Color Me Bucklebee

One of the questions I hear most often from customers and students is "how do you pick your fabrics?" Bucklebee bags are known for bold prints, vibrant colors and unexpected fabrics in surprising combinations. Here are a few tips to help you think outside the box when you're choosing fabrics for your Bucklebee bag.

  • Find a fabric you love. One you swoon over. One you have to have. It can be one you already own, or one that's whispering to you on the shop shelf. Listen to the whisper.
  • Find a friend for it. Think about your focus fabric's style, its print density, its intensity. As a general rule, you want to stay in the same style genre (shabby chic, retro, Scandinavian simple). As for density, either choose a companion fabric that has about the same amount of negative space, or a big difference in negative space (polka dots with an oversized floral).
  • Think texture, both visual and tactile. If you choose a fabric with lots of slubs and nubbles, like linen, let the texture tell the story. If your focus fabric has lots going on print-wise, consider a quieter print for contrast.
  • Embrace color. You're going to make a fabulous bag. Call attention to it. If your focus fabric is subdued, perk it up with a bright contrast. Sometimes a small detail is all it takes--a red zipper on denim, a fine line of richly-colored piping between focus and contrast fabrics.
  • Don't discount classic combinations. Garment-quality faux leathers and suedes are easy to sew and add a layer of luxury to bag details.

Fabrics for a handbag are a relatively small investment; they don't take much. So take a risk. Go bold. Sew out loud.

Joan Radell