Bag-making is an illness for me. When I see someone with a bag walk by, I don’t see the person carrying the bag, I see the bag. I see it, I dissect it, I cut out the pieces, and then I put it all back together again–all in my head and all in the span of a few seconds. I think that’s the very definition of an illness. I learned a long time ago that I couldn’t make money selling bags that were as complex as the one pictured above, and that’s why I turned my business into simpler products that were less time-consuming; this allowed me to spend more time with my family while still enjoying the creative process of sewing.
In the meantime, I created a couple bag patterns over the years that I use for the purses that I make for myself. They are not in reproducible form, so I am not able to share the patterns with you. But, there are so many free basic tote bag tutorials out there, and I will introduce you to them here (scroll to bottom).
I discovered this suede shirt at Goodwill a few weeks ago, after I made my original suede purse from a repurposed vintage jacket. I couldn’t resist buying it, along with a leather belt that I saw there, so that I could make yet another suede purse for myself. (The suede shirt was to become the bag, the belt was to become the handle.) Not sure how many suede bags I need, but as long as I have my bag-making illness, I’m sure there will be more to come. (:
As I mentioned above, I used a belt, which I neglected to photograph before hand, as the handles. The inspiration came from Pinterest, although I never found the original source for the idea. I happen to have a few basic leather working supplies around, including a leather punch and bronze rivets. If you have an interest in doing a similar thing with leather belts, I encourage you to go to Etsy and search for “rivets” and “rivet tools” and that will get you started in the right direction on supplies for working with leather. Or, you can sew the leather handles directly on the bag and skip the rivets, but you will need a descent sewing machine and a leather needle!
In my previous post on making my first suede purse, I got a few emails asking for a pattern for my bag. As I said above, I can’t offer that. However, I have found a lot of free tote bag tutorials online that are great for beginners and could be used for many kinds of fabrics. Here are a few to start you off:
http://tipnut.com/tote-bag-ideas-free-patterns/ (over 40 tote bag tutorials, ranging in complexity, lots of shapes and styles)
http://wkdesigner.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/soho-slouch-tote-2/ (this one is specifically for suede, a little more complicated, would take a lot of fabric, but so cute!)
http://verypurpleperson.com/2010/04/making-reversible-bag.html (this one is for the Charlie Bag, which I’ve made several times. Very cute, maybe more for a moderate level, not beginner. Repurposed pillow cases work great as the fabric for this bag, and it’s reversible!)
http://www.skiptomylou.org/2010/11/09/10-free-tote-bag-patterns-and-tutorials/ (ten free, and very simple, tote bag tutorials)
I hope these inspire you a little, but not enough to give you my bag-making illness! Happy sewing!