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Bag Making Intensive with Ellie: Design & Sew

  • Klum House Workshop (map)


Learn the basics of bag making from Ellie Lum, a professional bag maker of 20 years. Design & build a custom tote bag & zipper pouch from scratch in this 3-day intensive. Choose your own adventure as you mix and match features to make your own totally customized, one-of-a-kind bag with “I designed and made this!” bragging rights.


Price: $325 + Materials

During this three-day intensive workshop, advanced beginner/intermediate stitchers will receive a thorough initiation into bag design & construction led by professional bag maker of 20 years, Ellie Lum. She'll be sharing her expertise as she walks you through the step-by-step process of articulating your design from concept to realization.

One of her goals is to give you a framework on how to approach making bags whether through the lens of personal project or designing for market production. Leave with a custom-designed bag AND a custom pouch to go with it!

Rather than working totally from scratch, we will learn the basics of bag design & construction through customizing the elements of Klum House bag designs; by the end of the weekend, you will have all the skills you need to apply to any bag you want to make in the future!

We will be mix and matching elements of the Fremont, Oberlin, Portsmith, Maywood, and McKenna Tote bags to create our own fully custom, totally unique designs. You will be able to choose strap style, closure style, interior and/or exterior pockets, materials, and more.

Meet Ellie

Hi! I'm Ellie. I’m a bag maker & sewing instructor. I started Klum House because I love inspiring people by teaching sewing tips & tricks through fun, hands-on workshops and patterns. I've been a professional bag maker for 20 years through RE Load Bags, a messenger bag brand I co­founded in 1998. I carry that love for quality handcrafted goods forward to Klum House Workshop, a bag pattern & kit line, collaborative sewing studio & creative education space in Portland, Or.

Waxed Canvas Colors

Sewing Level: 
Advanced Beginner/Intermediate
Sewing experience is required.

Skills Learned

- Understand elements of bag design & construction
- Overview of tools & materials
- Understand steps to develop final pattern
- Drafting onto fabric
- Overview of sample making process
- Sewing zippers
- Attaching hardware
- Sewing pockets
- Sewing liners
- Boxing corners
- Handling heavy-weight fabric


- Pocket sizes
-  Amount of pockets
- Strap lengths
- Amount of straps
- Closures
- Fabric colors & types
- Hardware
- Leather colors & types
- Add adjustable element to cross-body strap
- Thinking about a customization not listed? Ask Ellie!

Leather Strap Colors

Limited Edition Colors

This is the class you’ve been waiting for if any of the things below apply to you:

- You have taken other sewing classes and want to explore design
- You are interested in developing products for your own bag business
- You’ve ever wished you could combine the Fremont straps with the Oberlin body
- You haven’t been able to find the bag of your dreams and decided you are going to make it yourself.
- You've taken a few other Klum House bag sewing classes & now you're ready to get deeper with your bag making knowledge.
- You're willing to travel to Portland, OR to learn specialty bag making skills.

Traveling to Portland for the intensive?

Contact us about recommended places to stay & travel info!

What To Expect


Part 1 -  Design lab discussion, where you will get a thorough overview of developing a bag design for the market or personal use.
Part 1.5 -  Lunch Break and materials buying time!
Part 2 - Get to sewing! Make a custom zipper pouch, choosing size, liner, corner-style, etc.


Part 3 -  Design demo: how to draft the pattern, cut the bag, prepare leather for straps.
Part 3.5 - Lunch break!
Part 4 -  Design & prep your custom elements.


Part 5 - Everything is cut and prepped, it’s time to sew your bag!
Part 5.5 - Lunch break!
Part 6 - Put the finishing touches on your badass bag with custom hardware then voila! You have a chic, totally custom-designed, one-of-kind, do-it-all tote with "I made this!" bragging rights.


Due to this being a custom-build class, students will get a chance to either purchase bag making materials from Klum House or at a local fabric or leather store. There will be time to shop off-site in the afternoon on the first day of class. Payment for additional materials will be taken care of in class. All fabric plus custom leather straps and hardware are offered at a discount pricing!

You will get the chance to buy extra hardware, leather, and fabric during class at the Klum Shop in order to curate a unique kit for the custom tote bag that YOU designed. As a gift to our students for being so awesome, all fabric plus custom leather straps and hardware are wholesale pricing! Details below.

A La Carte Materials

- Waxed Canvas Fat Quarter (18” x 30”): $12
- Waxed Canvas Fat Eight (18” x 15”): $6
- 12oz Canvas Fat Quarter (18” x 30”): $6.50
- Brass Zipper (8"- 16"): $5
- Metal Quick-set Rivet: $0.25/ea
- Leather Handles (16" x 3/4"): $12/pair
- Leather Cross-Body Strap: $14
- Leather Shoulder Straps (28" x 3/4"): $14/pair
- D-Ring: $0.50/ea
- O-Ring:  $0.50/ea
- Leather Zipper Pull: $0.50/ea
- Various other hardware available also