I really like that the book includes a variety of projects that are divided by experience level. I have actually had the book for a while now, and the cover bag is the main reason I picked it up in the first place, but I know I will make some of the other projects in the book as well. I generally can't justify buying craft books when I already have so many other patterns, but this is one I couldn't pass up. There are projects in all three levels (Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced) that I hope to make.
I recommend doing a quick search for sew-alongs for book projects if you are intimidated by them. Often times there will be additional tips and tricks that will help you with the more difficult parts. I have found that due to limited space in books, instructions are sometimes not as thorough or have as many pictures as I am used to with stand-alone patterns. That's not saying craft books are not as good, just something to keep in mind and get use to. Janelle and Lindsay both have multi-part sew along posts on their blogs for projects in this book (the Airport Sling and Sporty Strap Pack), and I've seen others too. Make sure you check them out!
I was provided with an eBook version of my choice of books for this series, but decided to go with one I had already purchased in book form. Personally I like to have physical copies of books/patterns rather than working from my phone or a tablet. I find it much easier to flip through a book than a digital pattern, but I do love having the pdf versions of the pattern pieces. Sometimes the physical books can be a pain to use though because they don't lay nicely, and it's annoying trying to keep your place in the book when you're trying to figure out what you should be doing next. To solve this problem, I took my book to a local print shop and had it spiral bound. What a game changer! It was relatively cheap (under $4.00) and worth every penny.
The book starts out with an introduction by Lindsay and Janelle, followed by general techniques that apply to all/most of the patterns in the book and are just really good general project tips to apply to whatever you might be making. There are also super handy tips & hints scattered throughout all the patterns in the book. They are definitely helpful!
As I said, the Sporty Strap Pack on the cover was the reason I bought this book in the first place, so this review was my excuse to let it budge in line a bit & move to the top of my "To Make" list. This pattern is the last one in the "intermediate" section, and in general isn't a hard project, but the unique shape and construction do land it firmly in the intermediate section. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it came together (or would have, without my usual tendency to modify any pattern I make - more on that in a minute...), and was able to whip it up in less than a week of naptime sewing. A week might sound like a long time, but when you consider in the time I spend chasing a toddler to keep her from coloring on E-V-E-R-Ything, it wasn't bad at all. ;)
If you happen to know anything about me, you know two things - I love pockets and for the life of me I can't follow a pattern as written. It's not necessarily that I can't follow directions, I just always need to change something up, and pretty much always have to add pockets.
For my bag, I chose to add the zip around pocket from the Airport Sling pattern in the "advanced" section. This pocket is definitely the reason the Airport Sling is an advanced pattern, but it's just such an awesome pocket! It zips around the outside and has a pocket with card slots. It's like the Cadillac of pockets.
For example, I was putting in the zipper for the front pocket & did my best to guess at what my exact zipper length should be. The first time I tried piecing in the zipper, I ended up with quite a bit extra at the bottom.
In the end, I really love how my bag turned out. I already used it at the park earlier this week and it was perfect for a few essentials and super comfy when chasing the kids around.
Thanks for having me, Reece!