How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



I know, you’re never going to sew five handbags from the same fabric collection. Yet, I thought you might be interested to see how prints and solids combine to create classy bags and totes.

First, the Fabric!

We received fabric yardage from the new collections at Riley Blake Designs. It was like Christmas!
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



At first I selected fabrics from the many color ways, then I decided to go with a one color scheme. Navy and Chartreuse are a fresh, winning combo. Keep in mind that the market is one season ahead of the actual time of year, so spring is what we’re thinking about!
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



Then, my staff and I auditioned fabrics for the various styles, choosing larger prints for the bigger bags—the obvious choice.

Easy-to-Sew Bags and Tote Templates

Nancy’s Hobo Tote


How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



There are two templates in the Hobo Tote collection. Great for fat-quarters or a fabric duo, this is my go-to BIG bag. For traveling to and from work, the studio, or errands around town, this bag holds a lot.


Hobo Tote Template by Nancy Zieman with Clover



We auditioned a variety of ribbons to accent the horizontal seams. Not finding one ribbon that we liked, a narrow ribbon was stacked on top of a wider ribbon and stitched. Presto, the ideal accent.


How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



Town & Country Bag


How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



This was one of the first handbag templates that I designed for Clover in ’08. Since then I learned to add a layer of Peltex as an underlining to give the bag shape. The sew-in Peltex, a craft interfacing, is something that we use in almost all of our bags. It wasn’t available 6-years ago (or I didn’t know about it) and the addition of that interfacing has made a world of difference in the appearance of my handbags.


Town & Country Templates by Nancy Zieman with Clover



Since Peltex is stiff, I recommend trimming out the dart and zigzagging the edges or legs of the dart together with a wide zigzag.
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How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



Then, spread the seam apart. The zigzag stitch spreads apart and the Peltex lies flat. Machine baste this interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric and proceed.
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



Important Note: We fuse interfacing to the wrong side of all cotton fabrics, and we add a layer of Peltex to each and every bag. Take a quick peak inside the bag! We used light, fun fabrics for the lining.
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



The Florida Tote


How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



I like this size tote, because it is also a great handbag size. With pockets on the outside and inside, it’s roomy and convenient to carry.


Florida Tote Templates by Nancy Zieman with Clover



The seams are accented with Wrap ‘n Fuse Piping.
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



Your iron does most of the work. All you need to do is wrap fabric around the piping and press. The fusible web casing around the cording eliminates the first sewing step. Convenient!
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



The City Bag


How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



The City Bagis the second of the original bags that I designed for Clover and the favorite of many. After it was finished it needed a focal point. Stacked buttons to the rescue.


City Bag Templates by Nancy Zieman with Clover



Dress Your E-tablets in Style


How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



Using fat quarter cuts of fabric or leftovers from your bag project, create a coordinating tablet keeper for your iPad, Kindle Fire, or any of the other e-readers. The original Trace ‘n Create Tablet Keeper Template set is your choice for an iPad, iPad mini, the original Kindle, and a host of other tablets. To find out which tablets fit the template set, click here. How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman If you haven’t made a tablet keeper, we have lots of online instructions to guide you through the process.
How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman



After I designed the tablet keeper, we were all introduced to the Kindle Fire, Nook, and a host of other e-readers/tablets that were different sizes. So, Trace ‘n Create tablet Keeper 2.0 was born! Click here to find the listing of all the e-readers that will fit these Trace ‘n Create tablet Keepers. How to sew handbags by Nancy Zieman Nancy Zieman's Giveaway

What’s Your Favorite Handbag?

Vote for your favorite handbag by leaving a comment below. One random winner will receive the template they voted for. 

Bye for now, Nancy Zieman The Blog

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