Updated on September 6, 2022 by Sarina

What do you need to sew bags? Just a sewing machine and pretty fabric? or not? If you make bags as a hobby or it is your whole career – By the time you have made the first few bags, you would have come to know that sewing bags is addictive. And that the right material and hardware play very important roles with almost equal importance in making your bag beautiful and functionally appropriate.

Here are the most important bag materials as a list. Equipped with these bag making materials you are sure to continue making many many beautiful bags.

Essential Bag making materials

1. Bag fabric

bag making fabric

The material with which a bag is made can make or break the appearance of the bag. In fact, as you know, it is almost the whole bag. So choose wisely. The important criteria in choosing the fabric for making bags is that it is sturdy and durable, has the appropriate structure, and looks attractive. The most frequently used materials are canvas, vinyl, leather, pleather, etc

You can checkout this post on 10 best bag making fabrics for a more detailed write-up on this.

Also check out the related posts 30 different types of bags ; How to make and sell bags

2. Interfacing

There are only a few bag fabrics that do not need interfacing (like leather, fake leather, vinyl, thick canvas). All other fabrics need some interfacing to make them look good enough and with enough structure for making bags.

Fusible / sew-in interfacing is added to the bag fabric to give it body and strength. Choosing the right one is mostly dependent on your choice of fabric for the bag. Fusible interfacing is attached to the fabric (both exterior and the lining) with heat to the backside of the fabric and is available in different thicknesses, even as thick as canvas fabric. Sew-in interfacing is usually thicker and is used similar to underlining in garments. Use woven interfacing for cotton fabrics.

3. Sewing machine

Even though a sewing machine is not a material but an equipment, I have included it here because an appropriate sewing machine is essential for the success of making professional looking bags. If you are making bags as a profession or with passion you cannot do so for long with the regular home sewing machine – especially if you want to work with beautiful fabrics like leather, canvas, etc.

It is simply going to frustrate you to no end and you will get only substandard results even with all the sewing expertise in the world or the best of sewing materials. An industrial sewing machine which will sew through all the layers you want is an asset in making bags

Check out this post to know whether you need to buy an industrial sewing machine or not.

4. Webbing

webbing -list of bag materials used in bag making

Bag handles are usually made of the bag exterior fabric itself. But webbing made of nylon/cotton fibers makes it very convenient and easy to make handles. They just need to be cut and attached. The side edges of webbing are already neatly finished and they are quite strong. Webbing is available in various widths and many colors.

Check out this post on the 7 different types of Bag handles.

5. D rings & other rings 

d rings -list of bag material used in bag making

A D shaped ring is the most commonly used hardware in bags to hang the straps.

list of bag materials -oval metal rings

Rectangle rings, oval shaped rings, square ones are all used, depending on the straps/handles.

list of bag materials used in bag making -square metal rings

6. Sliders

list of bag materials used in bag making -sliders

These plastic or metal rings with a divider in between helps to increase or decrease the length of the straps.

bag materials -using sliders in bags to increase decrease length of bag handles

7. Zippers

zippers for bags

Zippers are commonly used for openings in bags /purses and bag pockets. Long zippers with two zipper pulls, one with metal zipper teeth, plastic ones, all are used to make bags.

2 way zippers

Here is a post elaborating on the different types of zippers available.

Zipper pulls

materials used in bag making -zipper pulls

You can personalize the regular zipper pulls with pretty accessories or making customized zipper pulls like in the picture.

8. Rivets

rivets

When you want to attach something on bags like handles , without sewing, you have no substitute for these. Learn how to attach metal rivets here.

9. Swivel Snap hooks

list of bag materials used in bag making -swivel clasps

These are used to attach the straps – the straps can be conveniently removed and used when needed with the help of this hardware.

materials used in bag making -swivel clasps

10. Magnetic snaps

bag making materials -magnetic snaps

Another popular opening used in bag making- this consists of two parts, like the regular snaps but because of the magnet used in these snaps they are suitable to close even the thickest of fabric flaps of your bag.

11. Purse locks

list of bag making materials -purse locks

This refers to the locks placed as closures on bag/purse flaps by the front.

12. Bag bottoms & feet

what do you need to sew bags- bag bottom studs

Bag feet are small buttons placed on the bottom of bags on all four corners of bags so that the bag material would not touch ground.

13. Purse chains

bag materials -chain handles

This is a type of handle made of metal chains. Check out this post on Bag handles for learning more about the 18 different kinds used in bags.

14. Frames for purses

bag making material list -purse frames in metal

The frames give structure to a purse and serve as the closure as well and at the same time give an elegant look. Frames are available in many styles, colors, shapes, and sizes. The clutch frames may be rectangle-shaped or arch-shaped, made of plastic or metal. The metal frames come in different colors – silver, gold, antique brass, rose gold, and gunmetal finish.

Very simple ones to the most ornate purse frames – we have seen it all.

bag making material list-ornate purse frames

Some purse frames come with a ball closure, some do not have this – they just snap close. This is also called kiss clasp.

Check out this post to know how to make a purse with a metal frame.

15. Embellishments

Different decorative elements are used to embellish bags – including embroidery, applique.

bag making material list -studs for embeelishing

Metal studs are also used regularly on vinyl and leather bags as accents.

things needed to sew bags -charms

Charms can be added to the bags to decorate them and personalize them. Metal labels can be added to the bag front to give your bag a highly professional look.

bag sewing materials  -metal labels

A buckle is mostly used as an accent.

list of bag materials used in bag making -buckle

16. Lining / Interlining

Interlining is added to give a padded feeling to your bag and gives a slight 3 D effect. Think a quilted fabric. Other than the usual padded interlining fabric, other materials like foam, fusible fleece and batting are added as interlining. Check out this post on the best lining fabric

17. Grommets and setting tool

eyelets and the grommet setting tools

If you want to add eyelets /grommets on leather or pleather you need not buy any special tool – but if you have it, it can make a whole lot of difference; especially if you have to make a lot of them.

18. Fabric protective sprays

There are sprays available which act similar to fabric finishes in creating a protective layer on top, even make the fabric waterproof, scratch proof, soil/stain proof. You may want to add it to protect your bag exterior from scratches and other damages.

19. Liquid starch

Liquid starch sprays are used to make fabric stiff and crisp looking.You can dilute the liquid starch in a ratio of  2 parts water and 1 part liquid starch and use it in a spray bottle to use on the bag exterior fabric to make it stiff. But ensure the bag would not be washed – then this will wash out and you have floppiness unlimited.

20. Velcro

The usual fasteners like magnetic snaps are alright but sometimes a length of Velcro makes a lot of sense to close openings on bags – you just need to sew the tape on your bag. 

Miscellaneous Sewing tools

All the above are mostly specific to bags. All the sewing tools needed for sewing bags remain the same as those used for general sewing. Check out the post on the different types of sewing tools and equipment you need to start your sewing. And the different sewing techniques used here.

Leather sewing kit

If you want to make bags with leather you need appropriate tools to sew leather. There are sewing kits available with needles and thread and other tools needed to sew leather. You can have a look at the 30+ tools/materials used for hand sewing leather.

hole making tool

Aside from the sewing tools like special needles and thread you may also need a tool to make holes on leather, a Leather edge coat to seal the leather edges etc.

Related posts : Sewing techniques for making bags; How to make a tote bag with zippered opening; How to make a phone purse

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  1. Hi
    Please, what is it use to tape the outer part of the bag
    I mean the tip part when sow outwardly,
    Is it gum or what???
    What is the name for it and where can I get it?.
    Thanks in anticipation.

  2. Hi,pls there’s is this thing (gum like) used in taping the edges of bag if you’re not sewing it inward,maybe it’s a gum or not I don’t know but pls do you know the name and how can I get it ..mostly used on all this bags we buy online or in stores

    1. Hi there! I am an aspiring bag designer hoping to just start it as a passion project (exploring other hobbies). Though this article is helpful, may I ask 1) what type of cloth is used to soften the insides of a bag but easy to wash and 2) the board or cardboard that helps maintain the shape of the bag or sometimes used as a solid base? I can’t seem to find an exact word to search it in stores online.

      Thank you!

  3. Please I need your advice am into bag making now but friends are confusing me that I can not end a living with bag making is it possible

    1. Yes, you can easily live with by making bag only by simple calculation and low target with wide range, just think locally and act globally ‘_’

  4. Thank you for such great information. Do you have a favorite online place to buy the hardware like d-rings and swivel hooks and even zippers?

    1. Hi Pam
      You can check out these websites serialbagmakers .com ; www. blingyourbag .com ; soyouneedhardware . com ; www. sewdakine.com ; I have seen them recommended by bag makers. (I have no personal experience of shopping with any of them though)
      Best wishes

    1. Hi Veronica
      I do not have any online training for bag making.There are many free online tutorials on the net through which you can learn including on this site – start by making simple bags like this tote bag tutorial and then go on to learn complicated bags. Best wishes

  5. Hi, thanks for the break down it goes a long way. Pls I would like to know more about already made plans purse and where I can get it because I see a lot of bridal Clutch been stoned or decorated from a plain purse

    1. Hi Amil
      The Haberdashery store ( the kind which sells sewing related items like interfacing, chalk, thread, needle, ribbons etc) near you will have webbing. At least mine does : )

    1. I want to joinbag manufacturers industry or company in Mumbai and Thane area to join there without salary.so pls send there address.