This is a review of Boutique Bags by Sue Kim. I was provided a review copy of this book from CT Publications so I could check it out and see if it was something that the So Sew Easy readers would like. I know Deby is a big fan of the projects in this one and also the great section on the tutorials.
The book front says Classic Style for Modern Living, 19 projects and 76 bags. That's a lot of bags, and I found the book really did deliver on that.
The book begins with a short Introduction, in which Kim tells us this is her second book. She also tells us this book is fine for the beginner sewist. I agree with her. Most of the projects in this book are geared for beginner sewists, but there is enough interest and variety in the designs that even the more advanced would enjoy using these patterns and techniques and creating their own unique interpretations too.
The first chapter is a great chapter on Tools, Supplies and Basic Techniques. This chapter has dozens of techniques. There are multiple photos to go along with each explanation – each step is shown. I was struck when reading through it what a great resource it would be for so many bags – not just the ones in the book, and how worthwhile just this chapter makes the book. Here are a couple of glimpses of those techniques: Inserting a zipper, and inserting a front clasp.
You will find full step by step and photo tutorials on such bag making techniques as:
- how to install magnetic snaps, twist locks, metal purse frames
- finishing tips such as trimming and notching seams
- pocket construction for a slip pocket, elastic pocket and zipper pockets too
- how to add piping to your seams
- using gathers and darts to shape the bags
- straps such as adjustable straps, sewing leather straps
From those basic techniques, the book breaks down into three main chapters – Small Projects, Clutches, and Bags.
Let's look at each one.
Under Small Projects there are only a couple of options, but they're good options – Gathered Zippered Pouches, and Metal Purse and Coin Case. The Gathered Zippered Pouches are offered in three sizes. In both of these, you learn great skills to give you confidence to move onto bigger and more complicated projects. As well, each step of the bag-making process is illustrated for both of these to help you along.
At this point in the book, the author starts to show you more options for each pattern, so you can vary the pattern. Here are two of the Metal Purses done in a metallic fabric – one with a chain strap, one without.
The next chapter is Clutches.
Again, there are two options in this section. Both clutches are detailed in their constructions with numerous step by step photographs illustrating how to make the clutch, which is really great! I'm a visual learner and can read something and not have any idea what I'm supposed to do. All the photos in this book really helped me understand exactly what the author is explaining.
The Clutches chapter offers multiple options for each clutch – seven in all – giving you lots of variety.
The last chapter is the largest one of the book: Bags.
In this chapter, you'll find many styles and sizes of bags. They include handbags, ruffled bags, hobo styles, a Boston bag, a cross-body bag, bags with zippers, without zippers, bags with flaps. There are small bags, big bags, and even bigger bags – there are a couple of totes, and a Market bag. I love the grocery bag that folds up into its own attached wallet. Basically you will be spoilt for choice.
Here are just a few of the bags, patterns and instructions all included.
There really are a lot of options with this book. As I said at the beginning, I'd buy this book just for the Basic Techniques, which I didn't even find so basic. A great book if you are interested in getting a starter set of very adaptable patterns which you can then develop into all of these other variations as shown in the book.
Where to buy Boutique Bags
If you would like to add this book to your sewing library, its available as a digital version as well as a regular book. You can buy it at: