*Ahem* You’ll have to excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard. I’ve just finished this Meet the Maker post and boy, are you in for a treat. The fabric combinations, the stitching, the photography. I think I’m in love. Of course, with today’s guest residing in the ever-enchanting France, it’s hard not to become a little gushy. Without further ado, I introduce to you…Charlotte of Les envies de Charlotte.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m French, 36 years old and have two boys, 2 and 8. Have lived abroad (South America, Asia and Europe) for all my school years (till 17 ;))
My husband travels a lot for work so I juggle between my boys, my full time job in an American firm, and the little free time I have to sew.
How long have you been making bags to sell and how did you get started?
I’ve been sewing since I was pregnant with my youngest (started on an Ikea machine!) and initially did a lot of things for small children (bibs, pouches, pencil cases etc). After a couple of months and with my family’s and friends’ encouragements, I opened my little online store via A Little Market (equivalent to Etsy but available only in France).
Things kind of went quick thanks to Facebook and have now created my own web store. I’ve started sewing bags last summer thanks to all the wonderful designers I discovered through sewing groups on Facebook. I didn’t think they would sell that well, but they did and now I mostly do custom orders. My dream would be to actually open a physical shop and be able to sew all day long and make a living with my bags.
What do you enjoy the most about bag making?
Actually, a few things:
- When new patterns are released and you read through the instructions for the first time and think, ‘OK. I can do this, one step at a time’.
- The moment when you ‘birth’ the bag – i.e. turn it right side out and finally see a glimpse of the finished product. When you say to yourself, ‘Ah yes, this was sooooo worth it, I love how it turns out!’
- When you get feedback from your clients and they tell you how happy they are.
Do you have a favourite fabric designer or style?
I used to buy a lot of Robert Kaufmann/ Michael Miller / Timeless Treasure (and I still do but mostly the fun ones) which are really great fabric for kids.
I recently discovered Tula Pink, Cotton & Steel and Katarina Roccella which are really great for bags.
I just spend hours and hours online looking at all the fabric collections and have to restrain myself from buying so much more!! My only regret is that all these cannot be easily found locally and that I need to order from the United States / Asia which takes sooooo much time to be delivered.
What is your number one bag making tool or notion that you cannot live without?
Hahaha, guess I would have to say old mister seam ripper!! Can’t live without him… I now also use a lot of rivets so my rivet setter is not really far either…
As for the notions, I really learned a lot thanks to all the patterns I’ve discovered. I was really proud of my first lining zipped pocket (the one that goes ‘inside’ the fabric not the one that is sewn ‘on’ it), and surprisingly enough, it’s the part I least like of bag making!!!
Recessed zippers look also so professional so tend to favour those as well.
Do you have any tips for someone new to bag making?
Do not discourage yourself!!! If you fail, try again! And again, and again 😉 Bag making is so much fun and so satisfying when you find yourself with a finalised product that you can actually use!!
Take the time to read through the pattern before starting.
And remember, cutting, fusing AND seam ripping is ALL part of bag making ! 😉
What has been your proudest creative moment?
The smile I saw on my eldest when I made his first pencil case. It was such a basic and simple case but he was so amazed that I was actually able to make him something right in front of his eyes.
And of course, the first ‘designer’ bag I made “Wow, did I really make this??”.
Thank you, Charlotte, for sharing your wonderful story and beautiful photos with us. You can see more of Les envies de Charlotte at:
(Normally I would write a nice little closing sentence to finish off the post but I’m sitting here still in awe of the AH-mazing work Charlotte does so I think I’ll say nothing this time and just let the creative juices flow in your mind as they most certainly are in mine…. 🙂 ).