Designer Handbags by Nancy Zieman and Eileen Roche

Handbags are a hot fashion trend and one of the most popular projects to sew. A new 2-part episode is now available to PBS stations and online entitled, “Designer Handbags”—how’s that for easy to remember?

My guest for the series and I have designed and stitched literally a hundred or more bags. Through experimenting, we’ve learned to streamline the steps and discovered ways to give the bags a designer look. Who’s my guest? It’s my good friend and embroidery expert, Eileen Roche, so you might suspect that embroidery tips will be part of the show!

eileen roche and nancy zieman

We think of these handbags as Smart Bags, an out of the box approach to making handbags. Smart embroidery accents featured at the corners, attaching the straps, and even the tab closures are completely stitched in the embroidery hoop. The end product is Designer Handbags.

Embroidered Strap Details

Smart Embroideries are not just for bag corners! Add straps with appliquéd strap connectors. There’s no doubt where the straps and appliqués are to be positioned—the machine stitches out the exact location! It’s easy to add designer touches when there’s no guesswork in the sewing and embroidering process.

Designer Handbags by nancy zieman and eileen roche

Part of the embroidery is a placement stitching line.

Designer Handbags by nancy zieman and eileen roche 3

You’ll know exactly where to place the strap!

Designer Handbags by nancy zieman and eileen roche

Then comes the decorative part—beautiful appliqués.

Embroidered Corners

Another feature of this first episode is Embroidered Corner Appliqués. The appliqué designs create the shaping plus add style to the bag—another Smart Embroidery!

Designer Handbags by Nancy Zieman and Eileen Roche 5

Placement lines are stitched on the stabilizer and fabric for no-guesswork position of the fabric.

Designer Handbags by Nancy Zieman and Eileen Roche 6

Fast forward to the embroidered corner, which also shapes the bag. Smart!

I didn’t share all the steps with you, simply because you can watch and learn on PBS or online! All of the embroideries and instructions are found in Designer Handbags. I know you’ll be impressed with the way the embroideries shape the handbags. Speaking of handbags, I used the Trace ’n Create Florida Tote and the City Bag templates to create my bags. 

Designer Handbags Eileen Roche & Nancy Zieman

I have a couple of winners to announce from previous posts.


The lucky random winner of Already Cut, Ready to Quilt book is Joyce. Her comment was: I just love fabric! Period. End of statement. It matters not how it is cut, I love to look at it, wear it, sew it, quilt it, you name it! Love the idea of using every smidge of a sweet sixteen to make an easy, beautiful table runner!

Already Cut, Ready to Quilt

The lucky random winner of Serger Workshop Workbook
 is Mary Ann Simmons.
 Her comment was: My machine was set for a 4-thread overlock from a previous sewing session. I wanted to do a rolled hem and changed settings. Thinking that I would leave the second needle in and just unthread it, I began to sew … a rolled hem was not what came out behind the foot. I learned that it is very important to remove the unused needle for proper stitch formation!

Serger Workshop Workbook and DVD

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Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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