ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to make a bag out of fabric

Updated on October 12, 2011

These days, the glossier kind of women's magazines are full of designer handbags that cost an arm and a leg - and I don't just mean nudging three figures, but a price tag the size of some people's monthly salary. While many of these bags look beautiful and will last for years, for me personally it's hard to justify spending that sort of money. In fact, such is the economic climate at the moment, that many of us are having to think very carefully before spending any money on clothes and bags.

If you're like me you'd almost rather go without a bag than buy something cheap and nasty. But what to do if you can't afford a good quality handbag or purse? If you've got some basic sewing skills and a bit of imagination, a good solution is to make your own! This hub will hopefully provide you with a few suggestions based on the bags I myself have made at home. There won't be too many detailed instructions, but it will point you in the right direction and maybe spark more ideas.

Here's one I made earlier...
Here's one I made earlier...

How to make a messenger bag

My favourite type of bag is the messenger bag - it has a long strap, so all you have to do is sling it across your body and do up the zip - no need to worry about it slipping off your shoulder every 30 seconds, and considerably less risk of it being grabbed by some random bag snatcher. The bag in the pic is one I made myself from a piece of woollen tapestry. Before you ask, I didn't embroider the tapestry myself - I bought it for 50p at my local church jumble sale! The backing and strap are made from green corduroy bought in a charity shop, and the lining is nylon jersey. (Get used to trawling boot fairs, charity/thrift shops and jumble/rummage sales, because they will be a far cheaper source of material than anywhere else! I also make a habit of buying things like zips and thread in charity shops. Alternatively, you can salvage zips from old cushion covers and clothing.)

On this bag - as with several of my others - I used pieces of soft leather for the corners and the edge, to stop eventual wear and fraying.  Simply cut out four right-angled triangular pieces of leather (with sides about 6 or 7 cm long) and sew them onto the corners of your material, before sewing the material together.  I would also recommend using quite thick corduroy for the backing/strap (it doesn't have to be corduroy though - canvas, denim or velvet would also be fine).  The strap is made from a double thickness of corduroy, sewn together.

A close-up of a corner...
A close-up of a corner...
...and the opening/zip
...and the opening/zip

Knitting bags

While we're on the subject of denim, if you've ever wondered what to do with those old worn-out jeans, why not make them into a bag? The knitting bag in the picture is made from pieces of denim from several pairs of jeans; I've alternated dark and light colours so that the pattern stands out more. If you're doing a chevron patchwork of this kind I would strongly recommend making paper pattern pieces first - get some newspaper and fold it in half so that the fold corresponds to the central vertical "axis" of the bag. Then draw half of the outline of your bag, and cut it out. Unfold it and check the shape - if necessary, fold and cut again. Once you're happy with the overall shape, fold the pattern back in half and cut the paper into chevron pieces. Fix the bits of material onto each piece with pins, and cut them out, leaving about 1.5 cm (half an inch) to fold over. If you've ever done patchwork quilting before, it's exactly the same idea as that. You will then need to sew the bits together by hand. Alternatively you can bypass the folding stage and try machining the bits together.

As with the messenger bag, I used nylon jersey for the lining - although an acetate lining would have been just as good - and D-shaped plastic handles. You can buy handles from your local craft store, or from eBay or Amazon. I also made another knitting bag from the sleeves of a vintage Welsh wool coat. This time I used leather patches at the corners. This particular bag is my favourite and has received several compliments!

© Empress Felicity March 2010

This started life as a coat... and look at it now!
This started life as a coat... and look at it now!

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)