Recently, I managed to find time to have a productive sewing session. This time, I made something for myself. I bought a new mini laptop a couple of weeks ago and needed a case for it. It has a long battery life so is really portable, therefore I wanted a case that I could take anywhere. There are no nice cases in the shops, all are very dull. For my work laptop I have a Cath Kidson laptop bag, but I haven't seen any other nice bags anywhere, so I decided to use some of my latest fabric purchase on a nice bag for myself.
I measured my laptop and constructed the outer shell from this lovely butterfly print. I then added a zip and handles. I made sure the handles were properly reinforced to be able to take the weight of the laptop. I padded the bag with ordinary quilters padding, to protect the laptop from little bumps.
I then lined the bag with soft blue cotton. I'm not sure whether or not to make laptop bags for the shop yet. Maybe I should offer some sort of custom laptop bag listing with a choice of fabrics as laptops can vary in size? What do you think?
Doing this project really got me thinking about how I got started making bags in the first place. It all began when I wanted little corduroy bag, but couldn't find anything like what I had in my mind in the shops or online. So I went to a fabric shop and bought navy cord with a small red flower print on it. I made a little bag with a red zip on my mini JML sewing machine and used it everyday. Even though the seams were terrible, I was really pleased with it. One day I was on a train and a woman said to me, I love your bag! I told her I'd made it and she asked me to make her one and gave me her business card! I was overjoyed but at the same time scared because I'd never sold anything before. Unfortunately there was a fault on the JML mini sewing machine meaning that when I tried to change the bobbin because the cotton had run out, I couldn't remove it, rendering the sewing machine useless.
I didn't end up making that woman a bag, but I did end up buying a proper machine and experimenting further with bag making.
The original little bag I made eventually wore out, so I next made this one with what material I had left. It looks a bit battered because it got beer spilt all over it, but I still keep it to remind me of one of the first bags I ever made. Don't laugh at it!
What I loved about it was the fact it had a zip and a button and flap to fasten it.
In the early days, I used old skirts and tops to make bags. I even sold one on ebay, I was so happy! But making things from clothes was always a struggle as I never had quite enough material and therefore the bags were never quite perfect. Being completely self taught, I did a lot of making things up as I went along too. I knew there was a need for interfacing of some sort, and used various different strange materials to do so, until one day I discovered
http://www.u-handbag.com/ and my life changed. This wonderful website and blog opened my eyes to the world of bag making sundries and I've never looked back. From this great website I learnt how to properly interface fabric, use bag and purse frames, plastic handles, d-rings and magnetic fasteners. Here are a couple of early bags I made using handles bought from u handbag. The first one is made from a skirt I loved. It's brown velvet with lovely pink sequin, ribbon and flower detail on the sides. It's the first bag I ever made with a flat bottom to it and it was the first time I ever experimented with dimension.
It is lined with beautiful dusky pink satin.
Next I made a similar shaped bag but without the sides and bottom. As you can tell, I was going through a time when I loved bag handles and velvet and corduroy materials!
Since the discovery of u handbag, my sewing has gone from strength to strength! And my bags certainly look better than they used to! Here is my latest clutch, just been added to the shop. More clutches on the way in the coming weeks.