THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

November 21, 2006

Bobby Breslau bag

 By Diva Els
Bobby Breslau  bag

I wanted to make a copy of this unusual shaped bag after reading about this bag at
Kathleen Fasanella’s website And reading more about the bag that Gigi is making
I had hopes to find the pattern but no luck . Gigi was kind enough to lend me the pattern .
Bobbb Breslau pattern
Items I used for this bag:
The leather bag is sewn with a home machine Pfaff 1467, I used a regular sewing foot on which I glued a piece of Teflon under the foot. Stitch length 3.5, needle size 90 and regular Gütermann thread. Leather glue, small piece of lining leather and a hammer to pound the seams flat. I had a large piece of leather about 32 square foot in my stash and it was enough for making this huge bag, although I had to cut the front pocket with a center seam. Fusible hair canvas for leather in two different weights and a soft non woven fusible special for leather.
facing flap interfacing
I also used fusible woven tape for leather at the front opening and the inside pockets for stabilising, as well as 2 pieces of rigilene boning (6 and 12 mm)
Rigilene boning
Detail rigilene boning,
Detail rigilene
The wider one 12 mm which I stitched at the inside of the flap at the spot where the back parts ends and the flap starts.
rigilene flap
The other piece of rigilene boning (6 mm ) I glued between the facing and the upper part of the front and topstitched from the right side of the bag.
rigilene front
The most heavy haircanvas is fused at the back, side parts and the shoulder straps ( without seam allowances), the other pattern parts are interfaced with the lighter weight canvas while the nonwoven interfacing is fused at the flap facing, the inside pocket, and the shoulder strap facing part.
The pockets are lined except the cell phone pocket. To further strenghten the straps I decided to use a bit more interfacing so I fused a second layer of the heavy hair canvas to these.
The magnetic closure at the front is stabilized with a piece of leather lining at the inside and I also glued a piece of the leather lining on top of it so the metal part is covered and can not damage the leather.
Front pocket
pocket magnetic closure
I added a cell phone pocket and a key ring at the side part.
The straps were cut longer and were not tied in a knot (in contrast to the Pattern example), but they were sewed together as one. I like the longer shoulder strap so I can wear the bag crossed over the shoulder.
I added a Vogue American Designer Original label inside the back pocket,
The unusual shape of the bag bottom,
The sizes of the bag I made are:
width 16 inch ( 41 cm)
depth side 9,5 inch ( 24 cm)
height 12 inch ( 30 cm
Shoulder strap length 53 inch ( 134 cm)
Pam from sells  Pro_Tricot fusible interfacing,  which you can use on leather since it is fused using low heat. 



  1. Oh Els, that bag is simply stunning! Can I pay you to make one for me, please?

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — November 21, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  2. Gorgeous. Thanks for explanation of the interfacings and riglene. I’d never thought to use riglene in a purse/bag before but it certainly makes sense. I usually only think of it in the sewing application of boning a bodice.

    Comment by Summerset — November 21, 2006 @ 1:00 pm

  3. Oh Els, everything done with a “normal” sewing machine, 90 needle, normal thread and a teflon foot? Why I’m so scared of working with leather????????
    Absolutely fabulous!

    Comment by Karina — November 21, 2006 @ 1:06 pm

  4. Els, that is the *coolest* bag! the construction ideas are terrific. I want one!

    Comment by Phyllis — November 21, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

  5. Wow, this is special, I never made a bag and always thougth that would not be possible. But this is giving me ideas!
    Could you explain what rigilene is and what the Dutch word for it is.

    A dutch fan of this blog.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 21, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

  6. This is a fabulous bag. I want one!

    Comment by Anonymous — November 21, 2006 @ 6:18 pm

  7. Fabulous, Els! Your work is incredible. I wish I wasn’t such a dope about making leather bags, ’cause you show us it’s definitely worth doing!

    Comment by Mary Beth — November 21, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  8. Ann, sure you can!

    Anonymous ( Dutch fan) Rigilene is een merknaam baleinen die je kunt meestikken , te koop in verschillende breedtes in zwart en wit. Zie bijgevoegde foto.

    Comment by Els — November 22, 2006 @ 1:11 am

  9. Inspiring! I want to make a leather bag now!

    Comment by Lisette — November 22, 2006 @ 8:49 am

  10. Exceptional bag.Thank you very much for the detailed notes and pictures through the construction.

    Comment by Abi — November 22, 2006 @ 8:55 am

  11. Hi Els, I love this bag! I am wondering if I can pay you to get the pattern or maybe the bag? I am just a beginner sewer so maybe I am not gonna be able to make this bag…please advice!! 🙂

    Comment by libraStar — November 22, 2006 @ 9:12 am

  12. Ahhh, I found that pattern on Ebay right after Kathleen wrote about the bag, however the bidding went soooo high for the pattern, I think almost $40.00. My one thought was that everyone who had read Kathleen’s writings was bidding on that pattern..LOL. Your bag looks great, well done.

    Comment by Anonymous — November 22, 2006 @ 9:37 am

  13. Wow! I’m very impressed.

    Comment by vespabelle — November 22, 2006 @ 10:29 am

  14. Els, you are such a star! What a wonderful job. I love that grain too. Such wonderful work.

    Comment by Kathleen Fasanella — November 22, 2006 @ 10:57 am

  15. Hi
    I just found this blog and am amazed at the craftsmanship and taste in projects! Your work is fantastic. Keep up the good work ladies!


    Comment by Vintage Version 2.0 — November 22, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  16. Beautiful bag! I am also one who has not yet sewn with leather (or made a bag)… but this makes it seem so easy. How did you know what and where to use the interfacings and such, els? Are the instructions that detailed or is that all from personal knowledge?

    Comment by Lorna — November 23, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

  17. magnificent! beautiful work Els.

    Comment by Kelly — November 23, 2006 @ 7:04 pm

  18. Lorna, the pattern instructions for the leather bag does not provide information for using interfacing and such so it is from my personal sewing knowledge to add the different types of interfacing and boning. Because I used a fairly thin leather (15 mm thick) I thought it was necessary to add some strength to the leather for this type of bag.
    The sewing directions does differ from the one I did because the leather could be sewn mostly as if it was fabric.
    BTW the pattern does provide sewing directions for a bag made out of fabric and one made out of leather.
    Testing different leather interfacings made me use the different ones for the particular parts.
    But it helped that I have sewn leather bags before and I have some books about sewing with leather which add to the knowledge.

    Comment by Els — November 24, 2006 @ 5:00 am

  19. I have a piece of leather I just purchased in the city, and your bag is a great inspiration. Thank you for the detailed instruction on construction, you’ve taken the fear out of trying to make a bag. I will print your information for reference it will be invaluable!

    Comment by Anonymous — November 25, 2006 @ 5:17 am

  20. Wow, what a terrific bag. For whatever reason, I tend to think of leather bags as things we can’t make ourselves. I’m so impressed.

    Comment by LMH — November 25, 2006 @ 9:46 am

  21. What a great looking bag!!!!I just purchase rigilene to use for handles on a purse I am thinking about making. Glad to see how else it can be used. Excellent job!!!!

    Comment by Linda — November 30, 2006 @ 3:36 am

  22. Using Tim Gunn’s language: I am verklempt! I’m simply speechless with amazement at the sheer mastery in creating this bag.

    Kudos to you!

    Comment by Ms. Place — November 30, 2006 @ 10:51 am

  23. Dear Sis, you made a small typo error. The leather thickness is ofcourse 1.5 mm instead of the 15 mm, otherwise you don’t need the rigilene.

    May I congratulate you and the other ‘girls’ for over 100.000 visits in such a short period.


    Comment by Peter from Amsterdam — December 1, 2006 @ 3:15 pm

  24. Peter, you are right about the typing error.
    The leather was only 1,5 mm ( about 0.06 inches thick.

    Comment by Els — December 1, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

  25. Beautiful, beautiful bag!
    I recognize that pattern. It was in my stash nearly three decades ago-perhaps it still is 😉 Thank you for sharing your fabulous creations and experience with us. Sue

    Comment by Anonymous — December 10, 2006 @ 7:19 pm

  26. Amazing! and inspirational! Thanks for making this website happen.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 15, 2006 @ 7:26 pm

  27. Hello, I just came across this site, and am totally in love. I just added it to my faves. I was wondering as I’m sure are other folks, if you would be willing to sell me a copy of your pattern for the Bobby Breslau bag. I would absolutely love to have this pattern, and did an internet search for it, and of course came up empty handed. Please, PLEASE consider this.

    Comment by Carolyn — January 9, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  28. You said you glued teflon to the bottom of a regular foot.Where do you get the teflon?

    Comment by meri — February 14, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  29. Meri,

    The “Teflon adhesive tape” I used to glue on the bottom of my sewing machine foot was purchased from Rochelle Harper you can see it at

    Comment by Els — February 14, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

  30. Hi, could you tell me where you can get the fusable hair canvas from for your leather bag? Thanks

    Comment by Pauline — July 9, 2008 @ 7:36 am

  31. Pauline,

    The Hänsel Leather fusible interfacings I bought from a Dutch supplier but you can inquire for a foreign supplier at the German company who manufacture these special canvasses

    Comment by Els — July 9, 2008 @ 3:35 pm

  32. I have contacted the US office of Hänsel Textile regarding this fusible canvas. I’ll report back as soon as they reply!

    Comment by Gigi — July 9, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

  33. Hi,

    I would like to have the pattern of this bag. Is it possible to send it to me in the Netherlands???

    grtz Margriet

    Comment by margriet — September 22, 2008 @ 3:52 am

  34. Congratulations on your amazing bag, love it to bits!! I have been making toys but seeing a bag like yours gives me a whole new inspiration, would it be at all possible to get a pattern from you?
    Kindest regards, Rachel

    Comment by Rachel Dring — January 13, 2009 @ 10:50 am

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