Good resources for learning to make your own bags?

  1. Any PFers make their own bags? How did you learn to sew? Anyone know how to work with leather?

    I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but I keep thinking about how I could have made x or y bag better by adding pockets or adjustable straps or other things.

    I want to learn to make my own bags.

    But alas, I failed home-ec. I picked up knitting, but every bag I've made has been a miserable failure. (I'm good at socks though!)

    I don't even know where to begin!
  2. I make my own bags... I work with leather as well... I learned how to do it all by studying it in college...

    There are books out there to help you.
    Try searching on
  3. Luna, I did search on Amazon but there are sooo many. Can you recommend a good starter book or at least tell me what subject within the field is best to begin with?
  4. Probably learning to sew is essential... I'd start out making a few flat totes... sewing some handles together... buy some cheap fabric

    Search for books by Ellen Goldstein-Lynch.
    I'm (and one of my bags/cell phone case) are actually in the "Making leather Handbags" book. ;)
  5. Purly, I just suggested the PFers start their own line! (And I said we just need someone who makes.) Luna, want in? He he he! :nuts:

    By the way, I'm so excited, I might be going off to a school for fashion design!! If not, finish English Bachelor's, then 2nd Bac. in Design. :yes:
  6. I'm just about to start a bachelor of design in 2 weeks, and really hope I can learn something about working with leather. It would be a dream to be able to make and design my own bag!
  7. Well I just ordered $50 worth of leatherworking books from amazon. And tommorrow I'm thinking about going out to buy this:
    Tandy Leather Factory
    (and some leather too of course).

    If nothing else, I guess I can just eBay it if I don't use it.
  8. Wow, you're committed! that looks exciting. PLEASE report back with your results :smile: I'm really excited to see how it works out!
  9. Hm.

    All of the stuff in that kit isn't necessary...

    I really need to get back into making bags. My industrial sewing machine it just sittng in my apartment, unused.
  10. I would buy a good rubber cement, a hand rivet setter, some rivets, a hand grommet setter, some grommets, nylon bonded thread (if you plan on working with leather)... a permanent rubber cement, some bonded leather (for handles and such), a cutting board, a good knife... if I think of anything else, I'll let you know. Oh! if you're going to use a home machine, please do not sew thick leather... I'd really only recomment sewing lambskin or pigskin on a home machine, and I'd buy a teflon-coated sewing foot for your machine... leather tends to get stuck on feet that aren't treated to slide against it's surface.
  11. Ugh, so I went. I picked up a much smaller set of tools used for stamping and carving, some scrap leather, a book, and a purse kit.

    I've been working at it all day and I can't do anything. Like, all I'm trying to do is leave an imprint in the leather.

  12. Congrats YSL! I cannot wait to start design school myself! In the Fall maybe, but like I said, I might take two more years to get English Bach, then start design school. But I'd prefer to just switch to fashion school!

    I'm excited for you, you have to let us know how it goes!
  13. Wow! You are devoted, Pur. I'm going to start with sewing, move on to knitting, etc. Work my way up. And I'm even lazy to really get going! How bad! I wonder why... I might be scared to be horrible.
  14. Purly , a good book which is quite often on EBAY is Leatherwork by Ian Hamilton-Head. It is an excellent book to begin with. I started with this one before going to college for 3 years.
    If you are trying to leave an imprint in leather make sure that your leather is
    a. unfinished veg tan leather AKA russet
    and b. slighty damp.

    Go for it.

    Here are a few pictures of the bags I love to make.
    SB7.jpg SB6.jpg SB4.jpg
  15. You may need too:
    Sharp scissors (Fiskars are very good, you can buy Fiscars sharpeners too - you'll need them w. leather)
    Leather needles for sewing-machine (most haberdashery stores carry them).

    My toolkit (it's very basic), from the bottom:
    -bookbinding bone (my favourite tool; I use it for everything, from spreading glue to polishing, smoothing, creasing etc. This one was carved by my friend 15 years ago from the leftovers of a Sunday lunch, but you can buy them in spec. shops or on ebay.)
    - awls, triangular & flat (online, shops, or ebay - I got mine from an old cobbler)
    - Opinel penknife (not exactly professional, but very sharp. I :heart: the carbon blade! Available in good hunting/angling shops)
    - hole-puncher & setter (few bucks for a set of 6 on eBay. Don't buy the revolving handheld ones, they are useless)
    - a surgical thingy which I don't know the English word for, but very useful. (Originally it was meant for keeping the arteries shut during surgery.)
    Sewing-machine: try to get an old, robust uggly one - they are much stronger (cheaper too!) Even better: an old, foot-operated cast-iron one. Of course, industrial/leather machines are the best (old or new), but who can afford them...