Custom Orders Kept Me Busy

I managed to keep quite busy over the semester break making several custom orders for my shop. What a relief to have them officially completed and in the mail!

I received a custom order from a customer to make a set of patchwork chair pads for her daughter’s room.

She wanted fabrics from Amy Butler’s Love collection to coordinate with the rest of her decor. I really loved working with these fabrics, both the quilting cotton and home dec weight. I especially loved the home dec fabrics – they have such a soft and fabulously supple feel.

She wanted wide, long ribbon ties so she could have big bows at the backs of the chairs. She also wanted these cushions to be thick, so I used the thickest padding I could find that my sewing machine could handle. It was like sewing through a pillow!

The fun part about this project was imagining what these pads would look like on those little chairs. When we were kids, we had the infamous kids’ table. But ours was painted a bright lime green color, which we loved! It was fun to put together puzzles or have a tea party at that table. This project really made me feel nostalgic!

When I gave you a preview of some new products I made for my shop, my friend Michelle requested a twin version of my star bling handbag.

I made a few improvements to Michelle’s version, such as longer straps (from 22 inches to 30 inches) and moved up the ribbons on the corner so they aren’t so close to the dart.

Michelle asked for a small coin purse to go with her new bag, so I whipped up this little experiment.

How fun knowing we will have twin purses. How fun knowing someone in another country actually wanted to carry a bag just like mine. Silly girls!

My cousin Linda requested a similar bag, but without the bling, and in a size that would fit her MacBook Air computer. For a request for a specific size, I like make a mock-up in cardboard to make sure the dimensions will work for the client’s specifications.

From that same preview, I received a request from Cindy to make her an artist tote.

Her only specification was an orange lining. How fun to use this fabulous print from the fabulous Innocent Crush collection as my inspiration. Then I pulled warm, fun colors from my stash to create the crazy patch block for the front.

I also used the coolest heather grey suiting fabric for the back, gusset and strap.

I enjoy custom orders because they are challenging to work on, but I always worry about satisfying the customer’s expectations. Hope these goodies are well loved!

A Preview

I haven’t had time to sit at my sewing machine for two weeks, yet I have been holding back on you! I finally finished adding some new one-of-a-kind bags to my shop, so now they can all be found in the New Products section.

Some are meant to be functional and practical, like these Artist Totes below. (my sister has already claimed the one with the blue lining)

Others are fun because they are impractical, like these patchwork party clutches below! (Update: I sold the one in the middle at my craft show, but I can always make another if someone has a custom request.)

Some of these new patchwork handbags could be carried for daytime running around (pink and grey version listed here and maroon and grey version listed here) or

They could complement a trendier look for a girls’ night out. (Update: I sold the middle wristlet below at my craft show, but I plan to make another since I really love that city scape print.)

I have been wanting to try a new messenger bag/laptop bag with a flap in a more modern romance look. Check out the link to that laptop bag – it has the coolest newsprint fabric inside the flap! (Note: I also made myself a funky new handbag, shown below, out of plaid suiting with lace, sequin and stud accents.)

I am happy to offer all of these styles as custom designs, in addition to what I patch and piece together based on my own inspirations. I provided more details in the descriptions in my shop, if you’re interested in more specifics.

Sorry for the bag overload today! I’m super excited about all these one-of-a-kind designs. I’m hoping to develop most of these patterns into a collection, so this is a preview of a regular series of goodies to come. Thanks for hanging out with me today!

The Process of Custom Orders

I haven’t taken the process pledge because I don’t think I am good at documenting or explaining my process. I thought it might be fun to try it out with a custom order I received recently.

I am always thrilled to receive custom orders for my shop, especially when they come from friends of mine. I want my finished products to exceed the customer’s expectations. But it can be a little nerve-wracking when the item I’m making is actually a prototype.

I was excited and nervous when my good friend Paula recently asked me if I could make her a laptop bag. She gave me a couple specifications and preferences, and let me loose!

Thrilled, yes, but I was feeling the pressure. Picking out the fabrics was definitely not a problem. I had a vision of what I wanted this bag to look like. That vision is exactly what you see in these photos!

I did a little research on different laptop bag styles I could try, and I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook, based on the dimensions of Paula’s laptop. I taped a couple pieces of 11″ x 14″ paper together to have one sheet big enough to sketch out a pattern to fit a laptop measuring 17 inches wide by 12 deep, and another sheet big enough to draw a pattern the flap. I made lots of notes to remind myself as I proceeded through each step of assembly, things like room for ease and seam allowances. (I forgot to incorporate those things in my first clutch experiment, which is why they ended up smaller than I wanted. Duh!)

Joanna recently asked me if I would make her a red and pink version of my patchwork handbags from my recent experiment.

Lucky for me, I had already made two of these, so my process was already worked out.

I’m a small shop just finding my way, so having custom orders are great design practice for me. I don’t have many customers (yet), so my focus has been on product design and production. I always end up tearing out a seam or two, tweaking the fit, and making modifications as I proceed. I try really hard to think of everything ahead of time, but I still end up getting to the middle and having a new idea. I learn something new every time. And I quickly get over those anxious feelings because I get so wrapped up in the process!

Handbag Experiment

Remember a couple months ago, I started a clutch experiment? It was fun to try a couple different designs and fabrics. I’m happy I have the sizes figured out, so now I am ready to put a few more together.

I have also been experimenting with different handbag styles lately. I made one for my mom for mother’s day, and then another one for my insurance agent , the new and improved version having inside zipper pockets.

After seeing this handbag in a magazine,  I thought a patchwork version of my own handbag was in order. (You know how I feel about leather bags and designer bags – not too crazy about either one.)

I made one for spring and summer.

I really loved working with these decorator weight fabrics! They are so soft and saturated in colors. I really love how the pink piping looks in contrast to the teal patchwork.

I love the teal linen fabric I used for the backing.

I love the pink zippered pocket on the inside, which I am getting better at installing.

While I was at it, I made another version for fall and winter.

I used black suiting fabric for the backing, a black zipper and black piping, which blends in more than I wanted to, but I’m still happy with it. (For the next one, I need to pay closer attention to those contrasts on the front and the back.)

I used a piece of fabric from the Little Folks fabric collection for the lining, which was sooo soft and easy to sew with.

I am so thrilled with the patchwork on the front of these handbags! I loved working with some fabrics new to me for the backing – linen and suiting.

This handbag might be the inspiration for my next experiment.

I especially love how girly these handbags are. I get so excited trying out new things, from different patchwork to different shapes and sizes to different fabrics. Can’t wait to get going on the next experiment!


I am constantly tweaking one thing or another on the patchwork projects, handbags and clutches I make.

I just finished making the custom order purse for my insurance agent just like the purse I made for my mom for Mother’s Day.

This one also measures 12 inches wide by 8 inches tall, but my agent requested the inside pockets be zipper pockets to keep little things more secure. I think I have found another addiction!

I used this tutorial as a guide to walk me through the steps for the first zipper installation. It was actually pretty easy, and provides great results.

These purses were a little difficult to part with, so I decided I needed a new summer purse for myself, using more fabrics from this Poppy collection.

And of course, I had to add a zipper pocket inside of my new purse too.

It’s fun to experiment with different fabrics, but it’s also fun to tweak ideas and add more cool features like this.

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Related posts:

A Purse for My Mom

Clutch Experiment – Part 2

Clutch Experiment