How to Create A Bag

Hey there!  Thank you for joining me! 

A few people have contacted me via social media asking if I'd do a post on the day of a handbag maker.  Making one of fashion's most timeless pieces is not as glamorous as one might think though.  At least not for me.  I typically throw on a t-shirt, jeans, and slippers.  No makeup and half-brushed hair are my normal.  I grab a coffee and turn on talk radio as I sit down at my desk to plan out my day. 

I know, I know.  You're already thinking how lucky I am to have such an exciting start to my workday.

Since I didn't want you to lust too much after my glamorous lifestyle, I took only a few pictures of the work that goes into making handbags.  Plus, I don't want to share all my secrets. :P

Without further ado:

The Blanche Barrel bag is my most popular bag.  I have quite a few requests for this bag due to its chic design and classic colors.   I did not design the structure/pattern for it (I had a little help from Swoon Patterns), but I did design how I wanted it to look. It is also one of my hardest bags due to the fact that I put extra work into making my own piping, hand-stitching leather handles onto it,  and due to the curves, its construction takes a bit more precision and time than some of my other designs.  

Let's go through a few essentials first:

How do I want to design my bag? What fabrics should I use, what hardware (zippers, purse feet, d-rings, etc) keeps best with the design, and what interfacing/stabilizers will be needed for the structure?  This is by far my most favorite and the hardest part for me!  I LOVE fabric and want to use it all! Decisions, decisions! 

For the Blanche Barrel, I needed at least 2 fabrics, one heavy for the outside and one a bit lighter feeling, yet sturdy, for the inside.  And, for this particular bag, I decided on using pre-made leather handles, in which I still have to hand-stitch (not machine sew) on the bag.  


Okay, let's get started!

1) Once I cut out every single piece of fabric in the dimensions needed, I then have to cut out all pieces of interfacing and/or stabilizers in the same dimensions.  For any one bag, there can be over 40 pieces of cut fabric and stabilizers!  That's a lot of cutting!  My hands hurt from all the cutting so that's when I'll usually take another coffee break.   

2) I then have to attach all interfacings and/or stabilizers by either sewing them or pressing them on (with an iron) all the fabric pieces.  

3) Once I've got all my fabric prepped I am ready to sew!


Here are the backside and the front of the sides of the Blanche.  The backside already has both an interfacing (to keep the fabric from easily wrinkling) and a stabilizer (to give the bag structure) attached.  I had already sewn the tab that attaches the side ring; I measured and sewed the tab onto the sides of the bag. 


The side pockets are made and attached to the sides of the bag.  


I make my piping, attach, and clip the curves.  The sides are now prepared to be attached to the main portion (the finished front, back, and bottom of bag).



Here's what the inside (top picture) and the outside of the outer portion of the bag look like.  It already has the interfacings, the stabilizers, and the bottom attached.  Pretty boring, hu? 

But, this is where it starts to get exciting!  Now that we have our bag stabilized properly we can start adding the "pretty" stuff.  

I measure, glue in place, then hand-stitch the handles on.  Now I'm ready to sew on the zipper and the sides!  I'm not going to show you that though.  I've already given too much away!  :)


Here's a bit on how the inside of the bag is created before it is attached to the outer portion. 

Just two pieces of fabric hanging out, ready to create this: 

 two slip pockets separated by detailed stitching and brass stud.  


On the left is the backside of the lining before I make the zipper pocket.  The finished pocket is on the right side of the picture.


We are so close to being finished!  After completing both inside portions and the outside portions, hand-stitching the handles on, I will then complete the construction by sewing it all together.  I finish it off by creating one last detail, the crossbody strap!  


All in all, this process can take up to several days to make 1 handbag!  


 But, totally worth the effort & time, isn't it?  Just look at how gorgeous Blanche is!  

Want to see more about Blanche?  Check her out here.

And, if you like what you see, please don't hesitate to comment, like, and share! 


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