I've been wanting to make a new style of cross-body purse for a while! I decided to go totally different from anything I've done. I had seen bags with the criss-crossed, angled pockets, and I liked that look. I want to call it a satchel... it's like a messenger bag without a flap. I don't know! What would you call it? Here she is, along with my new mascot, "Eyelet" the owl!: 
Yeah, I know the owl is cute! But don't let that distract you from the bag. Well, I'm distracted too -- my aunt gave it to me at Christmas time. It's from World Market. I think I'm going to use Eyelet as a prop in lots of my photos. Now back to the bag!
This bag is about 12 inches tall, 10 inches wide, and has a 2-inch gusset around the entire bag. It's a rectangular, boxy shape. The full top zipper curves a bit down each side, so the bag opens up nice and wide. You can fit a lot of stuff in here!
The three front pockets are nice and deep -- each goes to the bottom of the bag. You could carry books, e-readers, diapers, glasses or even owls in there! I really love the piping -- it matches the lining and gives the pockets a nice pop!
One side of the lining has a deep zippered pocket that goes all the way to the bottom of the bag. You can store a lot in there! I purposely put that pocket on the opposite side of the front zigzag pockets, to even out the weight. 

The other side of the lining has a nice phone pocket. It has darted corners, so it's got some volume to it. Eyelet the owl thinks it's a cozy spot!

Here's another shot of the phone pocket, before the lining was sewn into the bag: 

See the pocket? It's kind of camouflaged. I really enjoy the shape. 

About the lining: It's a chocolate brown quilting fabric with a light blue floral design.

As usual, I interfaced the fabric with Pellon Shape-Flex. It's my favorite interfacing for purses and most projects. It strengthens the fabric and gives it a bit of structure, but the fabric still drapes like fabric. 

About the exterior fabric: It's a home decorating cotton canvas from Premier Prints. The chevron design is in village blue/natural. The blue is like a cornflower blue with a touch of gray in it...not as bright as it appear in the photos. I found a photo that shows the true color at the Premier Prints site.

The strap is meant to be worn across the body. It's nice and long! If you want to wear it shorter, it is narrow enough to tie in a knot at the shoulder. 

When I custom-make these, I can change the strap length if needed for your height. This one has a 27-inch drop. It's just right for me at 5'7" -- the top of the bag sits just at my low hip.

Another feature I can customize is the interior pockets. Want more or different pockets? Just let me know. I love making bags to suit your needs!

Now, back to Eyelet the owl!

She wants to show you a nice closeup shot of the chevron fabric. It's a "slub" fabric (an unfortunate word), which  means it has lines and texture that resemble linen. I like it, and I have a lot of Premier Prints fabrics like this. If you check out my Canvas & Heavyweight Cottons photos, you'll see a lot of this fabric.

Premier Prints has a lot of different colored zigzags
Here's my prototype of the Zigzag Bag. I used a vintage cotton canvas. It was kind of my  practice one and there were a few things I tweaked the second time around. 

A friend and customer of mine fell in love with this bag and bought it right away! I'll be making her a matching wallet in the vintage fabric. Yeah -- wallets are another new project for me! I've been wanting to try them for a while. 

I used a bright orange zipper and lined the bag in a natural cotton canvas. 

I can't wait to make more Zigzag Bags in many different fabrics!

Want to order one?

Please don't. Not until Feb. 1st, because it's going to be my featured item for February! What a way to debut it! Instead of its regular $50, it will be $43 in the month of February! 

Check my Etsy shop tomorrow (Feb. 1) or anytime during February, and place your order for a Zigzag Bag. Here are my fabric options to get you started. Thanks! -- Rene
I have some faithful repeat customers! They make me so happy. They know they can bring a request to me and that I'll do my best to exceed their expectations. I love to match and coordinate fabrics. My customer Sue asked me to make her an Insulated Lunch Tote out of this white fabric with blue birds. I didn't want the bottom to get dirty, so I asked her if I could use a second fabric for the bottom. I chose this beautiful blue paisley fabric for the bottom (inside too) and for details like the handles and a little loop with a bird charm. 
Sue is giving this away as a gift -- to a person who already received one of my creations, this quilted Madeleine bag:
Sue wanted them to coordinate, and I think they do. Do you want to see more photos of the Madeleine bag? Check out my Facebook album. Here are some more photos of the lunch tote, which is insulated with Insul-Bright to keep food hot or cold. 
I love making these lunch totes! They are $32 in my Etsy shop -- custom-made with your choice of fabrics. Can I make you one? You have to make your own sandwich though. ;) -- Rene
I had a merchandise credit at Shutterfly, so I decided to order a customized mug. The flower/bird design came standard, but I added "Sew Much Cuteness" and this image on the other side:
Also in today's mail, a much anticipated order for some designer Japanese fabrics -- by Melody Miller for Kokka and Etsuko Furuya for Echino. I've been wanting some (badly) for quite a while.
I'm so tempted to use all the fabrics on a new purse, tote, wallet, zip case, etc.....for MYSELF! Isn't that selfish? If they are still around in a week or two, I will probably have to do that! I added them to my Flickr photostream

Thanks to my sister Jill's request, I have a new purse design to offer! Named after her, the "Jill" is a pleated purse with a bow and adjustable strap. 
This bag is pleated inside and out, and is similar to another of my styles, the Round the Town purse. But the Jill has a long, adjustable strap that converts from shoulder to cross-body. I really love the bow!
The straps of the bow can be unknotted and tied any way you choose. I think I'll make them a couple inches shorter next time, unless you like them this long.

This gray/green heavyweight canvas was wonderful to work with. It's actually refreshing for me to make a purse with a solid exterior. I am usually drawn to bold prints. This solid fabric shows off the design elements of this purse. 
The adjustable strap is awesome for a busy gal like my sister! Throw it over your shoulder, or lengthen the strap and wear it cross-body. 
The interior is a linen-cotton blend, repurposed from a dress. There's a large YKK zippered pocket on one side, and 2 slip pockets and pen slots on the other. It closes with a magnetic snap. 

I plan to list this purse -- fully customizable with your choice of fabrics, of course -- in my Etsy shop for $45. What do you think of the Jill? -- René
Thanks to my kind friend Lisa, I had a 30% off (regular AND sale) coupon for Joann!

I had a pretty long list of things I needed for making purses, plushies and other things. I also decided to stock up on things I always need, like cotton batting, fiberfill and fabrics. But HOLY cow, did I get a lot! Buttons were 50% off, so I bought a bunch -- mostly these adorable flower-shaped ones that I plan to use on the outside of a new purse style. 

Look at my big pile of goodies! (The sewing machine is not new.) I've been wanting some wooden racks for my thread and bobbins, and I got a great deal today. 

I am absolutely addicted to fabrics and almost everything was on sale. I got some home decorating fabrics, which are perfect for the outside of purses, for 60% off -- and then another 30% off with my coupon!
It's kind of dangerous for me to go to Joann's with no time limit. I was there for 3 and a half hours -- my record, I think! Is it ridiculous that I had the time of my life??

I spent over $200 but got more than $500 worth of stuff! Woohooooo!

Now I'm going to photograph these luscious new fabrics so I can post them on my Flickr photostream

Have you checked it out yet? I have all my fabrics neatly organized and labeled for your viewing & selecting pleasure. It's working out really well so far. 

-- René 

**NEW** Want to check out my fabric stash?? I have photos of many of my fabric options in my Flickr photostream.

I have only  just begun to photograph all my fabrics, so please check back often! I have an eclectic collection of new, vintage, ready to be repurposed, children's, home decor, and many cotton fabrics -- but quantities are limited. So if you see a fabric you like, let me know ASAP! I'll make you something super out of it.

I hope this will make custom orders easier. The majority of my projects are custom, and I want you to love what you order from Sew Much Cuteness!

- René

Only through January, when you order an "Ellen" purse from me, the price is $37 instead of $45. Current turnaround time is 1-2 weeks. 

To catch the eyes of different people, I've created a few different Etsy listings for my January featured purse, the "Ellen!" They each have different sample photos of purses I've made for other customers. You and I will work together to pick your perfect fabrics from my stash! Or, purchase your own fabric and mail to me, and I will discount your price. 
Here's the original "Ellen" purse, as requested by my friend and customer (bet you can't guess her name!). 

Etsy listing is HERE

This one was made for my friend/customer, Lisa, who was IN LOVE with this bird fabric! I don't have anymore, unfortunately, and it was extremely difficult to find. But it's a gorgeous example of the "Ellen" purse! 

Etsy listing is HERE

This listing features Pam's bee-themed purse! I don't have any more of this adorable fabric either. But I have plenty of amazing fabrics -- some new, some vintage, some ready to be repurposed -- so that YOU can have a one-of-a-kind bag, too!

Etsy listing is HERE

I am planning on photographing my available fabrics soon, to make it easier for you to make your choices. Thank you and have a glorious Tuesday! -- Rene
I hope you're not getting tired of seeing "Ellen" purses in different fabrics! I've gotten quite a few orders for them since announcing the January special! I am definitely not getting tired of making them -- they are quite fun. Here's a bee-utiful purse for my customer, Pam! 
I really enjoy the lining of this purse, although it was a bit difficult to photograph. It's a rayon blend (I think) from my stash. It was stretchy and difficult to work with until I interfaced it with Pellon Shape-Flex. Gosh, I love that stuff! It gives such a wonderful feel to any fabric. It's woven so fabrics keep their natural draping and softness, but they become stronger and more structured. I use this interfacing in nearly every sewing project.

Another thing you DON'T see is my soft batting. I prefer Pellon Nature's Touch, which is natural cotton and very plush! The combination of the interfacing and batting give my purses the perfect amount of thickness and structure. They are simply wonderful to touch, too. I can't capture the tactile experience in photos, unfortunately!
Would you believe the purse's exterior is made from 2 new cotton napkins? I'm so glad I picked up that set of 4 napkins -- I also made an insulated lunch tote out of them. It's currently for sale in my Etsy shop, if you are interested. Here's a look:

Here are some more photos of the purse. Enjoy! If you want to order your custom "Ellen" purse while it's on special, please checkout with this link. Thank you!

I just HAD to share this with you right away!

Check out these free backgrounds for desktops, websites, blogs, etc. They are submitted by artists for our free use and they're AWESOME!

The site is called Repeat-X Repeat-Y. Enjoy!

I finished a quilted Madeleine bag today. I've made a handful of these before -- but this one has a custom laptop pocket. I hope my customer Liz will enjoy it!
The front exterior has 3 deep slip pockets. The middle (largest) one is pleated to make it roomier (and prettier!) Custom piping adorns the row of pockets. 
The interior has a large YKK zippered pocket, and a laptop pocket that closes with an elastic Velcro strap. The bag closes with TWO strong magnetic snaps. 
This design is made with two yards of double-faced, pre-quilted fabric. I special-order your fabric after you checkout, typically from Joann or Fabric.com. Because the fabric is pricey and this bag is so large, I charge $85 for them. I offer customizable interior pockets -- if you don't want a laptop pocket, I'll make slip pockets, reader pockets, or whatever you like. The Etsy listing is HERE

For $10 less, you can order a non-quilted bag in this style. I will use medium-weight or heavyweight fabrics with a layer of batting instead. 
The bag is 6 layers thick because the exterior AND the lining are made from pre-quilted fabric. It measures about 19" wide, 14" long, and 4" deep. This is definitely more like luggage than a tote bag. The 14" handles are super-reinforced. 
This bag design was born when a customer requested a large Vera Bradley-inspired school bag that could handle a lot of weight. This is literally TWO quilted bags sewn together to give it maximum strength and interior pockets. It can be used as an overnight bag, school bag, work bag, shopping bag, or whatever you need it for!

It's a lot of work to make this bag! I definitely say "Ta-da!" when I'm finished. Ta-da!

    Rene Smits

    Welcome to my passion! 
    I specialize in creating high-quality custom purses and bags. Feel free to contact me with your custom requests. I also sell my ready-made pieces on Etsy: Sew Much Cuteness.

    Etsy shop

    Facebook page



    Flickr (fabric options):


    Cross Body
    Cross Body
    Custom Orders
    Ellen Purse
    Emily Bag
    Fabric Stores
    Jill Purse
    Lunch Tote
    Madeleine Bag
    Messenger Bag
    Sewing Studio
    Tote Bag
    Zigzag Bag


    April 2013
    February 2013
    January 2013