Let’s try this again…

I haven’t used the blog on my website much, but I hope to more this year. It’s not always easy to write something interesting about designing and sewing bags.

The past month I’ve been taking a short break from the sewing studio. My full-time job has taken up much of my time and energy at the end of the year, so I find my creativity is a bit drained. I’ve been submitting applications to upcoming juried art shows scheduled for late spring. I’m so hopeful that events will go on as planned this year as the covid vaccine is administered across the world. I’m certain we would all like to put this last year behind us.

I have marked down all of the face masks I currently have in my inventory. I am ready to focus on more exciting products, but I will finish what I have started should more masks be needed. I’m anxious to begin cutting and creating with the many fabrics overwhelming my studio. They have been neglected for too long.

So, let’s try this again, shall we 2021?

Making Changes

All of us have been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. I have a full-time job in human resources and was not able to go to work due to my organization’s closure. I took this time to tackle some projects at home, including improvements to Henry Handbags.

I was so excited for continued growth this year by scheduling more events, hoping to meet new customers and creating new bag designs. I was scheduled to participate in three art shows and a few local events this spring. Then the pandemic came. Everything cancelled and I paused. How can I clear some of this inventory, so I can make more? I already had this website in place for a few months, but I had to learn how to setup an online shop. Thankfully, I received an email for a free webinar and the rest fell right into place. I know this website isn’t perfect, but I have achieved my goal of putting my bags online so customers can see what I have and hopefully make a purchase.

So, when did all these face masks appear? I volunteered my time to sew face masks for a local sandwich shop. They provided the materials and I went to work. I was so glad to be helping in some way and sewing was a bonus for me. Due to the shortage of elastic, they provided para cord for ear loops or ties. I had no idea how I was going to use it. I was thankful to come across a video on tying slip knots…aha!

It started with a specific request for several face masks. Then I began digging in my fabric scraps to make masks for my family. Now I have an assembly line of masks every day! If you’ve purchased a face mask from me, thank you! I have them available on my website and at Plume, a local shop here in Columbia. I worry that I won’t be able to make enough. I’m not used to this supply and demand situation, but I’m trying my best. Remember that full-time job I mentioned? Well, I’m back at work now. This is a big factor in my available time to make more masks, but I’m glad to be there during the day to be productive and contribute to my organization.

Recommended face mask care instructions:

• Recommend hand wash or machine wash gentle cycle (inside garment bag) before first use
• Air dry
• Can be ironed at low temperature

I provide an open pocket in every mask for you to insert a filter if desired. Possible filter options include coffee filter, cotton fabric scrap or HEPA filter.

Below is a video I created to show how I tie the slip knots. Make your own mask or re-tie a knot that may come loose over time.

I honestly hope the mask mania doesn’t continue for very long. No one knows what the future brings, but I will continue to do my best. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Stay safe!


About Henry Handbags

Melanie Henry

Sewing has always been a part of my creative background.  A few years ago, my daughter asked me to make her a backpack for school.  We picked out coordinating fabrics and went to work. The bag turned out so well, that I began to receive requests from friends.  After some reflection, I determined my love of handbags would be a more suitable creative outlet for me. 

Over the past several years, I have challenged myself as a seamstress and designer with creating my own handbags using primarily upholstery fabrics.  I choose durable upholstery fabrics with eye catching designs to use for my bags. We can be very hard on our handbags and the durability of these fabrics last through the wear and tear. 

I was interviewed recently for a local magazine, COMO Living.

Thank you for stopping by!