Pack making

Hey all,

looking to purchase supplies for designing/ fabricating my own packs and bags. Any recommended sites on sewing techniques for bags?

What kinds of foam is typically used in pack straps and back padding? Urethane, polyester wrap, scrim foam?

Have been checking out Rockford Supply any other related/ good suppliers?

Any recommends on sewing machines? Which are the best for softgoods?


From what I understand, you’re going to need one of those industrial strength machines (expensive from what I hear, why I haven’t gotten into making my own). Regular machines are made for garments so they’re not strong enough to go through the 6-8 layers of material you may have to with some bags. Get one that says you can sew through layers of leather at a minimum. They have the correct foam in fabric stores, Joanne’s etc…Don’t use the “filler” foam, that’s for pillows and seats, use the thin sheets. You may have to do some searching for good bag fabric, regular fabric stores usually won’t carry stuff like ballistic nylon or ripstop to a large degree since they focus on clothes.

Skinny has designed quite a few bags, the dude knows what he is talking about…

Thanks guys, I’ve costed out some materials and it looks reasanable on the grand scheme of things. Then of course there’s the time issue, which I have none of w/ a fulltime design job as is.

How practical is it to just outsource to a local vendor that produces/ manufactures luggage. Obvious have to get some designs quoted.

If anything I will learn the process. I’ve been lookin to get my start in the softgoods industry, but have been struggling in the US w/ no experience.

I’d say that sourcing it out is a good idea, especially if you don’t really sew or anything. Plus pattern-making is an art unto itself, best to find someone that can do that. A good vendor can take the drawings from the second page of your corefolio and make a bag off of those if you added dimensions for key elements and then had callouts for materials, colors, and trim details (whether the fabric edge is rolled or raw, piping, binding, or beading, which panels have foam, where things are double stitched or need to be reinforced, etc…) It might work better with some tighter illustrator drawings so they’ll be able to see for sure whether something is straight or curved, etc…some of that info can get lost or confused in stylized hand drawings.
Not exactly sure how you would find a local vendor though, I had an inhouse team. Look for a seamstress that can do purses, handbags, etc…not just a regular clothing seamstress. There are extra things in bags like beading + piping that a regular clothing seamstress won’t have much experience with. Good luck.

these guys are expensive, but good, I’ve used them in the past:

thanx for the link.

Skinny and Yo you guys have been extremelly helpfull on this topic.


What do you guys know about Crumpler. Worth moving to Vietnam for an internship. I’m young, unattached, have already spent six months in SE Asia and need some experience to break into the industry. Risky?

Yo thanks for the link. They seem very capable.

I am looking to get a design quoted. (Work for my folio and personal use). Is a CDA required?

Don’t know anything about Crumpler, but can’t hurt the resume if you don’t have much going… esp if that is the field you want to move toward…

Not sure on the CDA thing, I worked with them on the Jordan DJ bag and some other bag projects… ahemmmm
but it was through Jordan apparel development so all the contracts where done through them. They where pretty great though. I gave them sketches, renderings and rough dimensions and some swatches. They came back with tech drawings prototypes (which I revised) pricing and materials options…

Ooops, almost forgot that part. Get yourself a white china pencil, you’ll need it to mark up revisions on their sample. Also a nice scrap toothbrush and alcohol to remove their china pencil marks if you want to use a test sample and make it clean.

Interesting bag yo, concept reminds me of one I think I saw on a corefolio which was a ladies handbag but with a high-heeled shoe base. I thought that was a very interesting (maybe unpractical) artistic statement mixing the 2 fetishes.