Tag Archives: handmade bags

A little inspiration

I dropped into a local home furnishing fabric shop this week and rifled through their bolt end bins for some inspiration. I’m not into formulaic handmade bags and although I often make a series of bags with the same basic form I like to mix it up with different fabrics, patterns and accents. So a bin of odds and ends of fabric is a great kick starter for ideas.

Surprisingly it was a $3 sample swatch of faux leather that got my creative ideas flowing.

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I loved the colours and the fabric had a lovely suppleness to it that meant it would sew well but the swatches where only a couple of inches so what could I do with them??

I was sorting through my handmade stamps later that day when I hit on the idea of combining the two as an accent patch on some of my little black bags.

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So here’s the result

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You can check them out in my Etsy shop  for more pics.

 

RDO report- bags of fun!

I love my rostered day off (RDO)! Every second Tuesday I get a day off work that is just for me. I can do whatever I like with it and I try and pack a lot into those 9 hours. Here’s what I did today:

  • cleaned the washing machine before I did the washing because I truely thought the clothes would come out dirtier than they went in
  • took the car to Artery for some supplies that just won’t fit on the scooter
  • dropped in to see my brother and check out some fantastic plan drawers he has that I’ve been coveting – think they’ll be mine soon!!
  • exchanged the router that died for a new one that no doubt will die within the next 12 months
  • and made three bags using some really beautiful upholstery fabric featuring
  • shot some photos and added the bags to my Etsy shop

 

It’s been a good day!

 

 

 

 

The art behind a handmade bag.

I make bags much the same way as I paint a picture. Something will catch my eye, a shape will stick in my mind, a fabric pattern will pop out from all the others and I start thinking how I might use that idea to sew a functional piece of art – and what could be more useful, decorative and functional than a bag!

Just like a painting I get to make all sorts of decisions that will influence the final outcome. Will the bag be large or small, will the patterned fabric dominate or just add a highlight, will it be big, bold and bright or more elegant and subdued.

I like to paint fast. I try to be expressive and gestural in my approach. I value simplicity of design over fussiness . Just as I  want a painting to come together and tell a story so I want my bags to tell their own story , to insist on going to the market and being filled with winter pears , to sashay into the evening accompanied by a little black dress, to be slung over a shoulder and take a ride on a scooter.

There are lots of little details and flourishes that will lift a painting out of the ordinary and give it that extra something that makes you want to live with it on your walls for years to come. I like to add small details to my bags to finish them off. I might use strips of the main patterned fabric to trim pockets and isolate a graphic element in a small square against a plain fabric background just like a painting in a frame.

 

Sometimes a bag design will develop purely to showcase a fabric like this little tote with 3 “windows” I made just to frame a hand printed penguin on a mustard linen. I liked the result so much I’ve started using it to frame Japanese kimono fabrics .

I love hand printed fabric and make my own stamps to add a touch of whimsy to otherwise plain bags. I often”frame” them on squares of fabric which I attach to flaps, pockets and backs.

The other way by bag making is like my painting is that I have an overall design idea, an artistic concept and I start. I don’t always get it right first time, I may botch up something and then learn from that. I often measure with my eye not a tape measure! I make changes on the fly! No  two bags are ever the same – I  would get bored with that. I could always streamline my process and make a lot more bags a lot more efficiently but I just don’t want to. When I sit down to sew I look through my fabric stash to see what excites me today -then I choose a design idea to rework or try something new . Just like painting I want to be inspired, to try new techniques to challenge myself and hopefully make a thing of humble and useful beauty in the process.

You can check out my other bags at my Etsy shop.