I reviewed Lisa's first book here. It is chock-full of tips and techniques for sewing and designing your own bags, but also comes with patterns in case you're feeling timid on the design front. I still highly recommend it. While that one is more technique-oriented with projects interspersed throughout to practice what each section covers, this one is definitely more project-oriented. Let's start at the very beginning, then. A very good place to start :)
This book is spiral-bound, so it lays nice and flat on your table so you can easily follow along. Instead of holding down the corners with anything heavy enough that's laying nearby,
The book is divided into three sections, as shown above. I'll be honest on this part--the techniques sections are much beefier in the first book, whereas here it's enough to get you through the patterns. This is probably more of a publishing limitation, though. If you're looking to have the directions all laid out, go with this book. If you want to learn techniques to design your own, go with her first book.
There are three large sections in the back that pull out to open up to full-sized pattern pieces that you can cut apart and use right away--no tracing because they overlap, no enlarging. It's ready to go. I love this feature.
And these are the projects--pretty, purposeful things for carrying things. There are simple totes, a tech case, a kiddie version and a grown-up version of a backpack, a wallet, a bicycle bag, a train case, and more.
And if you buy from her shop she'll even sign it for you :)
So what do I think of this one? It's put together well. The pictures are good. The directions are clear. I personally would have liked more pictures. I'm a visual learner, so I love pictures and videos, but the directions are clear enough to get you through the project (even though you may have to read one or two a few times). Again, I think that comes down to limitations from the publisher--you only have so many pages to fill and it's a fine line between too many directions/not enough projects and vice versa. As a stand-alone bag book it might be a little difficult to follow if you've never sewn bags before. But if you've made a few you should be quite all right with this one. I think both are worthy of having in your library.
I skipped right to the end and chose what is probably the hardest pattern in the book, but it's something I've wanted to make for a long time so it seemed a natural choice--The Train-Style Vanity Case. I made it in sewing-themed fabrics as I was making it as a sewing case instead of a cosmetics case. I think it came out pretty good for a first crack:
The top and bottom are rigid, but the sides aren't. I'd like to figure out how to make the whole thing rigid without driving myself too insane in the process.
The handle is a super cute knotted bow--you'd see it better if I had used a different fabric, but I think it's my favorite part of the whole thing.
You're looking at the two things I would change (that I did--not that were in the directions). I used a dual-direction purse zipper, and it did save some time in making one out of two regular zippers, but it's wider than a normal zip and makes things a bit stiffer. Also, I would use thinner piping cord as I think it would be easier going around the curves.
The directions for this hinge were crazy. Not crazy to figure out, but in seeing where she's going with it. And then poof! All is well.
I hate when black fabrics are completely different shades of black. Anyway, where the lid and base attach to the body there are raw edges exposed that are hidden with bias tape. My preference is for seams and not bound edges, but I suppose there is no way around some things. I sewed this on as if I were binding a quilt--I stitched it down by machine, and then tacked it down by hand for a neater appearance.
This pic makes it look like the lid is too small for the giant case, but it's just the angle it's taken at. I've been giving my sister some sewing lessons, and it holds the stuff she practices on perfectly. Much better than the Ziploc bag she's been stuffing things into.
So that's that. I've had a flip-through the other patterns, and I can guarantee they're all easier than this one. Of course I'm going to make another one. Red and yellow popped into my head so we'll have to see what I can dig up. See you tomorrow when I tell you what's in store for June!