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 net loss of revenue and disappointed other customers. While I enjoy the challenge 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 requests 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 Making Web Site"
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Join 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". 
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   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.
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  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 at:
and the design and materials pages at my information site. As I work 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:
  Height =
  Width =
  Depth =

Choose type of closure for main compartment:
  Open Tote
    Magnetic Snap
    Strap in Center

    Choose Flap Closure:
       Magnetic Snap

Straps: (pick type) 

  1 strap from side gussets
     Fixed Length
  2 straps, attached to front and back
     Fixed Length
  1 strap from front right corner to rear right
     Fixed Length

Strap Width:

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 Color:

Choose Hardware:

Draw a sketch:

Label Features on the drawing
Include Important Measurements

  There are other choices I will have to make during construction. It helps if I know how you intend 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 a  magazine, or the  url of web picture of a similar bag if available.

Refer to Making a Custom Handbag