Thursday, April 4, 2013
How to Become a Handbag Designer
img source: madmadamemimsshop
Handbags can range from simple and utilitarian to all flash and fashion, and everything in between. If you intend to design them, learn both ends of this spectrum. Then, combine the different elements into new and different designs all your own.
1 Sharpen your sewing skills.
Get a sewing machine and learn how to use it.
If you're short on cash, used sewing machines can be a very good deal. You don't need a lot of fancy stitches or computerized embroidery to learn to sew. Ask around and see if someone you know has one you could have or borrow, perhaps in exchange for doing some mending for them. Check garage sales and thrift stores in your area, too. Sewing machines are pretty durable.
Learn to wind a bobbin and thread your sewing machine.
Learn a little hand sewing, too, at least enough to sew a button, though this can be done by machine. Buttonholes can also be done by hand or machine.
Invest in a good pair of sewing scissors.
2 Start making your own bags from patterns.
Try a denim purse, a tote bag, and a drawstring bag for some good introductory projects. Notice how the pieces fit together to form the shapes of the bags.
3 Try making some of the less conventional bags.
Recycled and reclaimed materials give their own unique character to bags. What other materials and objects could you turn into a bag or purse?
A bra purse.
A placemat purse.
A map purse.
A book purse.
A duct tape purse
A crocheted or knitted purse
A silk evening bag.
A beaded evening bag.
4 Move on to more advanced sewing techniques.
Learn how to add zippers, snaps, Velcro, and other closures. Learn to line your bag, to create box-bottom bags and three-dimensional shapes. Learn to make various sorts of pockets and straps.
5 Study bags and luggage in all forms.
Look at suitcases, backpacks, messenger bags, purses, lunchboxes, diaper bags, coin purses, knitting bags, anything.
How are they constructed?
What fashions and styles do they reflect?
What purposes or needs do they serve?
What is lacking or inconvenient about them?
6 Turning this bag inside out reveals details of its construction.
Learn about creating patterns. Get some scrap fabric and play around with it until you understand how shapes go together. Don't forget to leave a seam allowance. Get some garage sale or thrift store handbags and dismantle them to see what they looked like as flat pieces.
7 Notice how you use the bags you have.
Notice which bags you prefer and why. Ask to see friends' bags (this may be somewhat personal, so don't press). Notice what people carry in their purses. Should you include a separate pocket for a cell phone? An internal pocket for personal items? Generous capacity for a book or notebook?
8 Explore fashions, designs, and embellishments.
At some point, most purses and handbags are constructed along similar lines and what sets them apart is fashion. Notice how different materials and colors change the character, style, and feel of the bag. What makes it unique? Observe and experiment with the following elements.
Shape. Bags run from tall and slender to short and wide, and everything in between. How does the shape of a bag affect the handling and appearance?
Color. Textiles and other materials are available in a wide variety of colors, but you can also dye materials, leave the natural color of the material, and use coordinating and contrasting panels or trim.
Pattern. Here, the sky is the limit. Subtle, loud, abstract, geometric, floral, or simply the pattern created by the construction and trim on the bag.
Material. This affects the bag in many ways, including appearance, handling (both for construction and use), weight, and feel.
9 Start selling the bags you make.
Start online or at craft fairs. You'll make a bit of money, gain exposure, and learn what people think of your creations. Listen to your customers and give careful consideration to what they say, especially to anything you hear repeatedly.