Wednesday, July 30, 2008

clipped, padded, and magnetized

pictured above is the interior of a bag i made for a very great lady named sarah (who happens to make lovely jewelry).

as i mentioned briefly in an earlier post, i have been making small changes to the bags i make lately. well, not so much changes as additions-- making them even better! madebyhank bags now have more pockets than usual. i have also taken to sewing extra somethings into the interior of each bag, in the form of clips and d-rings. both are great for clipping on wallets, small pouches, keys, toys, etc., making your bag more organized, and your stuff easier to get to!

and if you take a close look, you will notice a magnetic snap. i am adding these to the interior of the tote-style bags i have been working on the past few weeks, to keep everything securely inside.

and, of course, the shoulder pads. i am so happy about these that i wanted to mention them again as well. i have been adding them to the larger bags that have leather handles, to give hard-working shoulders a little treat.

ps- i used to try every which way of photographing the interior of my bags so i could show the fabrics/pockets on the inside, and the photos were always so awkward and dark. and then a few weeks back i realized the silliest thing-- TO TURN IT INSIDE OUT! i just did it one day when we were in the middle of photographing. and i felt like such a doofus for not thinking of it earlier!

vintage indie

thank you, gabreial for your kind words and for making my morning!

check out her online magazine at

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

western spaghetti by PES

i am sure most-- if not all-- of you have seen this already, but i just love it. i am not much for youtube, but this makes me happy every time.

could not have said it better myself

i LOVE this print from anthony burrill

it makes me smile so much.

i want to wear it as a sandwich board, because lately folks just do not seem very friendly.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

keep it neat [and pretty]

i don't know about you, but i certainly tend to carry a lot of stuff with me in my bag. so i have been sewing up lots of zipper purses of all sizes lately. small, medium, large, vertical, horizontal, and with lots of texture. they do, of course, coordinate with the larger bags.

the one pictured below even has four little pockets inside that-- perfect for holding cash, cards, or lip balm-- and a d-ring sewn into the side so that you can easily clip your keys on and go!

check out my etsy shop for a closer look.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

bringing back the shoulder pad

no need to worry-- i am not indulging in a style that, according to me, was not attractive even at its peak of popularity.

i am, however, starting to incorporate removable shoulder pads into some of my larger bags. it is a smallish oval pad (with secret felt and piping, of course) that will coordinate with the bag and slip onto the strap.

such a small object, but with so much purpose! this little buddy will save your hard working shoulders (and neck, if you choose to wear your madebyhank bag messenger style).

above: the first of many madebyhank shoulder pads

Thursday, July 24, 2008

officially obsessed

it's true. i am completely obsessed with piping. i cannot get enough of this stuff, and i am finding it difficult to make anything lately without it.

i added a few new bags to my etsy shop just now. they all, of course, have piping. i am really into the new square shapes i have been working on.

they all have loads of pockets and clips and d-rings to help you keep everything super organized. because there is nothing worse than digging around in the endless pile at the bottom of your purse.

i have also been into making some flatter, tote-style bags.

i think maybe they are quite handsome.

happy savannah

a few days ago, we had a going-away get together for katie kane. this lady on the fast track toward becoming a serious grown-up. she is moving to savannah in a few weeks to attend grad school as a fibers major at the savannah college of art and design. sheldon (her turtle she has had since the sixth grade) and twenty-twenty (her catdogbestfriend) will be moving along with her.

i made pizza (dough from scratch). one of them, of course, had mangoes and caramelized onions and chili powder (my favorite pizza).

i also made the first ice cream cake of my life. making an ice cream cake is much trickier than it looks, folks (especially when it is about 103 degrees outside!). under the icing, there are three layers of chocolate cake, one layer of chocolate peanut butter soy ice cream, one layer of peanut butter, one layer of crushed up chocolate chip cookies, and one layer of crushed graham crackers. the top is chocolate ganache swirled with peanut butter and the sides are covered in crushed graham crackers (to hide the fact that the icing would not stick to the parts where the ice cream was showing). no dairy for me folks, so the whole thing was vegan.

as you can see, the ice cream started to ooze out of the side in one spot during the trip across the city to the party. but the results were pretty yummy!

lots of cake, lots of pizza, lots of watermelon, lots of guacamole, and lots of good folks to talk to. my kind of party.

katie kane likes cats, patterns and prints, rabbit banks, a very particular shade of bright bright blue, brownies, ice cream, shoes, jip en janneke, and dancing.

she makes lovely things of all sorts.

above: "this will be our year" by katie kane. micron, pencil, screenprint and watercolor.

take a look at her blog,

good luck in savannah, katie kane!

Friday, July 18, 2008


a few days ago, someone saw a bag on my website that they liked very much, but had already sold (actually, it was something i made almost two years ago). she asked if i could make something similar, and since i had what i thought would be enough of the fabrics to create what she wanted, i set to work.

here are some photos of the original bag...

...and this is the custom order, with deer in place of the raptors, at the customer's request.

i was a little nervous because i had made the first bag before i was making/using patterns of any kind, and i could not quite remember how i had created it.

but i think it is pretty darn close!


i would like to bring to your attention the work of one jenifer rothfus. i had the pleasure of working with jr at a small local tote bag company for a bit before she escaped to the west coast. i am so glad her talents are being put to such good use. her wonderful clothing creations were featured in a storque article on recently.

i love all of her cottony creations with their pretty details and understated styling.

ps- she also makes beautiful drawings, such as this self-portrait, which i LOVE.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

good things happen in philadelphia everyday, i promise.

just look at fabric horse!

for a tiny company, they sure do a whole lot! i am pretty sure the company is just two or three [very talented, very busy] main ladies (at least one of whom is a re-load alumnus) and an intern here and there. they work out of a studio located on north third street in philadelphia, and their ridiculously awesome utility belts can be seen all over philadelphia, and have even made their way as far as japan!

they also make spats(!), bags, and even costumes and headpieces.

another great thing about fabric horse? they are all about re-using, reducing and upcycling (not to mention BICYCLING!).
from their blog:

"But did you know all the webbing Fabric Horse uses for these things (and for the utility belts, 59rs, seatbelt bags, basically whenever possible) are ripped from old cars in junk yards?

Yep, just so you know, by supporting FH you are also supporting the reuse and recycle of materials along with the reduction in waste. We also use scraps saved from the trash cans of RELoad Bags, and really, you would be surprised where else we get fabric from."

to find them in philadelphia, visit conspiracy showroom, firehouse bicycles, reload baggage east, or topstitch boutique (311 market street, phila.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the awkward blogger

maryann, a very sweet person who recently purchased a bag from me, included me on her blog a few days ago.

thank you so much for your kind words, maryann.

philadelphia weekly-- style profile about madebyhank.

madebyhank was featured in one of my city's weekly papers this week, in their "style profile."

the paper (philadelphia weekly) came out this morning, but if you do not live in philadelphia, you can check it out online.

i always get so nervous when someone is interviewing me. especially when i am asked a question like "what is your fashion background?".

fashion background? i could only let out a nervous giggle. i am self-taught. never went to school, and i wear white t-shirts or one of about 5 sundresses everyday. i just happen to like to sew.

presents with plenty of piping at the pizza pool party

so last night my friend shannon had a pool party to celebrate her birthday, and also the half birthday of her daughter lila. i used to be their family's nanny (lila is 5 and enzo is 2), and we still hang out. it was great to see these guys again, and the pool party was lots of fun. i can't remember the last time i swam in a pool. i live on the other side of town now, so it was nice to see folks from the neighborhood who i rarely have the chance to see. and lila taught me how to go underwater without holding my nose-- i trick i have somehow not picked up in my 27 years.

above: me and lila probably two years ago. we visited the photo booth after school one day.

also, i made them some little gifts-- involving lots of piping, of course.

above: the front of shannon's bag with two exterior pockets with little flaps. (the buttons are just for show. there is secret velcro under the flaps and on the pockets, because sometimes when you are a mom, you only have one hand to open a pocket with.)

above: the back of shannon's bag, with a large exterior pocket and a real button closure.

above: i sewed two little loops into the interior of the bag-- one with a d-ring so she can clip her keys onto it, and one with a clip. i hooked a little wallet i made onto the clip. it has little pockets for cards and cash, etc. no more digging around in the bottom of your purse, shannon! also, there are four fairly roomy pockets on the inside!

and for lila...

a few months back, lila attended the opening reception of a show of my work at cafe estelle, and saw a bag that i made with a flap that was completely covered in mismatched buttons. it was too large for her, but she asked me to make her a smaller version, with a zipper. it only took me about 3 months, but i finally got around to it.

above: the back of lila's bag, with pink polka dots and little vintage flower appliques (and of course hot pink piping around the sides and flap and even the little interior pockets!)

above: i sewed the usual madebyhank logo, but customized it with "for lila" in parenthesis.

and for enzo...

a small hip pouch. enzo loves to carry things around with him. it is pretty amazing how many objects he can fit in his tiny hands at once. i made him this little hip pouch so he can carry lots of little objects around with him, but sometimes be able to use his hands.

above: said presents, all wrapped up and ready to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

speaking of piping

one of the things i wrote on my to-do-list was to "completely indulge in piping obsession." and that is exactly what i have been doing pretty much all day, everyday. i love this stuff! it makes sewn things look so finished. it makes their curvy parts curve so nicely curved. and it just makes so so darn happy for some reason. i made three gifts for some friends of mine involving lots of piping, but i will post details and photographs about those tomorrow after they have received them, just in case they happen to see this.

in the meantime, i made this little beauty yesterday. and she is available in my etsy shop today!

so much piping, so many pockets, white on navy with little wooden buttons. what more could you ask for.