When I got asked to review Lisa Lam’s second bag making book, A Bag for All Reasons, I nearly peed my pants with excitement. I am the biggest fangirl of Lisa and credit her for my bag-making fearlessness. The first example being the gathered purse frame clutch I made way back in 2010.
It wouldn’t be a true ”book review” though without actually sewing up something from the book. (Like I really needed to give myself an excuse sew a bag.) So, despite my glaring lack of an iPad (wah!!), I picked her shnazzed-up “Geek Chic iPad Case“. I will be sending a friend a very happy package when I am done writing this post. Before I get into the project details, let’s talk about A Bag for All Reasons.
Just a heads up: If you make it to the very end of this ridiculously long post, you can enter into a giveaway for a copy of “A Bag for All Reasons”, AND you will find a discount coupon for Lisa Lam products. So, grab a cup of coffee and plow through!
So… A Bag For All Reasons.*..
- I was pretty impressed by just how usable the 12 projects in the book were. Even more so than her first book. Usually craft project books have one or two “meh” projects, but even the beginner-level projects in this book had a clever twist to them. (For example, the grocery tote rolls up for storage.) These bags were meant to be made and used!
- The directions for the iPad case were fantastic – ridiculously clear, straight-forward and logical. No pages and pages of head-scratching gibberish here. There always was a helpful photo there to guide me whenever I felt I needed one. I have to admit it certainly was a nice change to sew a project that didn’t take a lot of calculations and guesswork.
- Metric to English measurement conversions are always little bizarre to work with. Where you might typically have 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch measurements, instead there are 3/8ths this and 15/16ths that. Not a problem really, it just took a smidge more time to measure things out and I had to triple check my measurements to make sure they were right. No biggie.
- The techniques section is a repeat from her first book (“The Bag-Making Bible”*). If you are looking for a new or expanded bag-making techniques section, you will be disappointed. My guess is that she was too thorough in her first book to offer that? It doesn’t bother me. It just means that you do not have to buy the first book to use the second. Plus, there is still plenty to be learned about bag construction from the projects themselves. I made some mental notes about sizing stabilizer pieces so that they don’t bulk up the bag seams and will be incorporating that into future bags.
They have been leaking some “preview” projects at various blogs around the web. I found the following:
Sourcing The iPad Case Project Supplies
When I set out to review this book, my plan was to make an “all stash” project. That was shot to heck when I started drooling over the leather-and-rivet-tastic Geek-Chic iPad Case. The actual sewing and putting together of the bag was straight-forward and satisfying. Finding all the materials for the bag, however, was considerably trickier. But…. for a bag-sewing geek like myself, the Great Online Bag Making Hardware Research Experience of 2012 was thrilling in its own way. (“Research” being code for “I spent way too much time and money on shopping for these supplies, but it was for my blog readers so somehow that is OK.”) Here’s what I had to track down and where…
- Interfacing – The pattern calls for Decovil which, apparently, is not a product you can find in any stores in the US. It can be purchased from Lisa’s site (and shipped from the UK), or from a seller on Amazon*. I chose to use what I had on hand instead of tracking down the Decovil. I used a layer of Peltex 70* sandwiched between 2 layers of Shapeflex*. I am pleased with the results, but I am curious how the Decovil would have turned out.
- Leather Straps - I had the darndest time finding leather straps. I finally bought some “5/8 inch Strip Straps“ from ValueBeltsPlus on Etsy. The 8-9oz leather was still a little bit too heavy, but it was workable. I would still like to find a better source for a lighter weight leather strap.
- Clips & D-Rings - These are a little bit easier to source these days. My local fabric shop now has a special bag making section with modest amount of heavy-weight rings and handles. If you have time to wait for the shipping, Etsy is great for finding good quality buckles and clips. Or you could hit up thrift stores and harvest from old bags. This project requires two sets of d-rings and clips, both sized 3/4 inch.
- Snaps – Snaps were probably the trickiest part to source. (A shout-out goes to my twitter peeps for their advice!) The “Heavy Duty” snaps I found at my local fabric store attached with prongs and were not going to make it through all the layers it needed to. Instead, I tested out two sizes of heavy-duty snaps from Tandy Leather - ”Line 24″ and Line “20″. These snaps attach with a center post and they look like they will hold up for a loooong time. For my thick leather, I needed to use the Line 24 snaps. I picked up my set from Tandy Leather and it included the setter and anvil. Then,I found a multi-sized leather hole punch on Etsy. It will be nice to be able to use the hole punch for rivets as well. (see this video for how to set snaps)
- Rivets – Finally, you will need some metal rivets. I shared how to install rivets before, but I have never used such a large size! I ordered a set of medium and large double cap rivets and used the size large for straps and 8mm for the tab loop. (I got my Medium and Large rivets from Hawke’s Leather on eBay. They have a great selection of Tandy Leather supplies in general and shipping is from the US. I will probably be using them again.)
You will also need the setting tool and an appropriate hole punch, as discussed above. I wasn’t terribly successful with setting my large rivets. Maybe if I had a fancy hand press*? (Not that it would be totally excessive or anything. heh.)
Phew! I know, right? I can snap and rivet to my heart’s content now! So bring it!
The folks with F+W Media have offered a copy of A Bag For All Reasons to one lucky reader!
- The Prize: One person will receive a copy of Lisa Lam’s A Bag For All Reasons (a $27.99 value).
- The prize is being rewarded by F+W Media, and will be shipped by them.
- Open to all U.S. residents, ages 18 and older. One entry per household. Void where prohibited.
- Entry is open until Nov 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM EST.
- TO ENTER, comment on this blog post. Then use the Rafflecopter widget below to tell me you did!
- Duplicate or ineligible entries will be deleted.
- No purchase is necessary to win.
- A winner will be chosen by random with Rafflecopter and announced on the blog by November 14th, 2012. The winner will be contacted by the information provided within Rafflecopter, and the winner must reply back before November 19th, 2012 or the prize will be forfeited and a second winner drawn.
They are also offering a discount of 33% off all of Lisa Lam products in the Martha Pullen Store by using the code “BAGS2012″.
* Disclosure: I was given a review copy of this book. I was not compensated for writing this review or hosting this giveaway. This post DOES contains affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you choose to purchase from the links within this post designated with an asterix (*). I am offering links to various retailers as be resource to my readers. As I mention in my blog disclosure policy, I only recommend products I have experience with.