May 01, 2019

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THREE TOP TIPS FOR TIP TOP PICS

We are always blown away by what a talented lot you are!  We really enjoy featuring your inspiring creations on our Social Media, so we thought we’d give you some simple tips on how to make your photos look as professional as your bags, which you will find in this helpful blogpost 'three top tips for tip-top pics'.  When you are ready to send us your images email them with the Subject Title CUSTOMER MAKES to info@u-handbag.com, include your Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest Account Names and we will add them with your images to our relevant Social Media outlet.

March 21, 2019

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Multi-Buy Savers Club T & C's


Are you a UK resident and want to make BIG savings on exciting and unusual bag making supplies?  Yes!  Then join our Multi-Buy Savers Club, it's FREE to join.  When you join you'll be able to help us select delicious, new products to offer in the club.

Here's how the Multi-Buy Savers Club works:

  1. Club products are voted for by club members, to join click here.
  2. All products are sold in multiples.
  3. All products are offered on a pre-order and pre-pay basis only.
  4. Products are available to order for 14 days (a countdown timer will be displayed on the club page, showing the remaining purchasing time).
  5. After 14 days the order cycle will be closed and we place orders with our factories (production time is approximately between 5 to 8 weeks). 
  6. Each order cycle will have a unique reference number, so you will know which cycle you have purchased from.
  7. Each product will have a SKU (stock keeping unit) so you will know which products you have purchased in an order cycle.
  8. After a 14 day break, a new 14-day ordering cycle (of new products) will begin.
  9. When all products have arrived with us, we will quality check and dispatch them to you (if you order several products you will get them in one package).
  10. Club products include FREE SHIPPING - to get Free shipping you will need to enter a code into the "Gift Card or Discount Code" bar at checkout using this code: MBFREESHIPPING
  11. Club products are only available to UK residents.
  12. Club products are only available to order separately from other products in the shop.

How are we able to offer such big savings?

  • In our club, you are joining forces with our other customers to order the same products together.  In this way, you are buying in bulk and bulk buying considerably lowers the unit price of a product.
  • Because you are ordering in multiples of more than 1 piece, this further lowers the unit price of a product.
  • We order these products from factories which is the cheapest way to buy them.
  • As you are pre-paying for your items, we only order what we need.  In this way, we do not have stock sitting on our shelves, so we can pass on these savings to you.

Multi-Buy Terms and Conditions:

  • You have up to 14 days after placing your pre-order to change your mind.  
  • Club products include FREE SHIPPING - to get Free shipping you will need to enter a code into the "Gift Card or Discount Code" bar at checkout using this code: MBFREESHIPPING
  • U-Handbag Loyalty Points are not valid to use when purchasing Club products.  We have applied as large a discount as we can to Club products, so we are unable to give any further discount.
  • Club products can be returned under our normal T & C's i.e. within 14 days of receipt. This does not include cut fabrics unless found to be faulty.
  • When ordering, please bear in mind the wait time for your products to arrive. This time includes; the order cycle & processing period, production and shipping time.  In most cases we expect you to receive your goods within 8 weeks from the end of your order cycle however, please allow up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
  • As we are ordering from factories we are unable to guarantee wait times, we can only offer guesstimates and will not be held liable if these take longer (within reasonable limits).
  • Multi-Buy Savers Club products cannot be ordered with any other products in the shop.
  • Multi-Buy products are available for all UK residents to purchase, but only club members can vote on new products that will be offered within the club.  Click on this link to join the Multi-Buy Savers Club.
    November 29, 2018

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    Sew Yummy Bags T&Cs

    Have you seen our monthly Sew Yummy Bags?  Go have a peep, we only make limited numbers of these special deluxe goodie bags a month!!

    Sew Yummy Bags T&Cs: 

    • All our usual terms and conditions will apply unless otherwise stated below
    • Sew Yummy Bags are currently available to UK customers only
    • Each Sew Yummy Bag is different, so contents will vary
    • The contents of each Bag are worth approximately £28 and contain between 5-8 hand-picked bag making accessories and crafting materials
    • The contents of Sew Yummy Bags are fixed and non-interchangeable
    • Each monthly batch of Sew Yummy Bags are available and sold from the 16th of each month to the 15th of the next month
    • The discount code in each Bag expires on the 28th of the next month and excludes discount on Bulk Buy, Craftsy, Clearance, E-patterns, Seconds, Sew Yummy Bags and Wholesale Orders
    • The discount code is valid for one use only
    • Should you wish to return your Sew Yummy Bag, all items should be unused and in their original packaging (this includes your discount code which will be invalidated) and you will not be eligible to be entered into the Sew Yummy Bags Instagram Monthly Prize Draw
    • You will need to follow the instructions below to be included in the Sew Yummy Bags Instagram Monthly Prize Draw
    • The last day to tag your Bag on Instagram each month is the 28th of the next month 
    • The £20 gift voucher in our Instagram Monthly Prize Draw has no expiration date.

    SEW YUMMY BAGS INSTAGRAM MONTHLY PRIZE DRAW - to be entered in the monthly draw to win a £20 gift voucher to spend in U-Handbag you need to:

    1. Take a photo of the contents of your Sew Yummy Bag (for inspiration see our images here)
    2. Share the photo on Instagram using tags @uhandbag and #sewyummybags (the last day to tag your bag on Instagram each month is the 28th of the next month)

    The monthly winner will be shared on our @uhandbag Instagram account and will be contacted soon after the draw.  

    October 10, 2018

    8 comments


    How to feed yo sew-jo (or get it back)

    Don't get stuck; get a kit! 

     

    No matter how much of a hardcore stitch lover you are, there are times when sewing can turn ugly; the swear-jar is overflowing and we are that close to hurling the machine out of the window.  Sound familiar???   To experience these feelings (a few times during every project or every now and again) is normal and anyone who says it isn't should be treated with suspicion...

    I've sewn for a living for over 20 years.  In that time there have been plenty of occasions where I felt that sewing was crap and I wished I was a farmer/belly dancer/pilot etc.  When we lose our sew-jo it's not nice. 

    We all lose it at times!  Here are my top tips for coaxing your sew-jo back into your work-room:

    1. Blocked by tricky step/instruction not making sense - rather than gouging an even bigger hole in your fabric (with your red-hot, angry seam ripper), put everything down and go away!!  Have a walk, have a cuppa and a snack, see if you can ask for help on social media or even sleep on it.  This almost always helps, because you get to refresh yourself and calm down.  Plugging away whilst you have the red-mist is never a good idea.  
    2. Sew easy - sometimes you just can't be bothered!  Or that pattern was a step toooooo far.  I get this sometimes, I will be in the midst of designing a pattern and my brain won't come up with a fix for something - ahhhhh!   Times like these call for a nice easy sew (with your fave fabric).  By all means, buy new fabrics, it's OK, it's medicinal.  Pick an easy pattern or an no-brainer kit and enjoy seeing it come quickly together.   This always works for me.  Most of my sewing involves writing patterns, so the joy of following someone's pattern is meditative.  
    3. Stitch (Stig) of the dump - just tidy up (a little).  There's a good chance that right now your workroom/area is not insta/pinterest worthy - neither is mine!  But it gets to a stage where the craft-mess not only hurts your eyes, but it actually affects sewing-joy.  You can't find anything anymore and you buy more fabric than you need (errrr...like...what's new??).  Whilst I can't bring myself to properly tidy up, I do tidy up (a little).  I keep my work table tidy.  I keep my tools in a tray by my machine and I clean up as I go along.  This helps preserve my sew-jo, and it increases my productivity, I can always find what I need and a clearer space really makes for a clearer mind. 
    4. Sew confident and inspired - this is tricky for everyone.  No matter where you are in your sewing journey, it can be hard to have confidence in ourselves.  Social media is a wonderful source of sewing inspiration, but if you spend more time surfing over sewing we can become intimidated by other people's makes.  We give ourselves a hard time for 'not being as good as them'.  Social media is nothing more than a curated snapshot of what folks want you to see.  What is real and true is: everyone is learning, everyone buggers things up and we are all at different stages.  Don't let curated snap-shots negatively affect how you feel about what you are doing.  Celebrate yourself for giving it a go, take your time and enjoy the journey. 
    5. Get sewcial - try to get out of the house and meet with other sewing junkies.  I attended a local Saturday sewing group and it was lovely!   It was so nice to be in like-minded company (no eye rolling when going on and on about fabric!).  With only your cat and sewing machine to talk to, sewing can get lonely.  If you are unable to meet with folks try joining facebook groups. There are many to choose from for all kinds of craft.  You can ask for help, share your makes and enjoy some crafty banter.  

    What are your top-tips for feeding your sew-jo?

    September 28, 2018

    14 comments


    How to sew with cork fabric (and make a cork bag strap)

    We only stock Touch Pro cork, this superb quality cork is backed with woven flannel-like fabric (see left-hand side) or canvas-like fabric which gives it a padded feel and durability and stability.

    How does cork feel and what is it like to sew with? 

    Well, in a word, it's lovely!  High-quality cork is beautifully smooth and pliable.  It has the handle of leather.  It's almost warm to the touch and has a strokeable peach-fuzz softness.   This cork fabric is made in such a way that it will retain these properties over time.  It will not dry, become brittle or flake with age.  As a fabric, the handle and drape are similar to leather, vinyl and thin sheet rubber.  It is water, dirt and crease resistant and incredibly earth-friendly.  Plus, it is vegan-friendly - no animal products are used in the manufacture or composition of cork fabric. 

    What is fabulous about cork is its natural pattern and its ability to take on colour dye.  Corks colours are richly saturated.  The intense colours and the thicker, smooth handle of cork combine to make this fabric look and feel very high-end. 

    Cork may look and feel unique, but it is actually pretty easy to sew with.  It's pretty much the same as sewing with real/faux leather/vinyl.  You just need to remember a few things which I will cover here.  After you've tried sewing with cork, I'm sure you're going to fall in love with it!

     

    Quickie good to know (all of this info is inside this blog post): 

    1. Stitch length = construction 3mm; topstitch 3.5-4mm (the thicker the layers, the longer the stitch length.
    2. Needle size 80-90 universal.  You can also use leather needles.
    3. Securing your stitches, do not sew in forward and reverse. Instead, pull the top thread (the thread on the right side of your work) to the wrong side and knot the 2 threads together.
    4. Cork doesn't fray.
    5. Cork does not crease, if you want folds, you will need to stitch them in.  If an elephant has sat on the cork you can safely iron it (on med heat setting). 
    6. Cork can happily be sewn on home machines (typically 3-4 layers).
    7. Use rivets when things are getting too thick for your machine.  Don't battle-on with your machine, you will both get very cross...
    8. Use sewing clips/double-sided tape/glue to hold pattern pieces together, don't use pins on cork.
    9. Cork is perfect for bags as it is very durable and it is water and dirt repellent. 

     

    What tools will I need?

    1. Quilt ruler - use with the rotary cutter (and cutting mat)
    2. Rotary cutter - for precise lines you can't beat a rotary cutter.
    3. Thread - my thread of choice for all bag making is Auriful 40wt (look for the green spool), or you can use a quality brand all-purpose nylon.
    4. Machine needle - I use 80 - 90/14 universal needles.  Cork fabric is not quite self-healing (in other words, when you make holes in cork, they won't fully disappear).  You need a strong needle, but not one so thick that will leave large holes behind in the fabric.  An 80-90 size needle is a good balance.
    5. Pattern marking - I use Clover Chaco chalk wheel pens. I love 'em.  They are precise and the marks rub off easily when needed.
    6. Pattern marking - Hera markers (or bone folder) are an alternative marking tool.  I prefer the Chaco pen, as you have to press hard with a Hera marker to make marks.
    7. Seam presser - there are times during construction when you need to press seams down and this seam marker is a very handy alternative to an iron.  But, bear in mind you cannot iron creases into cork (as the cork will just spring back).  If you want to keep seams pressed down flat, you will need to stitch the seam down.
    8. Glue - you can't use pins in cork as they will leave behind holes.   Instead, use glue (Gutermann HT2 is my fave)  or double-sided basting tape to hold pattern pieces in place.  Prym Wondertape is fab (as it does not gum-up your needle).  
    9. Rivets - cork is thick.  Home sewing machines will typically sew through 4 cork layers.  This becomes problematic when you are stitching your 4 layer handle loop to your 2 layer bag.  Ahhhhhhh!!!  You know what?  Unless you are on an industrial machine, don't even go there.  Instead, invest in a hand punch or press and use rivets to secure those bajillion layers.  Rivets work so well and (as you will see) look so awesome!  Try Chicago rivets as they look amazing and are so easy to use (plus you don't need a hammer).
    10. Sewing clips - as I mentioned before, you cannot pin cork.  Get yourself some sewing clips and you'll wonder how you managed without them! 
    11. Machine feet - (not pictured).  You can use, a roller or Teflon foot, but I think a walking foot is best, because not only will it not stick, but a walking foot will more easily handle the thick layers!  

     

    How to sew with cork (demonstrated via a cork bag strap tutorial).

    You will need:

      1. When making cork straps I think it's best to make them from 2 layers of cork cut carefully to the same width and stitched wrong sides together.  As cork fabric doesn't fray (and the raw edges look neat) you don't need to worry about exposed raw edges.   This method makes a perfectly nice-looking and strong strap that is not as thick and unwieldy as a (bias binding style) 4 layer strap would be.   So, cut your 2 cork strips to the same width as your ring or snap hook and to your desired length plus 7.5cm (3") for folding over the ends.

       

      2. Bring the 2 strips wrong sides together and take your time to match all edges perfectly.  Use sewing clips, glue or double-sided tape to hold the strips together.   

       

      3. Set the stitch length to 3.  (When sewing with cork you can actually sew with standard length (of 2.4-5) stitches, but I think that as cork fabric is thick, standard length stitches can look a bit small in the cork fabric).  Stitch all around the short and long strap edges.

       

      4.  Thread one of the snap hook rings onto one of the strap ends.  Look at your rivet, how tall is it?  The height of your rivet will determine how many times you will need to fold your strap end - a well-fitting rivet has sufficient layers to fill the entire rivet height (and a punched hole that is slightly smaller than the rivet shaft width).  Fold the strap end (over the ring) 4cm (1 1/2") to the wrong side.  Fold the strap end over again to the wrong side (so the first folded edge nearly touches the hook ring).

       

      5. On the strap to the wrong side (at the strap end), make a mark in the folded strap end.  Mark the centre of the folded strap end (I like to make the mark by pressing a rivet half into the cork.  Use an awl to pierce a starter hole into the mark you have just made.  Pierce through all layers. 

       

      6. Use a hole punch (I'm using a Prym Vario punch) to make a hole through all layers of the folded strap end. 

       

      7. With the trigger hook attached, pop the rivet in through the punched holes. If you like you can pop a dab of glue into the rivet shaft before screwing the halves together. I'm using a Chicago rivet as they look awesome, they are super-strong and you don't need to use a hammer. 

       

      8. As you can see, the strap raw edges are neat (and as cork fabric does not fray, the edges will remain neat).  Very nice! 

      October 06, 2017

      3 comments


      Bag Doctor

      Do you have a troublesome bag-making ailment?
      Is there something you struggle to get right, a technique that confounds you or something you just don’t know how to tackle?
       
      Well, Lisa has re-opened her Bag-Making Clinic especially for you!
       
      In a series of blog-posts, she and the team will tackle your popular bag-related aches and pains with some advice to help you on the road to recovery.  Simply email your ailments with the title BAG DOCTOR to info@u-handbag.com and look out for the cunning bag-making stethoscope image above in our series of posts to be featured in our online blog or via our newsletter (sign up to the newsletter by going to the bottom right of the homepage)

      February 16, 2015

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      Customer Restock Emails work a treat...

      ...for ensuring you get first dibs on restocked products.  This system is popular with our lovely regular customers as it is fast and easy to use.  

      So, if you come across a product that is currently 'Sold Out', as seen in the screenshot below, type your email address in the space provided and click the send button.  That's all you need to do and when that product is back in stock we email you first, giving you a few hours to get your orders in before we use social media to tell everyone else that we are re-stocked.

      Once we have emailed you, we delete the email, we won't contact you again or add you to lists, or any naughty stuff like that. :)