Design Your Own Handmade Handbag

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Robbi, Eng, Lynn and 3 others


Welcome to the Age of D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself). Gone are the days when people have to hide stuff they made themselves. These days, handmade products are flaunted as these can fetch hefty amounts if sold. This is because these products are generally one-of-a-kind.

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They also speak of artistry, craftiness, and sometimes even cultural knowledge. If you want to make your own stuff such as a personal handbag, this is as good a time as any. Who knows? With marketing skill, it might just open up a great way to earn.

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Design and sew your very own high-fashion handbag. Fashion bag is about combining the latest trends with creativity and personal style. Your aim is to come up with a bag design that is unique using custom-made materials. Harness your artsy designer in you.

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Steps for Designing Your Own Handbag

  1. 1
    Plan your Design.
    Determine your bag's basic elements. This refers to the shape, fabric material, color and stabilizers. Decide on the details to add including personal touches.
    1. Outlining. Measure the proportions (height and width) and draw a rectangular shape as marking on the body of the bag. Put a vertical line in the center of the rectangle.
    2. Taking care of the perspective. If the bag is slightly skewed to the left, move the center line to the left. Mark a buckle in the middle of the line. Distort the straight lines of the sides to have the illustration appear less stiff and look like a real bag.
    3. Putting the details. Draw the pockets. Be sure they are in the same perspective plan as the body. The side plan is always place to either the right or left. To add dimension to your drawing, make the bottom of the pockets a bit lower from the bottom of the bag.
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  2. 2
    Reinforce the fabric.
    This is the key to the bag's structural integrity. Fabrics and stabilizers are matched.
    1. Decide first what the bag's function is that it has to perform – will it hold a Laptop, or simply a clutch?.
    2. If a bag doesn't get reinforced, it looks flimsy; it weakens prematurely with normal wear and tear.
    3. Lastly, the bag won't stand up as they should. Examples of fabric materials used for bag reinforcement are stitch bond, polyester flat, twill carbon filter, tawny fabric, etc.
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  3. 3
    Construct the basic exterior
    Find out easy and efficient ways in sewing bags beginning with the side seams, bottom and corners
    Shape the bag according to the shape you like.
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  4. 4
    Construct the basic lining.
    Luxurious linings are just irresistible. Take your sewing to the next level with the alignment and sewing of the linings to render a sleek and professional look to the bag.  
    1. Steps:  
      1. Trim the fabric for the bag, lining materials and interface.
      2. For the binding, you can either buy some binding or you can make your own. Make sure that you cut it long enough to go around the entire leading edge of the bag.
      3. Insert your lining into outer bag, or on wrong sides altogether. Match up the side seams and pin around the top raw edges.
      4. Stitch around the top of the bag, making sure that it is about ¼ inches from the raw edge.
      5. Put the binding. Fold back the raw edge of the binding about 1 inch.
      6. Continue putting pins on the binding, leaving the end a little loose.
      7. Start stitching about a couple of inches away from the folded end going around the bag overlapping the binding up to the end.
      8. Fold binding upward the top of the bag and back toward the lining. Pull it nice and tight to hide the visible stitches of the lining.
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  5. 5
    A slip pocket can be use for mobile phones, keys, coins, or lipstick. Find out first if it's possible to put pockets as you decide between zipper, flap, slot and patch pockets for your handbag.  
    1. Materials  
      1. Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
      2. One 5 x 10 inch fabric for a single pocket
      3. One 10 x 10 inch fabric for a double pocket
    2. Steps  
      1. Add 1 inch to the length and width of your pocket fabric. Take the bottom, fold over 1 inch for its edge. Repeat for all sides.
      2. Sew the pocket on the top of the fabric pocket.
      3. Sew this pocket while the bag is clean cut out or still un-assembled. Take the piece of liner fabric where you want to position the pocket. Lay it flat on the table. Put the pocket on the fabric liner.
      4. Start sewing on the top left, then down. Sew close to the edge as possible. Continue around the bottom and up the other side.
      5. Sew in about ¼ inch and turn and sew back down and around the pocket. You made a double stitch on the sides and bottom which firmly hold the pocket to its place.
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  6. 6
    Handles and straps.
    Bags can be styled as a sling over the shoulder or dangling on the elbow. Learn how to use pre-cut handles or straps and how to fasten securely on the bag.  
    1. Materials for a single handle strap  
      1. 43 x 1 inch wide cotton belting material
      2. 2 strips of leather ¾ x 19 inch
      3. Two 1 ¼ inch D-rings
      4. Threads to match belting and leather
      5. Needles and notions
    2. Steps  
      1. Thread the two D-rings onto the cotton belting and sew the ends of the belting together giving a ¼ inch seam allowance. Check that the belting is not twisted.
      2. Place a leather strip on the right side of the belting. Center across the width, hiding the seam just sewn under the leather. Use double sided tape on the wrong side to hold in place.
      3. Sew the leather strip into the cotton belting with a 1/8 inch edge on its four sides.
      4. Tape or clip the second strip or leather to the first strip. Sew all four edges together.
      5. Bring the two leather strips wrong side together with cotton belting sides in between, and then flatten the loop. Line up the leather pieces on all sides. Fasten with a D-ring into each of the two folds.
      6. Once in place, clip the two sides of the loop together.
      7. Sew the two layers together around the outside of the leather strips. Do not sew the leather, just the cotton belting.
      8. Attach the handle to the bag.
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  7. 7
    The zipper is inserted into the bag lining. This is done before the bag lining is assembled.  
    1. Material  
      1. One nylon/plastic all-purpose zipper, 3 inch or 7.5 cm
    2. Steps  
      1. Take two pieces of 1 ½ x 3 inch fabric pieces. Press half of it with the right sides together so that the two edges meet. Press together.
      2. Fold the top of the fabric down to the crease. Open again. Fold one edge in to meet the crease and press.
      3. Do the same with the other side. You are done with a tiny piece of double-fold bias tape.
      4. Trim the zipper to make it one inch shorter than the edge where you are inserting it, including the zipper tape. Don't cut the zipper.
      5. Run the first end of the zipper between the pressed fabric, with the zipper end reaching the zipper crease.
      6. Pin in position. Make a top-stitch on the fabric at least 1/8 inch from the zipper.
      7. Repeat on the other end of the zipper and the rest of the piece of the bias.
      8. Then tape it .
      9. Trim the excess fabric on both ends of the zipper to have the same width as the zipper.
      10. Place one of the bag front piece right side up.
      11. Align the zipper with the top, ½ inch from both edges.
      12. Pin. With the zipper foot, and using a ¼ inch seam allowance from the top of the bag, stitch the zip in place, including the zipper tabs.
      13. Place the lining front piece right side up. Put the bag's front piece right side down onto the lining front piece, with the zipper on top. Pin. Sew directly on top of the stitching.
      14. Turn the fabrics as in the previous procedure (wrong sides together). Press. Top stitch all along the side of the fabric pieces from one end of the zipper to the other end, 1/8 inch away from the zip tape.
      15. Do again the previous steps for the other side of the zip. Then remove the zipper foot from the machine.
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  8. 8
    Closures and hardware.
    S2NOV11-05 1.jpg
    Finishing touches are accessories like clasps, tabs, studs and any kind of hardware you can think of.
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  9. 9
    Shape variations.
    There are so many kinds of shapes of ladies' bags available today that you can pattern for your bag making.  
    1. A backpack is meant for carrying on one's back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders.
    2. A baguette is small to medium in size, shaped like a French loaf baguette.
    3. A bowler or bowling bag is shaped like half oval.
    4. A bucket bag is like a bucket with a round bottom base.
    5. A handbag is a small bag. It has a single carrying handle at the top.
    6. A doctor's bag is modeled after a physician's bag, short and wide and has short double handles.
    7. A drawstring bag is a bag that closes at the top with a cord or string pulled through.
    8. Others: Hobo, Kelly, messenger, flap or fold over lap bag, hip or waist bag, garment bag, and portfolio bag.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings on Designs of Handbags

  • Have a bag that weighs not more than 10 percent of your body weight. If more than that, your head and neck jut forward and you can have headache, tension on the neck and back pain.
  • Long–strapped is not fashionable anymore, and the strap is always slipping off the shoulder.
  • Busty women have to avoid carrying bags sling on shoulders.
  • Over-sized bags are dangerous; they invites you to carry tons of stuff.
  • The best bags are those that are fairly flat and soft, not stiff leather. Bag with accessories like big studs or stones, or decor that separate you from your bag.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Sewing

Recent edits by: mahalia jovita b. bugasto, Anonymous, Lynn

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