Monthly Archives: October 2013

Book Review: Big-City Bags + Giveaway!


Today, I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for my friend Sara Lawson’s new book, Big City Bags: Sew Handbags with Style, Sass and Sophistication (Martingale). The book features 12 patterns for designer-style purses from everyday bags to a diaper tote, and sturdy luggage to a laptop case with an extra protective sleeve for your computer.

Not only is Sara a talented designer who has released dozens of her gorgeous purse patterns for free at her blog Sew Sweetness, but she is a wonderful example of what we are all about at Craft Buds.

Not that long ago, Sara had just discovered the online sewing community and written her very first bag pattern. In 2012, she wrote a total of 26 bag patterns in just 10 months! As you can see, Sara has worked incredibly hard to get her creative business off the ground, and she’s done it all as a wife, and a mom to two little ones.


That’s Sara pictured above with her “Bee Sweet Bag” from the book. Not only did Sara make all of her book projects in a very short time, but when she found out she’d be traveling to Washington state for the photo shoot, she also made several new outfits! I honestly don’t know how she does it all, but Sara has built her patterns business from the ground up, all the while taking time for others and staying true to the generous and loving person that she just is!

The book really celebrates handmade as a lifestyle; Sara claims she hasn’t used any store-bought purses in years. And with Sara as a teacher, you’ll feel confident that you can tackle any sewing project, no matter the difficulty level.

My first positive experience sewing a dress, in fact, was during a sew along hosted on Sara’s blog! Since then, I’ve had many compliments on my everyday purse and diaper bag, which I made using two more of Sara’s bag patterns.


Back to the projects in the book! Each of the bag patterns, like the “Fireside Bowl Bag” pictured above, comes with full-color illustrations and detailed instructions. You can copy pattern pieces (or print if you have an e-book) from the pages in the book, which are labeled and easy to understand. The beginning of the book covers everything you need to know about interfacing (including how you can get by with what you have in your stash), and detailed instructions for using metal clasps, rings, zippers, purse feet and making adjustable straps.

Want to know what one of the bags would look like in a different fabric or colorway? The book displays variations of each pattern, many of which were sewn by Sara’s pattern testers, located around the world. And because they were tested by experts, you can be sure that you won’t end up with too-little fabric or a zipper that doesn’t quite fit.


The gorgeous “Wonderland Bag” (pictured above) is first on my list of projects to make. It features leather handles, which I’ve never tried, and exterior piping for a professional finish. I adore the rounded shape (similar to a soft-sided mailbox, with plenty of room for your belongings) and sturdy sides.

If you enjoy a sewing challenge and have already made some basic totes and zipper pouches, Big-City Bags has all of the tools to help you graduate to the next level. And as Sara says, don’t feel like you have to stick to the patterns as written. “Nothing makes me more excited than when a reader sends me an e-mail saying, ‘I made your bag pattern and I love it! I changed the flap a bit and added a longer strap, and it’s just perfect for me!'” she writes.

All photos from Big-City Bags by Sara Lawson, Martingale, 2013; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.



Would you like to win an e-book of Big-City Bags? Martingale is generously providing one Craft Buds reader with a digital copy of Sara’s book!

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this blog post telling us one sewing technique that you’d like to branch out and try! (Zippers? Purse straps? Advanced bags in general?)

Giveaway is open worldwide, and we’ll choose a random winner one week from the date of this post. Good luck!

Congrats to #66, Amy C.!

Paper Crafts: Creative Gift Wrapping Ideas

I realize it’s a little early to start thinking about the holidays and gift-giving season. But, I’ve been adding pins to my Paper Crafts Pinterest board, and they have me in the mood to wrap gifts! Here are some of my favorite creative gift wrapping ideas right now.

This site shows how to fold a gift bag out of newspaper, and top with a sweet paper doily and ribbon. I think these would make great favor bags for a party! The only problem is, I don’t know where to find a newspaper that doesn’t have colored ink on it. Perhaps the classified ads?

Trader Joe's Bags for Wrapping

Leslie of acreativemint shares another great tip: Use paper bags like these holiday-themed ones from Trader Joe’s bags to wrap gifts! To dress up your bags, try some Baker’s twine, paper doilies, gift tags, washi tape or other types of ribbon. If shopping online, check out sites like Packqueen for wrapping paper, packing supplies, gift boxes and more.

Do you remember going to the school library as a kid and pulling out that library card from a manila envelope inside your book? I do! This creative gift wrapping idea just makes me happy. A bow made of baker’s twine adds the perfect finishing touch. Visit eighteen25 for free library card printables to use as gift toppers or handmade cards.

Finally, I’m still loving this handmade gift wrap made by Mary, which features a flower made from an unexpected material: trash bags. She uses felt and embossed paper to accent the box topper, but you can use any scraps of colored paper or scrapbooking embellishments you have on hand to create the look.

I hope this assortment of creative gift wrapping ideas inspires you today! Do you enjoy wrapping gifts, or do you typically just stuff presents in a gift bag?

Modern Bee Blog Tour + Giveaways!

Craft Book Month may be over, but we’ve been enjoying the Modern Bee blog hop. Check out this video to learn more about the book!


Here are a few highlights from the tour, and you can follow the links to comment for your chance to win!

Modern Bee book

Want to win a copy of the book? Click on each one of these blogs and leave a comment there for your chance to win!

Modern Bee Giveaway

Next, some very generous sewing companies sent me some goodies to give away as part of the blog hop! Visit any of the the blogs below to fill out the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win 1 of 10 gift bags with goodies from Coats and Clark, FreeSpirit Fabrics, Timeless Treasures, Pellon and Olfa.

Modern Bee Labels JPG

Finally, you can download some FREE printables from the book over at Sew Mama Sew. The very lovely Mary designed these labels that you can print them off and send along with bee blocks to help the recipient sort out her materials!


The blog tour wraps up on Wednesday with a stop over to Craftsy + Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, where you’ll have two more chances to win the book. Good luck!


Winners! Craft Book Month 2013

We had a fabulous turnout for Craft Book Month 2013, and . . . it’s time to choose the winners! Each winner was randomly selected from all entries using Winners, I’ll be in touch soon, but if you’d like to shoot me an e-mail to lindsay.conner(at)gmail(dot)com with info on the prize you’ve won, that would be fantastic!

Without further ado:

#83, Jodie: Sun Print Text half-yard bundle by Alison Glass for Andover

#32 Jess @ The Sewing Rabbit: Roly Poly Pattern and 2 yards of cotton lawn from imagine gnats

#17 Lisa Marie: $25 Gift Certificate for fabric at Owl + Drum

#64, Kirsten @ Gemini Stitches: Signed copy of ‘Growing Up Modern by Allison Harris’ +
1/8″ gingham fat quarter bundle from Riley Blake Design from Fabric Seeds

#74, Joanne @ Rose @ Dahlia: Four PDF patterns from Emmaline Bags:
the Emmaline Bag, the Steph-in-the-City Bag, the Necessary Clutch Wallet, and the Boyd St. Bowling Bag

#37, Norma: 3 PDF Patterns from Clover + Violet

#22, Leanne @ She Can Quilt: Simply Fat Quarters book,

#62, Nesta: Angles with Ease book,

#71, Lisa @ In the Boon Docks: Simply Retro book from Fat Quarter Shop

#73, Mara @ Secretly Stitching: Casual Lady Pattern PDF from Go To Patterns

#65, Diya @ The Hobby Harbor: Volume One for Five & Ten Designs from The Sewing Rabbit

#54, Katy @ The Littlest Thistle: Flip Dolls & Other Toys book, Stitched Blooms book & Stuffed Animals book from Lark Crafts

#14, Debbie @ A Quilter’s Table: Quilting Block + Pattern-a-Day 2014 Calendar and the Posh Retro Reels Planner from Andrews McMeel (U.S. and Canada only)

#23, Beth T.: Becoming a Confident Quilter book and Quilts Made with Love book from Martingale (U.S. only)

#46, Kristen @ Gooba Designs: Sewing for All Seasons book and 1, 2, 3 Quilt book from Chronicle Books

#50, Veronica @ Sew Very: Skirt-a-Day Sewing book and Sewing School 2 book from Storey Publishing (U.S. only)

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