My Handmade Leather Bag for Parsons

For the Parsons Fashion Degree I am pursuing , it was expected from me to design, produce, and evaluate the production process of a bag. I decided to create something that I would wear in real life and decided to go with my favorite type of fabric which is leather (faux in this case).

I have always loved the combination of gold and black together and I wanted to produce a bag that would reflect my sense of fashion. I purchased a chain, a zipper, relevant fabric, and sewing products from Walmart and gained access to the sewing workshop at Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Design.

Since I had no experience with sewing, I wanted to make sure that I had a bunch of layouts and sketches of my process beforehand. The sewing machines I used were pretty old, making the process of sewing even the simplest seams challenging. My first step was to cut and attach the fabric with straight pins onto a piece of Bristol paper. After that, I cut my lining fabric and binded the hems. Then I started to put other pieces of my inner lining together in an expanded two dimensional layout. After stitching the pieces together, I sewed smaller pieces of my fabric to create pockets within the bag.

After I was done with the lining fabric, I sewed a piece of foam and chipboard at the base of the bag. The inside of the bag was hard due to chipboard, but the exterior remained soft and the bag’s structure became more apparent after these additions. Once I was done with the interior of the bag completely, I turned the bag inside out to start making the exterior.

The faux leather was definitely harder to sew into, making the bobbin roll out or the thread to break while sewing. I stopped using the sewing machine and hand sewn the rest of the exterior. I wasn’t very happy with how the corners turned out so I purchased additional accessories to cover up the mistakes. My last step was to sew the zipper and seal all the edges carefully.

I am happy with the final product, especially considering that it was my first experience and that bags are usually a more advanced product to produce. I learned how to operate a sewing machine, how to hand sew, how to hide the stitches, how to attach a zipper and buttons, and how different fabrics have different kinds of tensions that makes sewing easier or harder.

If I were to change anything, I would completely get rid of the base and the triangular structure and have it more rectangular and flat. I found Mulberry’s designs to have similar structure and found them to be more attractive.


Finally, I estimated by bag to be around $25. I have put more than 60 hours of work into it but also, due to my inexperience, I messed up some of the seams and the stitches (not all of them are visible though!). If I were to put it up to retail with the amount I had in mind, it would cost about $150 and if I had a brand name, that amount would probably double, but for now, $25 seemed like an affordable amount that awards my effort without overwhelming my potential customers.

Rope and Padlock Belt #2
Faux Leather & Lining Fabric $10
Beads & Chain $4
.60 hours @ $8 $4.8
Total production cost $20
10% profit $5.3
Total cost plus profit $25
Estimated retail price $25

So what do you think?

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