Books

Making Vintage Bags by Emma Brennan
Publisher: Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd
ISBN: 1861084110A SINGLE late 1930s sewing pattern for a handbag, hat and collar provided the inspiration for this book. I was fascinated by the shape, construction and quirky appeal of the bag, which featured a central handle and an unusual flap. Handbags are great things to design and sew because there are very few constraints. A bag does not have to “fit” so as long as it’s functional, there is no limit to what your imagination can conjure up. It also helps that very few women can resist a handbag or purse, making them ideal gifts.

The book contains 20 of my original design sewing patterns for bags, drawing inspiration from the elegance, glamour and sophistication of the styles of the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, five projects reflecting each era. In addition, there is a purse pattern so that any of the bags in the book can be enhanced with a pretty matching purse.

Patterns for all of the bags are included in the book with seam allowances already added, so all you have to do is enlarge them on a photocopier and cut them out. Although the idea of enlarging the templates might seem a bit of a pain, the instructions make it very simple. Providing the templates in this format made it possible for me to include all of the pattern pieces and for me to incorporate larger sized bags while still working within the publisher’s guidelines. Believe me; the standard page size of a craft book is not that big!

Making Vintage Bags also contains heaps of useful information on handles, (ranging from folded and stitched to beaded wire, bangle handles and purchased rope), fabric and interfacing choices, embellishments and easy fastenings including zippers and magnetic snaps, all illustrated with step-by-step photographs. Most people who have bought this book and really taken the time to study it have found it very useful. It is the perfect volume for providing practical advice and inspiration to any would-be handbag designers with a passion for vintage.

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Making Vintage Jewellery by Emma Brennan
Publisher: Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd
ISBN: 1861084536FOLLOWING on from the success of Making Vintage Bags, my second book Making Vintage Jewellery presents 25 fabulous pieces of vintage inspired jewellery with ideas on how to vary projects for a wealth of different looks. The classic and timeless styles have wide appeal with influences from the refined elegance of the 1910s through to the chic glamour of the 1950s.

The book features an introductory section divided into comprehensive sub-sections, covering tools and basic techniques used throughout the book, with step-by-step photographs to illustrate. The following five sections each focus on a decade from the 1910s to the 1950s, and feature historical background to the designs, step-by-step diagrams and a list of materials, which are a mixture of easy-to-find vintage and modern beads, textiles and findings.

The book is ideal for people wanting to experiment and make unusual jewellery from a diverse range of materials and different techniques. Many of the projects feature sewing and textiles, such as the currently popular ribbon flower corsages, pleated ribbon bracelets and chokers made using old-fashioned methods. Wire also features heavily in projects such as the impressive twisted wire neckpieces, charm and dangle earrings and simple cotton cord lariats.

With projects to suit different abilities, Making Vintage Jewellery offers a host of ideas for combining small pieces of antique and vintage textiles, beads and buttons with modern findings to create impressive contemporary jewellery with a nod to the past.

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Making Vintage Accessories

I AM very excited about the new book, partly because it contains what I believe is the most comprehensive selection of vintage inspired fashion accessories to be put into one pattern book and because the publication date is timely coinciding with the current credit crunch. Why? Because the book is based on the old fashioned notion of “make do and mend” encouraging people to use small scraps of fabric, old buckles and buttons to make wonderful new fashion accessories that will update a whole outfit without breaking the bank. It will also hopefully encourage people to take up sewing again when they see just what wonders they can perform with a ½ yard of tweed!

I have given a lot away in this book, which makes it good value for money. As with the previous two volumes, all of the pattern templates are included in the book, but this time there are patterns and instructions for eight different handbags, five hats and a range of scarves, collars, belts and textile based jewellery. The book has an introductory section and the 25 projects are split into decades ranging from the 1920s to 1960s. The accessories are simply influenced by each era and can be mixed and matched to create an endless wardrobe of different fashion looks. There are also tips on how to vary each style.

The book came out in October 2009 in the UK and was released in the US in May 2010.

NB: Please read my blog entry ”Hat issues with new book” for further information.

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Books can be purchased from amazon.co.ukamazon.com or direct from the publishers at thegmcgroup.com.