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Bags sewing and adornment

adelinarose | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi All,

Anyone sewn a bag lately? What kind did you sew and did you find it difficult? How about the trims and adornments what did you use and wehre did you get it? Thanks for telling me. I am wanting to sew one myself and wondering how can I achieve a truly finished look with it.



  1. Josefly | | #1

    Me, too. :)

  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    Oh, oh, you just reminded me of the really great bag that I cut out.....and never did anything with!  It's folded up in a box somewhere. I haven't made many bags, but it seemed to me the instructions were not as well thought out as those for garments.  I usually felt that if I did another one off the pattern I would have assembled/sewn it in a different manner. 

    1. LindaFaye | | #3

      I have been wanting to make a Vera Bradley look alike for myself.  I really love those quilted bags with all the pocket slots on the inside - they are so cute, but way out of my price range.  I have even bought several patterns that are similar, but frankly have been afraid to try thinking I wouldn't be able to get a neat finished look.

      1. adelinarose | | #8

        I know that if you purchased the pattern to do it then you can do it. Just take your time and no corner cutting since we are not YET experts at this. I am sure you know quite a few corners to cut when sewing clothing. Thanks.


        1. LindaFaye | | #25

          Thanks for your vote of confidence!!  No kidding, it really makes me think I can do it; or at lease it gives me the spirit to try.  Thanks!

    2. user-51823 | | #4

      so it's not just me. i don't recall it being inadequate instructions, just bad timing. i'd just had my son and thought i'd make some "easy" projects. ha! making a bag is not necessarily quicker than a dress; possibly more complicated. but so many cute purse patterns came out 4-5 years ago, i couldn't resist trying.

      1. Teaf5 | | #24

        How funny that so many of us have tried and started bags!After years of creating my own bags to fit whatever fabric/purpose/size I wanted, I recently bought a pattern for a very efficient-looking totebag. I found that the pattern pieces for the interior pockets are bizarrely shaped, and I think there were 75 steps listed in the pattern instructions!Timing was not good, either, just before Christmas, so I carefully folded it all back up, put it back into the envelope and put it with all my other patterns, where it will probably languish....

    3. adelinarose | | #7

      I have one cut out too..... SOMEWHERE...

      Do you sometimes feel you are wasting your money when you have any unfinished items. I often get annoyed with myself and try not to think about it. I plan to start a different one though and finish it this time. I often look at the designer types saying if they can do it so can I! Pretty ambitious.

  3. WandaJ | | #5

    It's been at least 5 yrs since I made a bag. I did not find it difficult, only time consuming due to my decision to bead the bag. I made it for my niece as a Christmas Gift as I knew her Sr prom was coming up that year and she could use it then as well as the rest of her life.

    I used a Vogue Pattern (? - it's in storage) that was cylinder shaped with a draw-string top. The bag was made out of a silver-black silk dupioni and underlined with organza. The lining was a black silk and I added a small pocket on the inside with her initials on it.

    I held the bottom intact by using horsehair, which was cut in a circle as the bag's pattern. For a bit of stiffness in the cylinder part of the bag, I used fusible interfacing and applied it to batiste. This method gave the bag yet another layer of interlining, and it did not interfere with the beading as I sewed that part in after the beading work was completed.

    The evening bag was quite nice, and I had thoughts of keeping it for my own use, but I gave it away as intended :-).

    1. adelinarose | | #9

      Wow, seems like this one was quite a project for you. We have to really love this sewing to want to do the things we do. I will sit and every so often glance at a tv program while I am doing handwork like that. When I get the gear on sewing I don't want any interruptions though, but doing beadwork is not my favourite passtime. I will use the advise on the fusible interfacing and the batiste and see where I can go from there. When.... I am done I will post it so you guys can see it....  Thanks WandaJ



  4. User avater
    Becky-book | | #6

    My grand kids sometimes call me the 'bag lady' because I am forever making bags.  Some of them were just silly, some were rather nice purse type bags (knocked off store bought ideas).  I haven't used a purchased pattern but just cut out whatever fit on the cloth available and put it together.  It is fun to do if you can keep your expectations in line with your abilities for the first try. Attention to detail, don't cut corners in the construction process, don't try difficult cloth for the first tryout of your pattern.

    Hope this helps,


    1. adelinarose | | #10

      Thanks Becky. Did you use any  piping or stuff like that?



      1. designer56 | | #11

        Hello!  I recently made a bag from Vogue 7703 out of some wide wale corduroy in maroon and added some piping in dark brown. I found the piping fairly easy to add because the pattern didn't have extreme curves to place the piping around.

        I also added a few touches of dark brown leather. All in all, I am real pleased with how it looks. Now let's see how practical it is to use.... :)

        1. adelinarose | | #13

          Thanks for the inspiration. Now I am excited.


      2. Evie | | #12

        Dear Adelinarose and all----I have had a lot of fun making Vera Bradley knockoffs for myself.  I bought the material at Joann's with a cupon and so the price was right. I used Simp# 5535 view C or D. Since I don't have a serger I bound the inside seams. My "real" Vera Looks as if they first put wrong sides tog and then turned them. Now I have one for each season and get compliments all the time. The other bags I have made are from Nancy's Notions called "Totables". Not really purses but make cute gifts. Best to all.                          Evie

        1. adelinarose | | #14


          Not only am I excited I have the urge to do a knock-off too. Thanks for the inspiration.


          1. user-51823 | | #15

            anyone able to post some pix? these all sound so pretty!

          2. designer56 | | #16

            Here is a photo of the maroon corduroy purse I made recently. It shows the piping around the front edge.

          3. jatman | | #17

            Very, very cute!  Nice job!  Thank you for sharing!


          4. fabricholic | | #18

            That looks professional looking. Very nice!Marcy

          5. adelinarose | | #23

            Hi ALL,

            I thought I would share these Vuitton findings with you. Maybe you may obtain some inspiration from the mixed media and heavy hardware on some. What do you think?



          6. fabricholic | | #26

            Hi,I don't care too much for the two top bags, but the others, for me, are so cool looking. Thanks, for all the inspiration. Where did you find these pictures?Marcy

          7. adelinarose | | #27


          8. Josefly | | #28

            I just saw some nice bag patterns at



          9. jatman | | #29

            Hi Adelinarose - those are very cool!  That does give me inspiration!  My only problem with trying to make something like that is the hardware - where would you buy the hardware?  I've seen some online stores with some interesting things for purse-making but nothing like the bags you posted.  Thank you for sharing those!


          10. adelinarose | | #30

            No problem. I have been searching for the hardware myself. If I find any I will let you know.


          11. fabricholic | | #33

            You might want to look at MJ Trims http://www.mjtrim.com/catalog/category.aspx?category=Handbag+Handl
            They have some nailheads and handles.Marcy

          12. Cherrypops | | #52

            I wanted to see what this site you posted was like. Unfortunately it was invalid. So i typed http://www.mjtrim.com and got it ok.

            Thanks for posting it. I like seeing prices and products on overseas sites. Some items aren't available in Australia.


          13. fabricholic | | #53

            Oops, sorry CP. I'm not very computer savvy. I'm glad you found it anyway.Marcy

          14. Cherrypops | | #54

            It's cool.

            The webpages change their address lines.

            It's always better to put in the .com address and have us go looking.

          15. WandaJ | | #31

            While I'm not the originator of the message about this site, I did spend some  time surfing around it, and there are some supplies here. Just click on the (I think...) sewing supplies link on the left and there are zippers, pulls, etc.

          16. jatman | | #32

            Thank you, WandaJ!  I was so busy looking at the cat stories that I didn't notice the supplies!


          17. kayrosie | | #41

            Were these bags somebody made or boughten. 

          18. adelinarose | | #19

            Very nice. Thanks.


          19. Evie | | #21

            Dear Adelinarose&All---I forgot (I'm doing that a lot these days) that I used two different patterns for my "Veras". Actually the one I liked best and seems to be identical is Mc Calls #4118 view A. I think that it has more pockets inside. I wish we could get the new fabric. It is microfiber and comes in black. Quite sophisticated.            Best to all.     Evie

          20. Josefly | | #20

            Nice job! and very pretty. Has anyone seen the one shown on patternreview.com made from men's ties?

          21. Alice in Atlanta | | #46

            Now that's a great looking handbag.  I can tell you planned out how you would execute it, probably on that night when you couldn't get to sleep.  The grommets make it really look professional, it's those little touches that make it pop.

            Have you made another one from a different fabric?  Wouldn't it be cute in denim?

            What I found lacking in the purse patterns is that they don't have a lining.  I finally just made a copy of my favorite backpack type purse.  It has a long lenghtwise zipper in the part up against the body, a pocket in front.  The first one came out great with lots of hidden pockets inside but this last one made of a faux leather is a bit more challenging and the next oe will be a faux fur (I hope).

          22. designer56 | | #47

            Wow those designs sound great, please post photos when you are finished!  My bag has a lining made from a heavy coat lining, kind of a brown and gold stripe. I put in a couple of side pockets for those items that always get lost at the bottom of the bag.

            I'd like to try leather or faux leather some time when I'm feeling brave.  If you have to "unsew" seams after making a boo-boo, you're stuck with the needle holes.


          23. thimbles1260 | | #48

            I really like the looks of your purse!  I'd like to see a smaller view so that I can see the whole thing.  I tried right clicking to open in a new window thinking that would size it down, but no luck.  Opening in a new window was not an option.   Do you know how I can get a better view?

          24. designer56 | | #49

            Hello!   I am attaching a smaller file. Hopefully this will work. If it gets more complicated than this, I have to ask one of my kids!

          25. thimbles1260 | | #51

            Thank you for the smaller version.  I really appreciated getting a good look at it.  The piping and grommets make it look so very prefessionly done.  Very attractive!!

      3. User avater
        Becky-book | | #22

        Piping, yes, it can help stabilize an edge when using light weight cloth.

        Made some purses for teen daughter and friends; ribbons appliqued to white canvas, different colors for each girl. (Bath & Body knock off) I think that those had piping around the bottom oval.

        As several others have said, finish the inside as neatly as possible. I use my serger for simple bags; full lining for a special purse.  Pockets take extra time but they make the finished purse more efficient to use.

        There were some bag directions on the protective cover of a Threads mag. a while ago. If you go to the HOME page and click on ON-LINE extras you can get to the directions to make 3 different bags. (from issue 113) Have not tried them yet.



  5. sewfungirl | | #34

    Hello, I make, what I call backpack bags from McCalls pattern #8705. It is a bag with a drawstring top with straps that go over the shoulders. It is so quick and easy and you can make them as dressy or as casual as you would like. I line them with a contrasting fabric and sometimes I will make an inside pocket for keys or lipstick. The outside of the bag can be embellished with beads, buttons or vintage brooches. Teens love them, I make them for my daughter and her friends (and for myself). The latest one I've made is out of blue, white and orange Hawaiian print, with an orange lining. They're so much fun and take less than an hour to make.

    1. adelinarose | | #37

      Hi Sewfun,

      I'd love to see your pictures sometime too, if you hav e any. Maybe I'll give that a try' but more boyish type. I have two small sons. Thanks.



      1. Mare58 | | #38

        I started a bag business last January,  I had never sewn any handbags before that time. 

        Once you get the hang of the designs it is just a matter of time that you create your own.  I am now currently creating my designs and cutting them out with card stock which seems to work good.  No instructions needed just an idea.

        You can check out my bags at: http://www.theeclecticbaglady.etsy.com for some inspiration. 

        My advice is pick one pattern and then go crazy

        Have fun.


        1. WandaJ | | #39

          Thank you for inviting us to tour your website. I enjoyed looking at your creative bags.

        2. adelinarose | | #40

          Great Job Mare58,

          Thanks for the link and the inspiration. Keep up the good work.



          1. Mare58 | | #44

            Thank you and good luck in your venture.

        3. kayrosie | | #42

          Love your bags.  My sister and I make some purses too. WE make them out of placemats and the pet screen and now she is knitting them.  Do you have much success with the web site or do you find that word of mouth and showing them to people to be a better way to sell them.   Interested in how your business is going.


          1. Mare58 | | #43

            Thanks - I will email you privately about my business.


          2. kayrosie | | #45

            So you are telling me you are going to get your own website next year. but that it has not been very profitable.  We were thinking of trying to sell on the computer and from all the people I have talked to it has not been that profitable.  I did like your handbags.

        4. thimbles1260 | | #50

          I loved your site and all of the bags you have made!!  They are great!  I really appreciate your advice of selecting one bag and elaborating on the pattern.  Good idea!!

  6. statha | | #35

    Hi adelinrose,

    I see you''ve had lots of replies... recently I went to my public library and got out all the books they had on making bags. I''m in Wellington New Zealand but most of the books are published in USA so would be available for you. I found ""Making handbags"" by goldstein-lynch, mullins and malone; and ""Hip Handbags"" by Valerie Van Arsdale very helpful on basic techniques, as well as having some very snazzy bags to make. I also liked ""Handmade Embroidery Bags"" by Jenny Rolfe. I tend to photocopy the most useful pages, and get the books out again if I need inspiration on embellishment.


    1. adelinarose | | #36


      Thank you so much for these titles. I will be checking them out at the library. Good luck on your projects.



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