Saturday, 31 May 2014

3 Easy Steps to Make Better Bags

Toronto Convertible Tote-backpack

Step one - GET THIS BOOK!
Step two - read it
Step three - make all the things!!

The Better Bag Maker Book

Nicole Mallalieu's latest book is hot off the press and oh boy, is it a good book or what?!! The book comes with the patterns you need to make ten different bags graduating from a basic tote at the start, right through to the fancy-schmancy Toronto backpack as you can see above. I made this backpack about a year ago as a pattern test for the book. It is a really versatile bag, as it converts from a handbag style that you can pop under your arm, to a tote so you can fit in a little more shopping, and then, when you've been at the craft show all day and you're running out of hands to carry all your shopping, it can convert to a backpack!

Toronto as a tote

But ten great bag patterns isn't even the best bit. The part that you will really be loving is the bit right at the start, where Nikki tells all of her best bag-making secrets. Since I started using Nikki's patterns, and learning all her clever tricks, I really feel that my sewing has improved by leaps and bounds. The Better Bag Maker covers quite a lot of the techniques that Nikki uses in her patterns, all in one place. This book tells you how to make professional looking straps, crisp corners and insert zippers like a pro. Nikki shows you how to choose interfacing, as well as how to apply it. You also learn how to install all the yummy metal bits, like magnetic snaps, o-rings and purse feet, that take your bag from homemade to hand made. There are also plenty of different pocket options so that you can make your bespoke bag work the way you want it to. The best part of all this, is that you can use all these great tips on all your other sewing and make everything you do look more professional!

Toronto as a shoulder bag

I am so pleased to have this book on my bookshelf, it is a great reference to have and I have already used it to help me install a professional looking zip pocket inside my latest bag, but that's another blogpost!


  1. Mine will be here in two weeks - been getting very impatient!! Can't wait :)

    1. It will be worth the wait. Do you know which bag you will make first?

  2. That bag is amazing. I love the fabrics.

    1. Thank you Jo, I think almost anything goes with denim.

  3. Love the backpack. Love making bags, the more hints and tips we can get the better. Must have a look out for the book you mention ;)

    1. I agree Vicki, you can never have too many hints and tips. I love that they can be applied to things other than just bags as well.

  4. Your bag looks great!

    Nikki tweeted your post title and before I looked at it, I thought.

    1. buy Nikki's book
    2. read Nikki's book
    3. make one of her bags

    great minds ;P

    well done. on completing your 3 step programme.


Thank you for visiting my blog. I would love to hear what you think.

Blogging tips