Introducing Lydford…

Although I haven’t posted much so far this year, I’ve been working on a few designs behind the scenes.  I’ve recently finished creating the pattern for Lydford, a shoulder bag with twist lock closing, inside zip pocket and adjustable shoulder strap.

This handbag is made using 100% organic cotton canvas and has a navy blue pima cotton lining.  I’ve got a number of other fabrics lined up for this design too, so I’ll be adding those to my shop soon….

Full details, including price and dimensions, can be found on my shop.

New commission… new design

Following my redesign of the Ashbury handbag a few months ago, I recently had the chance to play about with another of my favourite designs when one special lady asked me to resize the original Shelstone.  It’s great when someone asks me to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – it gets moved right to the top of my ‘to-do list’.

When I originally designed this handbag I had several sizes in mind; I started with the Shelstone, then enlarged it to make the Shelstone Weekend, then finally I wanted a smaller, more everyday version.  The lady for whom I created this already owns the Shelstone, so it was really useful to hear what dimensions ideally suited her for the new size.

Redrawing patterns always takes a fair bit of reworking to ensure the finished design looks and feels right.  It isn’t always a case of reducing everything by the same amount, but after a few mock-ups on some old sheets, I got the dimensions and proportions that worked for the style.

I love the fabric she chose; you may have noticed I love blue anyway (!), but the blues with the mint green flashes make this really eye-catching.

Ashbury hacks…..

Recently I was contacted by a lovely customer who had seen the navy and white spotty Ashbury on my shop and wanted this with a few changes.  She was after a slightly larger version of this bag, and wanted me to add in a few extra features.  She already has the Shelstone, and really liked the red trim and button pocket on that bag, and so wanted the same features on her Ashbury.  In addition to this, she also wanted an exterior zip pocket on the other side, which would sit on the side closest to her body.

The new Ashbury design makes for a really great size handbag. The larger zip opening and capacity makes it so useful and the adjustable strap means it can be worn on the shoulder or across the body to suit.  I made this with a red lining – navy and red is such a fabulously classic combination, I love it!

She then requested an Ashbury in the original size, with the same red trim and button pocket, but also wanted a zip patch pocket on the side closest to the body – really useful for tickets and essentials.  I loved lining up the spots to make sure it sat properly on the outside of the bag.

Any handbag you see on my shop can be customised to meet your wishes, whether it’s adding in extra pockets on the inside or outside, making it larger or smaller, different colourways, longer/shorter straps etc….. I’m happy to work with you to get all the details right and ensure you get the handbag that suits you.

Introducing Ashbury

A little while ago I set to work designing a new shoulder bag.  I wanted to create a design which was a useful everyday-size handbag; it needed to have a zip closing, inside pockets and an adjustable shoulder strap (so it could be worn on the shoulder or across the body).

After some sketches, pattern drawing and a prototype, I designed Ashbury, and I’m pleased to share my first photos with you…..  this purple-based one sold at the first show and the yellow and grey one sold last week!  (click to enlarge the photos).

As with all my handbags, this has the same quilted feel – the main fabric is backed with sew-in interlining, quilting fabric, a layer of cotton, and then the lining is backed with sew-in interlining as well…… These layers give the bag strength, help them keep their shape and also makes them incredibly soft.

I’ve created another one of this design in a different fabric (with more to follow in the new year) and this is available from my online shop.

As with all my handbags, I take commissions for bespoke handbags, so if you would prefer this, or any other design, in a different fabric, or would prefer inside zip pockets, a wider shoulder strap etc, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.


New Huccaby available!

New Huccaby available from the Handmade by Ellie Shop!

September has been a busy time with a number of commissions keeping me busy, so it’s nice to catch up and update some items on my shop.  A few months ago I posted a photo of this fabric…


and I was really looking forward to cutting it all up and creating something with it.  As soon as I saw these fabrics, I thought they would suit a Huccaby satchel – the size of the print would fit the shape of the bag nicely and the lovely rich blue would make for beautiful complimentary buckle tabs and lining fabric.

So here it is –

This is currently the only Huccaby available in this fabric, so it truly is unique!  It is available to buy from the Handmade by Ellie shop.

Click on the picture to enlarge and scroll – 

Click here for all the details, including prices, dimensions and information on the bag’s construction.

Additional features – As well as an adjustable shoulder strap, this satchel has a large inside, fully lined (and interlined) zipped pocket and features high quality metalware which looks lovely –

Click on the picture to enlarge and scroll – 

A few finished photos…..

(Finally) a few finished photos of Huccaby!

After much (much!) delay, here are the finished photos of the 60s-inspired Huccaby from my previous post.  Things have been somewhat hectic recently, which is great, but it has once again meant that my blog is a little bit behind!

Click on the images to enlarge…..

For all the information on Huccaby bags, including price and dimensions, please see the Shoulder Bags by Ellie page.

60s-inspired Huccaby

I love it when I get asked to make something I know I would LOVE to keep.   This happened with this latest design for Huccaby.  I have always loved this fabric; it makes me smile because it is such a happy print.  So it was with great pleasure that I began to turn it into a satchel.

This was a really fun commission to make – I love this choice of fabric and the gorgeously rich purple to compliment the fabulous colours of the main design.

For this particular bag, I was asked to make the pattern slightly bigger – it needed a bigger interior zip pocket and to be slightly deeper so it could carry certain things.  This was not a problem at all, and it’s great to personalise each bag to an individual’s requirement.

Click on the images to enlarge…

The first photo shows a cross-section of one of the main panel pieces; here you can see the main fabric print, then a layer of sew-in interlining, a layer of quilting fabric and finally a layer of backing cotton to keep the quilting fabric in place.  All these layers give the bag a lovely quilted feel and helps it retain its shape as well as making it stronger.

The second photo shows all the main and lining pieces ready and waiting to be turned into Huccaby…..

Introducing Shelstone Box Top!

So, after redesigning my original patten, here is the finished Shelstone Box Top with its brand new zip top…..

Click on the gallery to enlarge and scroll through –

I decided to make the zip long enough to start and finish on the side panels, rather than just being the length of the top of the bag, (hence the box top zip closing).   This makes it even more practical and improves its functionality.

After being asked to create this Shelstone, I was then asked by the same lady to create another to be worn on the left shoulder instead of the right.  This makes a difference with zip and pocket placement (you want the zip facing the front on whichever shoulder you wear the bag, so the zip is easily accessible; similarly, the inside phone pocket, situated on the inside side panel, needs to be at the front of the bag).  All these requirements can be adapted so the bag is personal to how you use it.

For all the details, including prices and dimensions, please visit the Weekend and Travel Bags page.

Oh and did you notice – IT’S SNOWING ON MY BLOG!!!!!!!!  Very exciting!

Redesigning Shelstone…

With all the ‘work’ (when is sewing ever work?!) for Christmas going on, I’ve been a bit behind with updating news of my projects.   I was really excited to be asked to adapt an existing pattern for one of my favourite handbag designs so far.  The Shelstone was originally designed with a snap-set closing, as shown below, but I was asked to create one with a box-top zip.

Creating one with a zip closing had been on my (rather long!) ‘to-do’ list, so it wasn’t yet something I had got round to completing, until a certain lovely lady requested one.  It was then moved from half way down my list to the very top, and so began the pattern redrawing and redesigning.

Adapting an existing pattern isn’t always straightforward, so I literally took it back to the/my drawing board to work out what pieces needed to be adapted and what new pieces I needed to create….

…. fortunately throughout some of the (minor) head-scratching I had some of the very best advice on hand…..

So, after the pattern drawing was finished, I then started constructing all the pattern pieces and assembling the panels ready for creating the new version of Shelstone ….

Shelstone pattern pieces

Redesigning Shelstone

…finished photos of the new design to follow….

Finished photos!

Sightly later than planned, here are a few photos of the finished Huccaby…

As I said in my previous post, this was made using a lovely Japanese-inspired fabric….. there is only one of these satchels in existence and I believe it was for a very special 21st birthday pressie, which hopefully has been received by now (so I’m not spoiling anyone’s surprise)!

I love the finished combination of cream with that gorgeous green lining.

For all the information on this bag, please visit the Shoulder Bags by Ellie page.

Huccaby update

The next stage of the Huccaby, after backing all the fabric with interlining, quilting fabric and cotton, was to attach the buckles and construct the outer shell of the bag.  I decided to make this one slightly deeper than the previous Huccaby: the width and height stayed the same, but I increased the pattern size to make it deeper so it could carry even more.

Positioning the buckles for the base and top of the bag is crucial (or it won’t close properly!), so takes a bit of time to get it right.  In order to ensure they’re positioned correctly, they’re pinned, tacked and then finally stitched in place.

After completing the top-stitching on the buckle tabs, I attached the side panels to the front and back panels before finally sewing in the bottom panel.

The next job after that was making the adjustable handle, then completing the outer part of the bag before moving on to construct the lining……


After completing my first Huccaby design earlier this year, I wanted to start making another almost straight away.  I had some beautiful Japanese-inspired fabric by Makower that I knew would be perfect for this satchel, so started thinking about the complimentary fabric I was going to use for the lining…. so many choices…..!

Because the main fabric has a delicate design, I wanted to use whatever complimentary fabric I chose for the buckle tabs as well; this would give it a bit of impact and bring out some of the colour in the main fabric.  Having made the first satchel from a very strong colour and busier pattern, I wanted this one to look very different.  I had kept hold of this particular fabric for a while, wanting to use it for just the right project and this was it!

So here are my fabric choices for this project…… more update photos to follow soon.

Fabric choices for Huccaby

Fabric choices for Huccaby

Finished Shelstone photos….

It has been a busy few weeks with the Bolla Tay Design Fair in Padstow at the beginning of August and all the work which preceded that, followed by all the work which followed that!  Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hello in sunny Padstow, talk about handbags and fabrics, and to those of you who are the new owners of a Handmade by Ellie handbag!

With all that’s gone on I haven’t had much time to update my blog with finished photos of the Shelstone Weekend handbag, so without further ado, here it is…

Click on the gallery to enlarge the images –

I had great fun making this bag.  It took a long time to ensure the snowflake design of the lining all matched up properly (like the spots on the Shelstone of my previous post), but it was worth it.   This fabric is full of such vibrant, rich colours, it’ll add a touch of summer wherever it goes!

A bit of info about the bag – the Shelstone Weekend features a large inside zip pocket, two slip pockets, an inside side panel pocket as well as two buttoned pockets on the front.  It has expandable sides – useful for all the things you need for a weekend away or a day out.  For all information about the handbag, click here.

Shelstone update

July is whizzing by and I haven’t yet posted an update of my progress on the Shelstone Weekend handbag…. so without further ado, here it is…..

This panel will form the front pockets of the bag.  I think Makower’s complimentary spotty fabric looks great with the mint green main fabric.  I was really pleased to find a perfect colour match with those buttons.  I use the tailors chalk to mark exactly where the buttonholes need to go to ensure they are evenly spaced.  The maroon and orange spotty fabric, which forms the trim at the top of the pocket, has to be cut and stitched so that the trim is even and the spots line up to the nearest millimetre….  Working with spots is great, but my goodness it can be frustrating sometimes!

Case in point was my very first Shelstone – if you look at the top of the red trim on the front pockets of the outside image of the bag, it sits exactly under a row of white spots; the bottom of the trim sits on top of a row of spots without cutting through the spots.  The inside view shows the large interior pocket; again, I had to cut and stitch that so I didn’t stitch through a line of spots….


…That may sound easy, but because I back the main fabric with, on average, an extra three layers, including a quilting fabric, the panel pieces are so much thicker than a piece of cotton, so lining it all up does get a bit tricky.   This pattern involved measuring so carefully before cutting the fabric (I always do, but this was something else!), as well as being super accurate when stitching all the pattern pieces together (I always am, but this was something else!).

I love spotty fabric (and I mean really love it!), but cutting and stitching with it and ensuring it’s all straight, is much more time-consuming than working with a plain fabric.  I have to say, it is worth it though – this is still one of my favourite ever handbags.

Making Shelstone

After finishing my new satchel, I set to work on the other project I’d started during my machine troubles when all I could do was cut out lots of fabric…..

This gorgeous Henna fabric (sunshine fabric!) from my previous post in February is just a joy, and Makower did their usual wonderful trick of designing fabulous complimentary fabrics to bring out some of the other colours within the main print.  So, as you can tell from the title of this post, I’ve decided to turn this into another Shelstone Weekend shoulder/travel bag.

Sometimes it can be tricky deciding which fabrics to use for which handbags, but the size of the Henna print lent itself to becoming a bigger bag, so it seemed like a natural choice.  There’s still a way to go with this (front pockets, interior side pockets, zip pockets, side poppers….), but I thought I’d share this photo so you can see the colour combinations I’ll be using. This photo shows the main print, the darker print for the handles and the lovely mint green for the gorgeous lining.

Shelstone Weekend - Henna fabric collection

Shelstone Weekend – Henna fabric collection