Design Your Own Leather Handbag
The large number of
requests for custom handbags forced me to
shut off all orders from the website for the month of April 2005 in
order to have time to complete the custom orders on hand. This caused a
loss of revenue and disappointed other customers. While I enjoy the
of custom work it was clear that a change had to be made. The obvious
choices were to discontinue making custom bags or raise the price to an
unreasonable degree (which I was disinclined to do). Instead, I
tried something else. Starting May 1, 2005 I tried to make a limited
number of custom bags. These custom bags were to be chosen from
posted by LCG insiders on The LeatherGoods Connection Group site.
I still couldn't handle it. The belt and wallet orders took all
of my time and because I could fill 40 of those orders in the time it
took to make one custom bag, I quit making custom bags entirely.
In December of 2007 I had to shut off all handbag and backpack
orders for the same reason. Since then I have trained three other
people to help out with the wallets and belts and set them up with
their own shops. I still need at least one more custom belt maker.
I still get requests from designers and bag makers for
patterns and "sample" bags made from their drawings. There is a real
need for people who can turn a two dimensional drawing into a three
dimensional object. I can't make all the belts myself so I trained
others. I can't make all the handbags myself so I'm going to try to
train others to do that as well.
For a start I will be writing about handbag "Conversion", i.e.
turning a drawing into the actual bag, on my blog. I will attempt to do
this in a more in depth way than I did in Making a
Handbag from a Photo and other Tutorials on my "How to and Leather Goods
To get notices of when new articles are posted on the blog...
LeatherGoodsConnection Group. Become an
LGC insider and have
access to "Members Only" sale pages containing NEW leather belts and
handbags that were made as samples or that when we finished it we
realized we should have read the comments window info. Or maybe we got
an email from the customer saying, " OOPS, I hate to be a bother but, I
finally measured and can you make it four inches longer and I
decided on light brown instead of black".
Get advise on leather goods construction and repair, post your
your knowledge, tell us what you like, what you make, or would like to
make. Click on the "Messages" link to read answers to past questions
and leather making articles.
Because of the group news letter email format that
elliminates images, the photos that that go with the articles have to
be viewed by clicking on the photos link on the group site menu. To
provide a better reading experience I have started the "Henry's leather News"
Blog where the images accompany the text. I only have time to
post group messages every month or two, and will now include
links to new articles posted to the blog.
To only get notices of important events select: "Special notices -
Receive only important email notices from the group moderator"
(Henry) when you
sign up. You will still have access to all group services when you log
onto the group site.
Or use the blog link above and BookMark it and check it from time to
Below is a work sheet I used as a start for making custom
handbags. I'll leave it here for you to get an idea of the kind of
information needed when making a custom bag. This information gathering
took as long as making the bag and was a good part of the reason I had
to discontinue them. I can't start a new bag until I have worked out
every operation in my head from start to finish.
You can cut and paste this to a new page and print it, then see
what you can come up with for a design. Feel free to add any other
information you think
appropriate. You may want to refer to the leather colors page
and the design and materials pages at my information site. As I
through the Conversion process on the blog you can determine if you
need to add more information or make changes to your design.
Determine the size:
Choose type of closure for
Strap in Center
Straps: (pick type)
1 strap from side gussets
2 straps, attached to
1 strap from front right
corner to rear right
Outside Front Pockets:
Outside Rear Pockets:
Outside Gusset Pockets:
Inside Pockets (front):
Inside Pockets (Rear):
Inside Pockets (Center Divider)
Choose Leather Color:
Choose Lining Material and
Draw a sketch:
Label Features on the
There are other choices
will have to make during construction. It helps if I know how you
to use it ... every day, dress only... etc. What is important to
you about a handbag... light weight, security, organization... etc.
Write a paragraph about
what you want this handbag to do for you.
Include a picture from
or the url of web picture of a similar bag if available.
Refer to Making
a Custom Handbag