It’s in the bag!

There are a lot of bag kits available for fall! Bags are a great way to learn new techniques without worrying about whether the finished product needs to fit. But, they often require a lot of finishing and findings that you wouldn’t ordinarily use for a garment. And, since a bag can really be a great statement piece or say a lot about its wearer, finding unique purse hardware can really add to the impact!

So, where do you start? Well, take the Arden Bag, for instance.

The only necessary parts are handles and a zipper, though other supplies are suggested (purse feet and webbing). The rest is up to you. None of the finishing supplies come with this particular kit, because there are just so many options that it would have been difficult to choose for you! So, this is where you can really have fun with this kit.

Zippers are pretty easy to find; any fabric store should have them, and larger retailers like JoAnn carry the specific ‘purse zippers‘. what makes a purse zipper different from other zippers is that they have two pulls but no open ends. Most zippers have at least one open end (think of jeans or dresses) and many have two (separating zippers, like on a coat). The unique design of a purse zipper allows it to be sewn on all sides and opened from either end without pulling apart. The downside is that purse zippers don’t come in a very wide array of colors – black, white and beige is what you’ll find, for the most part. So, if a matching or fun colored zipper is more your style (I personally don’t deal well with non-matching zippers!), try looking for a nylon or plastic zipper with big teeth. You can then buy fancy zipper pulls, or make your own, to make it really special!

Purse handles are a very personal thing. Everyone likes a different style! Some prefer to wear bags over their shoulder, some prefer short handles, some like wide straps and some like thin. Like zippers, the color can be hard to match, so if having a matching handle is important, you may have to do a little searching. Lucklily for the Arden bag, any handle with two ends will work (no D-ring or closed ring designs). So there are a lot of choices. We have two styles of purse handles available on our website – either style would do. If I were to make the Arden bag, though, I’d go with a big, wide, leather strap. But that’s just my style!

Now, what about the extra stuff? Purse feet, latches, rings, corners, closures and webbing? All that extra stuff that you need for purses? Well, if you have a larger fabric store near you, they are pretty likely to carry some of those things. The selection of hardware might not be as good as what you can find online. If you’re looking for something really specific, an internet search is your best bet! It may lead you to a shop close to you. As for things like Webbing, it’s best bought by-the-yard at a fabric store; that way, you’ll have the best selection of color (I’d go with pink or rhinestone, personally). Like purse zippers, the color availability of pre-packaged webbing is pretty limited. If you’re not sure what’s out there, ask a clerk at your local fabric store – they’ll know what you’re looking for.

And, in case you’re worried about the installation of all of these accessories – the pattern has you covered with step-by-step diagrams of the whole process. You can exhale now! 😉

Making a bag can be so rewarding – you can wear it every day without your friends thinking you’re weird, you can make it as loud or subdued as you like, and best of all – you can really use it. So, think about what you like – and then make your bag to suit you!

Here are a few online retailers who have a pretty neat selection of purse bits for you. Happy hunting!
This site has pretty much everything, if you can find it. Save a few hours for this one!

M J Trim

A lot of great embellishments, plus some purse supplies.

JoAnn Fabrics
Purse supplies at JoAnn Fabrics (they have more in the store!).

A good collection of purse hardware from around the web.

LaBeana Bags
Funky, creative handles and buckles, all handmade!

Buckle Guy

Purse hardware, feet, and leather goods. More functional than pretty, but a great selection.

Dreamweaver Yarns

Really fancy and pricey – but unique – conversation-starting purse supplies.

Great selection of handles and other purse supplies, including zippers. <