My latest adventure was attending a wonderful bag making course with a friend of mine. It was recommended to me by a friend who had done a shoe making course at the same place.
Let me tell you about it.
So we arrived at Pillbox Studios in Bethnal Green at just before 10am last Saturday morning, a little unsure what to expect. The oversized fibreglass pills in the front garden threw us but we later found out that the building is/was owned by a pharmaceutical company. It now houses separate studio spaces that people can rent. It was very funky!
Amanda met us to the door, a lovely Australian girl who, although young has been making shoes since she was 17. The handbag course was a natural extension to her shoemaking courses. We found out that it was just the two of us so we had Amanda’s complete attention.
Step 1: choose your bag type. We had three choices, a tote, backpack or small handbag. I went for the tote and Mafe chose a handbag.
Step 2: choose your leather. My choices were a little limited as I needed a fairly big piece for my tote. I went for a dusky pink piece with silver leather for an internal and external pocket. Mafe went for a blue with a snake skin pattern.
Step 3: cut out the leather. Amanda had the patterns so we just had to draw the pattern on then cut it out.
Step 4: sew it together. We had fun working with the sewing machine and quite quickly saw the progress.
Step 5: add the hardware. For my bag this was adding the screws to hold the handles on and for Mafe the eyelets for the draw string.
And that was it! We were both so surprised at how quick and easy it was. I’ve already started buying bits and pieces online a d from my local haberdashery to make another one. The idea behind Amanda’s courses are to make both shoe and bag making accessible to everyone without the use of industrial machinery. My basic sewing machine will (I hope) be up for the task.
Once done we headed to London Bridge to meet up with the boys for a drink and then on to Rabot for dinner. Every meal includes cacao and on paper it seemed quite cool but in reality I don’t think the cost matches up with the quality. However the decor, service and wine was very good.