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Hand Crafted Bags and Purses

Updated on July 10, 2012

Handmade Bags by Melted Rachel

For as long as I've been making textiles I've been making bags too. It's a little bit odd because I'm a rucksack-sort of gal. I need a huge bag so that I can lug around all my notes and books and whatever craft project I'm working on next.

But I love cute bags! I love pink and frills and sequins.

This is a collection of some of my favourite bags, the early bags I made and how I've resolved my rucksack vs. pink filly purse issue.

Check out my one of a kind handmade bags at Rachel's Melted Fabrics

Doodles for Early Bags - A few of my first ideas c.2003!

Bag Doodles by MeltedRachel
Bag Doodles by MeltedRachel

Some of the first Bags I Made

Envelope-style clutches.

These are fairly easy to make because all your pattern pieces are rectangles.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Little Squares - These pieces are really simple bags to make. The fun comes from decorating them!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Pendant Pocket Purse

Keep your valuables safe with this design!

This is an early bag of mine- made around 2003.

Learn how to make it from "Making Handbags and Purses" by Carol Parks featured below.

This bag is a really cute idea for keeping all your valuables safe. You have a cover that slips over the inner pouch and you can only get to the pouch by sliding the cover up the strings- not easy for a pickpocket to do without you noticing.

The best part of this bag design (for me at least!) is that technically you have too bags to cover with beautiful decoration.

Here I've chosen an autumn leaves theme. In Carol Parks's book a rabbit and turnip theme is use.

Making Handbags & Purses - 50 Patterns & Designs from Casual to Corporate.

Making Handbags & Purses: 50 Patterns & Designs from Casual to Corporate
Making Handbags & Purses: 50 Patterns & Designs from Casual to Corporate

I own this book- it's where I got the idea for the pouch purse from.

There are some really cute and unusual purse designs in here- a great place to start if you want to work from a pattern.

 

Circular

Round bags.

Squares and rectangles were easy but I wanted to start producing more-organic circular bags. These were some of my first attempts.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Winter Roses - My favourite circular bag.

I love how the red fabric melted in this piece to reveal the white underneath.

My Bag

Big enough for a sketchbook but feminine enough for sequins.

This is my bag. I needed a bag big enough to cart around all the junk I like to take everywhere- my A4 diary, a couple of paperbacks, my camera and all the usual keys, wallets etc- but i also wanted something pretty too.

This bag has taken a lot of punishment over the years but is still going strong! I believe I made it in 2006.

I made it from 2 rectangles of melted fabrics and one long strip to make the width. The zips at the closure were salvaged from an old pair of jeans and I made simple straps out of 2 tubes of sturdy material

A little about me

Rachel of Melted Fabrics.

My name's Rachel Field and I'm a textiles artist from the UK.

I make wall hangings, bags, purses and figurines from layered, embroidered and melted textiles.

As you can see from the image opposite I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of woman but this doesn't stop me from making some of the girliest bags and purses ever.

Some of My Favourites - Frills, bobbles and beads abound in these beauties!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Making Beautiful Beads - Glass, metal, polymer clay and fiber.

Making Beautiful Beads: Glass * Metal * Polymer Clay * Fiber
Making Beautiful Beads: Glass * Metal * Polymer Clay * Fiber

This is another of the craft books that I like to flick through.

I use this book as inspiration to make beads to decorate my bags and also for inspiration. Some of my bags are based on beads featured in this book.

 

Bobble Bag Doodles - As you can see, I'm fond of bobbly bits on bags.

Green Bobble Bag - One of the first purses I made with a purse frame.

Green Bobble Bag by MeltedRachel
Green Bobble Bag by MeltedRachel

Decent purse frames are hard to get hold of but they look so adorable on highly decorated jewel-like purses.

I made the handle for this bag from handmade bobbly beads- clay beads with glued strings of seed (or rocaille) beads.

The Bead Maker - Recipes for creating hand-crafted beads.

The Bead Maker
The Bead Maker

This is the book I used to create the beads for the Green Bobble Bag handle.

 

Mitochondria Purse - Just enough room for a ten dollar note!

This has to be one of my most bizarre bags. It's based on an image of a mitochondria cell.

I started by making a wire frame and then I covered the frame with my textiles piece, made a lining and then covered the whole thing with soldered organza, beads and sequins.

Handbags - The Power of the Purse

Handbags: The Power of the Purse
Handbags: The Power of the Purse

This is a great book packed with odd little purses- some of the handbags featured are ancient.

If I ever run out of ideas (which isn't very often) I just have a quick flick through this book.

The Power of the Purse is a must for any bag obsessed people out there!

 

Blue Iris - Can you guess what I used for the structure of this bag?

Blue Iris by MeltedRachel
Blue Iris by MeltedRachel

The handle is made from a fabulous necklace a friend found for me at a charity shop!

Share Your Thoughts - Reader Feedback.

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    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great bags!!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 8 years ago

      [in reply to LizMac60] Thanks! Looking forward to designing one for you!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      These are beautiful! Wish I had your talent!

      I see that you are pretty fast in making lenses! ;) Maybe you would be interested in joining Giant Squid program? https://hubpages.com/community/GiantSquids

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 8 years ago

      [in reply to a_willow] Hi! Thank you :D I'm pretty addicted already. I'll check out GiantSquids- thanks for recommending it.

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 8 years ago

      Beautiful fabric and great handbags. 5* and favorite it.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 8 years ago

      [in reply to Laniann] Thank you :D

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I love your bags - beautiful lens.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 8 years ago

      [in reply to Stazjia] Thank you :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      absolutey fab ... am a textile designer myself ... asoutley love the textures!!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting :D

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      These are beautiful purses. Admire you for making something like this. What fine work.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @aesta1: Thanks so much :D

    • grolich profile image

      grolich 7 years ago

      Interesting textures. Very original and beautiful

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @grolich: Thanks very much :D

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Your purses are really neat! I stopped carrying a purse every day many years ago, but I still "collect" unusual or "statement" purses for special occasions. Your bags would certainly qualify for my collection! Totally awesome!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @Sylvestermouse: Wow that's a compliment and a half! Thank you! I'm the same - I just have a rucksack and shelves of pretty purses that don't get used!

    • profile image

      DEdgar 7 years ago

      Amazing work, Rachel. Mimi is sitting here beside me oohhing and and aahhing over your purses! She does purses too. You ladies would have A LOT in common. Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @DEdgar: Thanks so much for visiting :D

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 6 years ago

      Wow - loving your work :)

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @religions7: Thank you :D

    • profile image

      bdkz 6 years ago

      These are so beautiful!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @bdkz: Thank oyu so much :D

    • profile image

      fameandfictioncafe 6 years ago

      Rachel, your bags are wonderful! Unique. I enjoyed going through the entire lens! Keep creating (as though you would ever stop...)

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @fameandfictioncafe: Wow, thank you! What a lovely comment :D

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Interesting to see all the steps from the first sketch to the final product! You have some great bags!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @FanfrelucheHubs: Thank you :D

    • SAMEPRINCESS10 profile image

      SAMEPRINCESS10 6 years ago

      I CROCHETED A PURSE BEFORE, AND I USED BEADS WITH IN THE POCKET.

      I LIKE FIREMOUNTAIN BEADS, AND GEMS. I WORK WITH SCULPEY CLAY. I MADE MY OWN BEADS BEFORE TOO. THANKS! (G.B.F.N.)= GOODBYE FOR NOW.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @SAMEPRINCESS10: Thanks for visiting :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful bags!!! So unique! Thanks for visiting my lenses. It is greatly appreciated!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for visiting back :D

    • giacombs-ramirez profile image

      gia combs-ramirez 6 years ago from Montana

      Wow! Just gorgeous. I loved the Mitochronida bags...blessed by a crafty angel.

    • profile image

      marsha32 6 years ago

      very unique and interesting!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Love your stuff, all of it, but the bags are very nice!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Okay these are stunning!!! I'm not even a girly girl and I love them. I might never ever use one but I bet I'd just enjoy it for it's beauty. You know pull it out and pet it from time to time. :)

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @giacombs-ramirez: Thanbk you so much : Sorry for the late reply!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @marsha32: Thank you :D

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @Heather426: Thank you *blush*

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @WildFacesGallery: I'm not a girly girl either! Thanks so much for visiting :D

    • Kitty Levee profile image

      Kitty Levee 6 years ago

      Fantastic ideas. My head is buzzing with possibilities! 80))

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 6 years ago

      @Kitty Levee: Thanks for visiting :D

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