One of the projects I really wanted to take on was to do a bag inspired by one of my favourite luxury handbag brands, The Row, whose minimalist aesthetic, focus on quality, and discreet branding I really love. I decided to do my own version of their leather flap tote, one of my favourite styles of theirs (among several), but to use a structured leather as well as a different approach in constructing the top handle.
Getting all the pieces ready
Clipping them together to check my measurements and alignments
Sewing by machine
The bag body
Sewing up the edge and handle were the biggest challenges, especially with unreliable and moody machines like the ones we had in school
After wrecking a few bits of leather a few times, I finally decided to sew the handle and bag edge by hand in order not to waste any more leather.
The hardest bit to do was the top handle, because I needed a structure strong enough to hold the bag given the type of handle I was trying to do. In the end, I wrapped leather around a wooden rod to create that support, and cut holes underneath through which I could slip the handle. Sewing the handle was also challenging (which is why I gave up on the machine since it kept wrecking my leather) because I had to wrap the ends around the wooden rod before I could sew any part of it, which meant that I had to sew it while it was already attached to the bag, making it harder to manoeuvre–if all that makes any sense.
And ta da, the finished bag. I’m pretty happy with how the handle turned out, even though it’s not as cleanly made as I would have liked. The leather is also a tad too structured to really be used with the “clutch” strap (which is probably why The Row used a soft leather). It works, but not that comfortably in the arm.
Not too shabby.