Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Search Press 
Release Date:  November 2003
ISBN:   1903975999
Format Reviewed: Large Format Paperback 
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Genre:  How-To Books/Making Bags
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer:  Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  If you cannot find the materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

Handmade Bags
By Terence Terry 

     No outfit is truly complete without a bag, but it often hard to find one that matches or is the right size. Why not make your own? As I would expect from Search Press, this new title shows that it can be surprisingly easy to make a professional-looking and unique bag for whatever purpose you have in mind. It starts you off gently with revamping an old or plain store-bought bag, and then the projects get steadily more advanced, ranging from one to three flowers, depending on what they entail. If you have a sewing machine (any model provided it has a swing needle), you already have the most expensive piece of equipment. The rest of the items you will need are mainly just what you plan to make the bag out of, and this is also discussed at some length. There is a section on making the patterns and using squared grids, basic hand and machine stitches and some decorative ones to add interest (no complicated embroidery stitches here). There is information on seams, fastenings and how to use both correctly, according to what fabric you are using, and with all that under your belt you can start making bags…

     There are some wonderfully whimsical bags in here, and most are very practical as well, so you can have fun and be sensible at the same time (not often anybody gets to do this). Make a bag for the races with novelty turf, grab an old brooch and feather boa for a dramatic look, knit with wire or use it to make a cage bag, do patchwork with oddments, or try quilting. I had expected that this would mainly be a book on making evening bags, but I was pleasantly surprised when faced with lots of snazzy shopping and tote bags and many more handbags suitable for wearing for smart day occasions. There are clear diagrams throughout and everything is explained in easy stages, although for a total beginner with a sewing machine I would recommend something easier first. It also stretches advanced stitchers, and I am already thinking of a few bags of my own; all I needed to get me going was a good understanding of how the patterns worked. This shows that the book provides a sound underpinning of how to design bags and is not merely a lot of patterns to copy slavishly. I also liked the way many of the embellishments could be made by hand rather than just bought; learn how to make pompoms, French knit with an old cotton reel to make a strap and make simple fabric flowers. I've seen other books on making bags, but this is the only one I have actually wanted to own. Highly recommended.