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Welcome to Klum House

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Klum House Workshop is a creative education space and bag pattern + kit line in Portland, Oregon founded by Ellie Lum, a bag designer, maker, and teacher with twenty years of experience.

 
 
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Not many stitchers carry a hammer in their sewing kit, but we’re changing that.

At Klum House, we build bags that are as strong and resilient as the people making them. Working with classic, natural materials like waxed canvas, leather, and metal, our mission is to teach stitchers how to harness the full power of their home sewing machine and create rugged, stylish bags that are built to last.

 

“My mission is to empower stitchers of all levels to make bags, whether that takes the form of workshops or the patterns & kits I design. I believe in the joy, struggle, and triumph that comes from creating something from start to finish with your own two hands.”
Ellie Lum, Founder

 
 
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I love seeing students’ eyes light up when they step into my teaching studio and see all the tools, materials, and open work surfaces waiting for them. Introducing stitchers to new materials and really showing them what they’re capable of is what I’m all about. Sometimes that means not being afraid to put some muscle into it. “Boss your fabric!” I’m always telling my students. By the end of class, students are using anvils, drive punches, an industrial hand press. The sound of the hammers confidently setting their final rivets is like music to my ears.

Our Philosophy

Whether you’ve never touched a sewing machine before or have decades of experience under your belt, we’ll meet you where you are and show you what you’re capable of. Embracing mistakes as learning opportunities, practicing creative courage, and building confidence through hands-on learning are hallmarks of the Klum House experience.

 

It’s not just about creating bags. It’s about creating a social movement.

 

“For me, learning how to make things is like developing a new set of intelligences. Not only does it build confidence and efficacy, it helps create more conscious consumers that value human energy and creativity even more. When people learn to make things with their own two hands, they develop through a newfound appreciation for the value handcrafted goods—their own, and those made by other artisans.” Ellie Lum, Klum House Founder & Head Educator



 
 
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KLUM HOUSE

Our Story

 
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1998

At 18 years old, Ellie was living in Philly and working as a bike messenger. With a background in sewing, she saw an opportunity to make messenger bags better—not just the bags themselves, but also the way they were produced. With business partner, Roland Burns, she co-founded RE Load Bags, a custom messenger bag company that went on to open in-house production shops in Philly, Seattle, and San Francisco. During her years at RE Load, Ellie trained dozens of employees to manufacture bags on industrial equipment. She saw how these skills empowered people, even helped many of them to start businesses of their own.

 

2012

Through training stitchers at RE Load, Ellie realized that teaching, rather than production, was her true passion. This led her to enroll in a program at UC Berkeley, where she spent two years studying adult education. With a sustainable garden as her laboratory, she observed the way people learned, gaining confidence through embodied experience and the simple act of working with their hands. Ellie’s studies confirmed what she experienced firsthand at RE Load and deepened her commitment to empowerment through hands-on education.

 

2015

Ready to put her knowledge to use, Ellie moved to Portland in 2015 and founded Klum House Workshop, a business that combines her passions for teaching and sewing. It was (and is) a labor of love. The original Klum House was run out of Ellie’s home. In true DIY spirit, she converted her basement into a beautiful teaching studio and began welcoming her first students. Drawing on her roots in industrial manufacturing, she taught students how to harness the full power of the home sewing machine, using it to create bags that are as durable as they are stylish.

 

2017

Over the next couple of years, Klum House built a following with those seeking high-quality sewing education. And in 2017, when the opportunity arose to move into a commercial space in the Williams District, Ellie took the leap. This move marked an exciting new phase in Klum House’s development. With more space and increased visibility, we were able to expand our offerings to include industrial sewing workshops, as well as artist talks and public events.

 

2018

A year later, Klum House took another big step, launching a line of bag sewing patterns and maker kits. Through patterns & kits, Ellie is able to teach a much wider community of makers, not just those who live close enough to take a workshop. Fully-illustrated, with easy-to-follow instructions, Klum House sewing patterns are informed by Ellie’s twenty years of experience as a bag designer, maker, and teacher. Our maker kits come with all of the ingredients you need to complete a bag at home, including pre-cut waxed canvas, leather, and hardware.

 

2019

Today, Klum House is a bustling creative hub for the Portland community and our community of makers around the world. We have a lineup of stellar educators and a small team that helps with marketing, design, shipping, and day-to-day operations. We have a full workshop calendar, an online library of sewing resources, and a growing pattern & kit line carried by retailers across the country. We are so grateful to do what we do and look forward to all that the future has in store!

 

Patterns & Kits

Workshops