Big City Bags Review (winner announced)

We are so very excited with this new book by Sara Lawson!  Aurifil is known for its excellence in piecing and quilting but not very much is shared when it comes to garment and bag making.  Aurifil’s quality is the perfect choice for all of your sewing projects which Sara shares in her new book Big City Bags. Sara used both Aurifil 40wt and 50wt in all of the bags for her book.
headshot“My name is Sara, and I live with my family in Chicago, Illinois. My son, William, is 7, and my daughter, Violet, is 5-1/2. I love horses, sewing, photography, reading books, Australian Shepherds, and music. The blog was named for one of my favorite Jimmy Eat World songs that I had on a cute pink 7” record. It just sounded cool with the word ‘sew’ in front of it. 🙂

I started blogging because I love sewing, and I am really inspired by the sewing community out in blogland. My blog would not exist if it wasn’t for the wonderful blog Amy Lou Who and for my partner in (fabric) crime, Kim.

My grandmother, my mom, and my aunt all sew. My grandmother is very good at making and altering clothing. I learned the basics when I was in 3rd grade, when my mom taught me and my friend a little sewing class once a week. I made a simple dress, which I proudly wore to school (my friend’s mother did not allow her to wear hers). At the time, I loved all sorts of crafty things, and so sewing took a back seat for a long, long time.

As an adult, I began sewing again when my first child was born. I needed something to occupy my time in the evenings while my baby was asleep, and I found sewing. At first it started out as a weekly goal to complete a little sewn project, but soon I was spending every free hour in the evening sewing. I was obsessed. I laugh because I often show my grandmother my finished bags, and she is always quick to point out that I have twisted a strap, or that my topstitching is not perfect.

Even though I take care of my family during the day and work a part-time job on the weekend, I devote every spare minute and stay up until midnight every night, so that I can work on my bag designs and blog. I have found my calling, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

I started designing free bag sewing patterns for Pellon Projects, in late 2011. They include detailed instructions and step-by-step photos. My book, Big-City Bags, was published by Martingale on November 5, 2013. I also produce pdf and paper sewing patterns.

My love for sewing has truly brought me out of my shell. I have always been a shy person, but now I feel confident in myself and in my sewing abilities, and I can now do things that I never in my life would have imagined that I would be doing. I taught two classes at Sewing Summit in 2012, I’ve had patterns appear in magazines (Modern Quilting, Sew News, Stitch, etc.), I have taught lectures and classes at events and guilds, and I’ve even been on Pat Sloan’s ‘American Patchwork and Quilting Radio’ internet show.

I am proud to say that I use By Annie’s Soft and StablePellon interfacings, and Aurifil Thread (usually 40 wt., but I enjoy 50 wt. as well) in all of my bags.”

There are twelve adaptable projects in this book. These bags are designed to be made by everyone in their own personal style.  Sara has a team of testers to make certain that every bag pattern is well written and looks good no matter what fabric is used.

4 square bag

Throughout the book Sara gives her personal tips for everything from what interfacing to use and why to what kind of fabric glue she uses to make sure your twist locks stay secure.  The pattern pieces are printed in the pages so you do not have to worry about unfolding and refolding, just trace and sew!  The projects in the book have many photos with very detailed instructions for sewers of all skill levels.

Let’s look at some of the fabulous bags you could make from this book.

The Miss Independent Bag is the perfect selection for that girl on the go, with pockets for all of your pens or other work and school related necessities.  It also includes a pattern to protect your laptop that will fit right inside.

Miss Independent Bag

The Bee Sweet Bag is a wonderful choice if you want to really show off that large scale or statement print.  Sara’s bag shown is using Tula Pink’s Flutterby.

Bee Sweet Bag

For a purse with a flap and secure clasp closure, Sara offers the Go-Go Bag.  A moderate sized bag that still includes all the storage space you could possibly need. Looking to upgrade from your messenger bag?  This bag looks fabulous no matter if you are in business attire or jeans.

Go Go Bag

Sara has graciously offered a signed hardcopy of her book Big City Bags!

To make this giveaway even more exciting there will be also an Aurifil The Basics Collection by Mark Lipinski.  This collection features 12 of Mark Lipinski’s favorite threads, the Basic Collection includes a variety of Aurifil’s outstanding threads in the 12 most versatile colors, each 1422 yards, 50wt.



One winner will receive one signed copy of Sara Lawson’s book and one collection of Mark Lipinski’s thread collection

Thank you everyone for commenting and Congratulations to Rita who said

have left a comment on the fb page … am a follower!


    1. I love a over the shoulder bag for the same reason to be hands free to look and touch all that fabric , but I also like and bag I can carry for other reasons to go out on the town and look snazzy lol! I am new to this so hope I did it right

    2. I love to make bags and my favorite style is a shoulder bag with lots and lots of pockets. Love the one above on the white chair (purple fabric). And also love Aurifil thread, it’s the best!

  1. My favorite style of bag/purses changes all the time, but the handles always have to be long enough to go over my arm especially if I’m wearing a coat and when I hold the it down, it can’t hit the ground, can be tough since I’m quite petite, but that’s what I love about making my own! I am a follower of the blog. Thanks so much for the opportunity, I love Sara’s designs!

  2. What a nice giveaway! I like a medium-size shoulder bag with plenty of inside pockets and a secure outside pocket too.

  3. Sara’s book looks really nice with lots of ideas. I’m going to sew my first zippy pouch today so I’m on my way to sewing bags! I follow Aurifil on Facebook.

  4. My favorite bag is a tote that fits over my shoulder! I already like the Aurifil Facebook page and I follow the blog!

  5. my favorite will always be a clutch purse.. 😀
    i’m a follower from your Facebook.. and just followed your blog on wordpress.. thank you for a chance to win. 😀

  6. I prefer shoulder bags and totes. Love making them as I can select fabric colors and prints appropriate for how I’ll be using them (e.g. vacation them, quilt show, as well as to match an outfit). Always looking for new ideas. Friends even tease me about being a “bag lady” as I enjoy making bags so much.


  7. I am a follower. I first saw Sara on the Pellon site and still have her free downloads of her great bags. I really, really do not have a favorite type of bag. I love them all!

  8. My favorite type of bag depends on what I am doing. Sometimes I need a small cross-body bag, sometimes a medium sized shoulder bag and sometimes I need a huge tote or a clutch or a little pouch. I believe it’s been said that a woman can’t have too many bags!

  9. I love tote bags…..Make a great many chemo bags for breast cancer patients so small totes are the best!! Follow you on facebook.

  10. I am an over the shoulder gal. Medium sized with compartments to make it easier to feel around and get what I need!

  11. My favorite bag is over the shoulder and I am a follower of your blog. Thanks for the great giveaway!!

  12. oops – I answered this on FB – oh,well…… I love a clutch and always a messenger bag. (And I follow you on FB and subscribe to your blog)…….and would love love love to win 🙂

  13. I’m on the last gasp of needing diaper bags, so my go to bags are usually still totes, so I can just grab and go without looking. I love the Go-Go bag though. I’d love to make that once I get to the regular purse stage again.

    Thanks for a great giveaway!

  14. I like over the shoulder bags best. I do like you on facebook and I follow the blog via email too. Thanks for the great giveaway! :0)

  15. I like over the shoulder bags with lots of pockets- keeps my hands free. I follow Aurifil on FB and now by email. Love your threads!

  16. my favorite bag is a medium size that fits over my shoulder, with lots of pockets! Thank you for this giveaway!

  17. I love shoulder bags. Especially quilted ones. Thanks for the chance to enter. This looks like a great book and wonderful thread to. What a winning combination. conn_and_vans_momatyahoodotcom

  18. I like a bag with an outside zip pocket for my keys – never have to search through all the other stuff to find them. Liked you on FB

  19. I also prefer a shoulder bag, with zippered interior pockets, but use the shorter handled bags for special occasions. I loved the interview, but couldn’t find a link to Sara’s blog!!

  20. My favorite kind of bag is one that comfortably fits over my shoulder and closes securely so nothing falls out if I drop it. AND it should be big enough to carry things to distract the little ones!

  21. My favorite bag would be an over the shoulder, I like pockets on the outside I can put my phone and keys in, I like several pockets on the inside and a sturdy bottom! Thanks for the chance in the giveaway, it’s a sweet one.

  22. I really like cross-body bags. Thank you for the chance to win the aurifil thread set. I follow auribuzz; that’s how I saw your post.

  23. I like a bag that I put over my shoulder but not long straps. It would tuck under my arm pit and one that zips closed.

  24. My favourite bag is a handmade one!. My current everyday bag is my rope wrapped tote but I have been on the hunt for something a little smaller to make. I love messenger bags – definitely needs to be able to be worn “hands free”.
    Thanks for the giveaway – it would be fantastic to win something like this.

  25. My favorite is shoulder bag. Light and practical. With zipper closure. I would love to be the chosen one. I love the bags and that thread is AWESOME.

  26. I love a big bag with a pocket on the outside (no zipper) for easy access to my car key and cel phone (yes, I know either could fall out — I live very dangerously). I also need long straps so I can hoist it over my shoulder as it gets heavier and heavier with all of my kids crap!

  27. I like over the shoulder bags, with lots of pockets so that I can attempt to stay organized. Your purses/bags are beautiful!

  28. I like an across the body bag so I don’t aggravate a sore shoulder. Love the Go Go bag! Am a follower and have liked you on fb. Thanks.

  29. I love a shoulder purse, but the most important feature is that it must have plenty of pockets inside to organize all of the stuff I carry.

  30. My favorite type of bag is one that is big enough to hold a magazine so I can slip one in to read when I am waiting at the Dr’s or Dentist’s office.

  31. I’ve liked you on FB! Love your “Irony: the opposite of Wrinkly”!!! Shared it on my timeline! 🙂

  32. I follow on FB as well as your blog. I love hobo style and cross body but think I’m going to have to give the Go Go Bag a try. Love the ideas in this book!

  33. My favorite type of purse is first of all, over the shoulder. Second, lots of room. And third, I like a flap over it – I’m always worried if it’s open, someone might slide a hand in there. I like the big bag made using the bicycle print!

  34. My favorite type of bag is one that I can carry on my shoulder and has lots of pockets. Thanks for the chance to win this great giveaway.

  35. I am already a follower. My favorite type of bag is a shoulder bag. I like the smaller ones and it must have a pocket on the outside for my cell phone!

  36. My favorite style of bag is a cross-body, which doesn’t slip off of my shoulder. Kept my hands free when my kids were little too. Can’t wait for this book – many thanks!

  37. I love bags with straps long enough to rest on my shoulder so when I shop I don’t set it down somewhere and forget it. Love the size of the Go-Go bag. That be so much fun to make!

  38. i love a bag that isn’t too big in size, has a shoulder strap, and lots of pockets on the inside as well as on the outside. Thank you for a great giveaway.

  39. I don’t know if it’s a specific style, but my purse must have a cross-body strap, be easy to get into (not a messenger type), have a secure pocket for my cell phone, and have just enough room for all my mom gear (wet wipes and emergency granola bar) but not so much room that I end up carrying around the kitchen sink.

  40. I love shoulder bags with lots and lots of closed pockets, both inside and out. I would love to win “Big City Bags”…the bags look amazing! I have never tried Aurifil thread and think it’s about time I did.
    I ‘liked’ your Facebook page and I am now a follower of your blog…I enjoy them very much and definitely am glad I found you.
    Thank you for the chance to win this.
    Claire currier

  41. Shoulder bags-with plenty of room.. Hope Lady Luck is with me – It would be awesome to be chose as a winner of your Big City Bags and Aurifil thread. I liked your facebook page and I shall be a follower of your blog. If time I’ve heard about your bags…
    Thanks a Mil, and keeping my fingers cross..:)
    Tere Verastegui

  42. I am now following your blog through Bloglovin! I love your thread, it is almost entirely lint-free!

  43. I love a medium size, over the shoulder bag, in great fabrics, of course! And I already am a follower!

  44. I tend to love smaller bags , shorter handles, not too deep, but with lots of pockets inside and out.

  45. Messenger Bags are my favorite! Truth they hold a lot of stuff! This looks like such an awesome book and of course any Aurifil is a great Day! Thanks for the giveaway and review it just made me want it more!

  46. I am actually super excited to make Sara’s new Kennedy Bag – that’s exactly the style for which I’ve been looking for a pattern to make!

  47. I like a tote bag that I can carry on one shoulder. I like lots of pockets inside and some kind of closure for the top opening of the bag.

  48. My favorite kind of bag has lots of pockets inside with a short or long handle and preferably some kind of closure.

  49. Love! SO wonderful to learn a little more about how it all began! I love shoulder bags, and the messenger bag style. Since I started sewing though, I have gotten much more curious about different kinds of bags 🙂

  50. I like a medium sized bag with secure closure and lots of pockets – especially with a shoulder strap or longish handle.

  51. My favorite style of bag is an over the shoulder type with not a not too.big not too small size. I am intrigued by the Go-Go bag shown above. I already like the Facebook page and follow the bog. Thanks for the chance to win.

  52. I like over the shoulder bags, but I like them big so they can double as weekenders. Love all the bags and I do love Aurifil threads.

  53. My favourite type of bag is one that fits over my shoulder and is bright and colourful, much like many of Sara’s bags.

  54. I follow your blog and always look forward to new posts. I tend like medium-sized over-the shoulder bags with inside pockets/dividers/compartments. This book looks like a great way to create a bag that truly fits my needs! Thanks for the giveaway and for making the best thread ever! I wouldn’t sew with anything else.

  55. I love these bags – they look like they are beautifully finished with lots of nice details. My favourite type of bags are crossbody – much easier on the neck and shoulders.

  56. My favorite bag is a one-strap shoulder bag with lots of pockets. Aurifil thread rocks when sewing bags!

  57. I love bags of all sizes and styles. I guess it depends on the plan for the day: some days are tote bag days, some are just casual hobo bag days, and some require a well organized purse.

  58. I love different bags for different things… But my go-to everyday bags have 2 must-haves: 1) shorter straps so they don’t swing around when I am in a hurry; and 2) are medium sized so I can carry all I need but don’t feel like I am digging to China to find my keys!

  59. I love them all. I especially like the overnight bags. I think I will make some for my grandchildren when we have an overnight. Would love to win the Aurifil thread and the book.

  60. I like a medium size bag that I can wear over my shoulder. I now follow your blog. (Sorry, I don’t do Facebook)

  61. I like cross body bags because I feel more secure with them, the more pockets the better, and big enough to carry my Kindle. I’ve also signed up to follow 🙂

  62. I love messenger bags, they are easy to wear, and usually have lots of pockets! I am a follower of your blog!

  63. My favorite type of bag is a big, somewhat boxy bag with a zipper closure and long-ish straps, sort of like Sara’s Go Go Bag. I’m sure there is a name for what I like, but I know so little about fashion or bag-making that I don’t know what it is. I’ll bet I could find it in Sara’s great new book, though!

  64. I like shoulder bags. Sometimes, they become cross-body bags. That depends where I’m shopping!

  65. I just signed on as a follower of the blog. I really like tote bags……….I follow Sara’s blog and really like to see all the beautiful bags she makes. I am so glad she finally did a book on her bags.

  66. I can not pick a single bag as a favorite,I really love all types of bags,the mood of the day decides which bag to use! Love Sara’s patterns,and can hardly wait to purchase the book and start making some new bags.

    Am a follower of this blog as well as Sara’s.

  67. I like a bag with a shoulder strap, and roomy inside – several pockets and/or compartments are a plus. Durable for every day. I’m loving making a few bags for myself lately – looking forward to the book.

  68. I am a follower on this site as wheel as a friend on Facebook. Needless to say, I admit that I am addicted to Aurifil Thread. I would have to say that my favorite style of bag is a messenger bag. I also love big tote bags with lots of pockets, oh and little zip bags…?maybe I am addicted to bags as well. 🙂

  69. My favorite style of bag is a backpack purse. I love the hands-free style. Thanks for the great giveaway. All the bags in this book look wonderful. And of course, Aurifil is the best thread!

  70. Whatever the size or shape, my handbag needs to have a zipper. I am a klutz, and without a zipper the contents would be all over the floor of the car or wherever else I drop it! Thanks for the give away!

  71. My favourite bag is one that I can wear on my back as I have problems with carrying things. I am now a follower of your blog and on facebook.
    Love the contents of your new book. There are some really great patterns. Can’t wait to get it.
    Susan Samuel

  72. I prefer a shoulder bag, or a cross the body one, a pocket for my phone is ideal and a fastening top. Can’t wait to give some of these bags a try. I really enjoy making bags.

  73. I follow you on your your website, your blog, through Pat Sloan, and like you on Facebook.
    I also subscribe to Sara and love her bags, especially the Aeroplane and Aragon; they are my style.Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.

  74. I like a large bag with lots of pockets and a couple of sections. I need a pocket for my cell phone and another one for my keys. Seems like we have to carry more than we used to now days.

  75. My favorite style of bag is the hobo bag. I love the look and size of it. Thanks for the interview and review of the book and for the chance to win.

  76. I adore the GoGo Bag! I’ve already “liked” your Facebook page and am now a blog follower!

  77. I like over the shoulder bags, messenger bags and lately lots of pouches ( a new obsession).truly, not many purses I don’t like. I have liked your FB page and follow you on Bloglovin.

  78. I already follow on Facebook, and I love a messenger type bag I can wear across my body , love the look of the go-go bag

  79. I love a simple bag for all needed items. As well as over the shoulder but tucked under the arm.

  80. My favorite purses are light weight, small, adjustable length over the shoulder strap, with multiple organization pockets. I will like your Facebook page next and plan to follow your great blog.

  81. My favorite style of purse or bag is medium size with a secure zip closure, and not a separating zip either!

  82. I like bags with shoulder straps so that I dont have to carry it in my hands while I am shopping. I like lots of pockets. I follow your blog and already like you on Facebook

  83. I now get your email and liked you on FB. My favorite bag is a tote type with a shoulder strap! I have Sara’s Kennedy Bag and am getting the material tomorrow to make one.

  84. I really like Sara’s Go-Go Bag. I have been looking for a new bag and have looked at a lot of messenger bags. Sara’s Go-Go Bag might just do the trick for me!

  85. Love big shoulder bags with lots of room and pockets to help keep things organized. ☺

    Thanks a bunch for the chance to win the giveaway!

    my nana maree @ yahoo . com

  86. Def shoulder bags. I love the colors you work with! I haven’t followed your blog and just found out about you on FB. I went to college with Mark and noticed his name on the FB post about the giveaway. I love making purses and have just started using aurifil products.

  87. I love a large tote big enough for all my stuff, my iPad, and room for any small purchases I might make!

  88. Love this thread collection as I usually use Aurifil thread in neutral colors. I don’t machine quilt. I have been using Aurifil for more than ten years and have persuaded my friends to use it too. We all love it!!! And I have been a follower of Alex and Mark for sometime. My favorite bag is a slouch bag!!! Something I can put everything in files for a meeting as well as a wallet, etc. Love the bags you have made.

  89. I really, really really want to make the bag on the cover of this book and I’m also interested in designs in the book. Hmm. Can I beg by saying this is my birthday week? I’d really like to learn how to make this bag to take to quilt retreats and various trips. Just seems like it has my name written on it.

    Of course, it would also make for great Christmas gifts too!


  90. I like foldover clutch bags for evenings and six pocket bags for all the items you need for errands.
    I am already a facebook liker and have just signed up for the Blogloving website — these are my absolute favorite colors and I love all neutrals — how exciting is this giveaway #!}

  91. I am an over the shoulder bag, but I have to be careful to not to put to much stuff in that bag so I keep it light.

  92. I really like the Miss Independent bag, the outside pockets can keep your cell phone handy and have a specific place for your keys

  93. I love a tote style bag or even a cross body style as long as there is room for all the things my family needs me to carry! I have liked on Facebook and follow by email.

  94. I like a purse that is big enough for all my stuff and has outside pockets for my phone and keys. I also like a shoulder strap as I walk with a cane and need my hands free. Thank you for a wonderful give away…

  95. My favorite style of bag is something small and with a over the wrist handle. I like it to be big enough for a small card purse and my cell phone, along with a few cosmetics. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I love and use Auriful threads in most all my projects — including my purses.

  96. I love a stylish bag or tote! Over the shoulder with lots of pockets is a preference as well. 🙂

  97. I just followed the blog and I “like” Aurifil on Facebook, but I LOVE Aurifil on my sewing machine and in my projects! This designer’s work looks fantastic! I love the “Miss Independence” bag…that is generally the type of bag that is my favorite.

  98. Recently i made a duffle bags because my daughter has asked me to make her one so made her 2. And, i have made myself couple too.

  99. my bags need plenty of pockets and places to stash things, and a shoulder strap to cart ’em around. thanx for the chance to win a bunch of neat bag patterns

  100. HI, I follow your blog, and like your FaceBook page. My favorite style of bag is one that I can wear over the shoulder, medium size with pockets and zippers! Thanks for the Giveaway 🙂

  101. The bags are lovely, I too like a bag that has a strap over my shoulder and a clip for keys. I am already in your e-mail, like you on facebook, love the thread, and follow the blog. What else can I say?

  102. my favorite kind of bag is a hobo or messenger .. possibly a satchel, and the straps would be adjustable. thank you for the giveaway. I already like and follow your blog .. and i’m a thread maniac.

  103. My favorite bag is an over the shoulder hobo bag, with lots of pockets. Liked on FB, and following the blog now as well.

  104. Looks like a stunning book. My favourite style of bag is across the body, I love having my hands free to hold my childrens hands or more likely carry their stuff!

  105. I Love these bag designs, my favourite has to be the shoulder bag. Of course I am an aurifil and facebook fan and follower. Winning this prize would really encourage me to finally get around to making a bag. I will keep my fingers crossed. Thanks for the opportunity.

  106. I am leaving a comment. I am a rucksack person.
    I liked on Facebook
    I am a follower of the blog.

  107. Bags, purses, overnights, or clutches…so many choices, and so little time to create them all. I love a bag that has pockets, zippers, and enough room for the hand-held electronics that I use. The pretty threads would add just the right bling to a functional design. I like your page and follow your blog. Thank you!

  108. These bags are fabulous! My favorite kind of bag is over the shoulder, large enough to fit a book, or iPad, usually leather, because they are sturdy. I have been thinking about trying to make my own bags, and I would definitely make any one of these! Have jus t liked your Facebook page, and started following your blog. Can’t wait to see more of what you do!

  109. I like very small over the shoulder bag with packets on the outside and inside!
    Thank you for having the giveaway!

  110. I am already a facebook follower, my favorite purse is over the shoulder so that when I am shopping I can put it over my head and no worries about it falling off the shoulder.

  111. I am a follower on Facebook, and the style I like is shoulder bag, with long enough straps to go over my head.

  112. My favorite style of bag is across the body, because I have problems with my shoulders. Plus, I like adjustable straps, because I am so short!. Thanks for the fabulous giveaway!! :0)

  113. I love an over the shoulder bag (really a tote) with room for fabric swatches, books and patterns with me.