Handbag Workshop: Design and Sew the Perfect Bag by Anna M. Mazur

Release Date - October 14, 2014

Taunton Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Back in the spring, I went on the hunt for the perfect handbag. My favorite purse was the target of a forgotten restaurant chocolate melting all over the inside. I washed it the best I could, but ant season and all, they found the remnants easily enough. Finding my dream purse turned out to be a huge challenge. I knew what I wanted, but the closest purses were $200 to $400, and I wasn't about to spend that kind of money. My daughter ended up finding me the closest match to my dream, even if it is a vegan purse in a light mint pastel color.

Handbag Workshop: Design and Sew the Perfect Bag offers guidance into skipping the stores and creating the bag of your dreams in the comfort of your home. It starts by looking at the basic shapes of a purse, when that purse is unsewn and laid out flat. Next it looks at the tools you need to create your purse. That's where things get tricky. Not everyone will have these supplies on hand, and it can get expensive to purchase them all. This list includes 29 items, some like tweezers you'll likely have on hand, but others like a rubber mallet or specialty sewing feet for sewing machine (or even the sewing machine for that matter) might be items you end up buying. If this is the case, you might need to weigh the cost of materials over the cost of buying a purse in a store.

The book is thorough. Each step is detailed and offers insight into the important of tidy seams, and making each portion of purse. It covers linings, hidden zippered pockets, and straps. There are plenty of pictures offering illustrated examples. As the chapters progress, different styles of purses are covered, including clutches, netbook cases, wristlets, and sling bags. The book is divided into easy-to-make purses, intermediate purses, and advanced ones.

In the end, this is an exceptional book, but I think you have to have the materials for sewing already in hand for it to be cost effective. If you're going to have to go out and buy a sewing machine, a sewing table, or other items of that nature, this may not be ideal for you. If you are set up and really interested though, I cannot think of a better guide.


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