U-Handbags

in 2016 I joined U-Handbags, an online group to join, and in return get a bag pattern each month. Such wonderful patterns and so well presented.

 

As I was going to travel, I made The Epithany by Chris W Designs, to take with me.

It is so roomy and easily accomodates my iPad along with all the other must haves that one carries. I have a cross body strap which leaves me hands free if needed. I used a wool blend with a contrast cotton fabric. As I am writing this during my journey, I can give it a thumbs up.

Evening Bags

I made these cuties from a pattern called Lou-Lou by Moonshine. An easy pattern to use with accurate directions. I tried several different fabrics with success. They make lovely gifts and fun to make.

Another innovative group of Bagmakers from the Philippines

 

photos - 15

While visiting my family in Manila, I was given a bag made from newspapers. The gift came from a gentleman who had offices in the same building as my son. He knew that I was involved with Berdabags, and as he supported the village using newspapers, he gave me a bag. I love using it.

These bags are so strong, which is surprising. The newspaper is used in many different ways. Sometimes folded flat, sometimes rolled, sometimes rolled and twisted, the ideas are endless. Not sure how or what is used, but the bags are waterproofed. It certainly wouldn’t do in the Philippines to be out and about with a bag that wasn’t waterproof. When it rains it pelts down.

I have also watched a group of high school students, making photo frames from newspapers. They roll the paper very tightly, and use  the colours in the paper as part of the overall effect.

Now you know I have a chef in my kitchen!

Drink Bottle Covers

I first made one of these for Heather, to carry her water bottle when traveling. It is insulated so keeps water cool. I then made them one Christmas, so they spread around.

Japanese Mesh Weaving

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I learned the art of Mesh weaving and was hooked. In 2005, I had a trip to Singapore, to watch Jamie and Meg run a marathon. They are familiar with the city, and took me to  a fantastic Japanese bookshop, where I  discovered books with Mesh weaving. I came away with four books on bag making. Two were completely on using mesh weaving. With no Japanese I have to follow the pictures and diagrams, which are pretty good. These books are a great resource.

l have been able to make samples and write my own directions.

The next step was to use my Mesh weaving to enhance bags. A very ordinary pattern looks great with the added Mesh weaving. I love doing this and have made bags for family and friends.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Walker Bags

 

dscf0765
My first one

I moved to a small retirement village, where I  had a neighbour who used a walker. I decided to make her a bag that could hang on the front of the walker, that she could use instead of a handbag. She often used the bus and it was easier for her getting on and off the bus if she didn’t have to juggle a handbag too. It was  very successful. Then of course she was asked where she got it. I started making them seriously. They have been very popular. I am still making bags for walkers but now vary the fabrics I use.

photos - 14 (1)This is a recent bag where I have used a wool blend for the main body. It adds weight but as the bag is not carried, that doesn’t matter.

Berdabags

Through  family living in Manila, I was introduced to Berdabags. These bags are made from discarded rice sacks. The project was started by expats in Manila and gave employment to a village that had experienced a disaster. They were previously employed in shoe factories, until a cyclone swept through in 2004 and flattened them. They were never rebuilt.

This project gave full time employment to eight families and supported the schools. At the beginning of the school year, all children were given a school bag and all the school requirements for the year. Through sponsorship, this project was able to extend the school program and also supplied equipment and other benefits to the village.

The rice sacks  are large bags and very colourful. All the factories discard the leftover sacks at the end of a season, then look forward to new designs for the next season. These were collected and reborn into allsorts and sizes of bags, all well designed, durable and colourful.

At this time I had a friend working in the Philippines, fly in fly out with an 8 week turnaround, so I always had a good supply. The bags were easy to sell. They were colourful, sturdy, well made, professionally sewn and best of all, cheap. My best seller was a craft caddie. This was made at my request and I am sure I sold hundreds.
photos - 2 (1)

My quilting friends loved these bags!  I loved the shopping bags too, so large and light to carry. I must say I personally own quite a variety of Berdabags.

Sadly, there came a time when my courier was no longer able to bring bags. I think I had probably almost reached saturation point too. I had been selling berdabags for 4 years and had been able to help the village. Mareene Aitkin, from True Blue Exhibitions, gave me space to sell at the Woodturners and Craft Fair, for three years running. Time has dimmed my memory to exact results, but in the 4 years I sent money back to the village. The second year I had a stall at the Craft Fair, I was well prepared and had a good supply of assorted bags. They were also a new product at the Fair. This was my most successful sale, taking $3000 to send back to the village. I have visited this village and met the bag makers. They are indeed poor, but a happy village.