Last spring I got my hands on a copy of Amy Butler’s Style Stitches and in my opinion, it is the most visually appealing craft/sewing book I’ve ever seen. I’m a huge Amy Butler fan, her textile prints and patterns are pure eye candy. She really plays up the beauty of her fabric prints throughout the book and the colors are vivid, bright and fresh. The photography (all done by her husband, David Butler) is beautiful and when you first flip through it you really want to make everything in this book.
There are some truly gorgeous bags in here, some of my faves are:
The Blossom Handbag, an advanced level project which Amy generously offered as a *free* download over at Sew Mama Sew:
The Take Flight Hand/Shoulder Bag, the hardest but prettiest project (at least to me) in the book.
After a few weeks of just staring at the pages in this book, I decided that I had to make something and picked the Reversible Everyday Shopper Bag, which is the second project in the book and is rated as “Easy”.
Prior to this I hadn’t made anything from an Amy Butler pattern and didn’t realize how much interfacing and fabric it required (to be fair though, this is a HUGE bag). The woman in the fabric store kept asking “you are making a bag? how big?” and didn’t really believe me when I said I needed 5 1/2 yards of 20″ interfacing until I showed her the book (and even then she just shrugged and said “if you say so…”).
The rating on the project is correct, it is easy but it is also time consuming. It’s just a bunch of differently sized rectangles with clean straight edges, so if you’re a novice who would rather practice straight stitching until you master manipulating your fabric under the presser foot, of all the bags in this book, this is the bag for you. The instructions and diagrams in this book are very clear and I had no problems putting this one together. Be warned however that there are many thick layers to stitch through (true for most of the projects in this book) so if you’re new go slowly to keep a steady hand and manipulate layers (yes, layers) of fabric on your machine. I broke two needles and bent one (keeping in mind that I was using my very basic Singer Prelude machine because my old trusty Merritt broke down) so stock up on supplies like needles and other notions just to be prepared.
For the exterior and interior I used a psychedelic quilting cotton print from Cranston Village. It was loud and colorful and I have no idea why I was drawn to it but I saw it and knew that it was my bag so…Voila! (it is a little bit wrinkly, I just pulled it out of my closet):
I absolutely love my bag, it’s HUGE, like really big. In the summer I was taking an art class and used it to put everything in, canvas, paints, paintbrushes, sketchbooks, you name it. I got tons of compliments on it and it is extremely sturdy. At the moment however, it’s being used to store my purses, LOL yes, you read that right, I made a bag to carry other bags in. A friend of mine who was also making this bag said it was big enough for her to carry her petite mother around in. Okay, it’s not really big enough to carry around a little 4 foot woman around in it but you get the idea.
After making this bag, I realized that 1) I love everything Amy Butler makes even more now and that 2) because the projects are time consuming, I can’t make everything in the book. I think I’ll skip on the coin purses, cosmetic bags and checkbook cover, but I definitely plan on making all the other bags. If you want to see all of the projects featured in this book, head on over to Amy Butler Design to check them out, your eyes will thank you!
This book is a keeper guys, if you love to sew, it’s worth every penny.
In other news, my Minoru jacket fell by the wayside (I didn’t even finish cutting out the muslin) and I plan on catching up but I got distracted by unfinished projects from 2011 and then I started on Colette’s Crepe pattern…Ces’t la sewing!