If you’ve been following the handmade bag scene for a while, today’s guest will need little introduction. If you’re new here, then boy are you in for treat.
For over four years Melisa Jane has been gracing our Facebook pages with her gorgeous fabric combinations and flawless construction. With each and every creation she shows not only her incredible talent, but a true passion for her craft. Melisa never fails to amaze as she turns a seemingly simple design into an exquisite work of art. Without further ado, I introduce to you… Melisa Jane.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Melisa and I live with my husband and two boys in a small town just outside Canberra, Australia. I didn’t come from a sewing background, so my first exposure to it was in year 7 high school. And I didn’t look back! After high school I got my degree in Speech and Hearing and took a job managing a hearing clinic in the centre of Sydney. It stood me in good stead for opening my own little business a few years later!
2. How long have you been making bags to sell and how did you get started?
After my second son was born I left my job to care for my boys full time. At this point I got back into sewing, which I hadn’t had much of a chance to do since high school. The handmade world was a relatively new and exciting place at that time so I tentatively started a business at the beginning of 2012 to see how things went. My primary focus at that time was to do children’s clothing. But one of the first products I made to sell happened to be a handbag. At that time there were not a lot of bag makers around so it seems I certainly made a splash! From that point on, although I still made clothing from time to time, bags were my biggest seller and still are 4.5 years on.
3. What are you working on right now?
Right now I am juggling pattern testing for a couple different designers as well as several custom orders. On my cutting table right this second is another two Luxie Lunch bags (pattern from Emmaline Bags).
4. What do you enjoy about making bags?
I love the start, so choosing the fabric combinations and then seeing the end result. I love being a bit original and thinking outside the box!
5. Is there anything you particularly dislike about making bags?
There’s nothing I particularly dislike about bag making. I am not fond of a drop in lining, and sewing leather and vinyl is not particularly easy for me on my domestic sewing machine. But overall bags are fun!
6. Do you have any tips for someone just starting their bag making journey?
Research interfacings! I think using good quality interfacing is something that will make or break the overall look of your finished bag. But that doesn’t mean it needs to cost a lot!. Use cheaper interfacings on the lining and pockets and save the good stuff for where it will be seen most.
If you think you might be making lots of bags (who are we kidding of course you will they are addictive!) then look into bulk buys on zips, hardware and interfacing. Some people don’t realise that the fabric is the cheapest part of the bag! its all the extras that make up the cost.
7. What has been your proudest creative moment thus far?
That’s a tough one! I have three and not sure which would be number 1!
Most recently I was asked to make a couple of bags for Tula Pink to use in her Australian trunk shows which was a BIG thrill!
Secondly winning Purse Palooza was awesome and something I never contemplated happening to me.
Last of all would be the mini quilt I made last year which tested me beyond what I thought I could do. I was so proud of the end result!
If you’ve ever been looking for inspiration, or even just a little crafty eye candy, then Melisa is the person to be following.
Melisa Jane can be found at: