- make straps
- install zippers
- install magnetic snaps
- make bias binding and piping
- make a false bottom
Here are some other reviews of the class:
If you follow Sara Lawson's blog Sew Sweetness, you're probably aware that she recently taught a Craftsy class. It's all about interfacing and tips for better bag making. I feel pretty confident with interfacing choices, but I'm a big fan of Sara's so I took this class to see what it had to offer. Craftsy has given me a discount to share with you all as well! Find the discount toward the bottom of the post.
I think the class did a really good job at showing something I thought could only be taught with a physical hands-on experience. Sara compiled many samples of interfaced fabrics, using different fabric and interfacing combinations. She showed several different examples in completed bags, which really helps demonstrate the body and support interfacing lends to bags.
I think it's a really great class for those starting out in bag making. I wish this class was around when I first started making bags. The proper interfacing selection makes such a big difference to the look and feel of a completed bag. Just getting started at bag making can be so confusing and overwhelming; I really think this class helps take a lot of the confusion out of the subject. Even though I'm not a beginner, I picked up a few tips myself. I'd like to try some of the alternative stabilizers mentioned in the class.
It's not only about interfacing though! Sara also covers how to:
Some other topics were: choosing thread, needle size, and stitch length. I'm excited to try her trick for bias binding finish on seams. I always struggle with those, but Sara made it look easy with her tips. I also learned about some interesting tools I'd like to try out. The class also comes with a handy interfacing comparison chart, found in the class materials.
I've only started using Craftsy less than a year ago. I really like it so far. I find the app works really well for me, but watching from my computer is also convenient. I like to watch classes on my tablet while preparing food or folding laundry. There are many free classes to choose from as well. With Craftsy, there really isn't a risk either, because of their 100% money back guarantee. Another really great feature of Craftsy is that class participants can ask (written) questions during the class, and the instructor answers. It's great, because you see the questions others are asking. I learned nearly as much reading the questions and answers as I did from the class!
I found Sara so charming and really easy to listen to. Her instructions were clear and comprehensive. Those outfits! She doesn't say in the class, but I'm almost positive she made all her outifts, and I loved seeing them. I found that Sara went above and beyond answering class questions. I didn't notice any unanswered questions. Some questions I didn't find relevant to the class, but Sara graciously answered them anyway. I also really liked that she showed us some of her "not so perfect" bags to help us learn from her mistakes.
I wholeheartedly recommend this class for anyone starting out in bag making. Whether you've made one bag, or you've made a few basic bags but are wanting to take your bags to the next level, then this is the class for you! I can't fully recommend this class to experienced bag makers, because I think much of the material covered in the class, you will already have a firm grasp on. If you're a fan of Sara's though, like me, and enjoy taking Craftsy classes, then I still think you'd enjoy the class, and probably pick up a tip or two. It was fun seeing bags made from patterns I've used and even tested.
Here are some other reviews of the class:
Until February 11, you can save 50% on the Building Better Bags Craftsy class here.
Full disclosure: I received this class for free as part of the Craftsy affiliate program. The opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links and I earn commission from sales made through these links. Thanks for your support!
Have you taken the class? What did you think? What other classes would you like to see a review on? Let me know in the comments.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Sara Lawson's newest book Windy City Bags, so that I could host a Sew Along with all of you! Sara even let me decide which bag to sew with you. I loved so many bags from this book, so it was really hard to decide. I had to get some help from my Mom and sister to narrow it down. We decided that Hey Mercedes would be a great one for it.
You can read a bit more about the bag here on Sara's blog, Sew Sweetness. I really love the shape and size of this bag, and I think there's a lot of room to be creative with this pattern. I also think it works well with some larger scale prints, which can be hard to work into some bags.
Before I get into the details of the Hey Mercedes sew along (including prizes and a discount), I wanted to share another bag I made from the book: Trompe Le Monde. This is a really unique bag, with a zippered divider pocket, a tongue lock closure tab, and some pretty overlays. I used Heather Givans' Succulent line from Fabric Spark. The main exterior is a border print, and I had been waiting for just the right bag to display it. For the divider pocket and piping, I used a Mixology print from Sitka Fabrics; it works great as an accent.
It's a great size too! This large tote has lots of room for books or magazines, a tablet and typical purse contents. Keep your valuables secure in the zippered divider, and the larger items in either of the large sections. The interior slip pocket is great for quick access items, like a phone and keys.
This was my first time installing atongue lock and it was so easy! Check out the free tutorial on Emmaline Bags to learn how to install it.
Hey Mercedes Sew Along Details and Discount
What's a sew along? You can check out some of my other sew alongs to get a better idea, but the gist is that I will break down creating the bag in steps over a few days. I'll try to explain the process with extra pictures, and I also offer tips and different ways to do things in the pattern. Many people enjoy sew alongs because it's extra motivation to get going on a pattern you've been wanting to make. It's also lots of fun to see progress of others joining in. Once it's over, I'm always amazed and all the different bags made from the same pattern...so inspiring!
Because I know many of you still need the book, I'm giving you lots of time to get prepared for this event. If you haven't purchased a copy yet, you can pick up a signed copy of Windy City Bags from the Sew Sweetness website. Book purchases from the Sew Sweetness website receive a free paper pattern (just leave a note at check-out which one you'd like), and as a special for the sew along, Sara is including the 4 metal rectangle rings you need for Hey Mercedes for free as well (just leave her a note at check-out that you're participating in the sew along so she knows to include the hardware with your order).
You'll have a whole month to gather your supplies and plan the bag. We're starting the Sew Along on March 1st.
What you'll need for Hey Mercedes:
Sitka Fabrics, one of the sew along sponsors, is offering a 10% discount from now until February 21 with code Mercedes10 at checkout. I'll be making mine with the gorgeous Avantgarde collection from Sitka Fabrics and the colors are stunning!
Of course there are prizes! Really awesome prizes that I'm very excited about. Sitka Fabrics is giving away gift certificates and Aurifil has offered some thread boxes for prizes!! How awesome is that?! We will have one judged winner, and the rest will be random winners. I will include details on how to enter to win on March 1st.
So gather your supplies, and check back in on March 1st. I'll be posting some progress shots on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there as well. I'll use #HeyMercedesSAL, and I hope you do too, so everyone can follow along.
Introducing the Primrose Satchel, the newest pattern from Blue Calla. I had a chance to test out this pattern and I'm thrilled with it! Make sure to read through to the bottom for discount details!
There are so many features packed into this bag! It has an adjustable strap, making it able to be worn cross body or carried on the shoulder. The back has an exterior zippered pocket.
The pattern calls for a slip pocket inside the main compartment.
I love bags with flaps, because we can use a feature fabric and really showcase it. I used a directional fabric, and used the same focus for my interior and exterior fabric, so I just flipped my pattern piece to make sure my print went in the right direction on the inside. Like many of the Blue Calla patterns, this bag also features pleats, and I think they add such a nice touch to the bag.
The pattern calls for a turn lock, and you can even get a hardware kit for the Primrose Satchel from my favourite Hardware supplier: Emmaline Bags! I had a chance to use the new Half Moon Magnetic Edge Clasp from Emmaline, and I'm in love! It's simple to install, but has a big impact beyond a simple magnetic snap.
This pattern is a PDF that you print yourself. I love PDF patterns because I don't have to worry about messing up the original pattern because I can always print it again. I like to read instructions on my tablet while I'm sewing, so I only print the pattern pieces. The instructions consist of ample full colour photos; with a layout of 2 columns per page. This is one of the easiest bags I've made in a while, and I think it would be great for a confident beginner. I love the versatility with the flap and the closure options, and you can add piping too, depending on which closure method you choose. The hardest part of this pattern is placing the zippered pocket at the back of the bag, pay careful attention not to place it too high, or you will have a difficult time topstitching at your final step. If zippers scare you, leave it off, the bag will still be really nice without it, and you can try on your next one. I really like the method of closing this bag, leaving no seam to hand stitch (my sewing pet peeve). I recommend this pattern for anyone looking for a quick, easy sew with satisfying results.
More Tester photos
This beautiful Primrose featuring Anna Maria Horner's Loominous collection is made by Kristy of Rock Baby Scissors
This stunner, using Alison Glass' Ex Libris, was made by Sheri of Lil' Munkee Designs
Discount and Where to Purchase the Pattern
You can get the pattern at the Blue Calla site. As always, you can use promo code OKAPI10 to save 10% on any Blue Calla pattern, even sale priced patterns!
When I first started making bags, I only used free tutorials I found on Pinterest. Since then, I've accumulated dozens of purchased PDFs, but there are still some gems out there for free. The great thing about these free patterns, is it gives you a chance to test out a designer's style of instruction before buying another one of their patterns. Here is a small round up of free patterns from some of my favourite designers; I've chosen a few that have a some different techniques to try out.
Don't forget the discount at the bottom of this post!
The Retreat bag features a long zipper, and uses wire frames to hold the bag open wide. You can also make use of the new metal zipper ends available on www.emmalinebags.com instead of fabric zipper ends if you prefer.
The Baker Street Bag, by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness is a free PDF with one pattern piece and full instructions. I think it would make a good first project for someone who is comfortable with sewing, but hasn't made bags yet. The bag features a recessed zipper, but if that scares you, you can use a magnetic snap instead.
The Ramona Mini Hipster is Swoon's latest free pattern, and it features some fun hardware and a zipper. I love the design feature on the front of the bag: so much freedom to make it unique.
Anna of Noodlehead has many free tutorials and patterns listed on her site, here's the Snappy Manicure Wallet I made with the pattern. It was a lot of fun to make because it uses an elastic pocket, a zipper, and snaps. I also think it's a great pattern to use if you have several prints you're wanting to showcase. It makes a great gift too!
This last pattern is a brand new freebie from Thread Riding Hood. I just love the unique area for a fussy cut featured on the front of the pouch. I can think of many precious scraps I've hung on to that will be perfect for this project. Take your zippered pouches to the next level!
Note: Please refer to original posts for the individual designers' rules around selling bags made with these patterns.
Blue Calla Sewing Patterns Discount
Celine over at Blue Calla Sewing Patterns has been busy creating even more patterns, and has generously offered a discount for my readers. Use code OKAPI10 at checkout to save 10% on any bag patterns in her Etsy Shop.
Sponsors and Affiliates
Save 10% with code OKAPI10
Hi! I'm Reece and I love to sew! I'm also a mom and a wife. I love being crafty and sharing tips.
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