How to Manufacture a Purse or Handbag

Published: 12th February 2010
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When I embarked on writing articles on Handbags & Purses, one of the ideas suggested to me (by a man) was how they manufacture a purse or handbag. Intriguing I thought, so I wrote it down and filed it away for future articles.



About a month later, I started to search for information on how to manufacture a purse. During my first search, the results were zilch, nada, nothing, zip, and any other negative word you would like to use. So how do you make a purse? I found tons of sites on contacting manufacturers of purses and handbags, but none on how to make them.



In Canada, we have a marvellous TV show called "How It Is Made?". Its premise is actually going into a manufacturing plant and filming a half/hour show on the manufacturing process of a product. It is a fascinating show as my perspective of manufacturing was complete and total automation. In some cases products are manufactured without human intervention other than pushing the go and stop buttons, other cases where part of the process is automated and a manual process where a human hand has to put it together. There are also many products which are completely manual and not on a conveyor belt. This show has been on for 12 seasons covering products from soda crackers to blue jeans to kayaks. However, there is not one show on handbag or purse manufacturing. I did send the suggestion, but my chances of having a show manufactured within a month are pretty slim to none!



How does one go about manufacturing such an item? I can hazard a guess, only because I did take sewing during Home Economics in high school for 4 years. The process for making a handbag and purse at home is pretty basic.



1. Purchase a pattern

2. Purchase recommended material as per the pattern. Ensure that the material you chose can be easily sewn using the sewing machine available to you.

3. Purchase any gadgets or features again as recommended as per the pattern and sold by the fabric store.

4. Lay out the pattern pieces on the material and cut out.

5. Sew the pieces of material as per the instructions.

6. Add any other features as instructed.



I suspect that the manufacture of a handbag or purse is somewhat similar; the only differences would be the range of materials used, the capability of the cutting equipment to cut more than one pattern piece, the heavy duty sewing equipment required for leathers, etc. Here is my perspective on how to manufacture a purse or handbag.



1. Design the handbag or purse

2. Determine the materials, colours, and accessories & purchase the "raw materials"

3. Cut the pieces out according to design specifications

4. Assemble pieces by sewing

5. Add any additional accessories.



Seems straight forward, right? However, as most handbags & purses are consider "design" items, there may be a reluctance on the handbag & purse industry not to allow people to publicly know heir manufacturing process (aka trade secret) or it could be simply a matter that no one has ever asked. So alas, this will be one of the mysteries of the world! But then again, do we ladies really care? Not me!


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