I don’t usually get very excited about gifts. They’re fun to buy for other people, but unless small children are in the picture, I don’t expect it to be magical. I enjoy making presents much better than shopping for them. If someone asks me what I want, I probably come up with a few books, sewing notions, or maybe a certain color of tee shirt or cardigan, depending on the season.
So, this year I was very surprised to find, along with some special sewing machine feet (narrow hemmers and a roller foot) and a couple of great books (which I will review soon), under the Christmas Tree was a most creatively wrapped gift from Mr. H., the experience of creating a custom bag from Satchel.
I needed a new cross-body bag. My old black leather one from Costco, was at the age that “well-worn” was almost a compliment. I had been looking for a replacement, as there’s nothing better when I need to use my hands a lot, or to tuck the small purse in a large tote. I couldn’t find anything when I went shopping, which wasn’t often with the pandemic situation. All the cross-bodies were either too tiny for my wallet and phone, looked juvenile or were made of cheap-looking “vegan leather,” which looked and felt as fake as its name.
Daughter Sarah, who is an ardent fan of Satchel, suggested that I follow @satchelsavannah on Instagram to view the catalog and see the Around the Shop (ATS) vlogs. A custom bag can be ordered online, but as we enjoy visiting Savannah, we planned a weekend trip, masks on, of course!
We had an appointment with shop manager and designer Mary Kate, who started by showing me all the available bags in the store, followed by leather samples, including new Spring colors, and fabric swatches for bag interiors. I settled on the “Mini-Madray” bag, which is pictured in a chocolaty solid brown, and I requested a thicker, adjustable strap, so it will work well as a messenger-type bag. My favorite color choices are usually blue, so I gravitated to a navy on cream toile for the interior, but after having fun flipping through the selection of navy, teal and many brilliant blues, I decided I wanted this bag to be a little bit different.
I switched my interior choice to “Fuschia Diamonds,” for a happy pop of color. I don’t remember ever having a brown bag, so the dark “Walnut” was an exciting choice for the lower bag and straps, as comforting as a cup of dark cocoa on a cold day. The new variegated “Mauve” will highlight the top of the bag, and coordinates well with the interior fabric. I asked for a pale pink tassel for a bit of whimsy, and chose the antique bronze finish for the metal accents, rather than the shiny brass or stainless steel. All the leathers have a softer buffed finish, rather than the glossy finish of the model in the shop.
When Mary Kate finalized my order, I said “This has been so fun, even more fun than going to a fabric shop!” Sarah and Mr. H. laughed, because they know that me shopping in a fabric store is about as happy as Labrador finding an open and unsupervised bag of dog food!Production time is about 8 weeks, so I’m looking forward to using my new Satchel soon!