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:
- Geek-Chic iPad Case at How About Orange
- Pleated Purse Frame Purse at Sew, Mama, Sew!
- Compact Grocery Tote at Stitch Craft Create
(you will have to divulge your contact info for this one)
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.
Another nice project and great review Jodi! I love making bags..I frequently get on a bag kick and have been known to give all my friends bags at Christmas.
barbara n says
What a beautiful bag…I would love to make some of these for gifts
This looks like an AWESOME book. Thanks for the chance to win! Your iPod case is gorgeous by the way!!!!
Kristina @nerdysewist says
Awesome post, and such a cute bag. Plus, talk about fearless with all that crazy hardware! And I’d like to note that Lisa’s Bag Makers Bible is included in that 33% off!!!
Kasey Coots says
This looks amazing! This bag is going on my christmas list if I don’t win!
Beth H says
What a great review. I have always been intimidated by bag patterns. After reading your review, I think I will give this one a try. Thanks for the review and the opportunity to win this.
I LOVE bags! I would make one every day if I could! Thanks for the chance to win!
I already have Lisa’s first book. Hope to win this one!
I have Lisa’s first book, and I definitely intend to get the new one too. I love your version of the iPad case!
Margaret Courtney says
That is WAY to cute! I would Love to win the book. I have her other book and just love it too! This bag would so much fun to make for my ipad that I hope Santa will bring me this Xmas.
Maureen Cousino says
Love it!! Great review and that ipad case is GORGEOUS!! You are amazing. I want to be a bag making sort of person. Maybe once I’m done with this Pajama Eaters kick… 😀
Thanks for the giveaway. I love reading your blog.
Super cute! I love the design and the leather pieces.
Love the case!
Beautiful job on the case!
Karen Chatters says
The bag is amazing! The hardware would have completely turned me off though but now that you’ve done all the research….
This sounds like a great book. I’d love to win a copy.
Great bag and post! In the event I don’t win… this book is going on my Christmas list 🙂
What a beautiful bag you made! Great post with lots of great information, thanks!
Thank you and F & W Media foran awesome giveaway and a chance to win.
I love bags!!! I really need a copy of Lisa’s book, I have 4 daughters who love bags too!!! You’ve made a beautiful bag, thank you for the opportunity to win this book.
It’s a lovely ipad case!! I want to try to make one for my mother for her Christmas gift 😉 SO NICE AND CUTE!!
I had the first Lisa’s book and it’s so great! I love bags and purses. Hope to win her second one!
nancy of IN says
Love the bag. I hope to find ‘parts’ easier than you did. Thanks
This looks absolutely precious! You did a terrific job with your bag. The book is a generous perk Thanks for the offer. 🙂
Laura Sushoreba says
I LOVE Bags!!! They are such a great way to practice new techniques.
Meg K says
I love it! And I LOVE your fabric and leather choices (as usual). Thanks, Jodi!
Amanda C says
I love Lisa’s books! I think I’ve checked out every bag making book in my state library and Lisa has the 2 best ones. The only other comparable one is Amy Butler’s Style Stitches, and seeing as they work together sometimes, that’s not surprising.
Jodi. Fantastic find on the lovely fabric. Very chic!
I have Lisa’s first book and I love it! I’d love to win a copy of this one.
What a great review, thank you! I was really wondering how good this book is, I have the first one and I love it.
I LOVE THIS!!!! It is so cute! Love the DS!
Thanks for all of the research you did on where to find the leather tools. Those little details really make the bag.
Great review and giveaway! Another book to add to my list :)!
Great review! You did a great job on your bag!
Love Lisa Lam! Awesome giveaway – desperate to try her books as I love her site!
Rhonda miller says
Thanks for the giveaway.
So lovely! I covet. 🙂
Here we go. 🙂
That looks so professional! I am impressed with all the rivets and strap, etc. Lovely!
Beth H. says
Why pay for expensive bags when you can make your own. Thanks for the opportunity.
Love the bag, especially the print!
Dana Hess says
I love all of your projects! They are all so handy!! I love the handle on this ipad case!
Awesome!!! What an adorable case/bag!!!
Leather hole punch, I have one of these, no clue why,now I know it’s purpose,thank you!,
Jean Lowenberger says
I really like this review, would I love to win this book, you bet! Thank you for the wonderful review.
Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy says
Beautiful! Since I’ve started sewing again, I’ve come to appreciate clear, straight-forward directions. I would think that would be a given for instructional materials…but I’d be wrong.
Would be great to win this!
Twins Squared says
What a nice iPod case! I have been eyeing this book and I would love to win it! Thanks for the chance!
Eliza Chandler says
I love, love sewing bags — all shapes, all sizes. Have been eyeing this book and pouring over it in the bookstore. Would love to win! Thanks for the opportunity!
Kat Lotz says
Cute bag! And great book…I’m adding it to my Christmas wish list!
Wow what a fantastic book!! I would love to add it to my craft library, Thanks.
Very nice. wish i could fine supplies locally.
Sue I says
Thanks for sharing your insight about making this making this bag. I sometimes get so hung up on following the directions that I forget to look for options. Thanks for the chance on winning the book too!
I love making bags of all sizes. I would love having this book. Thanks.
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This looks very techie and fitted for an iPad. I think this will surely protect your ipad with its high quality and cool style.