The Good, The Bad and the Just Plain Awful

Remember this bag book that I borrowed from Jodie?

I made some bags from the book  with moderate success.

I am really reluctant to totally put down a book. I figure anyone who can come up with patterns, write a book, get it published and then sell copies has to be doing something right.  I’m darn sure I couldn’t do all that and I admire anyone who can get to the stage of actually selling their book, however I also feel that a fair and just appraisal of any book is acceptable so that others can make up their minds as to whether they will also purchase the book.  After all what I write in my blog is my opinion and of course you are more than welcome to make up your own mind.

What was  good?  Well it is magnificent in that the inspiration and photos are outstanding. So many different styles and sizes and all made with the most beautiful fabric and photographed so clearly.  For inspiration is it one of the best books I have seen for a long time.

What was bad?  Well I have to admit that I have made quite a few bags over the years and yes while  I tend to stick with the quicker simplier styles (cause that seems to be all I have time for lately) I have made my share of more complicated bags – the kind that many would possibly put in the “too hard” basket.  The directions I found in this book were incredibly complicated – in that in many instances what you saw in the photos simply wasn’t what you were supposed to be making.  The cutting  directions weren’t bad but the sewing directions needed a university degree to work out at times.  My biggest gripe I guess is that I want a bag which looks good and will stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use that I am likely to give it.  I’m not sure that some of these would.  In one instance (the fan bag) I was directed to sew in the zip by hand.  Now I’m sorry but sewing a zip in by hand in a bag to me ranks up there with watching grass grow and is about as exciting not to mention the fact that I’m darn sure that any zip I sew in by hand possibly wouldn’t go the distance.

Having said all that I did end up with three bags which will be used.  Visually I think they are pretty good but I might be blowing my own trumpet there. Technically they are awful and I won’t be revisiting the patterns.

This was the first bag made and I was quite pleased with it.  I wanted to showcase the hand dyed fabric which worked really well and while the fabric for the lining doesn’t show up very well it is a floral with the same colours as the outside. Not bad for something I just grabbed out of my stash.

The second bag. Stunning to look at and such a lovely large bag for all my treasures/essentials/crap that I cart everwhere.  It was a nightmare to line though as you have to do two linings. One for the top curved peice and then one for the main part of the bag. I have managed to hand sew the linings together, because I couldn’t work out using the directions how to do it,  and so long as no one looks closely at the inside they will be ok.

This is loosely based on the fan bag that is featured on the front cover of the book.  I’m not totally sure that the fabrics work – although they do look better in real life than they do in this photo.  Can I just say that I really do not enjoy paper piecing which is essentially how this bag is pieced.  Nor did I like the directions.  I machined the two zips in even though the directions told me to hand sew them  in (they meet in the middle so the bag can open out flat.  In fact the only part of this entire bag which did work well was the sewing in of the zips.  I could not for the life of me work out how to do the center strip that joined the two fan halves so I just sewed them together and hoped for the best.

I made up the inside of the bag as well.  The pattern called for zipped plastic pockets to be sewn along the bottom strip so it could be used to hold quilting or sewing essentials. I didn’t have the pockets and I will confess by that stage I just wanted it done.    Two bigger pockets will hopefully hold all I want if I ever use the bag.

In the end I’m glad I made the bags. I learned heaps – I also learned that when I get frustrated to walk away and start a really simple quilt as it’s so much more soothing…vbg.

One bright note of the bag making days was Jess.

As I was doing so much sewing I just left the iron on.  He decided to toast himself in front of it – at one stage I caught him with his paws just about resting on the hot iron.  Poor darling must have been cold. Please take note of the special cushion I made him just so he is comfy.  The idea is he uses that to sleep on rather than my chair but as I type he is snuggled up behind me on the chair while I perch, rather precariously I might add, on the edge.  Ohh and the iron is deifnately on – the light on it just doesn’t show up in the photo rather well.

As much as I love my darling pussy cat there is even better news. It’s raining – again.  That makes nearly four days of rain – in some instances it was heavy enough that the gutters just couldn’t cope.  I’m so glad I popped out and planted five new plants (which had been sadly lingering in their respective pots since the Ballarat weekend) and needed a new home.  Now they will be nicely watered in.

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8 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad and the Just Plain Awful

  1. I have to agree with you, Catherine, there is nothing more frustrating than instructions so wordy they are basically indecipherable!

    Your bags look great and I love the picture of the cat!

  2. I think you did a great job on them Catherine, and goodnes, no way I would be tackling that fan bag now!! Ayden’s off to Barham today so I hope its not too rainy for his salinity project. Now that sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it!

  3. That’s a bummer. I hate bad patterns and frankly, I think I have bought more bad ones than good ones. I once taught a handbacg class at my LQS simply because the sewing instructions were impossible to follow.

  4. I don’t really make bags for exactly that reason. I can’t follow directions and I steam comes out my ears when something goes wrong! 🙂 I think you’ve done well with yours tho, I wouldn’t have even attempted the fan one!

  5. thanks for the honest review, we all need to do that.
    wonder if she had a pattern tester or the publisher did?
    thats scary!

    your bags look nice, hope they hold up!
    Kathie

  6. I have to admit to buying with enthusiasm and the book has not been used as yet.

    However my lazygirl, free and purchased patterns have been very well used.

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