Cotton & Steel Boronia Bowler Handbag

I think my favourite part of being a maker is the knowledge that I can make completely unique, custom clothes, homewares and accessories. When you walk into a crowd, knowing that your bag is one of a kind, no one will find your top on a rack somewhere and the details, the extra touches, are all yours!



Here’s my latest bag-making project. It’s a custom made Boronia Bowler handbag, using a Cotton & Steel linen fabric for the outside that I’ve been hoarding for some time.



The bag pattern is from Blue Calla and although it’s the first pattern I’ve made from that designer, I already have a couple more in the wings to be made. It was a challenging make, there are a few fiddly bits that are extremely challenging to maneuver through a domestic machine. The final steps were actually done on my vintage Bernina as my “travel sewing” lightweight machine couldn’t cope with the thickness of multiple foam and vinyl layers.



The hardware – long john strap anchors and the beautiful handmade tag are by Emmaline Bags. Love their hardware! All in an antique brass finish which tones beautifully with the metallic highlights from the linen print.



The lining fabric follows on that gold/mustard tone from the hardware, as well as a little splash of aqua flowers with golden highlights for the slip pocket and the lining of the zippered pocket. I am just going to LOVE using this bag – the ability to get right into it thanks to the extremely clever gussets which hold the sides securely while still allowing you to access the interior. No more digging blindly in the bottom of my bag!



Notice my new label sewn into the interior – yup, I’ll be launching “Zest Bag Studio” and making bags, wallets and accessories for sale starting very soon! I want to have a few trial runs with the different patterns before I offer them up for everyone, as I am still fine-tuning some of the details.



As you can see in my images, I worked very hard to make sure the little things, like keeping the arrows dead straight across the bag, front to back, were taken care of. It might seem minor, and many wouldn’t notice it, but I do!


I think the mixture of the modern tribal/gold print, with the brass accents and the kitschy cream vinyl really scream “vintage bowling bag”, and I look forward to the many conversations with makers and customers that this bag will begin.


Now that I’ve shared this beauty with you, I’m off to fill it with my daily needs, and take it on an outing!


So tell me, have you ever made your own handbag? How did you enjoy it – and what did you most like about the process?




 Happy Crafting - Cassie.

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