Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Great Getaway Bag, Book Review & More...

I wanted to make a large bag to use as a carry on bag when I travel in July. I had recently made the Convertible Cross Body Bag and a matching wallet for myself out of this floral fabric that my mom sent to me. Then while telling my mom about the cross body bag she wanted me to make her one too. How about a wallet to match Mom? Sure she said and she wanted a tissue holder too. So I have a matching set and so does my mom. I mailed her bag off to her a few days ago, so I am sure she has it by now.
Here is the Great Getaway Bag I just finished making for myself~
My Great Getaway Bag. 
A large zipper goes across the top of the bag.
I like the tabs on both sides of the bag that you can grab a hold of when zipping.
Here is the flapped outside pocket. It closes with a magnetic snap and tab. I copied this idea and used it on my Convertible cross body bag I made for myself and my mom (see below).
I made the piped handles as explained in the book. She uses a plastic tubing inside the handles. I had some tubing and after I made them, I didn't like the feel of them. Perhaps my tubing was too narrow? I ended up making a similar handle without the tubing and removed these.
Inside there is one zippered pocket.
There is also a divided slip pocket. I didn't have enough of the fabric that I used for the zip pocket so I used another floral fabric too. 
While you probably can't tell, these are the new handles I made without the tubing. I like the feel of them better. I  also chose not to add the shoulder strap to the bag.
Nice and roomy inside. It's also so soft because I used headliner foam instead of fusible fleece.
The Convertible Bag I made for my mom. It's just like the one I made for myself, except I used a different lining because I didn't have enough of the lining fabric leftover.
Matching wallet, same as mine except the lining fabric is different. The lining fabric was actually a fabric that my mom  sold in her quilt shop in California way back in the mid 1970's!!! I thought it would be fun for her to have a little memory of that fabric too.
Here is the bag, the wallet and the tissue holder I sent to mom.
The lining for mom's bag.
I made The Great Getaway Bag from a book I checked out at the local library. The book is called The Bag Making Bible, by Lisa Lam.
This is the back cover of the book showing The Great Getaway Bag. Below is the cover of the book.
The book shows mostly how to make certain elements for a bag, like a few different straps, pockets, zippers, closures, etc. There are also a few bags that you can make with directions in the book for those bags specifically, like The Great Getaway Bag. 

Lisa Lam designs great looking bags and is quite talented, however I have to honest and tell you there were some things that I found questionable. For instance, with the Great Getaway Bag the fabric that you cut out that you sew the zipper to the instructions say to cut out 2 exterior fabrics and 2 lining fabrics plus 2 interfacing and fusible fleece. These pieces are all cut on the fold. Then the next step tells you to cut flip the pattern piece over and cut the same number out again in mirror image. Huh? Placing these on the fold and cutting already cuts them in mirror image, so why was I instructed to cut the same amounts again? I ended up wasting fabric, interfacing and headliner foam (which I used instead of the fusible fleece). I also wished there were more photos for certain steps or more written information. Like when I was folding the fabric in half and pressing it. No photo was shown and nothing to explain what size the piece would be once folded in half. I could have folded it in half the wrong direction. It's little things like this that can make it easy to follow a pattern or more difficult for the bag maker. 

There is however a lot of great information in this book. If you want to know how to add a magnetic snap or a twist lock closure to your bag, you flip to those pages and she shows you how to do that. If you want to design your own bag and add certain pockets, closures, etc. it's all in the book. Some of the directions are too brief or there's not always a good photo to go with it though. I got the feeling that she had to edit this book down to a certain number of pages and left out a lot. I would rather she left out some of the actual bag patterns and put more emphasis on the techniques making them much clearer than they were. Also printed in a a gray color rather than black, made it hard on the eyes to read. Since I was making the Great Getaway Bag, for nearly every step I was referred to such and such page, like for the handles go to that page and see how to make them. She also included info about purchased handles like she used on her example of the bag. I don't want to know about purchasing handles, anyone can purchase handles. I want to make them to match my bag. I had to figure out the part that is sewn to the bag on my own, since there was no info about that part of the handle. There is a lot of flipping back and forth to see how certain parts of the bag is made and even then some of the instructions weren't clear enough. If you are a beginner at bag making then this book will be hard to follow. Since I have bag making experience, I was able to figure out how to make things work.

I much prefer to use pdf patterns for this reason. Most good bag designers provide a lot of written text and photos to go along with the text. Since you download the pattern to your computer, the text is nice and large and easy to read and you can click to make it even larger if you need to read or see a bit better while it's on your computer. The pdf bag designers can make their patterns as many pages as they want to since they don't need to edit for printed publication purposes. This makes it better for you and the designers. The bag designers have their website or email address or both on their patterns and you can easily contact them with questions. I found most are really good about getting back to you. They want to help you and they want you to have a successful experience making a bag with their design(s). Most of these designers even allow you to sell a bag made from their design as long as you give them credit and aren't mass producing them. I like that. I think people get a bit too carried away with copyright issues these days. We who are creative have minds that think a lot a like and somewhere someone has created something similar, whether it's a quilt, a bag, a painting, etc. even if they never laid eyes on your creation before. So who is to say if someone stole your idea when we think alike in the first place. 

(Note: these are my own personal opinions and I was not reimbursed in any way by anyone. I truly like when others give an honest review of a product, book, etc. If I like something I will tell you and if I don't like it I want to tell you and why. I think honest reviews help us all. Hopefully manufacturers and authors, etc. will pay attention if they read reviews of their products so they can make improvements in the future. Maybe I'm just a dreamer, though.) 
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  1. Thanks for the review.
    I absolutely love your fabric choices. Thanks for all the pics. Nice bags.

  2. I love those fabrics. Your Mom will love her new bag and wallet. I keep on forgetting to go to our library to look for sewing idea books. Thanks for sharing these great bags.

  3. Another fabulous bag, Daryl! Your bags always look so professional and well made! Great job. ;)

  4. Love it! I have to agree with your view on pdf bag designers. Some people get overwhelmed by the number of pages a designer uses in their patterns but I appreciate all of the pictures and directions that make the bag much easier to make. Nothing is worse than confusing or incomplete directions.

  5. Yay for honest reviews! I have the book and found the same issues for things when I made one. It was a great bag in the end but would have been so much easier to make with a few more pics and clearer instructions.

    I've been on a bag making kick myself. I did the Studio Cherie's departure satchel and Paco Bean's Cate bag. Today I'm supposed to start a wallet! I love your wallet but need more room for all the many cards I carry. What with credit card, courtesy cards, library and medical cards, I need lots of those pockets. I think I'm going to have to come up with my own design. So cool to see all the work you've done.

  6. Really great get away bag and the bag for your mom is great too . Thanks for the review .

  7. Wow! What a beautiful Set you've done. The getaway Bag is great. I'm sure it'll be very useful. I agree with your review. When you get used to pdf patterns you find yourself wanting more from the instructions in pattern books. Only if you've made bags before you can manage and figure out things by yourself. The book does help on learning different techniques and get the creative juices going.

  8. Very nice bags! And a great review. Thank you!

  9. Daryl you are seriously good at making bags...these are beautiful!

  10. That bag looks fantastic Daryl. It's a lovely style and looks roomy too. Your set looks perfect and I'm sure you'll turn some heads on your trip.

  11. Hi Daryl,
    the bag and matching wallet is amazing, I love that you pay attention to the details which is why a handmade gift is always so much better. I appreciate how precise your patterns are as well as your critique of the book with the bag pattern. I definitely don't like to do unnecessary sewing.

  12. WOW! this is amazing Daryl!! I bet your mom loved her cross over bag and matching wallet:) Thank you for sharing and that book looks like it's full great ideas. Enjoy your weekend my friend!

  13. You are now truly travel ready. What a wonderful set of bags and accessories for your mom and for yourself. Love the big bag and how you made it comfortable for you. Reading books and trying to follow poor instructions is difficult at best. I appreciate your critique and suggestions. Fabrics and memories for mom are super special. I would say you are a Blue Ribbon Bag Lady but that just doesn't sound like a compliment. LOL Great Job Dear...

  14. I bet your Mom loved her bag and matching wallet, Daryl. Let us know how many comments you get with your carry on luggage bag. Bet you get heaps, as it's fabulous!!!

  15. Hi Daryl
    Your bags are gorgeous, I love the bright fabric. fabulous post with lots of great photos.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Michelle :o)


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