You all know my friend Sara right?  You know, the famous one with the zillions of fans, fabulous dresses and all those bag patterns?  Yes, THAT Sara, the Sew Sweetness one.  Well, as well as producing a fabulous collection of bag patterns this year, she’s also written a book, and lucky old me, I got to be in on it!  It was one of those secret projects last year that I told you you wouldn’t remember about ;o)

Big City Bags

Aimed at intermediate to advanced level bag-makers, there are 12 wonderful patterns included in this book, and can I tell you the art director of this book knew they were onto something by using the beautiful Sara to model all the bags, if it were me I’d be banished to a cupboard ;o)

The great news is that there is a section entirely dedicated to interfacing which contains a Pellon to Vilene conversion chart, I can hear the hallelujah chorus from Europe, Australia and New Zealand now!  Even if you’ve interfaced before, do give it a read, it has good advice on how to apply it – I’m amazed at the number of people I’ve come across that don’t know how to do that properly.  It also explains what they’re all used for.

Next, there is a section dedicated to bag making techniques, such as a variety of zipper insertion methods, hardware like magnetic snaps, feet, twist locks, and also strap and leather handle applications.  The handle section even suggests good handle lengths, which I found incredibly helpful, I totally lose the ability to visualise how these will work out when attached!  (Yep, I can envisage a 3D teddy bear, but not a bag handle, what can I say ;o) )

Next we come to the projects.  There is quite the variety of bag types included here, and as you can see from the photos above and further down, they use a variety of fabric types, and projects are show in multiple fabrics so that you can see different looks for each pattern.

You’ll also be pleased to know that pattern pieces are printed at 100%, and are right after the project, so none of this flipping to the back, trying to remember the name of the bag and trying to find all the pieces, only to find that after your trip to the copier you’ve missed a vital part (not that I’ve ever done that, nope, not ever) or that you printed the wrong size!  The seam allowance is marked on each piece too, so there’s no confusion there.

As any of you who have tried Sara’s patterns will know, they’re all beautifully written with plenty of pictures and diagrams to help you through.

So where the heck do I come into this?  Well Sara needed pattern testers, and I tested the Bee Sweet Bag:

Now at this point I would show you a photo of my test version, but, well, there’s a story behind that!  I got the pattern towards the end of August last year, which was right in the madness as I prepared for Sewing Summit and tried to finish a million and one things I’d promised to various people (overcommit much?)

I got it put together okay, but had to post it out straight away to Danny along with a bunch of stuff for her daughter and some things for her to bring with her to Sewing Summit (that I couldn’t take on the plane), the idea being that I’d hand it over in person to Sara there and get photos at the same time.  It didn’t arrive.  Well, it did eventually, but for some insane reason instead of the 1 week it normally takes for things to travel from here to the US, it took about 3 1/2.  ARGH!  It finally got there about a week after Danny left for Sewing Summit (in fact she was back home again) so now we had a challenge on how to get it to Sara.

Eventually we worked out a cunning plan whereby she would hand it over to my good friends Joanne and Janice who were coming up to Sedona to meet Laura and I on our grand camper van tour post SS (big thank you again to Joanne and Danny for driving from opposite sides of Phoenix to meet up and hand it over) Once it was back in my hands it had to go straight back into the post (although that was a challenge finding a flipping PO that was open, so it wasn’t until Vegas that it made it out again)  Sara finally got it about 5 weeks after it started its journey to her…

It went to the book photo shoot, but got cut at the last, so yeah, that’s why there’s no photo, but imagine it’s in Riley Blake grey chevrons with a turquoise solid accent please :oD

Anywho, if you want a chance to win this book, check out one of the following blogs:

October 28 – Craft Buds
October 29 – Sew Mama Sew
October 30 – Aurifil
October 31 – Fat Quarterly
November 1 – Craft Gossip

November 4 – Fat Quarter Shop
November 5 – Pellon
November 6 – Craftsy
November 7 – Pat Sloan
Gen Q Magazine
November 8 – Sew Can She

Thank you again Sara for letting me play for a little bit on your big adventure!