I love, love, love hearing from all of you that have purchased my book, Sew Bags! Thank you! It makes me so very happy to hear how much you are enjoying it. This has been such a meaningful project for me to work on and I could not have done it without the help and dedication of so many talented individuals such as my publisher, Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing, Kelly Burgoyne, an amazing photographer, April Mostek, book designer, editors Liz Aneloski, Debbie Rodgers and Beth Baumgartel, and, Acquisitions Editor Roxane Cerda. And of course to all of you!! My readers and students who really make all that I do so meaningful.
As for the book itself, where do I start? When I set out to write the book over two years ago, I had a vision of what it might be like, both the experience of writing and what the final book would be like. While the book is so much better than I had envisioned, the actual writing process was really very difficult for me. It took me much longer to prepare each step and thoughtfully communicate clearly yet concisely what I wanted the reader to learn. (I have trouble with distraction on a good day- this project required a few overnight hotel stays and a level of concentration that I was no longer familiar with.) Teaching has kept me grounded in the beginner’s experience. The projects that they are interested in making, the questions that they ask and the troubles that they encounter along the way. I wanted to be certain that each project and step would build confidence instead of frustration. What a valuable experience this was for me! I know that since writing this book, I have become a better teacher.
The book is about making bags, of course. But really, the lessons are based on classic sewing techniques. Master these skills, and they will forever be part of your repertoire. My goal is to teach you how to sew in such a way that it is not so much about the specific project, but more about the how’s and why’s of each skill. Once you have a basic understanding of construction, the logic of each project becomes considerably clearer.
Since the projects are bags, they had to be fantastic looking! So many sewing books that I see that are about bag making are either too “crafty looking” or very intensive and require a level of skill, time and supplies that many of my students don’t have. I wanted my book to be different. Part aspirational but definitely attainable. I want it to attract someone with little skill and for them to be excited to make and carry or someone who already knows how to sew, but doesn’t want to spend weeks working on a bag. For this, the bags needed to be simple in design but look like something I would (do!) actually carry.
The projects are grouped into four categories: shoulder-strap bags, tote bags, zipper clutches, and drawstring bags. The first bag sets the skill, and the rest build on that. You will master techniques such as making straps, pleats, boxing the bottom of a bag (to create a base), making pockets, applying bias tape, and installing zippers.
Each project has step by step photos and written instructions. Plus some illustrations! I was so thrilled and flat out stunned during the book writing process when my editor asked if I would considering sharing more of my illustrations. Never did I imagine that they would be on the cover! You will find lots of illustrations throughout the book too. In fact, one of my favorite book details is how they cropped tiny bits a color exercise from the sketch book that I sent in and use them throughout the book to highlight sewing tips.
Color Scale Exercise
I can’t wait to see what you come up with based on the projects in this book. I hope you share! Please tag #sewbags on any Instagram or Facebook posts, etc, when sharing your creations. I hope to have a well of projects made by you that we can all use as inspiration. Any of these bags can be made in so many ways- I cannot wait to see what your interpretation might be.
If you are in Norfolk next weekend on June 29, please stop by my shop between 3 and 5 PM for some fun as we celebrate the launch of Sew Bags!
You can get your own copy of Sew Bags: The Practical Guide to Making Purses, Totes, Clutches & More; 13 Skill-Building Projects today through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Powells . Signed copies are available through my local, independent bookstore, Prince Books, in Norfolk, VA. They ship too:)