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Hack That Tote!: Mix & Match Elements to Create Your Perfect Bag

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One pattern, infinite looks! With simple tweaks, you can reinvent the basic tote 11 ways, sewing useful projects like a backpack, messenger bag, laundry duffle, and stylish cross-body purse. Create your perfect carryall by adding zippers, pockets, handles, drawstrings, and purse hardware for endless variety. A fabric and interfacing guide helps beginners and more experienc One pattern, infinite looks! With simple tweaks, you can reinvent the basic tote 11 ways, sewing useful projects like a backpack, messenger bag, laundry duffle, and stylish cross-body purse. Create your perfect carryall by adding zippers, pockets, handles, drawstrings, and purse hardware for endless variety. A fabric and interfacing guide helps beginners and more experienced sewists choose the right materials every time. Just measure, mark, and cut no printed patterns needed!"


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One pattern, infinite looks! With simple tweaks, you can reinvent the basic tote 11 ways, sewing useful projects like a backpack, messenger bag, laundry duffle, and stylish cross-body purse. Create your perfect carryall by adding zippers, pockets, handles, drawstrings, and purse hardware for endless variety. A fabric and interfacing guide helps beginners and more experienc One pattern, infinite looks! With simple tweaks, you can reinvent the basic tote 11 ways, sewing useful projects like a backpack, messenger bag, laundry duffle, and stylish cross-body purse. Create your perfect carryall by adding zippers, pockets, handles, drawstrings, and purse hardware for endless variety. A fabric and interfacing guide helps beginners and more experienced sewists choose the right materials every time. Just measure, mark, and cut no printed patterns needed!"

47 review for Hack That Tote!: Mix & Match Elements to Create Your Perfect Bag

  1. 5 out of 5

    JayeL

    I received this book for Christmas. I can always count on the YM to get me something towards the top of my wishlist. I wanted this book to help me be a better bag hacker. You have seen my attempts at hacking the Petrillo Bag pattern. I am happy with the results, but I thought a little understanding would go far in my efforts. This book starts with a basic pattern and gives a visual representation of the various hacking options (pg.6-7). The first chapter is called "Anatomy of a Tote Bag" (pg.8). I received this book for Christmas. I can always count on the YM to get me something towards the top of my wishlist. I wanted this book to help me be a better bag hacker. You have seen my attempts at hacking the Petrillo Bag pattern. I am happy with the results, but I thought a little understanding would go far in my efforts. This book starts with a basic pattern and gives a visual representation of the various hacking options (pg.6-7). The first chapter is called "Anatomy of a Tote Bag" (pg.8). It only mentions the elements of a bag, but explains them thoroughly. For example, I never knew that "the square notches cut from the bottom corners dictate the shape of the finished project" (pg.8). I probably knew it if I thought about it, but this book writes it clearly and puts it out there for my brain to chew on. There is also a discussion of 'drop,' how pockets work best and how the "width and length of the bag work with the bottom corner notches in determining the finished bag size" (pg.9). All of the these structural information sections really help with hacking a tote. Understanding the underlying structure of anything helps to disassemble and reassemble totes. The images are also helpful. Pages 6 and 9 have images that help understand the underlying structure - or how bags change as they are hacked. This structural information is brief but well written and useful. The third chapter is called "Overview of Hacking the Pattern" (pg.10). The section starts with changing the size of a bag and gives the formula for scaling up or down. Changing fabric is really an easy 'hack'. It is actually barely a hack and probably should not have been mentioned in the same context as changing the size of a bag. Abreu discusses different ways of using fabrics to change the look of one's project (pg.12-13). This section makes me think of my mosaic pieced journal covers and how making such a large piece of fabric would use up a lot of scraps as well as be interesting if one could deal with all of the seam allowances. Fabrics are discussed in an entire chapter of their own entitled, shockingly, 'Fabrics' (pg.14-). This section includes my favorite fabric tip. "I nearly always select light colored fabrics for bag linings" (pg.14). The author also discussed aligning fabric motifs (pg.14) and different fibers (pg.16-19) extensively. She provides for use of different fabrics and her opinion on their suitability for bags. "Interfacings and stabilizers" info is given space as well. The topic is illustrated with a page spread (pg.21). The chapter gives info on why to use stabilizers and the author's preferences such as "... to interface both the exterior and the lining, which allows the bag to maintain its shape over time (pg.20). Again, Ms. Abreu gives and illustration of various interfacing and talks about their uses (pg.22-24). I was pleased to read about buckram, which I have never used (pg.22). I was also pleased to get a short lesson on craft stabilizers, which Abreu describes as "beyond the heartiest of interfacings lies a category of products called craft stabilizers" (pg.24). I have never heard this term so I was pleased that she named some brands with which I was familiar so I could get context. The author also gave useful tips on sewing through them. One thing I like about this section the "Considerations of Interfacings/Stabilizers" (pg.25). This part gives advice on when to use what type of interfacing. She uses projects in the book as examples. While this could be seen as self serving, I think it is agreat idea because there are a wide variety of projects which provide a variety of examples for almost any available pattern. Handles can be hacked as well. Ms. Abreu talks about different types of handles (pg.26) with examples (pg.27). Pockets, decorative elements, bottoms, hardware as well as handles are all included in the Elements section (pg.26-35). After a lot of great information, the patterns start with a basic tote. The patterns each run about 4 pages, depending on the complexity. I have seen some full sized quilt patterns in books on a shorter number of pages. I originally saw this book at a store and one reason I put it on my list, besides the basic hacking information, was the Tubular Frame Purse (pg.60-67). I like the idea that I might be able to carry one bag for work rather than a purse and a tote or briefcase. I like the shape and the fact that it stands up by itself. The pattern calls for foam interfacing such as Soft and Stable. Like many of the patterns, there is a sidebar called "Inside the Hack" (pg.60), which discusses how to accommodate different sizes of parts. There is a lot of cutting for this pattern and the design uses several different types of interfacing. Though I haven't made the bag, the steps seem to be well written and clear. This pattern has a bag bottom, so the maker could use press-on vinyl to protect the fabric from wet floors. Keep the negative sides of press-on vinyl in mind when you use consider using it. This pattern uses a tubular frame. It is definitely on my list to try out. I just have to find some proper fabric and assemble the interfacing. The Boat/Pool tote (pg.68-73) would be a great project to use a large print fabric for the outside. I might use a laminated fabric for the outside, also, especially if I planned to use around water. This pattern doesn't have a separate bottom piece so press-on vinyl isn't an option. The Laundry Duffle Bag (pg.94-98) could be a great option if you want to include a storage bag for a gift quilt. One option (hack?) given for this project is using French Seams and a heavier fabric. This interests me and I want to think about how to parlay this into use for different patterns. Hack That Tote doesn't have an index, but it does have an illustrated Glossary (pg.99-102) and a Resources page. I find the Glossary helpful for techniques with which I am unfamiliar. I would have liked it better if projects that used the listed techniques were include with the entry. A ton of photos were include, which makes navigating the instructions easier. I recommend this book. There are a wide variety of patterns in this book of different shapes and sizes, including a messenger bag and a crossbody bag. Some look like patterns I have seen from other designers. There are a limited number of shapes for bags so, perhaps, it can't be helped.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Ann

    So Impressed! This book inspires me to sew and create. It's the best organized and formatted "how to" books that I've seen in a very long time. I am impressed because it includes multiple variations from tote bag, to wine bottle bags, backpacks, zippered cross-body bags, duffle bags... etc. along with a glossary, pictures that correspond wonderfully with the clear instructions. Mary Abreu also interjects helpful hints in the directions, reasons why certain textiles/products are best to use. I wo So Impressed! This book inspires me to sew and create. It's the best organized and formatted "how to" books that I've seen in a very long time. I am impressed because it includes multiple variations from tote bag, to wine bottle bags, backpacks, zippered cross-body bags, duffle bags... etc. along with a glossary, pictures that correspond wonderfully with the clear instructions. Mary Abreu also interjects helpful hints in the directions, reasons why certain textiles/products are best to use. I won this book from GoodReads. This book would be great for both the beginner AND for the accomplished

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Feathers

    Something practical to start 2017. A great way to use up odds and ends or that stash of fabric sitting in the sewing room. Simple patterns, clear instructions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    Christmas of 2017 I created bags and table runners for everyone. This is a useful book with variations of a basic box pattern and additions of zippers, handles and all to make the bag of your choosing. I used it for Nora's music bag November 2018. Christmas of 2017 I created bags and table runners for everyone. This is a useful book with variations of a basic box pattern and additions of zippers, handles and all to make the bag of your choosing. I used it for Nora's music bag November 2018.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara Q

    This one is going on my wishlist. She takes wonderfully simple straightforward ideas and shows a myriad ways to adjust them into different projects. I'm looking forward to trying her technique of cutting out a corner square instead of boxing the corners after sewing pieces together. This one is going on my wishlist. She takes wonderfully simple straightforward ideas and shows a myriad ways to adjust them into different projects. I'm looking forward to trying her technique of cutting out a corner square instead of boxing the corners after sewing pieces together.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shari

  8. 5 out of 5

    Corrina

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lakshmi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Lee

    This was a good book to get some basics on how to make various bag types for beginners. You will need some basic knowledge of sewing, but it gives you information on choosing materials and using patterns to personalize a bag. You could make these for yourself or for gifts. I would actually like to purchase this because it was easy to understand and had some good ideas.

  12. 4 out of 5

    SP

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

  14. 4 out of 5

    Glenna

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Beachler

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elena

  20. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  21. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emyl

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Cobb Sabatini

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary A.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terry Pearson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tikri /Letitia

  31. 4 out of 5

    Edgar Connell

  32. 4 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  33. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  34. 4 out of 5

    Dolli

  35. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  36. 5 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  37. 5 out of 5

    Joy Yerkie

  38. 4 out of 5

    S.

  39. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  40. 5 out of 5

    Therese Wiese

  41. 5 out of 5

    Tracie Tatum

  42. 4 out of 5

    Christine Zibas

  43. 5 out of 5

    M.L.

  44. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  45. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Becraft

  46. 5 out of 5

    Cheri Clark

  47. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

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