Welcome to the second post in our Beginner Bag Making Month series 🙂
The series will include the following topics:
- All you need to know about making bags (click here)
- All you need to know about interfacing (click here)
- All you need to know about fabrics (click here)
- All you need to know about hardware (28th March – Today!)
Today I’ve asked Kylie from Handbag Hardware Australia to come on my Blog and talk to us all about Hardware!
Describe yourself in 5 words…
Tenacious, creative, dependable, loyal, caring
Tell us something not many people would know about you…
I grew up on a dairy farm in a little place called Moto, which is near Taree in NSW
How long have you been sewing?
Since I was around 5 years old, 7 years old with a machine, my sister and I learnt to make clothes early on as this was our way of shopping!
Is sewing the only craft you spend time enjoying? If not, what other crafts help you pass the time?
When I have time to play away from sewing & shiny things, I also love gardening, cooking, fishing and painting (abstract)
Do you only make bags? If not, what else do you enjoy making?
Mainly bags however I still enjoy making clothes, especially anything from Tessuti in Melbourne, love their patterns and their linens.
What made you fall in love with making bags?
Some people love shoes, some people love make-up, bags have been my thing since as long as I can remember. Maybe it has something to do with making colourful saddle bags to carry our “essentials” when riding as a young girl. For me though bags have always been an obsession.
What is the number one thing that can make or break a bag?
Balance – for me it has to have good proportion and all its parts, fabric, handles, hardware, gussets, interfacing, these all need to work together to create an overall beauty.
Please tell us all we need to know about Hardware <3
I do have to mention that all these shiny things are a passion of mine so it’s going to be really hard to keep things short, hope you find it useful! If ever you have questions please feel free to ask, always super happy to assist.
It’s really the finish that sets hardware apart. There are generally two styles of finishes, rolled plating and hanging plate.
The rolled plate is what you’ll find on the cheaper products, it doesn’t look as shiny and it also doesn’t last as long. It’s a very fine layer of colour and will have a tendency to rub off. Great if it’s a bag just for yourself, if you’re selling your bags though it’s probably not the best of finish.
This is where each item is individually dipped into the plating medium, it’s more labour intensive and therefore more expensive however it’s a lovely finish and you can feel and see the difference. Hanging plate is the finish we use at Handbag Hardware Australia, our products are double hanging plate with lacquer and these extra couple of steps is why it looks amazing (in our humble opinion) and the coating lasts.
You’ll also see two different formation styles, being wire formed and alloy. Wire formed, you can see where the ring starts and ends, the most common method, and perfect when your strap will cover the join. Alloy is a mold formed product, more expensive than the wire form, however it’s rather lovely. Especially useful in O-rings where it’s harder to hide any joins, you’ll also find that the majority of swivel snap hooks are Alloy formed, this gives them extra strength as well good looks!
Different Styles of Hardware
There’s a huge variety of hardware available and they all serve a different purpose. Your imagination is the key to making any bling sing. Remember to keep your vision in mind, hardware needs to compliment your creation, to highlight, support and enhance. Bag hardware is the accessory to your accessory, keep it balanced.
Primary function is for holding your straps however they can serve many other decorative functions as well. Essentially there are Rectangle rings, O-rings, D-rings, Triangle rings, Oval rings and of special note the slide (tri-slide) which is used to create adjustable straps. The O-ring is by far the most forgiving ring, you can be a little less accurate with your webbing widths and still be successful with an O-ring, and a 38mm O work will also look fabulous on a 25mm strap, good to have in your kit. There’s also gate rings, which open and close either with screws or snap hook and are perfect for working with eyelets.
Swivels have so many functions, they can close things, hold things, attach to things, they are almost the Swiss army knife of hardware.
Feet – keeping the base off the ground
Purse feet come in different shapes and sizes, with bucket and dome the most common. They are fabulous for keeping the base of your bag off the ground and also provide a professional look. Most feet are a tab based attachment, however some will have screws, though this is less common.
Twist locks, push locks, screw in and tab back, leather tabs, loop closures and the things that snap, like press snaps and magnetic snaps. The tab back based closure is a good place to start if you’re learning and the trusty magnetic snap is a perfect tool to have in your stash. These can be used on just about anything and are a fantastic alternative while you’re building your confidence. The screw backed closures have the best finish of all the closures and look incredibly professional, my biggest tip, if it has a screw use some glue, just on the end of the screw it makes it stay in place for a really long time, nothing worse than having a screw loose!
Handles – pre-made
Leather, faux leather, metal, plastic, bamboo, wood, and of course chain, there’s a lot of options. Chain is probably one of the easier handle options to start off with and looks fabulous on smaller bags. When you add in strap anchors and grommet handles your world of choice just got bigger!
Beauty and function – Rivets, Chicago screws, Eyelets and grommets, edge trims, strap keepers, bars, buckles, tassels and labels all these can hold things in place, add dimension and provide a quality finish to your bags and purses. This is the really fun stuff!
Frames – ones that create an actual purse and those that shape the inside. Metal purse frames have been around for over a century and are a gorgeous design and one of my favourite things to make. Tubular frames, made famous by Mary Poppins, form the basis of what’s known as the carpet bag, and come in a variety of sizes. You’ve also got the flex frame which is used for glasses cases and many other little snap together purses. Rounding out with the internal wire frame which is relatively new to our world, though they have been used by the commercial houses for several decades. They are incredible for adding structure to the top edge of a bag and make a zip travel like a hot knife in butter.
Thank you Kylie for this great interview! I have loved hearing about all things shiny!
Don’t forget you can fill all your hardware (and interfacing) needs for Emkie Designs patterns at Handbag Hardware Australia as Kylie has KITS available.