Gigi’s Treasure Bag


A facebook group I am in, decided to do the Summit Pack by Cloudsplitter Bags as a sew-along. I choose to use my upholstery crushed velvet, as well as some beautiful embroidered drapery material.

My daughter Gigi was immediately excited about the bag in crimson velvet, so I decided to give it to her when it was made. Once she knew it would be hers, Gigi wanted it to be spectacular.

Sophie supervised my sewing.


Sometimes it got too close for comfort.


Gigi was inspired by a few bags she had seen online and her creative adaptations of Summit reflect the influence of the Burberry Monogram Backpack in the chain attachment for the strap, the appliques of the Chanel Applique Boy Bag, and a gem encrusted velvet Dolce & Gabbana bag.

For maximum bling and superior functionality, we used Riri symmetrical zippers for the two front zipper openings. We used Riri Anello Zipper Pulls because we wanted to attach handstitched leather petals instead of the regular metal pull.


Gigi made a pile on her bed of everything she could find that she was inspired by. Her first idea was for the bag to just have patches of things on it but she quickly realized it would be covered.

She cut out the three exterior pieces and marked 3/4 inch with chalk all around each piece. Once the bits ‘n bobs for each panel were all placed down nicely, she put each panel’s items in their own container. It took three days for the stitching to be complete. Everything she choose has a special meaning.


Gigi made sure to include a purse-protective whistle, which she attached to a repurposed necklace, because who wouldn’t want to steal this rockin’ queen of a bag?


Her Summit reminds me of Where’s Waldo because you can study it for a long time and still find new things.




Gigi’s older sister, Charity, lived on our couch for a year to save money for school and moved out in 2016. When she came over a few weeks ago and saw the bag she was amazed and upon closer inspection, exclaimed, “There’s one of my earrings… there’s another .. and that was a pin I lost!” She wants us to make her one now. 🙂


Here are the inside pockets and a close up of the leather bow pin we made.


Wonder what we’ll do next? 🙂



Diva Envelope Clutch

I like to follow blogs as I learn a lot and am inspired by many creative people. One of those is Rochelle at esheepdesigns. Around Thanksgiving she showed her latest design, the Diva Envelope Clutch, and said she was looking for testers. It looked simple enough for a beginner like myself so I responded and was accepted to test the pattern.

When my daughter, Gigi, saw it she thought it would make a great Christmas gift for our son-in-law, Taylor, as a document holder since at 13″ x 9 3/4″ it’s large enough to hold file folders. She offered to cut out all the pieces so we could get it done in time for our early family celebration on December 11.

We wanted Taylor’s to look manly, therefore we used cork fabric with faux leather accents for the exterior and a linen-like fabric for the lining. With those materials, no interfacing was needed. Taylor was very impressed and stated that he would never have thought it was made with a sewing machine.

I had to add a little piece on the side which you can see above – the dark brown triangle of faux leather. The pattern directs you to be careful in placing the pattern pieces B and C on the correct sides, because one needs to be on the right and the other on the left in order for the bag to turn out correctly. Well, we mixed those up and the result was the sides of our envelope dipped in somewhat at the top so I just added a sliver on each side to compensate and it turned out great.

After Christmas, Gigi decided she wanted to make another one for herself because she likes to carry her Bullet Journal around and needed something that would hold it. She chose some faux leather for the exterior and a bright floral for the lining.


It was fun to figure out ways to decorate our bag flaps with rivets. The square studs are so inexpensive on ebay and simple to attach – just push the prongs in and fold down the edges!

Gigi decided to insert a wedge at the sides so that the bag could hold more and also to accommodate a shoulder strap. She cut a piece of Essex linen 9″ long, 2 1/2″ wide at the top which tapered to 1/2″ wide at the bottom.

She fused some lightweight interfacing to the back, but the fabric still needed more strength to match the thickness of the faux leather. We decided to try waxing the linen.


We got out a little crock pot where we keep our fabric waxing mixture, plugged it in and brushed the wax solution onto the fabric. We then ironed it between sheets of paper to remove excess wax. That transformed the fabric to a deeper aqua and made it much sturdier.

We purchased the little strap connectors with ring from Ohio Travel Bag. It’s very easy to attach, just requires a tiny hole and then it screws right in – perfect for a chain strap.


Gigi made a slip pocket to hold her journal with a lined and interfaced 12″ x 14″ piece of fabric.She added a small rectangular flap for secure closure.

For the pocket flap, Gigi used two pieces of faux leather, 3.5″ x 4.5″ with velcro dots for attachment. A metal button was added for decoration.


We decided to close this one via a magnetic snap. The tassel works as sort of a pull tab for opening. We made the tassel and a handle for the top out of some scraps of black leather.

Here it is opened up and from the backside. We secured the faux leather strap on Taylor’s bag with Chicago screws, but just stitching was secure enough for the leather handle on Gigi’s.


This is a great pattern if you want something that will hold documents, a journal or perhaps an iPad. It’s easy enough for a beginner and very adaptable to modifications including a wide variety of fabrics. I’m considering making another one in waxed canvas with leather trim. 🙂

Rochelle is offering the pattern at a discounted price over the weekend. Go over to her blog to check it out and see all the test editions!


A Hip Pack for Shena


I made my daughter a little pouch for her birthday earlier this year. It can be worn with a strap or just clipped onto belt loops.


It’s a pattern by SotakHandmade called Fannie Pouch. I used some soft denim with Cotton and Steel fabrics.

I added a zipper pocket on the back with Japanese newspaper fabric inside. Gigi wire wrapped a heart-shaped pearl to the zipper pull.


I also added a divided slip pocket inside. I wrote “for Shena” with a miron marker on a ‘Made with Love’ label I had ordered from an etsy shop back in 2010 when I first got into knitting.


Instead of the snaps, I put some small, lead drapery weights in the bottom corners to add weight and hold the flap down. They were left over from a drapery hanging business my father owned in the 1960’s to 70’s.


Shena loved it, especially all the animals. I love to sew special gifts for my children and am thrilled to be learning how to make bags.

Blanche is a Gold Digger


I’ve been following a lot of people in Facebook sewing groups for the past year, learning all about making bags out of fabric, vinyl and leather. Even though I’d never made anything more complicated than a zippy pouch, when the famous leather handbag creator, Laurie Dasso, agreed to do a sew-along for the Swoon pattern named Blanche, I jumped on board without a second thought.


Laurie told us how much leather we would need as well as all the supplies that would be required. I quickly realized I would not be able to make a leather bag without an industrial machine so decided to use some vinyl I had on hand.

The entire construction process was a thriller adventure with many new challenges. My connector tabs to which the handles attach on the bag front and back turned out a bit wonky so I dug around in my trims bin and found some vintage Wrights piping I’d picked up in an estate sale and that gold edging helped a lot. I decided to edge the contrast overlay to match.

When my daughter, Gigi, saw the gold, the lights went on and she decided to get in the game. Being a jewelry maker, she has oodles of goodies in her stash. She took some gold Swarovski pearls and glammed up the strap and handles. Then she crafted her name with some heavy, brass wire to which crystals were wire-wrapped and a gold chain was added.

img_5673                                                                        the back view


A little bow was perfect for the zipper pull which she attached with more of the brass wire. An Eiffel Tower charm was perfect for the inner pocket zipper.



I made a tassel with some gold lambskin for more bling and swing. Gigi loves the fuzzy charms on the Fendi bags and since I happened to have an old rabbit skin, found at a yard sale years ago, she decided to make a pom pom for the finishing touch.


She used this tutorial, but decided to attach the fur ball with a folded strip of leather (a la Fendi) instead of using a chain. We installed 1/8” short brass eyelets from Volcano Arts into the ends of the strip. The thin cord she used to gather together the circle of rabbit hide went into the holes and we tied it off. Gigi put a drop of Loctite Super Glue with gel control on the knot and then clipped the ends.


Blanche is actually a fairly advanced project for a first bag, but the support of Laurie and the rest of the group made it doable. I’ve come to a few conclusions from the process:
1) No more vinyl, only leather from now on.

2) I need a machine designed for sewing handbags and similar items and am saving up for a Cowboy cylinder arm with removable flatbed conversion table.

3) Fabri-Tac (glue for bonding cloth) is a savior!

4) I want to make a lot more.

5) Working with Gigi is so much fun.


This wild group of crazy ladies I’m learning with has been a hot bed of ideas, innovation and sharing – so exciting! Laurie’s daughter taught us all how to wax canvas and I’ll be using that on a future bag.

The next bag scheduled in our sew-along will be the Summit Pack, a sling backpack that’s actually far more complex than Blanche. Gigi has picked out some burgundy crushed upholstery velvet which she plans on glamming up with rainbow crystals. I’ll let you know in a future post how that turns out.


Two in One Pouch


I made the Two in One pouch by Sotak Handmade for my oldest daughter’s birthday.  It was my first real success in making a nifty bag. I added the brass birds charm because my daughter’s name is Phoebe and I used to call her Phee-bird when she was a baby.


I used several pieces of Alexander Henry fabric from his Indochine Garden and Hosomichi Kanji collections. My daughter, Phoebe, is a big fan of Japanese animated movies, so I added some anime geisha fabric in the center.


I used a narrow strip of Kanji in black for the bottom edge –


and used Kanji in cream for the pocket interiors.


Phoebe really likes it and finds it much better for storing her jewelry when traveling than plastic sandwich bags. A velcro tab holds the two zip pouches together at the top.

The pattern is easy and fun, even for a beginner. I was a little anxious doing it as I couldn’t understand how the instructions were going to turn out with something that worked, but I decided to just trust what was written and it came together perfectly. 🙂

Zippy pouches and handbags pose very different challenges in construction than any of the clothing I’ve sewn over the years. I love that you can make very personalized gifts with bags and accessories.