I had "bags of fun" trawling through our Europe Artfire Guild shops. I am forever lost to making the humble bag, though the bags I saw were far from humble; they were all exceptionally good value for the work and time that went into their design and making.
Let's start with Dish Dash Bags
These are all handmade by a mother of three living in the English countryside "with 1 husband, cats, dogs, mad sheep and ponies", working to restore a walled garden. The bags are aptly and economically described in her shop:
"A gorgeous collection of roomy bags; perfect for about town, shopping and college, with loads of style and very, very practical!"
For style, read also colour, I found her fabrics very appealing, but then I am as partial to pink and magenta tones as is she. She offers everything from small change purses to cotton library book bags, I am really coveting one of those, outer and inner views seen here:
Or how about this strawberry market bag, in Laura Ashley pvc strawberry fabric lined with sage coloured gingham fabric. It includes a mobile phone pocket and purse pocket, very practical!
I was intrigued by Ella Osix (she started trading in 2006 or 06!). Living in Holland and running a shop with her husband selling mid-century design furniture, she uses vintage material to customise or embellish a range of well-made canvas bags in two styles, the shallower 'saddle' bag and the deeper 'messenger' bag. The vintage flaps are very reminiscent of Mary Quant designs: big and bold! This is one of her saddle bags with customised flap:
Jenny Karlsson Designs offers a range of items, and quite a number of handsome bags: I loved the playful 'salamander bag' and also this wisdom bag with its smart toning interior:
I was drawn to a gorgeous turquoise bag, also Jenny Karlsson Designs, and a longer reversible tote shoulder bag suitable for carrying one's knitting etc. Of this, Jenny says:
"You can keep it in your purse in case you stumble upon something in town that you'll end up carrying around. It's always easy to find some books on the library, some yarn, and a bag of cookies that you want to keep for yourself. And why use plastic bags when there's totes like this one! Oh, and you can turn it inside out, since variety is the spice of life!"
My little secret: I started at the end of the alphabet in looking at guild members' sites. So the first shop I 'bagged' is the last I will mention. Having the bag range almost 'in the bag' (my puns are a little 'frayed around the edges'!), I would encourage you to visit these lovely shops and treat yourself to a stylish well made bag at a great price.
However, if I have inspired you to going beyond wishing and actually attempt to make a bag, you could gain inspiration, patterns and fittings at my last port of call:
U-handbag where you can get all your purse and handbag making supplies. You could do worse than to start with their PDF sewing for the highbrow hobo bag, below; the choice of fabric remains with you! They also have a very helpful blog with lots of hints, tips and instructions as well as special offers.
Either way, I wish you bags of fun! And if all of this drives you to drink or to prayer, maybe you'd like to view some Designer Rosary Beads over at my place?