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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Better Bag Maker: An Illustrated Handbook of Handbag Design
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2014
I have been looking for a bag book like this for a long time. I have loads of bag books with fantastic bags but the instructions are mostly sketchy. When I make a bag I am often disappointed with the zippers I have put in which are untidy. Nicole has some great tips for securing fabric pieces and zippers while you sew and I can't wait to get stuck into my first bag. Also, there are instructions for resizing any of the bags.

Pictures are included with the instructions which help tremendously. Yes, some of the instructions are quite complex (as is the case with any intricate bag) but if you take the time to follow the pictures and read carefully it becomes clear. I wouldn't dream of doing a hard square bottom but I will now. I also like her array of professional looking handles and with all the patterns to go with her example bags, its an absolute steal. Yes, you can get some of these tips off the internet but not all in one place.

Finally, he bag at the end of the book which converts into a backpack is exactly what I have been looking for this past year now that I don't have a car. This pattern alone would cost me the price of the whole book. Well done, Nicole.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2014
I love how professional these bags look, not home sewn at all

I usually buy Kipling bags as they're lightweight, full of pockets & pretty too, but they are expensive. Now I can start making my own
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2014
Good book for someone with experience in sewing, but - and it's a big but - there are no clear lists of pattern parts needed in each type of fabric/interfacing and it's a nuisance to use since you are always being referred to a different part of the book for individual steps. If you want a book to improve already existing skills, then go for it. If you are a beginner then don't. Go for Lisa Lam's Bag Making Bible instead. Oh, and I have 60 years experience in making my own clothes, bags etc.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I really like this book. It has lots of information and will be easy to follow.There are really good full size patterns in the back of the book which is a bonus! The patterns are very good and adaptable so I am looking forward to making my first bag from the book. Definately very good value for mond.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2014
This book is way better than Lisa Lam's...almost glossy paper, very well organised and there is no need to jump pages in searched of tips and infos! Mallalieu did an excellent job helping beginners understand the fundamental of bag making. It is still a bargain for the advanced group as just like the book says, one simple pattern is all you need to create a bevy of bags, from totes to backpacks to weekenders. Unleash your creativity, the imagination is yours! They are 10 types of bags to try in total and each is graded with beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, confident and beyond. It is full of techniques, tips and tricks. Lots of photos to accompany your 'journey'. A definitely 5 out of 5 for it! Beginners, grab this book, you will not regret it! Thank you Amazon for the prompt delivery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2014
Not what I was expecting. Having "cut my teeth" by making several items from Lisa Lam's book 'The Bag Making Bible', I wanted to improve my skills to make better bags (my interpretation of the title). This book concentrates on one pattern and how to make many versions not what I wanted. The book has remained untouched ever since.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2015
Excellent - clear instructions and tips to make professional looking bags. I have a number of bag making books and this is the best one. It includes a pattern which can be altered to make bags of any size. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2014
I've already started to make bags so I got this book to give me extra tips and although it's great for the beginner, I am getting great ideas from it too, so I think it's a good all round reference.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2014
This book has a few interesting designs in it - but the paper patterns provided are awful to use.
There is a basic pattern provided - but then I had to extend or reduce each piece in two directions according to the written instructions. This was tedious to do - why couldn't the author just say- you need a piece "40cm by 30cm" for example instead of "slash and extend the piece on the horizontal slash line by one inch and slash and close on the vertical slash line by two inches"
By the time I amended 5 pattern pieces using these instructions I was fed up!
If you can battle past that - there are some good bags that are easy to make - especially if you are looking for rectangular based shapes - if you want more shapely or rounded patterns, try the Amy Butler book. :-)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2015
I have been making bags for many years (probably more than Ms Mallalieu herself) and just bought the book for some new inspiration as I am admittedly not great at pattern designing. Her bag patterns in this book are lovely indeed but that's about it. I don't think she is a particularly good bag maker at all! All the instructions and explanations are so overly complicated that I would not have understood anything if I had not known how to do certain things. For example I can't believe how complicated she makes it to put in an internal zip which is usually done within 5 minutes. With her techniques it would take forever. And why attach the facing to the bag body, then construct the lining and attach it to the facing which is so much more complicated than just attach the lining to the facing and then the whole thing onto the main bag body. The fabrics she uses in the book are really awful as well which makes it difficult for a beginner to see the beauty of the bag models through the ugly outside.

If I were a novice bag maker who wants to learn new techniques it I would have been utterly put off by this book, thinking that it was all far beyond my skills. I don't recommend this book to anyone who still wants to learn, and can only recommend Lisa Lam's books "The bag making bible" and "A bag for all reasons". These are so much better and explain things in an easy and understandable way, just the opposite to this book.
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