Friday, April 8, 2016

Craftsy Class Review - 20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags

Hello and welcome to Nova Scotia for day 5 of our Great Canadian Craftsy Bag Tour!

I hope you've been enjoying touring around with us Canadian bloggers so far this week, reading our Craftsy class reviews and seeing what we've been making! We hope you stay with us until the end as we have some exciting surprises coming this Sunday which you'll definitely not want to miss! ;)
Please note: I received this Craftsy class for the purpose of writing an honest review. All opinions and thoughts expressed within this review are all completely mine. This post also contains some affiliate links which means that if you purchase something after clicking on one of the affiliate links I may earn a small commission (but with no additional cost to you).

Now onto the Class!

I chose to review 20 Essential techniques for better bags by Lisa Lam as although I have been sewing for over 30yrs and am already very familiar with interfacings, zippers, pockets and construction.. my sewing experience has all been limited to sewing garments up until last year when I discovered bag making and I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything wrong!

The Class itself is divided up into 8 handy sized chunks: 
This was great for me as between sending out all my fabric orders and running around after our family I wasn't able to watch all of the sections in one sitting. Being able to watch each of the sections one by one at a time convenient to me was just perfect. Plus with them being on Craftsy they will stay in my account forever more so I can watch them as many times as I like.

Firstly let me say WOW what a wealth of knowledge has been packed into this class. As an experienced sewer I really wasn't sure if I would learn anything new at all... but I most definitely did (which I'll tell you all about below). Seeing Lisa explain all the different techniques made me realize all the things I had taught myself and did without even realizing - that was a real confidence boost for me! For a complete beginner though I think this class would be awesome one to start with as it covers everything you'd want to know on how to get started in making bags of all types and achieve a very high quality and finish.

Before I go into everything Lisa covers I should mention that there isn't a pattern provided with the class. So I'd suggest grabbing that bag pattern you've always fancied making but were too scared to try or one of your favourites.. it doesn't need to be one you've purchased either as there are lots of fabulous free bag patterns about by many different designers - Lisa herself has a whole page of free bag tutorials on her blog here:-
http://u-handbag.typepad.com/uhandblog/freebie-.html

I pulled out one of my favourite patterns - The Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H and some of my favourite fabrics (Jennifer Paganelli Bonnie in purple, Tula Pink mini owls in orchid and my precious gold glittery cork for my handles and frame channels - eeek!).

1Introduction (1min47s) 
- Lisa introduces herself and briefly explains everything she is going to cover in the class.

2Bag Structure (15min5s)
In this section of the class Lisa covers what all the various parts of a bag are called and how to best choose the fabrics and interfacings you will need to make a great bag.. eg why you'd choose one interfacing over another depending on the fabrics you want to use in your bag. This part of the class is broken down into these sections:-
- Anatomy of a bag
- Oil Cloth
- Interfacing
- Decovil (Equivalent here in USA/Canada is Pellon Peltex 71or 71F - F is the fusible)
- Interlining
- Trimming interfacing

In the UK Vilene is the main brand of interfacings but over here in Canada I use mostly Pellon interfacings and for my foam I use Soft and Stable by Annie. If you get stuck trying to figure out the equivalent interfacings between brands Amy Butler has a great PDF chart you can download here.



  • 3Linings (13min36s)
  • - Why line your bags
  • - Drop-in Lining
  • - Turned Lining
  • - Shortening a lining

  • Lisa goes through all of the above and out of all of them my preferred lining method is a Drop-in lining. I love the neat and tidy finish it gives to the inside of my bags as you can see here (I haven't got to the lining stage of my carpet bag yet so here's a photo from my last bag which was a Swoon Vivian).




  • 4Zippers (27min24s)
  • - Choosing zippers
  • - Zipper tabs
  • - Lace zippers
  • - Recessed zipper
  • - Basting tape
Because I live in a very pretty but rural spot and never know exactly which bag i'll be making next I personally buy zipper by the yard with separate pulls so I can make my bag zips any length I need without having to drive the many miles it is for me to go to the shops. Lisa did a great job explaining the differences between the weights of zipper available and after seeing those Lace zippers she uses for that cute pouch I definitely want to try them! I will also be adding double sided tape to my shopping list as with my background of garment sewing that's something i'd never have thought of using! You'll have to watch the class to see just how she uses the double sided tape if you don't know this tip already ;)

  • 5Pockets (21min2s)
  • - Darted pocket
  • - Flush Zipper pocket
I was delighted to see Lisa do her Zipper pockets the same way I do them with all the raw seam edges and zipper tape neatly hidden away. If you've never done them this way before - don't be scared - give it a go... they'll look soo much nicer!

  • 6Handles (18min19s)
  • - D-Rings
  • - Adjustable straps
  • - Leather handles

  • Here Lisa covers metal blingy hardware and how to sew on pre made leather handles. I've never bought any of those leather handles yet but I'll certainly consider using them now i've seen how to attach them!

  • 7Metal Closures (26min4s)
  • - Twist lock
  • - Tongue lock
Punching holes in your neatly sewn pieces is always nerve wracking (well I certainly find it so!). Lisa calmly explains what to look for when purchasing the locks and has some handy tips to figure out how to place them and know what size hole to cut to fit them :D

  • 8Eyelets & Rivets (16min27s)
  • - Eyelets
  • - Rivets
OK, this is when I now admit the one thing in bag making that has had me scared silly... is the thought of using rivets. I am a rivet virgin and all the tools and rivet supplies I bought last September from Emmaline bags are still packed away sealed up in the original packaging I received them in! After watching section 8 (the last part of the class) I knew the time had come for me to pop my riveting cherry.. surely it couldn't be as scary poking holes in my bag handles and bag as I thought it would be? 

So after finishing a second pot of my favourite green tea I headed off to find erm unpack all my rivets, anvil and setter - see they're still in their packaging {you can't see but i'm totally blushing now} oh and please excuse the state of my old trusty hammer!



But before I could start putting in the rivets I realized I had to make my cork bag handles first. I have my own way of making the style of handles I like to use.. If you'd like me to do a blog post on how I make my handles comment below and i'll do my best to do a step by step tutorial and post that next time :)

Usually I just sew my handles straight into my bag seams but this time as i'm giving the rivets a go i'm going to add metal rectangular rings and connectors so I can sew them onto the exterior of my carpet bag! With my handles ready for riveting here I go... wish me luck I don't mess them up!

First I had to make the hole for the rivet to go into... not having a fine punch to make the hole I opted to use my awl and keeping my fingers crossed. Thankfully it made the perfect sized hole for the rivet post YAY! 




Next I popped in the rivet and well my first try did not go well... being not sure which size rivets to use I opted for my smaller ones. After much hammering and me checking each time to see if it would come apart by slipping my fingernail under the edge, finding yes it would come apart and with quite a pop so half the rivet fell onto the floor under my table and assorted stuff under there never to be seen again! Oh well! Thankfully I have a whole bag of them to use so I tried again & nope it still wouldn't stay securely fastened. 

I then had a thought... maybe I should be using the deeper rivets so I popped the 2 parts of the larger ones into my rivet holes and again lined up the rivet on the anvil underneath with the setter on the top side... held my breath and gave it a few hard whacks with my trusty hammer and IT WORKED first time! I couldn't believe it... surely it couldn't be that easy! Onto the next rivet and BAM in first time too! WOW! Soo lesson learned.. if the rivet doesn't catch securely then i'm using the wrong depth of rivet! Here is my first riveted finished handle.. isn't she really pretty :D <3  



This is all i'm going to show you of my bag for now as I'm still sewing my bag sections together... plus I have my other handle to make and add the connector pieces too them. Hmm I maybe i'll add a rivet to those too seeing as this riveting thing wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it'd be!

Soo my conclusion... what did I think of the whole class?
I really enjoyed it. Lisa is a great instructor and was a pleasure to watch. A fun bonus for me was listening to her British accent.. she lives in Brighton UK and her accent is one I rarely hear these days after our emigrating to Canada from the UK in 2012. She speaks very clearly and the classes all went at a pace that I found easy to follow. I could tell from the way she spoke about all the different topics in the class that she has a huge knowledge of bag construction, bag supplies, materials and she shared lots of handy tips along the way. She is also very active in the class discussion area on Craftsy responding to peoples questions they may have.


Craftsy rate this class as a beginners class and I would agree with that.. but saying that I would recommend this class to anyone that is interested in bag making - both beginners and advanced sewers would find something useful in it i'm sure.

The class usually costs $39.99USD (about $47.09CAD according to google today) but Craftsy are generously offering it for the reduced price of $19.99 USD by using this link up to the 15th April 2016.


I hope you've enjoyed my look at Lisa class and will stick around for the last few stops on our tour.. you can find all links to all the stops in our tour below... and a giveaway too!

Fiona
xox


Tour Dates



Monday, April 4
Seam of my Pants -- Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote & Zipper Pouch with Kristin Link and Learn to Sew: Simple Bags with Nicole Vasbinder
Tuesday, April 5
Sprouting JubeJube -- Sew Sturdy: Home Organizers with Annie Unrein
Lulu & Celeste -- Sewing With Oilcloth: Bags & Baskets with Kathy McGee
Wednesday, April 6
Happy Okapi -- Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers with Annie Unrein
Thursday, April 7
Michelle's Creations -- Mix & Match: Clutch Bag Techniques with Janelle MacKay
Friday, April 8
Shelaine's Designs -- Sew Better Bags: The Weekend Duffel with Betz White
Tangled Blossom Designs -- 20 Essential Techniques for Better Bags with Lisa Lam
Saturday, April 9
Emmaline Bags -- Recap/Roundup
Sunday, April 10
Sur "prizes"



You've made it to the end so now onto the prizes!

Our first giveaway is sponsored by Craftsy. To win a fabulous Three - Quarter Patch Tote kit with Pellon fusible fleece interfacing all you need to do is click here!
***URGENT UPDATE*** 
There was a glitch in the system and if you entered the giveaway before 20.15pm 8th April 2016 you need to click and enter again as your entry may not have been counted!



For our 2nd Giveaway we've all clubbed together to give some fabulous prizes!
So don't forget to come back on Sunday to see all the different things you can win :D

16 comments:

  1. Wonderful review of Lisa's class. I loved it too. I bought her books after watching her class, I was so impressed with how much she knew. I can't wait to see your finished bag, and I'd like to see more of those cork handles - how you make them, where you get that gorgeous cork...

    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hummmm, should add this one to my wish list! I dream of making stylish bags that will stand the test of time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your review. I am new to bag making wven thought I've been sewing most of my life. After reading your review I am interested in the class. I have already purchased classes from Craftsy and I am pleased. I wouls love ro see your tutorial of your handles for handbags.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ahhh, Fiona, your writing is like big tin of Quality Street sweets from the other side of the pond. I can't wait to see the bag when you're done. And on the subject of a tutorial, oh yes please!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanksfor the review. Yes I alsowould like to know how you make your handles.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great Review of the class Fiona. Grabbed the class while the special was on :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks everyone for all your kind words! I will take photos along the way when I make the other handle so you can see what I do 😄

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey Fiona, great post! How about you put that handle post on my blog instead!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll definitely think about that Janelle! Maybe I could split the tutorial into 2... First part making the handles and the second part on how to do my new connectors? Do the first bit on mine one day and the second bit on yours the next? I'll work on the tutorials and get back to you :)

      Delete
  9. Great review! Oh, and my hammer looks pretty much just like yours ;) I'm happy to hear you liked the class; I may give it a go!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thoughtful review. I will definitely be following your blog from now on. Thank you for this Canadian Craftsy review series. It is particularly good to see the Canadian resources that are posted.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for this review. What I like about this blog hop is that it is Canadian and has opened my eyes to new to me Canadian bloggers and resources. Great posts.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Enjoying the blog hop.....finding new blogs is wonderful !!

    ReplyDelete
  13. The cork gives your bags an amazing look. Hi from the blog hop!

    ReplyDelete