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Make a Mary Poppins-Style Carpetbag: Part 2

This hand-stitched carpetbag is made with scraps from a kilim carpet. For full instructions, be sure to read the first part of this two-part tutorial.

With the carpetbag almost complete, it’s time to add the lining and install the frame and handles. For the lining, I chose an aubergine vinyl for the color and for economy. Lining the bag with leather, at least the one I wanted, was way too expensive.

The lining has a zippered pocket on one side for more storage.

A quick whipstitch of the edges holds the lining to the bag until the frame goes on.

On the ends, I wanted a nice finish for the little bit of bag that wouldn’t get sewn into the leather that covers the frame. I chose a small portion of hand-sewn kidskin.

 The frame installation is next.

Again, I used the glue to secure the bag to the frame before stitching. The stitching goes through all layers to hold everything in place.

For the outer portion of the frame I used a double row of stitching.

On the underportion of the frame, one row of stitching was used.

The frame encloses and finishes the lining at the top edge of the bag.

Once both sides of the frame were sewn, it was time to set the rivets that make the hinge.

Here’s the frame, with both rivets set.

Now this is starting to look like a bag!

For carrying the bag, I had in mind so-called “rouleau” handles. However, when I considered the scale of this bag, the rouleau handles looked, well, dinky. So I chose shaped handles.

For this I used a purchased set of wooden handbag handles, and made my pattern to cover them.

This involved a stitched-and-turned seam on the underside of the handle. Again, the hand stitching.

Here are the handle covers, one turned right side out and the other one partially turned.

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  1. User avater
    nu624 | | #1

    Lovely, Kenneth! The bag is beautiful and your hand stitching is amazing!

  2. User avater
    micksmom2 | | #2

    Love the bag! Loved this article! I have begun making handstitched bags andbought this same frame with idea of making a bag for myself. I've scoured the internet looking for articles on how the frame is to be installed with no success until now! Thank you!!!!

  3. PlayinHooky | | #3

    Dear Kenneth:
    Fantastic production photos as usual, your pictures are always worth way more than 1000 words!

    I think it is a great idea to use the small leftover pieces of the kilim; if you hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't have known that the strips of leather at the corners were required and not just a design element. This is a technique I will copy in other designs, even clothing designs.

    I especially like your bold and unconventional use of the outward facing seams at the bottom corners. I wouldn't have thought it would work very well, but after seeing the whole project I think this style better matches the handmade/rustic look of the kilim, plus this seems a more straightforward and approachable technique (than sewing and turning) for those of us who work with leather only occasionally. Of course, the reason it works so well is your even, beautiful stitches, which again look like a design element and not a necessity.

    Before the double row of stitches through all layers, was the leather held to the frame with just glue?

    You write, "On the underportion of the frame, one row of stitching was used." What does this refer to? I see only the 2 rows of stitches sewn through all layers underneath the frame, where does this one row of stitching occur?

    Also, with what did you black the edges of your cut leather? Did you also add a (shiny) finish to the leather's exposed, cut edges?

    Thank you!


  4. user-2270844 | | #4

    Gosh how skilled and creative. Shame not to use leather internally. The chair you have photographed the bag on is also lovely and a perfect foil to the bag.

  5. User avater
    Dori_A | | #5

    Kenneth, your projects always inspire on so many levels, from creative engineering to impeccable workmanship. Thank you for generously sharing your process and expertise.

    I look forward to answers to previous questions, and have another:

    How did you come to choose only one row of stitching for the underportion of the frame?

    Many Thanks!


  6. BlueWisteria | | #6

    Persian carpet making is nearly extinct, and soon to be a priceless resource. Making a jacket or a bag out of one is akin to cutting up a Rembrandt to wrap your lunch. I do not think it is lovely, and please STOP!

  7. user-1116680 | | #7

    Your designs ideas and craftsmanship are amazing, now a one-of-a-kind creation! Thank you again for the detailed construction lesson, you are a true artist.

  8. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #8

    Senor King,

    Another inventive, and amazingly instructive, work of art, from your creative hands.

    THAT bag! It's got personality plus!

    Off to find some blue wisteria (have to wrap my lunch),


  9. user-3075240 | | #9

    What a fantastic piece of art! I used to make show gear for folks who were in the horse show and competition business. I used a punch that would make four sets of stitching holes at a time. I usually only made three after the first set as I used the last tooth to place in the last hole made, to keep the stitch holes even. There is a tool with slanted teeth (a 45 degree angle). It is used exactly like the first tool; this tool results in a diamond stitch.

    These tools make stitching much less strenuous. The second tool needs a flat stitching medium like 1/8" leather lacing. I also sailed and repaired sails and I noticed that you were using a sailors stitching awl. That is a good tool also but usually needs a round stitching material. Your bag is beautiful. Love watching your impeccably produced works. Great going!

  10. User avater
    kennethdking | | #10

    To Playinhooky: I did indeed glue the pieces in place temporarily before stitching. I used the glue called "goop", because it dries quickly. And for blacking the edges, you can get edge blacking from Tandy, but I used a product called Goya from Japan--it has more shine.

    And to you, and Dori A--the reason I used only one row of stitching on the under-portion of the frame--a mistake. I confess. I cut the leather a little too narrow for two rows of stitching, not factoring in the turn of cloth, lie I knw to do in fabric. A stupid mistake, but this was a good save.

    To user-1116680 : The chair, is actually a settee (you can't see this in the photo) but I upholstered it as well. Yes, I know some upholstery!

    To user-3075240: I used a notched tracing wheel to mark the stitch placement,and then an awl (not a stitching awl, just a plain pointed one) to punch the holes as I was stitching. I've used the tools that punch a number of holes (they look like forks) when I do lacing, but for this, I used the tracing wheels. How I learned it in the book I bought on the topic!

  11. User avater
    kennethdking | | #11

    A source for the edge paint!


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