Book Review: Purses Bags & Totes

Quick peek: There are a few things that I like about this book without doing any in depth reading yet. I really like the Spicy Girl Messenger Bag, the author’s use of Wonderclips in her (their?) process and the fun designs.

Purses, Bags, & TotesPurses, Bags, & Totes by Moya Workshop

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have been thinking about Pam’s comment about the Petrillo bag being too large for her as a handbag. I don’t remember if she made this comment on her blog or podcast. Podcast, probably. Anyway, this comment has been on my mind, because of the way I use bags larger than a handbag – the ‘class’ of bags I would call totes.

I take public transportation a lot, and when I drive, I try to group my errands so that I can take the car out one time even if I make multiple stops. I don’t mind driving, but it isn’t very convenient (traffic, parking, my lack of patience) all the time. Also, it wouldn’t be my first choice of activities if I had my choice between sewing and driving (in my fantasy world, I would have a driver at my beck and call).

This practice means that I often have stuff (library books, forms I signed for school, letters and packages I need to mail) I need to drop off at one place, bring with me to another place, etc. Instead of dumping all the stuff in the trunk and then putting it in and taking it out of one bag, I put the stuff for different stops in different totes and grab the one I need at the appropriate stop.

This might seem like tote bag overkill, but it allows me to get everything sorted out in my house and gives me a justification** for making as many tote bags as I want. 😉 Further, making as many tote bags as I want gives me a reason to buy yards and yards of beautiful fabric (Philip Jacobs, I am looking at you!) to make more tote bags.

All of which brings me to Purses Bags Totes. I really like the Jane Market Tote which I would consider a classic shopping style bag. However, there are many, many fabulous tote bag patterns in this world and I intend to make as many of them as I can. The authors of Purses Bags Totes really have a fun sense of style. Fabric notwithstanding, the pleats, angled zippers and interesting cut out shapes really make the patterns contained in this book different and interesting.

The Cutie Backpack (and I don’t even really mind the name), pg.57, has a wonderful quarter circle pocket on the outside. Their bag, called, simply, Tote Bag, pg.73, would be great for shopping similar to the Jane Market Tote. It is a little different and would add some interest to the drudgery that shopping can be. Imagine people stopping you and asking you about your bag.

The Citrus Handbag, pg.11, reminds me of the Aeroplane bag by Sew Sweetness. It is a little smaller, but would make an excellent coordinating handbag with the Aeroplane Bag, if you made them with similar fabrics.

The weird part about this book is that there is barely any introduction. The General Instructions, pg.4, page is a few paragraphs long, then the authors launch into making pockets. I see that the header of the first pocket page also says “General Instructions,” which leads me to believe that is one big section. I would have liked a paragraph introducing the layout of the book that told me they were providing general instructions on pockets and the pockets could be interchanged with the different projects. I am assuming that is what they mean, but who knows?

The book comes with a CD and I have no idea what is on the CD. Yes, I can look at it and will later, but nowhere does it say that the patterns are on the CD. I would have liked to see a list or a note in each pattern saying “full sized patterns are on the CD; print using…”.

The pictures are really good, as far as I can tell without making one of the bags. Some of the handle and bias tape making techniques could be adapted and used for other bags because of the detailed photos enhanced by instructions.

I like the charts used to explain cutting and fusing directions. They are very clean.

All in all I like this book and see a few bags I would like to try to make. I am definitely putting Purses, Bags, & Totes on my Amazon wish list.

View all my reviews



** As if I really need justification for any kind of sewing. 😉