Custom Shoulder Bags

Now that the holidays are over and my gifts have all been given, I can share two shoulder bags that I made for friends.


This bag was made for a friend who just LOVES her cats. The cat fabric is really fun and has a lot of detail, and of course, I love the colors. And all that graphic color looks so cool with the graphic black and white. I just LOVE how this came together!

This next bag is the one that drove this entire project…


One of my friends told me she would love a bag that was basically a modification to my zipper pouches — she wanted it a little bigger, wanted an interior pocket, and wanted a shoulder strap.

I thought about this bag for a couple of weeks, we agreed on measurements, and I was nearly ready to start… but I was flummoxed by the handle. How the hell was I going to attach the handle? Did I have to modify how I put in the zipper? Should I sew the handle in along with the zipper? And how do I determine the correct length of handle for the bag.

I knew that I was going to have to make one bag with what I was thinking, and then adjust the things that didn’t work. So I did. I made this bag out of navy blue linen and a batik charm pack.


The navy linen is so pretty, but it’s also thick. This bag was pretty much a fail. It was nearly impossible to sew the handle in at the top. Too many layers of fabric with seams, the zipper, multiple layers of the handle… I broke four needles sewing the handles in. The pocket on the inside was a mess, and the handle attachment was not up to my standards cosmetically, and I knew it wasn’t going to hold up to any wear.

So I thought on it for another week, made modifications based on the problems with the first bag, and was really happy with how the second bag turned out. I’m still not sure I have the handle installation to the level of finish that I want, but I know it’s durable and will outlast the rest of the bag. I have a couple of ideas to make the handle installation cleaner and prettier.

The cat bag was the second bag I made. By the time I was done with this one, I felt like I had it pretty well figured out.

This cat bag really allowed me to have fun with fabrics… the bright cats, graphic black and whites, and I chose an amazing fabric that I bought last summer… black with colorful polka dots — for the lining.


The pocket on the inside was made from the zebra print fabric.


The batik bag came out so much better than I had hoped. The gorgeous multi-colored batik panel in the center is so amazing! I don’t remember where I bought that fabric, but I really wish I had more. I only had 1/3 yard in my stash. And I love it with the darker indigo blues. The lining on this one is a medium tone Hoffman Dots batik, and the inside pocket is made out of the multicolor fabric from the front.


The straight line quilting on this is just so gorgeous with all the movement in the floral. GAH! I love how this turned out. And my friend was really impressed and happy with her new bag.

I have another friend who loved these so much that she asked me to make one for her. she selected some beautiful purple and aqua batiks from my stash. I’m planning on putting together a tutorial for this bag when I make the purple one.


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