1820 Bag Co. Artist Feature - Team Handmade

Hooray for 1820 Bag Co, as we've been featured by Team Handmade. The interview also includes pics of the 1820 Bag Co Studio and several of our messenger bags in progress. 

 A quick excerpt: 

As a team of handmade shops, we strive to promote and elevate the importance of true handcrafted items, handmade by the artists. We are kicking off our interview series with one of our top nominated team shops,1820 Bag. Co by HM Mills. Helen’s business is an impressive example of a level we can all strive to reach; her bags are absolutely gorgeous—and I know from personal experience they are very well made and as gorgeous in person as they are in pictures—-excellent photography, a professional website, and well written product descriptions are just a few of the pieces that contribute to her growing success. We wish her all the success she can handle….and please share your comments on 1820 Bag. Co’s feature in the comments below. Thank you for helping to keep the hand in handmade!


What was your sewing background before you started making bags? What inspired you to start making the bags you do? What inspired your styles?
I was first introduced to sewing by my mother who was an avid sewer.  While I was in college, I brought a White sewing machine at a factory sale for $100.  While it was only able to sew six different types of stitches, it was made of metal and therefore lasted years, allowing me to make the majority of my corporate wardrobe after graduation.  Somewhere along the way, whether is was time or lack of interest, I stopped sewing, boxed my sewing machine and placed it on a closet shelf.
A few years ago, I wanted a large Bohemian styled cross body bag and I could not find one that wasn’t cheaply made or flimsy.  I guess because I was a sewer, I always had this tendency of inspecting the construction of an item and fabric durability.  I went home feeling defeated, but got this crazy idea and took my old White sewing machine off the closet shelf.  Although I had no idea what I was doing, I made the ugliest cross body bag that my mother-in-law still insists on using today.  When my store brought laptop bag broke,  I decided to make a durable messenger bag.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that messenger bag was the springboard for my business.
I tend to gravitate toward classic lines, bohemian styles, rugged canvas and leathers, (so basically, I am all over the place),  I think my style is influenced by conflicting environments: the corporate life influences the classic lines, and my free spirit inspires the bohemian style and the rugged style comes from the necessity of a durable bag as I bike through the Everglades.


How do you source your materials?
I have an affinity toward natural fibers, such as hemp, canvas, wools and linen and natural things.  In addition to natural fibers, I recently started incorporating waxed canvas and leather into my designs as I found leather and waxed canvas add to a bag’s durability as well as a rustic look. I currently wax my own canvas and get a real kick out of attracting bees when waxing canvas fabric with beeswax outdoors.


You can read the entire interview here:  Artist Feature: 1820 Bag Co.


About Team Handmade:

Our team, created on April 23, 2012, is a group of artisan shop owners who create and sell our handmade works on Etsy and beyond. Our members are committed to “keeping the hand in handmade” and raising awareness about the importance and value of artists’ handmade products in an increasingly mass-produced economy. We strive to promote and support handmade artists and to provide assurance to Etsy buyers that purchasing from a team member is purchasing authentic handmade directly from the artist or artists.

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Dreaming of Autumn

From our studio in sunny (and still very warm) South Florida we are celebrating Autumn by incorporating the classic look of menswear (houndstooth, tartan plaid, leather, suede and leopard print) into some very sharp Leather & Wool totes.

Plaid Green Tartan & Brown Leather Tote Mini Houndstooth Tan & Brown Leather ToteMini Brown Houndstooth & Brown Leather ToteSuede Leather - Burnt Orange Tote

Yes it's autumn and we are may be feeling a bit melancholy, we know we are missing the crispness in the air, the leaves changing colors while drinking a Pumpkin Spice latte and the ability to wear some very sharp menswear fashion.  So with Pumpkin Spice latte in hand, we will continue to sew on in our shorts and flip flops. 



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Around the Studio - Fall Leather & Wool Totes

The date on the calendar reminds us that it's officially Autumn, and while the coolness in temperature begins to settle in most places, the sun is still shining warmly in South Florida.

So as we welcome in Autumn, we thought we would share the progress of one of our totes from the Leather & Wool collection featuring some fabulous Menswear Fall 2013 fabrics including Houndstooth, Tartan Plaids, Checked Wool and Canvas Leopard. 

We found a beautiful leather suede hide in a Burnt Orange which matched a checkered wool fabric.  The orange suede picks up the orange hues in the wool fabric.  A light brown stain added to the leather straps along with a zippered closure will make this tote perfect for the Fall...

...and work continues in the warm morning sunshine.


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Back to School Messenger Bag for Men & Women

Purple Hemp Messenger BagA few years ago we came across a wonderful hemp/cotton fabric supplier. Hemp fabric is warm and soft yet it's known for its durability.

When we first discovered this fabric, we loved its laid back Bohemian look so much that we created a line of simple Messenger Bags incorporating this wonderful fabric. Designed for the minimalist, but the bag still practical as it contains several compartments to hold everything. There are two pockets under the flap, (which can hold an iPad on the larger bag). On the inside the bag is lined with a heavy canvas for extra durability and includes slip pockets on one side and a zippered pocket on the other. Messenger is slightly padded.   

Available in two sizes: Medium Fits a 15" Laptops & 17" Laptops

Available in two colors: Steel Gray and Purple






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And So 1820 Bag Co. Begins

Here at 1820 Bag Co., we love bright fabrics and leather. We also like to sew. 

It started with a search for a durable bag, then an Idea drawn in a little notebook. 

Today we launch 1820 Bag Co., a place that mixes bright colors and durability to carry all that stuff around...

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