TBT ~ I’m ripping apart handbags!


Here is a blog post I originally wrote almost 4 years ago but still rings SO true for handbag makers.  How to find expensive bag hardware besides online retailers…thrifting!  Enjoy your Thursday.

Don’t shoot me, but I spent some time yesterday ripping apart handbags. Not mine or a fancy brand, but some random old handbags I found at the local thrift store. I was tempted to keep the green one, but my boys vetoed that so it went into the pile. But there is a method to my madness, I promise. It’s all about the leather.

( This is interfacing on one of the bags, with some glue. Bleh!– Long live Pellon!!!)

When you are learning to sew or use new materials do you use your good fabric and notions? Or do you use old shirts, pants, bags etc.? I am in the learning to sew with new materials stage right now. My material: Leather! I have two industrial sewing machines, a straight stitch Juki and a Consew 287RB-2 walking foot with cylinder bed. The Juki I use as my everyday machine and it’s fantastic. My Consew is a more specialized machine. It is designed to be used for canvas, vinyl, leather or bags that are thick with many layers. It goes up to a size 7 stitch which looks awesome when I topstitch, but again it’s a specialty machine.

I have been working on a bag pattern for some time on paper. It looks great, but when I try to envision it with cottons, canvas or home dec fabric it just doesn’t work. Then I think of leather. Bingo!  My problem is I’ve never sewn leather so I do’t want to purchase some nice leather just to butcher it! Leather isn’t cheap. So that’s where the thrift store comes in. I purchased a few older bags in bad shape then spent some time removing the leather and embellishments from them. This is what I ended up with:

Not bad for $8 worth of bags, huh?! I have several zippers, handles, bag bottoms, magnetic snaps, and other random leather pieces I can now use and play around with.  In a retail store how much do you think this stuff would be? A lot more than $8.  So if you are anxious to learn to sew new fabrics, find some old used materials in your house or at your local thrift store that you can play around with. You’ll save money and you’ll keep your nice fabrics safe until your confident enough to use them!

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