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.