Fabric generally sits in two categories: dress-weight fabric and upholstery-weight fabric. Pretty self-explanatory what that means… dress-weight fabric is better suited to clothing and upholstery-weight fabric is for cushions, sofas, chairs and sofas.
For bags, we can use both types which is rather exciting and means the options are almost limitless. We would tend to use dress-weight fabric for lining a bag and a heavier weight for the bag exterior.
When you start thinking about making your bespoke bag, we’ll ask you a few questions about what the bag is intended for, what it will carry and who will be using it. This will help us make suggestions on the fabric best suited for your bag. If a child will use the bag to carry his lunch to school in, then we might suggest a wipe-clean lining which means it can be kept fresh with a wipe down or popped into the washing machine. If it’s a custom laptop bag or promotional tablet sleeve then we would suggest a tough fabric for the exterior such as felt or a quilted/padded bag to protect the device.
Canvas and denim are great fabrics for the exterior of a promotional bag. Available in different weights, canvas is strong and can be screen printed or bucket dyed to achieve the look you are hoping for. We’re in production of a bag for Make Architects of a lovely red canvas shopper that has been Pantone-matched to suit their brand identity and portfolio of other printed items (we matched against their business card) and then screen printed their logo.
Denim is a great hard-wearing fabric for a custom bag. We produced a few concept samples for a client recently and the three samples were a great example of a creative agency asking us if we can create a bag for them. They sent us concepts, we calculated fabric usage and time involved for each concept and then made them up, complete with woven labels. Corduroy is another great hard-wearing fabric for a custom bag that is designed for multiple uses.
We use flannelette most regularly for dust bags, product protective bags and shoes repair services. Flannelette, also known as brushed cotton and winceyette is soft, can be dyed and printed. Usually we create bags with a drawstring for this type of usage. It can have a raised brushed surface on both sides or just one. Cord can be fabric, cotton, polyester, neon, Pantone matched, black – whatever takes your fancy or suits your brand colours.
Velvet bags are often associated with jewellery, gifting and alcohol! We don’t encourage printing on velvet, but embroidery and labels are a great way to brand them. Velvet frays easily so we sew with a wider seam allowance to account for this. So a small gift bag might only be small when finished, but we might allow for double the amount of fabric to ensure its sewn together with no fraying.
Faux suede and real suede usually used for the exterior of a promotional bag. We can emboss and deboss to brand this material and can look really great. Suede bags can be interfaced which is an extra layer of material or adhesive stiffener that is applied to the facing of the bag to add support.
Cotton bags can be made from a number of different weights of fabric. We have stock bags we supply from 4.5oz and up. They can be branded within a print area and supplied internationally within ten days. Bespoke cotton bags can be printed all over on a number of different of weights and then self handles (mean the handles are made from the same fabric as the body of the bag) sewn in or leather handles, faux leather handles or thick cord handles – whatever you’re looking for! We’ve had many jobs recently for reusable bags or bags for life. Retailers offering their clients a great bag they can reuse, in light of plastic bags being charged for in England, as well as a great area for branding and repeated brand exposure.
Felt bags have been really popular with us since we made The Collection Bag for G.F Smith. A beautiful bespoke bag to carry their paper samples. We have made tablet sleeves, presentation bags, document holders from felt. Felt comes in many thicknesses and colours. See the colourways available below. They can have woven labels applied to them, bespoke metalwork, leather or faux leather straps and anything sewn to the bag to make it your own brands.