That sounds rather arrogant, doesn't it? Anyone who knows me would be shocked I would say such a thing. But I believe it, about my handmade bags, as well as those created by a handful of other skilled, independent artisan-entrepreneurs. We stitch a piece of ourselves into everything we make and take pride in creating high quality items.
There are 3 major elements required for a quality handcrafted handbag. First, you need a great pattern. This determines the shape and silhouette of the finished bag, whether classic or trendy. Second, you need quality materials - hardware, interfacings, stabilizers, zippers, fabrics, vinyls, leathers, etc. Last, but certainly not least, you need a knowledgeable bagmaker, one with the skills to combine all the elements involved and produce a beautiful finished product.
I follow several indie pattern designers, each with unique perspectives and style aesthetics. These creative geniuses know how to make all the pieces fit together to make a flat piece of cotton, vinyl, or leather magically transform into a fully functional and attractive three-dimensional object.
Thanks to the internet, we now have access to the same materials and hardware used in expensive designer bags. This includes the interfacings and stabilizers that are not normally seen, but make all the difference in the structure and durability of a bag. And being independent, we can control the quality of the "ingredients" we put into our bags because we don't have a board of directors demanding higher profit margins, forcing us to use cheaper supplies. Seriously, choose any well-known designer and check the quality difference between a vintage bag and a current one. Not picking on anyone in particular, but highly popular quilted bags have not been the same quality since the company was sold and manufacturing moved overseas, although there has not been a corresponding drop in prices.
The skills needed to execute the pattern and deliver a quality bag have been honed over my roughly four and a half decades of sewing experience (yes, I started very young!). While many techniques apply whether you are sewing clothing, quilts, or bags, each area demands specific knowledge. My bagmaking journey began over 15 years ago, with many classes taken and lessons learned along the way. When I look back at some of my first bags, I can see the evolution of my skillset along with the hardware, interfacings, and materials available now that were difficult to source back then.
We selectively choose styles, execute them beautifully, with quality materials, to our customers' specifications. And that's why our bags are better.
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