and feet to choose from! If your thinking of getting one of the minis but not sure if it’s for you, please get in touch and we can have a chat!
Have a look at it in more detail on the John Lewis website.
Have a great Sunday, I’m off to do a bit of sewing!