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Wardrobe Malfunction – A Broken Purse Horror Story

Why You Want to Buy a Quality Bag:  When you buy a cheap, not-well-made purse, the seam bursts open when you are shopping.  When the seam of your bag bursts open, your car keys fall out and you lose them.  When you lose your car keys, you stand in the parking lot unable to get into your car.  When you are unable to open your car door, it inevitably rains and then pours.  When it pours and the wind howls, a tornedo forms and the tornedo sirens go off.  When the tornedo sirens go off, you seek the closest shelter.  When you seek the closest shelter, you dive into a muddy ditch and wait for the tornedo to pass.  Don’t dive into a muddy ditch to avoid a tornedo, BUY A QUALITY BAG!

Here’s what it takes to make a sturdy handbag:

1.  Heavy-Weight, Industrial Sewing Machines.  We have two Juki DU-141 Walking Foot machines, as well as a Brother Industrial 5-Thread Serger.  I also have a home machine — a real nice Bernina — but it’s just too PUNY in relation to the Juki.  I use the home machine for household mending … it never touches my bags.

2.  Good Quality, Heavy-Weight Materials.

 I buy only 1000-denier nylon Cordura to use as the base of most of our bags.  “Cordura” is a Dupont Corporation product and is much better than “microfiber” or other knock-offs.  It’s strong, holds its shape and wears and washes well.

Most accent fabrics/tapestries are not a strong as the nylon Cordura, so wherever we use the tapestry we line it to give it extra strength.  Also, some tapestries are a looser weave than others, so we serge the edges of those so it will not fray or run.

Aztec Tapestry with edges serged to add more stability

I sew only with Number 69 nylon thread.  It’s strong stuff and you cannot break it with just your hands.

After researching the break strengths of the buckles, etc. I chose a supplier who is (unfortunately) more-expensive but sells better-quality hardware.   And you’ll notice that our webbing is stiff when it’s new.  There is a light-weight and a heavy-weight version of most webbing and the heavy-weight is stiff when it’s new.

I use only YKK zippers, mostly #5.  Again, I researched brands and weights of zippers and these are the best that are made.

3.  Going the Extra Mile with Sewing Techniques.  I double-sew all the zippers, triple-sew all the intersections and bind all the seams.  I back-tack often at the beginning of a seam so there is no chance of coming un-sewn (I’ve worn the paint off the back pedal!)  If I run out of bobbin thread when top-stitching, I take out the entire seam and start again so that the top stitching is one complete line and there is no danger of coming undone.  I have been sewing since high school when I took sewing lessons from a professional seamstress so I’ve had many many years to develop my skills.

We do all the work ourselves and can be sure of our quality that way.

4.  Sturdiness Built Into the Design.  Several of our patterns call for straps that are sewn down the side as opposed to fitting into a top seam where they might pull out.  Our three Totes even have the straps sewn all the way around the bottom!

SO … BUY A QUALITY MKI BAG.  Warning:  Make sure you like the color …  you’ll have it a looong time!



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A Little Help from your Friends

Recently, Mary Walewski came to my house to teach me the basics of blogging.   Mary is a social media marketing (SMM) specialist for authors and entrpreneurs.  I’ve  been pleased to have her help for several years now and find that she knows her subject well.   So, here I am now, a fledgling blogger.

As Mary first walked in, I was delighted to notice that she was carrying two MKI bags!  She had a mini-laptop carrier in Navy/Sapphire in one hand and a Black/Southwest Tapestry Tall Plus over her shoulder.  She says that the Tan/Southwest Tapestry Tote

Mary Walewski with her tapestry bags from MKI

Purse serves her well as a summer purse and I am sure she has purchased other bags also for gifts.  Seeing people using our bags is a hugh compliment to us.  We put so much effort into building sturdy, functional bags that are also gorgeous, and, when people show up using them, it’s like a pat on the back, a good performance review, a valedation that our efforts are worthwhile.  Thank you, Mary.

There’s a lot of techy stuff to SMM that I will probably not get into much … my expertise is in bag-making.  But when I’m ready to take the next step, I’ll seek a little help from my friends and call Mary.  Check out her website and blog because she has a lot of interesting things to say…



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Celebrate the Tapestry of Life

I believe that life is like the tapestry fabric that I love so much.  It has beautiful pictures and colors and richness to it with threads woven in and out bringing fascinating views at each turn.

I have resisted blogging in the past, viewing it as self-centered and trivial, but I’ve had a

Queensland Tapestry shows threads of life

change of heart.  I’ve noticed that what my husband, Woody, and I enjoy so much in our lives now is the interaction with other people and the ideas and interesting tales we hear from perfect strangers who walk into our booth at fairs and festivals.  There are some very nice people out there!  There are some wonderful senses of humor among them, and some wisdom that is pretty cool!  So I’ve decided to share that and bring to each of you the sunshine and joy that people bring to me.  (Bring me Sunshine). 

Oh, yes, lots of sunshine to me when a customer tells me how much she loves her purse, how it still looks and performs well after all these years, how she gets compliments on it all the time, how it has just the right place to keep ________.  Personally, I am complimented and encouraged to hear these comments.  (Thank you, thank you.)  There is not a better motivator to my creativity! (Love my bag testimonials)

Speaking of creativity!  There is no end to the multiple ways customers pack and use our bags!  Of course, I design them for flexibility so I’m not surprised.  You’ll love these fun suggestions and I’ll share them with you. (Nifty ideas for how to use your bags)

 Of course, I hear many good suggestions on (a) what new products to make and (b) how to improve the products I have.  In fact, most of my designs have been the result of customer ideas and/or needs of the family.  So, as I come up with new fabrics and/or new products, I will share them with you here. (Snazzy new stuff!!)

The truth is that many of my idea work, but some of them just don’t!!  Believe me, I know a lot of what doesn’t work, but it doesn’t discourage me from trying again.  I’ll continue to listen to all of you and we’ll use this blog to take surveys of preferences to help us create the products that best serve our customers.  (Purse Features)

And then there’s FAQs.  I’ll share with you my knowledge of fabrics, cleaning and packing techniques, sewing equipment, “ingredients” for bag-making, how it’s done, etc.  (Mom’s Krazy Ideas details)

So, thanks for joining me on my Baglady Adventures and Search for the Tapestry of Life.  For a delightful pick-me-up, check out this YouTube video – you’ll love it.