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  • Blythe Leonard

7 Things, Before Your Custom BL Bag

As many of you know, I do a lot of custom work in my work week. For some reason, haha, people LOVE, I mean you, yes you LOVE to design your own handbag! --- And let me rant for a minute. I was raised in the South so I can say this without hurting any feelings, but come on people its not a pocket book, its a handbag. A pocket book was originally just that: a small book that could be carried in the pocket. Why people in the past one hundred years slowly have used the term to describe their handbag is beyond me. But, anyway, why wouldn't you like to design your own bag? Yes, I know you have to have a pocket for your phone, and yes you have to have a pocket for your chap stick, oh and some of you like to have a zippered pocket for your medicines. But then there are some of you who like to have a bag inside your bag to carry medicine bottles, inhalers, jewelry, etc. Skies are the limit when it comes to what great work we can do together. You tell me what you are needing and wanting, and we can make it reality for you. You don't have to have any clue as to what you are wanting in your custom bag before you come see me, but I thought I would give you a few pointers as to help you think about your options before you come to the workshop!

Number one. What kind of bag do you like? Are you the kind of gal that only carries shoulder bags or are you the kind that only likes crossbodys or backpacks. What about satchels? You really need to know where and how you carry your bag before we can design it! Also, the handles or the straps are also very important, do you like them to be a permanent length or adjustable? Do you like them a flat handle or a rolled handle? Do you want to take on of my existing styles and pick your own colors, leathers, hardware etc., or do you want to start from scratch? Completely up to you.

Number two. Leather. You don't have to be set on a leather color because usually a specific hide will speak to you when you see and you will know "that's it!" But, it is always a good idea to know if you like the really distressed leathers or you like them to be just perfect. Both leathers can give your design a very different feel and a completely different look.

Number Three. Do you plan on keeping your bag forever and ever? I hope so, or at least pass it on to your next generation or a close friend! But one question is to monogram or not. We can pretty much put your initials, a word, or special phrase on just about any product that we design together. The letters will be embossed in the leather either plain(with no foil), gold, brass, silver, green, or blue, it's up to you.

Number Four. Hardware. Do you typically wear silver jewelry or gold? Well this will probably help you in deciding if you want gold or silver hardware. Typically we don't do rose gold, but for a limited time we do have some rose gold hardware in stock! We have buckles, tuck locks, swivel trigger snaps, magnets and much more.

Number Five. Interior space. Ok, how many pockets do you want and what will you put in them? We have a small, medium and large leather patch pocket as well as a card wallet pocket, a six inch wide leather patch pocket, zippered pockets, etc. Have a specific item you want to have a pocket for? Bring it with you to the session that way we will get it just perfect. Also, we can do dividers in your bag too. It's not my thing, specially not my favorite thing to sew, but we will do it for you! It's not my bag that I will be carrying, I make my own custom bags!

Number Six. Hand stitched or machine stitched. It gives your products completely two different looks. Hand-stitching means saddle stitching which is done with two needles and one linen waxed thread. The time triples or even quadruples when you add hand-stitching to your custom order. When you sew on the sewing machine, it can do the stitches you do by hand in the matter of less than a second.

Number Seven. I know what everyone wants to know. How much is this going to cost me? Surprisingly, its really affordable! When I do custom orders, it is twenty dollars an hour plus materials. Depending on how big the bag is that you are wanting, determines how much materials will be in your cost. Also, if it is a brand new design, not a style that is in my line already, then you are looking at a two hour patterning for most designs. I can tell you about how much it will be after the session.

If you want to check out our custom orders we have done in the past I would advise you to check out our custom orders board on Pinterest! Most of them are on there, some we cannot post due to birthdays, Christmas presents etc.

I can't wait to see what we do together! Come see me, call and schedule your appointment, email us at or schedule your time slot on our website under Custom Orders.

(Photo Credit: Kyle Duncan Photography, a custom camera bag, one of our first customs done in 2015.)

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