I thought that I might start the review of handbag, purse, and totes books with The Decorated Bag: Creating Designer Handbags, Purses, and Totes Using Embellishments by Genevieve A. Sterbenz.
I have to tell you that what drew me to this book initially was the embellished purse on the front cover and then when I was flipping through the book all the pictorials caught my eye. If there is anything I love in a craft and craft making book it's pictorials. You might find this unusual for a crafter and a reader, but I hate to read the text. I'd much rather look at the pictures and follow them. Now that's not to say I don't read the text. I do if I have to, but I'd rather learn from the pictures. I suspect that I'm not the only one in that regard. I'm sure many, many crafters out there are the same way.
The Decorated Bag has 26 designs ranging from bejeweled evening bags to a Victorian Straw tote to an urban cowgirl saddle bag. There's a folkart bucket bag, Marabou mini bag, springtime pull string bag, girly weekender, mod print tote, and "Miss Kitty" tote. There's even a big-city bowling bag and Hollywood hatbox.
Don't forget the American beauty bag, the blue suede portfolio, tropical demi, blue-boots tote, and buttoned-up hobo bag. And, there's the swingtime shoulder bag, lush leopard hatbox, snow-flurry lipstick purse, and vintage rhinestone purse.
Last but not least, we have the midnight feather clutch, beaded ballerina bag, silver moon satin clutch, pave polka dot purse, tottenham tweed clutch and mini travel valise.
26 bags in total all with wonderful step-by-step pictorials. Some of my favorites were as follows:
1) Bejeweled Evening Bag - This bag just looks so pretty. I'd love to try and make it. Not only does this book tell you how to decorate the bag, it also gives you step-by-step pictorials for making the bag starting on page 114. The pattern is on page 128. Definitely one I want to try.
2) American Beauty Bag - I love to make ribbon flowers and this bag is right up my alley with its folded ribbon roses. It just looks so beautiful and so delicate. It would be a wonderful compliment to a fancy dress. Pictorial step-by-step instructions are given on page 34 and 35 for making all the ribbon roses.
3) Blue-Boots Tote - This bag takes a graphic from page 133 that you scan in to the computer and then re-size and print on transfer paper and then add to the patchwork toe. This method allows you to add any image you want, not just the image they have nicely provided.
There are patterns and instructions in the back of the book for making the bejeweled evening bag, urban cowgirl saddle bag, and springtime pull-string bag. There are also some illustrations and helpful tips for some of the other bags as well.
For all the rest of the bags "The Decorated Bag" provides you with the step-by-step pictorials for converting existing bags. Each bag has a section on materials needed to embellish it, tools required, what the featured bag is, as well as design tips, and a variation illustration.
If you love purses and love to embellish them then this is a great book. There is a lot of variety in the selection of the purses with one sure to please everyone.
I can hardly wait to start my bag. The only problem is which one to choose. There are so many that I just love.