MATERIALS FOR BAGS

Straw cloth and woven straws

Dolce & Gabbana Miss Sicily bag made of tan raffia

These fabrics come in a variety of fibers, weaves, patterns and colors. They are sold by the yard in an assortment of widths. They are also sold woven into basic shopper shape. Beach bags and informal bags are the usual result of using these materials. They are not particularly durable and will probably only last one season.

Duck canvas, oxford and drill cottons

Hermes Garden Party tote bag with stripes from Spring 2014

Canvases are used extensively for casual/informal and sporty bags. Canvases, Oxfords and drills are available in a variety of weights and finishes, such as lightly waxed, heavily waxed, and antiqued. They are strong and durable but often come in limited colors.

Canvas totes and shoppers are increasingly seen in summer season lines by Ally Capellino and Bill Amberg. They use waxed canvas as a material of choice with vegetable-tanned leather straps and trims to give a traditional old-school feel.

Denim, corduroy, cavalry twill and wool tweed

Louis Vuitton Blue Neo Speedy Monogram Denim bag
Chanel gold-beige tweed medium Classic 2.55 flap bag

These fabrics are all suitable for bag making used alone, or in conjunction with leather. All come in a variety of colors. The tweeds come in a variety of weaves that crate their own unique patterns, e.g. dog’s tooth, window pane and Prince of Wales, or all-check patterns and herringbone is created with a twill weave structure. It is usually necessary to iron a fabric backer to tweed to help prevent fraying while the bag is in production.

Wool, felt and boiled wool

Céline Tie Bag made with felt fabric from Fall 2014

Wool felt is a non-woven fabric and as such is good for bag making, since it is the only material other than leather than can be used on raw-edge designs. The wool fibers that make up the felt are matted together by heat, steam, and pressure, and as a result, felt has a slightly hairy brushed surface. Color availability is often limited. Note that lightweight craft felt is not suitable.

Boiled wool is similar to felt, but it is made in a totally different way. Boiled wool is a knitted jersey which is boiled and shrunk by 25-30 times.

Duchesse satin, taffeta, silk dupion, slub slik, moire, and velvet

Gucci GG Marmont velvet shoulder bag

These lustrous dress fabrics are often used for evening bags because they hold a drape and some pleat well. Bag companies often buy these fabrics ready backed with an iron-on reinforcement fabric so they are ready to use. When reinforced, these fabrics are often referred to as laminated.