Tips for Better Bag-Making.



Upholstery Thread

Waxed Thread


 Foam liner.


Recycle Straps, Clasps, etc.

Try to recycle bags you no longer use or that are not good enough to  donate or give away by saving clasps, straps metal buckles and rings - even zippers can be re-used .

I pulled the black tabs, on the left, off some old snow boots that I no longer use and will use them on a future bag as tabs to which a handle or shoulder strap will be attached. I may also use it as a closure tab to lock the bag.  If they had been the right color I would have used them on my straw circle placemat bag as tabs for the shoulder strap.

Use Strong Thread for Bags

You should use upholstery thread when sewing bags whether by hand or sewing machine.  You might be tempted to use garment thread  but I'd advise against it.   I'm not sure if I mentioned it on my 60s Boho Chic Bag but I did use upholstery thread for that bag.  You might live in a climate where it rains often and so your bag is constantly damp. If you use garment thread in this situation it will probably rot from being constantly damp.  It takes thread longer to dry on a bag than it does on a garment.

Waxed linen thread is often used by bag makers to sew bags because it slides more easily through holes perforated by a needle or hole puncher.  However, although I am going to make a medium sized bag by hand I will not be using the waxed thread simply because I want the look of natural cotton yarn against the translucent vinyl I was fortunate to be able to get a remnant of.  I'm not sure when I'm going to make that particular bag but I am enjoying anticipating its lemon colored dreamy loveliness.

When I made the bucket bag / shopper I di d not add any additional support for the bag wall.  I had a very specific purpose for this huge bag and felt it uneccessary.  However, when making this type of bag you might want to line it with an iron on facing made specifically for that purpose.  That way if you were carrying anything pointed lets say, it would be very unlikey to go through the wall of your bag.  It would also give a smooth look to the bag if were full of say books or irregular shaped objects with pointy corners etc.

 Another way to add structure to your bag wall is by shaping and inserting a thin foam liner between the inside wall of your bag and the lining.  If you find it difficult to acquire foam that is  1/16" to 1/8" thick you could use thin craft foam sheets bought from any craft , hobby or scrapbooking store.