Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Overview / Plans for 2012

All the bags from the 2011

As the end of the year is coming, people usually take a moment to look at the past year and make the resolutions for the next year.  I usually don’t do this, but this year I thought to myself “Why not?” So while the year 2012 is just around the corner, I decided to take a look at what I made this year and plan projects for the upcoming year.

Firstly, since I’m a huge fan of statistics (who would have guessed?), the statistics about the year 2011:

Made 8 bags (2 of them I gave to my friends, 1 is once again in the process of remaking, 1 I don’t like, so I have 4 bags left for using), 1 case for sunglasses;
Made 5 tutorials (2 for bag-making, 3 non-bag related);
Started a blog (I just had to mention this fact ;D);
The most popular post of the year: Tutorial: Backpack (I actually noticed, that posts about pattern making are more popular than the ones about assembling, so maybe I should do more of these posts next year? What do you think?)
Favorite bag: can’t decide between Classic Shoulder Bag/Clutch and Linen Tote
Most used bag: definitely  The Simple Bag (very comfortable to carry all the necessities)
Least favorite bag: ah, it’s so sad to say, but I’d have to say it’s The Day Bag. Please don’t get me wrong- I would love to use it every day, but the leather is terrible and very unreliable and I haven’t used the bag for this reason! Very wrong choice of leather for the bag that supposed to carry a lot things... Lesson definitely learned.

2011 was all about experimenting with sewing and searching for limits of what I can make at home, so quite often I took quantity over quality (you know, the situation “the more bags I make – the better”) and it was Ok, because, well, I had a lot to learn. However, 2012 should be more about the quality, because if the collection grows as fast as it does now, I’ll soon run out of space in my closet!

So, plans for the 2012…
Firstly, I’d like to make more classic shape bags since I love them (already have a top handled bag in my mind!).
Secondly, make a bright color statement bag (maybe deep red? Or coral? Or green? Or… ?).
Thirdly, make more tutorials! I really like making them and, I hope, you like reading them :) (by the way, if you ever made a bag based on my tutorials - please show them, I'd love to see them!
And, last but not least, sew some clothing. Since starting making bags I put clothing sewing aside, but now I really need more clothes (especially good quality basic ones), so expect more entries on this theme next year!

Have a nice day and a great year! :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Tutorial: Re-fashioned Cardigan

A quick tutorial on re-fashioning a simple cardigan (admit it, we all own at least one!) by turning it into a short-sleeve cardigan with a braid along the neckline.

I actually liked this cardigan the way it originally was, but the quality wasn't the best and sleeves were falling apart, so I decided to fix it and here is the result:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Already-Seen-Bag


Today I'd like to show you a bag you already seen - the bag from Show and Tell №2. I really wanted to show you how it looks carried, but at the time I didn't have the possibility to take any other picture than a bag standing on the floor. So during last photoshoot for the shoulder bag/clutch, we took some photos of  №2 (I should have named the bags - it's now confusing ;D ). But photos with me didn't turn out well, so, with a permission of a friend, I'm showing the bag carried by my friend (to whom I actually forgot to thank for taking photos ;D ).

Have a nice week!

A friend carrying a bag 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Show and Tell №8. Classic Shoulder Bag/Clutch

Hello Everyone!

I've waited so long to make and show you this bag - the classic shoulder bag, with a removable/adjustable strap, which allows to wear the bag in 3 ways: like a regular shoulder bag; like a purse or as a clutch. 

If you read my previous post you know, that I was trying a lot of new things this time. And, well, I won't lie to you guys - I made some mistakes. On the other hand - I learned from my mistakes and I won't repeat them in the future, so yey! :D

Anyway, I glued way more than I planned, therefore I glued too many fingers (tipp: super glue are easily removable from fingers with nail polish remover that has acetone in it). Planned on sewing some seams by hand - it turned out to be mission impossible because of the leather (faux crocodile leather, by the way). But the glue came in handy and saved the day.

Oh, and in case you are thinking of making a handbag yourself instead of buying it, but still don't know if it's worth trying, let me give you one more plus to the "I'll make a handbag myself" section: it's very economical. I counted, that this bag is the most expensive handbag I've made - the materials costed less than 4 Euros (around 5$). All other handbags I made are much cheaper, some of them (re-constructed ones) costed basically nothing to make. Which allows me to say, that all the bags I made so far combined (I think I made 8 bags) costed way less than one bag from store! Isn't this a plus?

So, to sum up, the bag turned out to be better then I expected, though it has some minor mistakes. I'll probably make something like this again in the future, because, well, I really like it! ;D (of course, the next time I'm making it I'll make a tutorial, too!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What I'm making now...

Faux croc leather in colour beige or nude (frankly, I can't tell the difference :D). In reality, those vertical lines aren't visible.

Wonder what I am currently making? Oh, a bag of course! But this time I'm making something different and using so many things and methods I've never used before:

  1. Faux crocodile leather - actually it look very faux (see the photo above), but I wanted to try croc for so long that I thought I'll give this fabric a try (let's just hope it's not as bad as the leather I used on the previous bag...)
  2. Gluing - can you believe I managed to go so long without using glue??? Why am I using glue this time? Well, this brings us to the next point:
  3. A Sturdy bag - FINALLY! Making a very sturdy bag has been my goal for quite some time, since I really like them, but somehow I always end up making baggy bags. Actually my previous bag should have been very sturdy, but after starting sewing the leather I decided it would look better baggy (well, sometimes not everything goes as planned)
  4. And last, but not least, - it's going to be a shoulder bag. If you're thinking, whether you've seen a shoulder bag here or not, the answer is no - this is going to be my very first shoulder bag! A classic shoulder bag is just the bag I needed for my so called "collection" :D
So, all these points combined - let's just hope this bag will turn out fine (though I can also see it going to the different - very wrong - direction :D). But if all works out well - new bag soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tutorial: The Day Bag. Assembling

We're continuing making the day bag as seen  here . By now you should have finished making the pattern as shown in the tutorial part 1 (see here)

In this final part we are going to assemble the bag.

Tutorial: The Day Bag. Pattern making

As promised - the tutorial for the day bag you saw here. 

This is Part 1. In the part I'm going to show you, how to make a pattern. I've talked about pattern making here , but I know it might still sound confusing. Don't worry - I'll show you all the steps :)

Step 1. Draw the detailed bag sketch, try to be as accurate as possible: try to keep all the proportions the way you want to see them on the bag, draw the hardware if you are going to use it. Draw the front and the side. If you're making a different back of the bag, draw it too (the back on my bag is simply all-leather, without any details, so I didn't draw the back).

Show and Tell: №7

In today’s Show and Tell – the Day Bag. A medium size (32x24x9 cm) bag to carry all the things I need during the day. 

At the beginning, I decided I don’t want a zipper as a closure for the bag. So I had to think of another solution. And then I remembered my friend’s bag that closes with a flap. I thought I’ll try to make a flap, and you know what? I loved it! 

Though I like the design, I had a huge disappointment with this particular faux leather – it was very easy to sew, but it started cracking while sewing! Now some corners looks “used”, while, in fact, it’s brand new bag. I never had this problem before, and for a moment I was almost giving up on the entire project. But I decided to give it another try, and here it is.

Anyway, I like this bag and I’m definitely going to make something like this in the future (with better leather of course). And I'll try to make photos when I'm using the bag - it looks nicer when carried :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tutorial: Fit a sweater or T-shirt

Hello Sweethearts!

Today I’d like to share with you one tip – how to make a sweater that’s too big fit just right.

I’m probably the only person I know who can’t wear oversized clothes, because… they don’t fit me! I don’t know why, actually. Maybe they don’t suite my figure; maybe they just don’t look right; maybe they just don’t feel right. Anyway, with today’s fashion it’s hard to find well-fitting clothing (not to mention that mass production cannot fit everyone), but with basic sewing knowledge it’s quite easy to adjust clothing to your figure.

Today I’ll show you how I fitted a sweater that I found in a thrift store a while ago. It was a bit oversized, but the fabric was lovely, so I bought it. Unfortunately, the more I wore it, the more oversized and ill-fitting it looked. Then one day I decided to make it fit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

About Handbag Making...

Long time no see, right?

I have no bag to show for you today, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about handbag making! If you are interested in handbag making, or even if you're not, I want to share with you something you might find interesting and inspiring.

Here is the video that I first saw at late spring and it was very interesting to see. It's an experiment titled "$35,000 Handbag vs. $35 Handbag", and the main point of it is whether a home-made copy of a Hermes Kelly handbag can stand for the real deal. The answer of course is No, but the video is still very entertaining to see:

$35000 Handbag vs. $35 Handbag

What do you? I don't like the idea of copying a bag and then pretend it's something else, but I liked the idea that you can make a nice handbag at home. Though I had one question during the entire video - $35 (I assume it's for the materials only) for a home-made bag? Isn't it too pricey?

The second thing I wanted to show you is (again) about Hermes Kelly - the article about how it's made:

How Hermes Kelly is made

Amazing, right?  I think it's very nice of Hermes to let people take a glimpse at how an iconic bag is made. 

And for the end, the making of the Miss Dior bag. I'm not a fan of a bag itself, but the whole making process is quite interesting to see:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tutorial: Braided Shirt


Well, I know this blog is called "Bags you can make", but I must admit, I also make other stuff :D  So today I'm showing you the braided shirt I made a couple of years ago. Since it's one of those rare times that I didn't use a pattern, I decided to make a tutorial for you, so that you can make one yourself!

Starting with the photos of the finished garment:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Show and Tell: №6


A quick post today :)

In this Show and Tell I’m showing you the bag I made for a friend of mine. That’s why it’s a little bit different than previous bags – the design was her idea, and I just helped to bring it to life. As you can see, the bag is quite big, has two front pockets, two handles and a long strap - just in case you want to carry it on your shoulder

The bag is from grey cotton (I think, but I’m not sure, might be a mix of materials) with leather details. The fabric isn’t as good as I thought it would be – my friend uses this bag quite a lot and unfortunately the bag already has fabric “bubbles” (don’t know if it’s the right name for that). Though this material has one plus – it’s machine washable.  

P.S. Before I forget - are any of you using How cool is it?! :) 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Show And Tell: №5. The Remaking

Hello Everybody!

Have you ever had something in your closet that you no longer use, but still keep it? The situation with this bag was the same – it was hidden somewhere in the closet, waiting for its turn to comeback. And then one day it came back… as a new bag!

It wasn’t hidden in my closet, though. It was my cousins. Then one day I told her I make bags, and she generously gave me a bag filled with bags she no longer used.

Oh, what a goldmine! You wonder why I was so happy? Old handbags are great for a couple of things: leather, hardware and decorative details that you can’t make at home. With leather it’s pretty obvious: you can use leather for a new bag or at least take leather scraps for your new craft project. When it comes to hardware - it can be hard to find sometimes, so it’s great when you find necessary parts somewhere in an old bag. And decorative details can whisper you an idea for a new bag. It happened with this bag too.

When I first saw it, I knew exactly that the strap and pockets can’t go to waste! So I carefully removed them from the bag, took an old long navy blue skirt, made a simple tote from it, added some lining and finally attached the handle and pockets. And that’s it! It took less than an hour to make this bag, which costed me nothing!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tutorial: Backpack

Hello Everyone!

As I promised in my previous entry, I made a tutorial as soon as got my sewing machine back. So here it is! 

Firstly, a short history. Backpacks are considered to be for pupils only. Well, I wanted a backpack! I didn't want it to look like a backpack for school, so I made it from white linen (actually, I cut linen pants :D ), medium size and very minimalistic.

Before going to the tutorial part, lets see what are we going to make:


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where To Look For Information

Hi Everybody!

I’ve noticed that it’s been almost a week since my last blog update. The reason is that my sewing machine was taken to be repaired (nothing serious though – it was making a weird noise while sewing, so I decided it needed to be checked by a specialist) and it won’t be fixed until weekend. And now, first time in 3 years I’m without my sewing machine. It would be fine, since it’s not like I am sewing every single day, but I have so many ideas in my head! I guess if you like to sew you know what it’s like to want to do something and not to be able to :)

So I figured it would be a great time to talk about useful sewing information.

The internet is full of information on sewing, but the more information there is, the harder it is to find something you need. I’d like to share with you a couple of sites (mostly sewing themed), that you might find useful: - amazing blog, which inspired me long time ago to start sewing without exactly following a pattern. Even though it’s no longer updated, you can find great inspiring ideas here. I really recommend you to check it if you haven’t already. - blog about handbag making. The creator of this blog previously wrote, so once again – great blog, great tips, great ideas. - probably most of you already know this site, but I’m writing this just in case you don’t. It’s a site where you can publish your creations, find patterns and tutorials. Great for beginners and advanced sewers. - great inspirational website, though it’s for crafts overall, not only for sewing. But I still think you might find it useful. - a site to sell/buy crafts. Great source of inspiration!

And finally:

Blogs – blogs are great information sources, but it takes time to find the ones you like/find useful. The blogs I like are on the right bar of this blog (I'm always checking other blogs, so the list is frequently updated). As for this blog, I hope I’ll start making tutorials soon (as soon as I get my sewing machine back!).

I hope this was helpful to you! :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Show and Tell: №4 The Beginning

    The bag you'll see in this post is special. Not because it’s a first full-leather bag I’ve shown here (somehow I only show fabric-leather combo bags :D), but because it’s my first sewn handbag.  What an ambition for a beginner, right?

    Oh, I’ve learnt so much by making it…

    When I started making this bag, I knew nothing about handbag sewing. Everything started with an idea. An idea to make a leather bag. After a week of thinking, I went to the thrift store, bought the cheapest decent looking faux-leather jacket I could find, cut it and sewn pieces together. I didn’t use a pattern – just drew a couple of squares on a piece of paper and cut them out. 

Thanks for friend for making photos :)
    To be honest, I only used it once. I thought it was so far from perfection, that I hid it somewhere in the closet. And it would have stayed there if not for my friend – I showed it to her one day and she seemed to really like it! Her kind words inspired me not to stop after one bag, but to continue making them (if she is reading this, I’d like to say: thanks dear ;) .

    If you’re thinking about making a handbag, I have just one tip for you (though it’s different than tips you might find somewhere else). So here it is: make a bag you really want to make. I know that if you’re thinking of making a handbag, you already have a picture in your head how it should look like. Go for it. Don’t make the easiest bag you can find just because it’s easy – it won’t inspire you. Make the bag you really want to make –you will be happy making it and you will learn a lot.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Show and Tell: №3

    Today I’d like to show you a case for sunglasses I made back in summer.

    As I wasn’t making this for myself, I got one request: it shouldn’t be boxy (in other words, it had to be like a little bag). Having this request in mind, I let my creativity do its job. And, after less than an hour, the case was done.

Left photo - empty case, right photos - case with sunglasses in it

   There are a lot of patterns online for sunglasses cases. However, I didn’t use one. I just measured length, height and width of the sunglasses and cut the fabric. Yes, it was that easy. 

     I drew a scheme to show you what details I used this time (I wrote the exact measures I used on the side). 

A pattern for case
Though I prefer sturdy cases, this was definitely a fun and a quick project to do. And it is cheap to do – I used scraps of fabrics I already had.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Show and Tell: №2

Hello Everyone! 

Now it’s time to Show and tell №2. This time I want to show you the bag I like the most and use the least.

At a very beginning I didn’t know exactly what bag I want to make, but I knew how it should look like: very casual, very clean design, very simple, very fabulous. Then I saw a photo of Reese Witherspoon (she definitely has a great simple style!) with a fabulous tote. I decided to make something similar and here is the result.

I don’t use it as often as I thought I would. However I take it when I go for groceries shopping. It fits a lot of stuff!  

As you can see, I just love faux leather and fabric combo! It is very economical too:  faux leather is cheap and you don’t need a lot of it (I bought 40cmX160cm of black faux leather and it was enough for both bags you’ve seen so far and I still have some left). And you can either buy fabrics or use some clothing you no longer use!

No zipper in this bag, but I put 3 press buttons (the hammer is useful in bag making too! :D ).

                                                             Hope you all have a nice Sunday! :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pattern making

    When I became interested in bag making, which I must admit was not so long ago, I was surprised that there are so many patterns online, yet there is little information about how to make a pattern by yourself.

    Why do I think it’s better to make a pattern than to download it? The answer is simple: rarely will the bag pattern meet all your requirements. You may want to change the size, change the details, change proportions and etc. Why make a bag, if it’s not your dream bag?

    The solution is simple – make a pattern. When you have a simple understanding of how the bags are constructed, you can easily draw a pattern for a handbag you have in mind. My idea is that you can easily make a pattern even if you’re not a professional and you have never made it before.

    When I wanted to learn how to make a handbag, I took a bag (any bag – design doesn’t matter here) and looked closely at it, analyzing what details does it have. After this, I draw a bag I want to make and then draw details that I need. I would then draw the details in its original size and voil├á – the pattern is ready.

    I know it might sound complicated, but let me show an example of the bag you saw on Show and tell №1 :

The basic pattern of a bag. I didn't write measurements: you can make it in any size you want. You can add any detail you want. Feel free to be creative! 

If you make a sketch like that, all you have to do is to think of a hardware you want to use and how to connect pieces together (and what seams to use: visible, invisible or decorative ones). And that's it! 

P.S. when you make a pattern, don't forget to leave fabric for seams!
P.P.S. I will show more examples in the future!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Show and tell: № 1

     Today I’d like to show you my latest handbag. My hardest work so far, despite the fact that the result looks very simple.  And the reason it was hard to make is that I had to remake it 3 times (!).

      At first it was supposed to be all faux-leather with a metal zipper in front. Did that and realized that the zipper did not look good at all. So I had to take everything apart.

     At my second attempt I did everything in faux-leather, with no zipper. Guess what? Didn’t like it either!

     Then I decided to give this bag a third – last – chance. I didn’t have enough leather to keep the proportions I wanted. I looked at my fabric stack and saw an old skirt that needed to be shortened. I made a decision that it would look better as a bag and not as a skirt, and turned it into the result that you see: a faux-leather bag with fabric detail.

     The fact is that I only made this bag because I had some leather left from my other bag. But now it is the bag I use the most, despite its imperfections. 

The bag carried

Saturday, October 1, 2011


If you’re reading this blog, you probably like sewing. So do I.

I have been sewing for last couple of years. I’m not a professional, though. I never took any courses, never had anyone to teach me how to make something. I usually make things for myself and from time to time I would make something for my friends. I don’t sell anything that I make.

The idea to start a blog haunted me for a couple of months. At the beginning of this summer I started sewing handbags. And I liked everything about it: from the idea in my head to putting stuff in my new bag. However, when I searched for blogs of handmade bag making, I didn’t find a lot that I liked (some were too professional, others were just not my style).

And so I started this blog. I hope to show that you don’t need lots of skills to make something, you don’t need to have an expensive equipment: all you need is a few hours, inspiration and to know, that you can do it.