Custom Designer Handbags (Retired)

NOTE: Retiring this page as it's just too much to keep up with. It was good at first to see the progress of a new handbag maker, but since we have completed well over 50-60 bags now, it's not as fresh and relevant anymore. I will leave for historical purposes <smile>. For a catalog of most of the handbags and wallets available through DCE, please see the shortened version available here.

Recently I started an online class to learn how to design and create my own handbags. Learning this trade from two professional designers has been all consuming lately. I've finished 5 courses out of 9 in their beginner series (update, 7 now and took a break but going to get back at it now), and actually feel like I can now make the official announcement here that Daywalker Customs Embroidery will be adding Designer Handbags to the shop for you to purchase. Each bag will be made to order just for you! Because of this personalized custom service, each bag will take longer to produce than getting immediate satisfaction in the online store, but also means you get to pick fabrics and/or embroidery designs and/or embellishments from a variety of choices. That doesn't mean that some of my work won't make it into the online store, I'm sure it will....but they won't be a regular item available because DCE is offering this as a customized item that will be uniquely different for each of you!

The pictures below are final products from classes. Bear in mind, they are beginner classes and I was and still am learning these techniques. The bags are not perfect and in a lot of cases their flaws are very evident. BUT that does not mean your handbag will look like this with flaws (Note: this handbag is handmade so it will not be a production line knockoff). That's another reason why your custom handbag will take longer to produce as I want it to be the best for you. What you can also see as the lessons progressed is how the handbags themselves progressed, showing the continual improvements and enhanced end product after each class - from style to design to actual construction. I also reserve the right to talk you out of designs that will not be possible for DCE at this time and into one that will be done right for you and that you can be proud to carry. That does not mean that more customized handbags won't be available later, so check back often to see the progress and available options as I get even more experienced with making these designer handbags in these and other styles yet to come.

Before we jump into what I have below from the class lessons, I wanted to showcase my latest designer handbag (5/24/19). This is called Clutch Me Tight. It's an adorable little clutch featuring a flap, a twist clasp lock, an inside zippered pocket, and the gorgeous golden shoulder chain. This also works great as a cross body as the chain is long enough to do so. This clutch just wants you to hold it tight as you adventure out on the town for the evening. Future all leather versions will be coming as well. UPDATE: The second iteration of this clutch enhanced the flap for a bit more coverage and for a different shape, but this bag I did special for myself. I wanted a clutch I could take out for our 25th anniversary and dreamed this design quite some time ago. It's done and I am sooooo in love with the bag, the design, and everything about it. It's perfect for our anniversary!

The Carolina is one of the newest designs, fashioned after the Carry-It-All tote but with a smaller footprint. It's size is 14" long by 12" tall by 2.5" wide. It still hosts a ton of space and pockets inside. With both carrying handles as well as an adjustable strap, you can carry this any way you like. The unique part about the Carolina is that was patterned because I had this wonderful leather (6 oz) that I wanted to use. But even with my industrial machine, there were problems with the thicker leather. So I got to drafting a pattern that would compliment this thicker leather and still allow me to get the product completed. Without further ado...introducing "The Carolina"...

As of 6/25/19, The Chelse was born. It was on the heels of the Carolina and was meant to use a lot of the same methods for heavier leather but in a smaller handbag, less tote, size. I didn't have enough of the leather to do another larger bag and I wanted to do something more with what leather I had left. The Chelse measures 11" wide at the base and 9 1/2" at the top. It is also 9 1/2" tall and 2" wide. The top is closed with a recessed zipper closure and inside boasts two slip pockets and a zipper pocket.

This next one I call this one The Dallas (recently finished 5/18/19). It is a real leather bottom with fabric top handbag. It has a slight dip in the front and back and also has a hidden cell phone compartment in front. The recessed zipper closure keeps your contents from view or falling out when it goes flying off the passenger seat because you had to stop to prevent hitting the id...I mean nice driver in front of you! As I branch out to do more leathers, you'll see more and more listed in the short list but may not make detailed notes of it here. Here's The Dallas....

The Dallas Take 2 is a wrap around gusset version of Dallas. It's the same size with the same recessed zipper collar, but the hidden cell phone pocket has been moved to the inside. The seams normally on the sides are now partial way in the front and back giving the sides a seamless wrap around. This also features the new shoulder strap design. I think it's much better. And while the top edge stitch is still giving me quite a bit of ....well it's not pretty with seam ripper in hand I can tell you.....overall the bag is a good one.

This handbag is my own design and I call it the Carry-It-All Tote. It is a large tote at 16" wide by 4" deep at the bottom with the upper opening 11.5" wide by 4" deep. The overall height of the bag is about 12". So it's designed to carry a LOT of stuff. The outside has decorative embroidery, the zigzag and base accents on front and back of the handbag. Inside back features a zippered pocket and a cell phone pocket. The inside front features a place to snap your keys and an additional set of 3 pockets. There are long shoulder handles that are removable with lobster clasps and shorter handles so you have a choice on which set work for you, or use them both (Optionally I have reduced the long handles to one adjustable length strap). Finally there is an optional snap between the small handles in case you want to close up the top of the bag opening. These could also be two snaps on either side of the smaller handles. Two of these are done strictly in quilter's cotton fabric, while the third is my first all leather creation with this pattern.

Side Zip Tote is the final beginner course lesson at HMDHAcademy for me. It is a unique design that features side zippers with an expandable pleat inside. It also has a pleated front/back pocket that was new for me to construct as well, but it came together pretty well and I do love the fabric combination of this first iteration. It uses red/black duck cloth as it's primary external colors and a bold black/white pattern to contrast in the lining. I also used red thread as the accent for the external top stitching which really pops.

The Percival Laptop Briefcase is Rachel Roush's design for RLR Creations. It has a ton of pockets and in some places, pockets inside of pockets. Plus it holds a good size laptop and all the peripherals you might have. I made this one for me to carry, and it's made with upholstery fabrics and batik fabric linings.

Another great design by RLR Creations is this Xanadu2. It is the smaller of the two included patterns in her design. This particular handbag was done in an Anna Maria Horner fabric that is extremely popular right now. It boasts a nice grey faux leather to compliment the fabric and the handles and straps also compliment the bright oranges and red hues in the primary fabric. Overall a fun design to create and make available you.

LIttle Tote was another lesson with HMDH, but this time I decided to make a kid's tote bag like Mom uses. It turned out really cute. I'm thinking 4-5 of these at the craft fair.

Note: Some of the earlier lesson details and pictures have been removed.

Finishing up the month of May with this class work - The Barrel Bag. It was an interesting way to put together the lining, zipper closure, recessed end, and overall design but was also one of my best bags to date. I made this one from upholstery fabric and faux leather/vinyl for the outside and regular quilter's cotton for the interior. It features a zippered pocket just inside the opening to the inside which is convenient for access.

Here is the Messenger Bag... It features an embroidery design on the front, cell phone pocket, and sides. Also has an external zippered pocket and webbed shoulder strap. It's large enough to carry a laptop and other paperwork. Inside is plain in this bag, but pockets are planned in upcoming variations. It measures 16" long by 10" tall by 2.5" wide.

A second messenger handbag with added features and different design... Features an embroidery on the front accented with some rhinestones, on the cell phone pocket, and the sides. It has an external and internal zippered pockets, as well as 3 other pockets sewn into the front. This version also has a padded divider so your laptop can go on one side and paperwork, etc. can go on the other as shown here. It measures 16" long by 10" tall by 2.5" wide.

Then there is the Zebra Classic... Features an embroidery design on the flap, a cross body strap, an outside zippered pocket, and additional inside pockets. It measures 12" long by 7" tall by 5" wide at the midpoint. The shoulder strap can be replaced with 2 shorter handles as well. There are two variations here but you can also see the progression in skill level.

Are you wondering what happened to lesson 6? Well you won't find it here anywhere because the final product is pretty bad and no pictures will be taken of it. But here's lesson 7, it's done and while the handbag is bigger than I would carry personally, I do like the blend of the brown and black faux leathers. There were quite a few firsts for me in this lesson as well. Using the handles and rivets, aligning a upper and lower gusset to mach when sewing the seams, and pleating the corners..

This handbag is not a part of the lessons and is not one of my own original patterns, but I had to post this one as well as it is a pretty sweet bag. It's called The Piping-Hot Hobo and the design is by Lisa Lam, the talented creator and owner of U*Handbag. This design is included in her book entitled The Bag Making Bible, which by the way is a very good read and instructional book on constructing bags and elements of bags. The fabric in this bag is a heavier upholstery fabric, but not the stiff sort of upholstery fabric so it worked quite nicely. If I was to enhance this bag a bit, I would include more pockets and probably fussy cut the fabrics so they would line up and center with each other, but overall it is a nice design and turned out very well.

First time prototypes always leave you wanting to correct something, do something better, eliminate something, or really want to delete something!! And this prototype was no exception. I made this for my Mom, so it's called Mom's Bag (update she changed her mind so it's now called the Not Mom's Bag). It has a large front area for a great embroidery design, which I did not include in this sample. The thing to delete is the flap, don't like it, doesn't fit right, gotta go! The thing to add is a recessed zippered collar...yep the bag calls for that I think for its closure. Not so sure about the faux leather bottoms to the front and back, and the handles were not the final envisioned product, but rather something to get it completed. Leaving it without handles seemed kind of well...I just couldn't do it even if it was a prototype. The greatest thing about this little handbag is the hidden key clasp in the front zippered that was a fun idea. This is just 8" wide by 11" tall and 2" deep. So we'll see where this prototype evolves in its next generation....

UPDATE: Replaced flap, like it much better now.

I'm adding in another great design from ChrisWDesigns. This is my second I've made from her product lines and it is a great looking handbag. I embellished it with embroidery front and back as it has the nice space to do that on. There is a slip in hidden cell phone pocket on the back side and more pockets on the inside. I am really pleased with how well this came out, despite fighting with the domestic machines still. Can't wait for the new baby to come on May 10th. Then we'll see how much that improves these handbags! Stay tuned!! Update: The second of this pattern was done in a heavy upholstery fabric and leather. While it went pretty well on the new industrial machine, I still like the first one better. I think this pattern may lend itself better to fabric and maybe vinyl but not the heavier fabrics and leather. I also redid the handles from the original leather which I didn't really care for. These are better, not perfect, but better.

I've really taken to ChrisWDesigns. The instructions are great. The Allure which was just released mid-late May 2019 and it's a really great bag to make. Probably a little bigger than I would do on a daily carry, but I will show it off for a while because it turned out so good. I had to "unsew" a few things, but nothing of consequence and the finished product is definitely not closet material!!! I've also included one that I sized to 85% of the original pattern (dark forest green and cork).

This wallet by ChrisWDesigns is called The Penny Inn. It is probably one of the more extensive wallet designs I've seen, and it's pretty complex to make. Here are pictures of both of the ones I've made. Not sure how many more I would make as it is quite time consuming and even with Dallas by my side helping through a lot of the bulk, it was challenging.

Another design by ChrisWDesigns, this handbag is called Serendipity and the coordinating wallet is Pick Your Pocket Wallet also by Chris. These were a special commission for my Mom. The handbag she knows about, the wallet is a surprise for 2019 Mother's Day. I was also able to use "Dallas" (the new industrial sewing machine) to do some of the bulky inside seams on this handbag and some of the top stitching on the wallet. It definitely needs some practice and getting used to.

Still more from ChrisWDesigns. This one is called Sugar and Spice. I'm not sure the story behind the name, but I'm sure there was a reason. In any regard, this one went together fairly quickly, but working with the piping was a pain. It looks great, but the effort was more than it was worth I'm afraid. I do like some of Chris' other patterns more than this one, but it was interesting to do and I like the color combinations used here.

All handbags can be made with the following materials at this time....

  • Faux leather (various colors but generally black or brown at this time)

  • Limited leather selections and patterns

  • A variety of fabric choices for the outside and the lining (generally quilters cotton although I am about to start working with more upholstery grade fabrics for a heavier design)

  • A variety of embroidery designs (custom designs will also have an additional digitizing cost associated)

  • Several hardware closure choices (zippers, turn locks, etc)

For the fabric and embroidery choices, I will ask you to select a theme and color palette. You may want butterflies in blues/greens/aqua or you may want geometric patterns in red/black. A set of 3 or possibly 4 options in an order proposal will be presented that meet this general criteria for you to select from. Once the selection is made, we agree on a price, an invoice will be sent for you to pay, DCE begins construction of your customized and unique designer handbag, the handbag is finished, and it ships directly to your door.

To be one of the first to own a Daywalker Customs original designer handbag, hop over to the Contact Us page and fill in the form. Be sure to note the style handbag, your choices of fabrics and colors, and any other information that will help us present you with an order proposal to select from. Thanks for visiting and come back often to see updates as they happen.....

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