I’m a big fan of staring at Japanese pattern books – the colours and layouts are just so satisfying. This bag is from a new English-language release from Tuttle Publishing, Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi.
This is the Full Circle Bag project from the book. This bag is reversible although there is no way I’m ever going to reverse it and hide that Casper & Wendy print! Peter recently asked on his blog whether sewists ever reverse their reversible makes – I know I don’t, I pick a favourite side from the start!
The bag is a large circle which is pulled in via 16 loops which the strap is threaded through.
One of the distinguishing features of the book is that each project includes some element of hand sewing (and it is intended that the bags can be sewn wholly by hand if so chosen). For the project I made, the book suggested hand stitching a circular design on the bottom of the bag. I placed a circle of interfacing between the two layers of the bag and then machine stitched a circle design to help create a more sturdy base.
I know this looks like a slightly overdue Halloween project but I actually bought this fabric from Abakhan in Manchester ages ago with no project in mind. When I was shopping my stash for a suitable fabric for the bag I decided to go with Casper and Wendy. I have loads of this fabric left so it will be making another appearance at some point.
There’s a real mixture of bag projects in the book. There are 25 projects with customisations for 60 bags. The smallest are actually purses, the largest are totes.
I’m intrigued by the Checkout Basket Bag. I’m not sure how useful it would really be but it’s certainly different and I love the styling used in the book.
The Eco Bag is a nice simple design for a reusable bag and they would be quick to whip up as extra Xmas gifts.
As a lover of a large handbag (I tend to carry around a lot of stuff…) a Large Tote or a Picnic Tote has been added to my list of future makes.
At the back of the book there’s a nice ‘before you start’ section which includes advice on which type of interfacing and which bag accessories to use for each of the projects.
The projects all appear relatively simple and each project has clear instructions with lots of diagrams. A pull out pattern sheet is provided at the back of the book although the larger pattern pieces are only provided in part (e.g. for the project I made, 1/4 of the pattern piece was provided, meaning it needed to be traced 4 times to create a full pattern piece). Seam allowances also need to be added to some of the pattern pieces (although it is clearly stated where these are required).
Do you ever sew bags? Planning to make any for gifts this Christmas?
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics in exchange for a review; all opinions expressed are my own.