CRAFT

From the author of the bestselling The Bag Making Bible
(over 70,000 copies sold) comes an outstanding collection
of 12 inspiring bags for you to make at home.
✧ Full-size pull-out patterns to use right away
✧ Fully photographed step-by-step instructions

ISBN-13: 978-1-4463-0185-2
ISBN-10: 1-4463-0185-0
Lisa Lam is the founder
and owner of u-handbag,
the dedicated
online store
and blog for
bag makers.

m
a
L
a
L

“Thank you Lisa for bringing such lovely style to our bag making world!” – Amy Butler

La Lam

Other titles from Lisa Lam

“This info
rmation-ric
h book wil
your sewin
l elevate
g know ho
w with ve
technique
rsatile
s and insp
iring sugg
for making
e
st
ions
these bag
s your ow
n.”
Amy Butle
r, fabric de
signer
“A must h
ave for be
ginners an
experience
d
d bag-mak
ers alike.”
Anna Stass
en, UK Ha
ndmade
“Lisa is th
e first lady
of
handmade
bag pattern
Perri Lew
s.

is, craft jo
urnalist an
d author
“It is an e
xcellent re
source for
bag and p
all your
urse makin
g needs.”
Kathreen
Ricketson
:
whipup.ne
t and auth
or

A bag for all reasons

✧ 12 bags and purses for every occasion

A bag for
all reasons

UK £17.99
US $27.99
(Can $29.50)
W8876

12 all-new bags and purses to sew for every occasion

BFAR_COVER_ARTWORK.indd 1

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Contents
Introduction

4

Getting Started

Projects

Basic Equipment

6

The Geek-Chic iPad Case

40

The Sewing Machine

8

The Compact Groceries Tote

48

Using Patterns

10

The Access-All-Areas Pouch

56

Modifying Patterns

11

The Toddler-Friendly Backpack

62

Understanding Patterns

12

Fabric Types

14

The ‘Too Cool for School’ Satchel

70

Fabric Preparation and Cutting

16

The Pleated Purse-Frame Purse

78

The All-Sorted Laundry Bag

86

The Fashionista Baby Bag

92

Techniques
Flush Zip Pocket

18

Top Edge Zip

22

The Double-Pannier Bicycle Bag

112

Slimline Concealed Top Edge Zip

24

The 3-in-1 Convertible Backpack

122

Magnetic Snaps

27

The Terrific Tri-Fold Wallet

136

Open-End Straps

28

The Train-Style Vanity Case

144

Closed-End Straps

29

Adjustable Straps

30

Bound Edges

32

Piped Edges

34

Inserting Linings: Pull Through
and Turn Out Method

36

BAGS_P1_37.indd 3

Suppliers

154

Resources

155

Pattern Legend

156

About the Author / Acknowledgements 158
Index

159

1/19/12 10:17 AM

Introduction

12 stylhly eful bags designed for real-life situatio… a pry
bag  nice, but a pry and practical bag  PERFECT!

When anyone asks me what I love most about sewing I tell them,
‘I love how sewing never gets boring!’ As far as I – and millions of
other sewists – are concerned, sewing is one of the coolest, most
satisfying and useful pastimes out there. If you are just about to
embark on your sewing career, welcome to the club: be prepared
to become very addicted, very quickly, for a very long time!
We sewists are a resourceful bunch – we have to be. For a start,
most of us don’t have unlimited amounts of fabric and time on
our hands. I am such a craft fiend that I HAVE to do some sewing
every week (unless I’m on holiday) or I get jittery! This is why I
try to get the most out of my limited crafting time and I like to do
this by sewing items that will be used time and time again. But an
item’s usefulness is only half the story. For me, the best designs
are fab to look at and just as fab to use. Bags are the ultimate
useful accessory – we all need them, we all use them and we all
like them to look great too.
With this in mind, I have designed 12 fully featured bags for
this book that I hope you’ll agree look stylish and professional.
But more importantly, these bags are all designed to be totally
practical and enjoyable to use in real-life situations. It goes
without saying: the more useful something is, the more often
you’re going to use it, right? And time is too precious to spend
hours making something only for it to end up forlorn at the back
of a cupboard.
4

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While the more fully featured bags are aimed at the intrepid bag
maker, I’ve also included some great projects, which are perfect
for the excited sewing newbie. As readers of my blog and my
first book, The Bag Making Bible, will already know, I tend to
shy away from easy quick-fix projects because I love making bags
that will get people wondering if my new bag is store-bought:
‘Really? You made it? No way!’ And this is why I like to include
practical features like oodles of pockets, hardware and exciting
shapes. Don’t worry if these features seem out of reach – they’re
not, they’re right inside this book and yours for the making! You’ll
also find loads of my reinforcing, stitching and ‘make your life
easier’ tips and tricks within these pages. As usual, I’ve tried to
write simple-to-follow instructions and to include plenty of helpful
photos – so we can have more crafting fun and less frustration!
For this book I wanted to create bags that will hopefully make you
think: ‘Wow! That’s cool, I can really see myself/my friend/my
son loving this and using this.’ With each project you try, I hope
you’ll feel rewarded with a bag that is a joy to wear, to use and/or
to give. After all, the warm happy feeling you get when you see
your loved-ones enjoying using your handcrafted bag can’t be
beaten! So, when your mum-to-be friend is in need of a superpractical baby bag, or you want a stylish way to carry groceries
on your bike, or you fancy a wedding clutch that looks a million
dollars, reach for this book and we’ll have fun making your own
unique and stylishly useful bag – that suits your needs and suits
the way that you live.
Love bags: make bags!
Hugs,

La x

Visit me at my bag-making
blog and say hello:
http://u-handbag.typepad.com/

5

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Fabric Types
Fabric falls into two main categories: dress (or fashion)
weight and upholstery/curtain (or home dec) fabric. As bag
makers, we can use both types – dress-weight fabric is
generally better suited to bag linings and upholstery fabric
is better for bag exteriors, However, that is only a loose
rule and there are interfacing tricks that you can apply
to your fabrics to override that rule. Here are some fabric
suggestions that work a treat for bag making.

Cotton/quilt fabric – this
type of fabric is used both in
the lining and the exterior
of bags. Cotton is available
in many different weights,
but for bag making try to
use mid-weight cotton and
up. Quilting fabric is usually
made from cotton and
comes in a fantastic array of
colourful, beautiful and fun
prints. You can use cotton for
almost any type of bag.

Laminated cloth/oilcloth –
usually used for the exterior
of bags, this vinyl-coated
fabric comes in fantastic
prints and has a tough
waterproof surface, making it
perfect for swim bags, travel
bags and wash bags. Working
and stitching with laminated
cloth is a bit different to
working with woven fabrics,
see tip and Working with
laminated cotton overleaf.

Linen – this versatile,
hardwearing and natural
fabric is available in
both dress and home dec
weight. The linen that bag
makers like to use is the
natural biscuit-coloured
home dec weight fabric.
The colour of the undyed
cloth with its attractive
irregular weave makes it
a great foil for embroidery
and/or patterned fabrics.

Oilcloth know-how . .
If you plan to sew with laminated
cloth regularly, it  woh
investing in a non-stick sewing
machine ft.

14 Getting Started

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The beauty of nylon …
I prefer nylon zs becae you
can safely cut them and sew
through them without huing
your scsors or sewing machine.

Stitch the zip pull ends together – take a handsewing needle and hand stitch the zip pull ends
together. See Fig b.

2

Mark and make a hole for the zip – take your
zip and measure the length of the zip teeth (not
the length of the zip itself). Now draw a rectangle
as wide as your zip teeth by 1cm (3⁄8in) high onto
the WS centre of one of the pocket fabric pieces.
This rectangle will be the hole for your zip and it
needs to be drawn at least 5cm (2in) down from the
top edge of your pocket fabric. Finally, in the middle
of the rectangle draw a centre line with a V-shape
at both ends. See Fig c1–c2.

3

b
Fig b Hand stitch the zip pull ends together for a
professional-looking zip – you don’t have to be very neat
as these hand stitches won’t be on show.

c2
Fig c1–c2 To gauge the width of the rectangle, measure the
length of the zip teeth (not the whole zip). The rectangular
hole needs to be drawn at least 5cm (2in) down from the top
edge of the pocket fabric.

c1
Techniques 19

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Bound Edges
Binding an edge has the effect of adding
an attractive fabric border to the edge.
This makes it a good way of adding a flash
of colour and strengthening the edge. Try
binding the top edges of pockets, the top edge
of your bag or your bag flaps.

Need to know
You will need
• 1 strip of folded and
pressed bias binding. To
gauge the height and
length of your binding
see Need to know

• To gauge the height of the binding tape, decide on the height of the finished
bound edge, multiply that by four and add 3mm (1∕8in). If you want your
finished bound edges to be 1cm (3∕8in) tall, your binding will need to be
4.3cm (15∕8in).
• To gauge the length of the binding, measure around all around the edge of
the item and add 8cm (31∕8in) for folding in.
• All seam allowances are 5mm (3∕16in) unless stated otherwise.
• If trimming pocket tops, make up your pocket and add the binding BEFORE
stitching the pocket to your bag. Fold in both short edges of the binding at
either end so as to conceal the raw edges.
• If trimming bag flaps, make up your flap and apply the binding BEFORE
stitching the flap to your bag.

Fold and press the binding – take the pre-folded
binding tape and press an off-centre crease
along the length of the binding. See Fig a.

1

a

Fig a Fold the binding lengthways so that the bottom
folded edge doesn’t quite meet the top folded edge.

32 Techniques

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The Pleated Purse-Frame

Purse

The Double-Pannier Bicycle Bag

The Terrific Tri-Fold Wallet

BAGS_P38_69.indd 39

The All-Sorted Laundry Bag

The 3-in-1 Convertible Backp

ack

The Train-Style Vanity Ca

se

1/18/12 2:34 PM

The Geek-Chic iPad Case
Here’s a case that’s looks more like a smart handbag than a
tablet cosy, so you can carry your iPad in ultimate style. The
case is really easy to put together – what makes it look so
professional (dare I say designer?) are the leather straps and metal
hardware. There’s nothing plain and boring about this case!

Front view Swish straps and

Side view The case has a neat

shiny metalware transform a simple
fabric envelop into a very chic case.

and slim profile so your iPad will
be nice and snug inside.

Features you’ll love

Inside view A well-cushioned
inner compartment and two handy
front pockets for all your essentials.

Rivets hold the leather str
s
in place and lk so professional

Designed to be а protective а
it  pry – specialt inteacing
will take gd care of your gadget

Lks j t а sma а a man’s
version – j t sw
the fabri
to suit and t lengthening the
handle to an over-the-body length

The handle cls on and off
so you can wear the cаe а
a bag or a clutch а desired

Finished size: 27 x 22cm (105∕8 x 85∕8in)

40

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The Geek-Chic iPad Case 47

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The Toddler-Friendly Backpack
This adorable little backpack is designed specially for the little
ones in your life. It looks as cool as a grown up’s bag (because a
babyish bag simply won’t do!), but is supremely child friendly.
The closures are all Velcro and when the bag gets covered in
ice cream/mud/paint you can pop it in the washing machine.

Front view A large front pocket
and two side pockets will keep
their little treasures organized.

Side view Velcro fastenings mean

Back view Adjustable straps

little hands can open the bag easily
without wrestling with zips.

mean the bag fits a range of ages
and won’t be outgrown too quickly.

Features you’ll love
Quick to аsemble, no inteacing,
interlining or lining nded. Handy
for when you’ve got a few of these
bags to make for siblings!
Unex design – adt it for a boy
by changing the feature fabric

Made from sturdy home dec
fabric, yet it  light in weight

Eаy-to-open closures
– so no he  nded
from the grown- s
Eаy to kp clean – the bag
can be eаily tued iide out
(to e ty out c
kie c mbs)
and  machine wаhable

Finished size: 23 x 23 x 5cm (9 x 9 x 2in)

62

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Get steamy …
When ironing the extra-stiff inteacing
into the pocket, e plenty of steam
to eure a strong bond betwn the
inteacing and the fabric.
d2
Fig d2 Push the seams of the gap into the hole, fold them
down and ensure the folded edges line up with the rest of
the top edge of the pocket before ironing.

Interface the pocket with extra-stiff interfacing
– roll up the extra-stiff pocket interfacing (from
the sides) and insert it through the gap in the top
edge of the pocket. Unroll the interfacing inside
the pocket layers. Look into the gap and line up
the (top and bottom edge) centre markings of the
pocket fabric and the extra-stiff interfacing. See
Fig e. When you have lined up the markings, hold
the interfacing firmly in place with your fingers and
iron the interfacing to the pocket layers, ironing on
both sides of the pocket. Topstitch the top edge of
the pocket (stitching the gap shut as you sew) with
a 5mm (3⁄16in) seam allowance. Begin and end your
topstitches 5mm (3⁄16in) in from the side edges.

9

Push out the corners. Push the seams of the gap
into the hole as in Step 8. Iron the pocket gusset
and topstitch both short edges with a 5mm (3⁄16in)
seam allowance. Begin and end your topstitches
5mm (3⁄16in) in from the side edges.
Assemble the front pocket – find and mark
the centre bottom edge of the pocket, repeat
with the long edge of the pocket gusset. Matching
the centre marks and edges of both pieces, bring
the pocket and the pocket gusset pieces lining
sides together. Use sewing clips to clip the two
pieces together all around the bottom and side
edges of the pocket. Stitch the gusset to the
pocket with a 5mm (3⁄16in) seam allowance. Stitch
on the gusset side. Stitch the gap (in the gusset)
shut in this step or in Step 13 (either way makes
no difference). As you stitch around the curved
corners, periodically stop to check that the gusset
corner fabric is not bunching up underneath your
needle and smooth out if necessary. With the WS of
the pocket facing up, fold the pocket gusset in half
by matching the long edges of the gusset with the
edges of the pocket. Iron the fold. See Fig f.

11

e
Fig e Lining up the centre marks is a little fiddly, but it is
important to get the interfacing positioned in the centre
of the pocket (because it will make stitching the bag parts
together much easier) so take your time.

Stitch the front pocket gusset – bring the
front pocket gusset fabric pieces RST, pin and
stitch all around leaving a 12.5cm (5in) gap in one
of the long edges for turning out. Clip the corners,
iron the seams open and turn RSO through the gap.

10

f
Fig f Neatly folding the pocket gusset in half will help you
to stitch the pocket neatly to the bag front in Step 13.

The ‘Too Cool for School’ Satchel 75

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BAGS_P70_91.indd 79

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Assembling the bag
Stitch the lining and the exterior together –
stitch the lining to the exterior using the pull
through and turn out method (see Inserting Linings:
Pull Through and Turn Out Method, Steps 4–6 in the
Techniques section). In Step 5 of this method, you
will need to stitch around the top edge with a 2cm
(¾in) seam allowance. Topstitch around the top
edge of the bag 1cm (3⁄8in) from the edge. Topstitch
again, this time 5mm (3⁄16in) from the edge.

8

Thread the ties into the tie casings – use a
bodkin (or a safety pin) to thread one of the ties
through one of the tie casings. You need to thread
the tie all around the bag (so you will be threading
the tie through both of the casings). Knot the ends
together. Take the other tie and repeat, beginning
at the opposite side to the side you threaded the
first tie at. All done! Pop your new pretty laundry
bag onto the back of the bedroom door. Who says
laundry storage has to look boring?

9

Make it mine …

Size – to suit
the younger
members of
make the ba
the family yo
g smaller.
u can
Patchwork –
this bag wou
ld look fabulo
fabrics – have
us in patchw
a look at your
orked
scraps and se
piece togeth
e what you co
er.
uld
Embellishm
ent – why no
t try sewing
bobble trim
some yumm
on the bottom
y large
edge of the
the bag by sti
bag? Or pers
tching initial
onalize
s, cute anim
so on onto th
als, flowers,
e front of th
trucks and
e bag.

This large bag gives you plenty of room to
experiment with your larger, showier patterns
– so have fun with the fabric choice!

The All-Sorted Laundry Bag 91

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The Bicycle Double-Pannier Bag
Accessorize your beloved two-wheeler in style with this roomy
set of panniers. The new laminated cottons are just perfect for this
project. Go to town with jewel-bright colours and big, bold patterns
for panniers that are sure to bring cheer to your bike (and a smile
to anyone who sees them). I’ll race you to the shops!

Front view Roomy box-shape
panniers waiting to be filled with
groceries, gym gear and so on.

Pocket open Simple but secure
flap-and-buckle fastenings make
the panniers super-practical.

Features you’ll love
Laminated cloth on the
iide and outside of th
bag makes for a coletely
waterprf design

Side/back view These traditional
postman-style bicycle panniers will
look great on any bike!

Eаy-fix Velcro lps make the bag
sile to aach to most types of
bicycle paier rack – the paier 
a o sile to remove should you
want to take it with you

Spacio
paiers will eаily
store a whole day’s wo h of gear

Finished size: 37 x 32 x 1 3.5cm (14½ x 125∕8 x 53∕8in)

112

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BAGS_P92_135.indd 113

1/19/12 10:59 AM

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1/19/12 12:21 PM

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About the Author
Lisa Lam is a London College of Fashion graduate who is
founder of U-Handbag.com – an online store specializing in
bag-making supplies. This is her second book. Her first book,
The Bag Making Bible is an international bestseller, selling
over 60,000 copies worldwide to date (when she was told that
she had to sit down).
At work (if you could call it that) she is also a sewing pattern
and bag designer and her work regularly features in craft
magazines. Lisa lives by the sea in Brighton with husband
Alan, their little girl and friendly dog Beans. Lisa’s second
home is the crafting community on the web (or crafti-verse)
from which she writes her craft blog, chats with fellow bag
makers on Facebook and is constantly amazed by the talent
and wit of her fellow crafters.

Acknowledgements
Biggest thanks go my customers and readers – many of you whom
I’ve ‘known’ from the beginning. Thank you so much for your
company over the years. Your open warmth and encouragement
is constant source of inspiration (and a great comfort during times
book writing wasn’t so forthcoming)! Thanks go to all readers who
gave me their precious feedback during the design process for this
book’s projects. Thanks go to Amy and David Butler for being such
an amazing pair of designers and for being two beautiful people
(in every sense of the word). Thanks go to Christine Doyle, Nancy
Soriano and Barbara Slavin for looking after me and showing me a
good time in the USA. Thanks also go the team at David & Charles:
Ali Myer for her enthusiasm and talking me round, Charly Bailey,
I love how you’ve made this book look, James Brooks, for jumping
though the many hoops, Katy Denny my patient editor for being my
craft book and mum-to-be confidante, Ame Verso for being my ‘allseeing ninja’ project editor. Thanks to the generous Rosanne Derrett
for proofreading alongside us. Thanks to my agent Jane Graham
Maw for taking care of the ‘formal stuff’. Thanks to (brilliantly fussy)
Jack Kirby of Bangwallop Photography for taking the fab instruction
shots, you’re great to work with. Thanks also go to art director
Michelle Thompson, photo stylist Jodi Kahn and photographer
Scott Jones for taking the ace styled shots of the bags in New
York; you’ve really brought them to life! And lastly, big thanks to
Coats for providing me with the absolutely yummy fabric, zips and
threads used throughout this book.

158 About the Author / Acknowledgements

BAGS_P154_160.indd 158

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CRAFT

From the author of the bestselling The Bag Making Bible
(over 70,000 copies sold) comes an outstanding collection
of 12 inspiring bags for you to make at home.
✧ Full-size pull-out patterns to use right away
✧ Fully photographed step-by-step instructions

ISBN-13: 978-1-4463-0185-2
ISBN-10: 1-4463-0185-0
Lisa Lam is the founder
and owner of u-handbag,
the dedicated
online store
and blog for
bag makers.

m
a
L
a
L

“Thank you Lisa for bringing such lovely style to our bag making world!” – Amy Butler

La Lam

Other titles from Lisa Lam

“This info
rmation-ric
h book wil
your sewin
l elevate
g know ho
w with ve
technique
rsatile
s and insp
iring sugg
for making
e
st
ions
these bag
s your ow
n.”
Amy Butle
r, fabric de
signer
“A must h
ave for be
ginners an
experience
d
d bag-mak
ers alike.”
Anna Stass
en, UK Ha
ndmade
“Lisa is th
e first lady
of
handmade
bag pattern
Perri Lew
s.

is, craft jo
urnalist an
d author
“It is an e
xcellent re
source for
bag and p
all your
urse makin
g needs.”
Kathreen
Ricketson
:
whipup.ne
t and auth
or

A bag for all reasons

✧ 12 bags and purses for every occasion

A bag for
all reasons

UK £17.99
US $27.99
(Can $29.50)
W8876

12 all-new bags and purses to sew for every occasion

BFAR_COVER_ARTWORK.indd 1

2/16/12 9:11:41 AM