Recommendations and sewing resources page

I’m often asked for certain recommendations from sewers of all levels, and especially from those who are taking my classes or have bought my patterns. These questions can range from ‘what’s the best sewing machine?’ to ‘where do you buy your fabric?’ and ‘I can’t get XYZ, can I use ABC instead?’

So here’s a handy list to help you out with all sorts of links and information that a keen bag sewer might need to know. Click the Question to see the answer. This page will contain affiliate links that may earn me a small commission if you buy as a result of my recommendation.

I use a Brother CS6000i sewing machine, that I bought from Amazon and had shipped onto the island. Thankfully it was well packaged and arrived in perfect condition. So far this machine has sewed everything I’ve thrown at it and has coped nicely with sewing the layers needed for sewing bags and purses. What I like about this machine:

  • it has a large removable flatbed
  • the automatic needle threader (been a few years since I could thread a needle without one!)
  • large selection of decorative stitches although I probably only use about 5 of them most of the time
  • adjustable speed with 3 settings so I can turn it down when I need to sew slowly
  • the needle down setting is ideal for turning corners or stopping and starting
  • an easy to read LCD and easy buttons to change stitch settings
  • automatic tension
  • it comes with a walking foot – perfect for bag sewing

This exact machine might not be available where you live, but you can probably find something similar or equivalent.

What to avoid – do not buy the ‘mini’ sewing machines or the ones that come in bright colors and look like toys. These really are no good for sewing bags and you’ll always have trouble and be disappointed. If your budget means that you cannot invest straight away in a new machine then you can most likely find a good second-hand one for sale locally. Some of the older machines are heavy and reliable, and might even last you a lifetime!

You can see my machine and read more about it here with a full unboxing video and overview of all of the features, tools and accessories.

We do have a sewing shop on the island, and it’s jam-packed with fabrics. However, it’s not always the stock I need for bag-making so as much as I love the place and want to support local businesses, for my hardware, interfacing, thread and much of my fabric, I need to order in from overseas and get it delivered by ship to the island. Shipping usually takes 8-12 weeks from order to receipt and is very expensive so I only do it once a year!

Here’s a handy list of some of my favorite places to buy fabric online.

Usually two main places. Either Amazon if I am buying in bulk for items that I might use a lot of (magnetic snaps for example), or for buying kits of matching hardware (like this 1 inch set of strap hardware). Anything you want to buy in bulk is going to be cheapest on Amazon.

Or I love Etsy for individual items, small sets and hard to find or special hardware items. Strapworks has interesting hardware and a good range of plastic buckles and straps for backpacks etc.

Here’s a list of purse hardware suppliers I love on Etsy. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer for your order to arrive, ordering from overseas can often give you access to a much bigger range of supplies and cheaper prices.

An article and video on this is to follow

I will always shop around, see who has sales, and who has the best prices on interfacing this week before placing an order. No point paying more than you have to. These are the shops and links I would check for interfacing to compare prices.

ShapeFlex 101 – Amazon  / / Etsy / JoAnn Fabrics / Online Fabric Store / Walmart

Fusible Fleece – / Amazon / Etsy / Online Fabric Store / JoAnn Fabrics / Thermoweb

Decovil – JoAnn Fabrics / / Amazon ETSY / Walmart /

Decor Bond 808/809 –  Amazon / OFS / JoAnn Fabrics / Etsy

Peltex – / Amazon / Etsy / JoAnn Fabrics / Walmart / Online Fabric Store

Flex Foam (Pellon) –  Amazon / JoAnn Fabrics / Walmart / /

Headliner  – / Amazon / Online Fabric Store / JoAnn Fabrics

All interfacings – / Online Fabric Store / JoAnn Fabrics / Walmart /

You can also find a huge range of interfacings, adhesives, stabilizers, and more at the Thermoweb site. I love their iron-on vinyl product and often use the HeatnBond.

I love those things! They really finish off the corners nicely and will protect the wallet and make it more hardwearing. You can find the metal corners (called book corners) from Bag Maker Supply here on Etsy – metal wallet corners.