My Style · Projects · Sewing · Uncategorized

I can make a designer handbag, right?

As long as I’ve worked I’ve always wanted to buy a designer handbag for myself.   I could’ve pulled the trigger many times with holiday bonuses or Nordstrom gift cards but, for some reason, never have.  Most likely it’s Chris’ frugality wearing off on me. Since we’ve been together I’ve become increasingly frugal. My how things change.  

I inspect other women’s handbags and drool, or criticize those wearing CLEAR AS DAY knockoffs.  I am not handbagless.  No, no.  I have two satchels that I absolutely love- one being a Coach Poppy that was a gift from my adoring mother, and the other being a yellow leather Steve Madden with gold hardware- a gift from my husband (see my Anniversary gifts post here).

But there’s something about simple, classic, black leather goodness. A handbag that gets great use but also looks really good on.  One that will last for years.  Decades even. Something that makes you smile every time you look at it.  A bag that begs you to fill it up with lipsticks, bronzers, cell phones, headphones, diet coke, and maybe a pull-up or two.

Try pulling the trigger on these lovelys.  Damn expensive (who needs retirement anyway?), moderately expensive (I promise to sell more Green Rock items), and expensive (crap, that’s still really expensive).

Valentino Rockstud Pagoda Shopper Tote Bag, $2995.00
MARC by Marc Jacobs “Too Hot to Handle Mini” shopper, $448.00
COACH Nolita Satchel in quilted croc leather, $395

Aren’t they gorgeous?

This is more reasonable affordable (but won’t I look like one of those absurd knockoff carrying imposters?)

Ok, I’ll get to my point.  In the middle of the night months ago I started obsessing over making my own bag.  I’ve made a simple canvas tote in a sewing class.  And a zippered weekender for my sewing machine using a pattern from Sew Sweetness on Etsy.  But could I make a handbag?  I’d be determined to make this one different.  I’m going to take my time with this one.  Yes.  Make sure it has the design elements I want and the little touches that will make it mine, all mine.  Chris thinks this is a stupid idea.  He sees me buying up fabric and digital patterns and thinks, why not just buy the $45 Macy’s handbag. I think his actual words were, “Is it worth buying $100 in materials for a $40 bag?”.  Where’s the flipping emoji for that?

BECAUSE damn it all I want a handbag that makes me smile and drool, but haven’t been able to find anything I like in the $45 range.

In walks the next Sew Sweetness pattern I may attempt.    Here is my mood board of sorts.

Overall Bag



Doesn’t exactly scream designer handbag- but I believe with custom hardware and a lux feeling outer fabric I could make this into something that would feel beautiful.

Outer Fabric

I had two croc fabrics left over from my cake box making days and recently purchased faux leather in pebbled and smoother finishes.  Right now I’m thinking I’ll go with the faux leather, possibly using one finish for the straps and one for the body. I’d love to use actual leather but not sure my Brother machine would be able to handle it and I’d have to look into the price.

Green or black croc vs. black pebbled leather

Lining Fabric

Elk wearing sunglasses vs turquoise chantung silk

I love the little elk wearing sunglasses.  I found this fabric at my local sewing expo but didn’t quite scoop it up.  I told the vendor what I was making, she was familiar with the pattern, but she scoffed at my choice as this for a lining.  She suggested I buy something “cheaper”.  Obviously, she doesn’t understand the point of this whole extravagant project.  What do you think- happy little Elk dude or dressy silk? 


Removable strap hardware, Antique brass owl zipper pull, metal zipper, flat and round rivets, and antique brass purse feet.

The removable strap hardware is really unique and I love the idea of purse feet to elevate the feel of the bag.  The flat rivets will be placed where the handles attach and possible in other areas, like the flap pocket on the front.   A fun little owl zipper pull will give it a fun element.

Final Touch

For my final touch I’d really like to put a gold or brass insignia on the inside or outside of the bag?  Sort of my designer logo for my very own purse.  Two ideas, both without the chains:

1.Have a designer on Etsy make a stamped initial nameplate like in one of these necklaces, maybe 3″ x 1.4″.

2. Purchase a Monogram necklace in gold or antique brass and secure it to the front of the bag somewhere.

monogram option

What do you think??  Waste of time? Will I look like ridiculous?  Give me your ideas! 



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