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What materials can you make a bag out of?

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

One of the most asked questions is what fabric can I use to make bags and purses. The answer is almost anything. Let's look at each type of fabric separately.


Leather is commonly used in bagmaking and has been for a long time. Its helpful to have a sewing machine that can cope with sewing leather and to use leather needles. Leather handbags are often hand sewn, known as leather craft, there are some amazing videos on youtube but I warn you, you may end up down a rabbit hole. 😂 Leather doesn't really need to be interfaced and comes in different grades and thickness so choosing the right one for your project is key to the outcome.

Faux leather

A very popular choice in the world for bag making not only for making bag but for purses too, much cheaper than real leather, good quality faux leather can be very realistic it can look and feel almost the same as real leather. It's also a popular choice for people who don't want to use real leather for lifestyle choices. Again having the right sewing machine and needles is key to getting the best outcome for your protect. Using a denim needle or a microtex needle is a good choice when sewing with faux leather.


Canvas is a great way to make bags as its strong and sturdy and doesn't need much interfacing so can be a cost effective way to make bags especially when your first starting out and testing the waters. They also look great and are very durable. Canvas does come in different weights so make sure you test if you sewing machine can handle sewing the fabric you choose.


Cotton is a great choice for making bags, it can be used for exteriors and linings. Choosing the right interfacing for you cotton will make or break how your project turns out, interfacing comes in different weights and types I have previous written a post about interfacing which may help you decide which one is right for your fabric you can visit that post here. There are so many pattern designs in cotton that your choices are limitless, cotton varies in weight such as lawn and poplin are lighter in weight than a quilting cotton or a cotton canvas for example, so again choosing the type of cotton can change the look and style of your finished project.

Wool or wool blends.

I love using wool and wool blends in bag making, they look so classy and can be very durable and hardwearing. For exteriors wool or wool blends will need to interface to give structure if your bag pattern calls for a firm fabric for the exterior, they work perfectly uninterfaced for more slouchy bags. This is a bag I made recently in pure lambs wool I just love it .

A burgundy red lambs wool handbag made from an upcycled womens coat, the bag is finished with gold effect hardware and faux leather handles.
Lambs Wool Handmade Handbag

What are your favourite fabrics to use in your bag making projects, let me know in the comments below.

Until next time

Deb xxx

68 views3 comments


Sew Lets Face It
Sew Lets Face It
Feb 15, 2023

Bag making hardware most definitely in memademakes x


Sew Lets Face It
Sew Lets Face It
Feb 15, 2023

I love using canvas and faux leather, especially canvas because I don’t need to use my industrial machine. Beautiful fabric to sew with x

Deb Callaghan
Deb Callaghan
Apr 04, 2023
Replying to

I like using them as I dont need to interface them!!! ha ha i hate interfacing

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