Posts tagged “activities on Milos

Bag Making from Pattern to Sample

I’m keeping busy drafting patterns for a collection of personalised accessories and bags, and finally started making a few samples.  The collection will range from small organiser bags to back packs, totes and weekender bags, in denim with leather accents.  The bags can be personalised with quotes, or a personal message and a name, or address or even the favorite words of a poem or song, embossed or gold/silver foiled onto a leather tag and sewn onto the bag.

Here is the first sample in the all time classic combination, and my personal favorite…..denim and veg tan leather with an embossed and silver foiled personalised name tag.


Small Pencil Case

Here are some of the stages involved in making this little bag (pencil case), but eventually I’ll post a video with patterns and instructions  as requested.


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Pattern Drafting

So, here I am again back at the drawing board, as they say.

Now, I enjoy the challenge of making patterns for bags and accessories, but I find the hard work is getting the pattern to actually match what I  visualised in the first place.  Even after going through all the design stages, making the pattern is often like solving a 3-D puzzle…and it’s amazing how deceptively complicated the design of a seemingly simple square shaped bag can be.   I usually end up making lots of samples until I’m happy with the final pattern.

Pattern cutting

Here is a good example of often deceptive bag patterns from Don Morin’s blog Bag’n-telle.  

Designer and educator Don Morin  is incredibly generous with his expertise and advice, it’s a blog worth following for anyone interested in making bags and accessories.

One of his posts is especially interesting, entitled  DEVELOP YOUR SPATIAL SKILLS .

It’s about how he uses his “mind’s eye” to see in 3-dimensions, visualising pattern shapes, and he offers tips and advice about how it’s possible to develop spatial skills to help you make bag patterns.

As well as offering  a lot of great bag patterns absolutely free on his blog, Don Moran also does a online Craftsy class called MAKING LEATHER BAGS  which is definitely worth a look!

In fact Craftsy have lots of great online classes… check out their free mini-classes HERE

Ok, now back to the drawing board!

Lining the “Bad Kitty” Suede Tote

Almost done sewing the lining for the embossed suede “Bad Kitty” Totes.  This was definitely inspired by the island cats….they get everywhere!

kitty tote bag 1

Making Strong Bag Straps

The most difficult thing about making bag straps  is cutting a straight line into a piece of leather, the only answer really is lots of patience and a very sharp knife!  Depending on what I’m doing I will use one of three different leather cutting knives:  a specialized German leather knife with screw-in disposable blades, a traditional type of leather knife which is lovely but needs sharpening, or an ordinary scalpel with disposable blades.  I’ll post details about my leather knives later.

I’m busy making bag straps for a large personalized suede tote but I’m really working to ensure that the straps can hold a lot of weight because I recently read a very interesting article.  It’s always good to read what people have to say about how, why and where they would buy a luxury item … and I was so surprised when I read this article in the Irish Times called


Five people talk about the bags that quicken their pulses and hold their purses.

…..where a lady describes one of her favorite “luxury brand” handbags ” It’s heavy brown tan leather and so well made – in parts. The person didn’t do the handle course and they came off”.

YIKES!!!      So…as I don’t want that to happen with my bags….these straps are made of strong, supple navy blue suede with 5 oz white leather that have been glued, sewn and riveted!  I’m pretty sure they won’t break!  The straps will be glued, sewn and riveted into the suede bag.

The leather is sourced from third generation tanners in Athens.


Blue suede & white leather handbag-purse straps with nickel silver buckles and studs

Make Your Own Leather Rockstud Bracelet

I’m experimenting with fun designs that customers can make themselves here in the studio. These leather rockstud bracelets are small and quite easy to make, they need a little time and patience, no sewing is involved.

So I think this is an easy and enjoyable craft activity on Milos, where you can spend a few hours and learn some basic leathercraft skills to make yourself or a loved one a gorgeous handcrafted item that can often cost over 100$.

The skills involved are cutting, punching the leather with various punches, and then placing the buckle, the studs and rockstuds.  I’m currently edge painting the white leather bracelet and it’s gorgeous… so I’m keeping it!  Edge painting is so much fun!

I’m also thinking……necklace?