I have never really been that inspired to sew up my own handbag, that was until I started following Anna on Instagram, and subsequently reading her amazing blog – Noodlehead.

I am now totally obsessed with the thought of making my own bag, so I went ahead and bought the Explorer Tote pattern from Anna, and I thought I would share with you the supplies I bought to make it! Before I start I lets just take a moment to say a little prayer for my bank account, which has been severely battered and bruised since I decided to start making this bag. WHO KNEW HOW EXPENSIVE BAG MAKING WAS?!

To begin, here is a picture of a few of Anna’s bags – so this is how mine should look if I go about it correctly! How gorgeous is this style? I am envisioning using it for overnight stays, aeroplane trips + beach days.

Now then, on to my supplies! I am going to begin with interfacing because it is boring. I nearly photographed each interfacing but I figured they would all just look white so there really was no point! The pattern specified Pellon interfacing (a particular brand) and I found it relatively difficult to track down in the UK. I know that Vilene make equivalents, but I really wanted to make this bag with the right stuff. I found a UK website called ‘Sew Hot’ which is AMAZING, and has lots of American sewing brands which can be difficult to source (including pellon – woo!). The delivery was very quick too!

The interfacings I bought were as follows. If you click on each of the interfacings, I have linked a YouTube video which will show you how to use them properly. I have found the videos to be incredibly useful and I thought you might too :).

Pellon SF101: a woven interfacing

Pellon 987F:  a fusible fleece

Pellon 809: a general medium weight interfacing

Now then, on to the more exciting stuff! Here is my gorgeous main fabric. It is an upholstery weight blue linen and I just love it. I bought it from eBay (click here) and I have decided to use it as both my outer fabric and my lining.

For my contrast fabric, I bought this waxed canvas (also from Ebay – here!), it is absolutely lovely and very Barbour – esque. However, the pattern talks of the waxed canvas as being very sturdy and able to hold its shape – whereas mine is rather more thin and oilskin-like. Anna suggests that if your contrast fabric is thinner (like mine!), then you should interface it with a stabilising foam which is what I decided to do. She suggests By Annies ‘Soft and Stable’, but my bank account just could not permit another £20 to be spent on interfacing (ha), so I did a bit of research and found a brilliant post from Mrs H. The post compares three different foam stabilisers, and one of them is headliner – a material used to make cars! It is far cheaper (and according to Mrs H) is a fantastic substitute for Soft and Stable. Here’s a link to where I bought mine.

Finally I wanted to show you a few of the other bits I have picked up for my bag, starting with these stunning leather straps! Aren’t they beautiful? I adore the smell. They just smell gorgeous, like walking in to a proper Italian leather shop – know what I mean? Anyway, these are also from eBay. Here is a link.

And finally is my cute little turn lock from Sew Hot (mentioned above!).

I hope you enjoyed this post and it was helpful for any of you that are looking to make this bag! I can’t wait to finish sewing it up and I will be doing a full pattern review on my YouTube channel when it is completed.
Have a lovely day,


Hollie x


  1. 2nd February 2017 / 8:10 pm

    Just started watching your YouTube videos and you’ve inspired me to get back into sewing! Lost inspiration for a while. So excited to see the bag once you’re done! 🙂

    • hollie
      4th February 2017 / 5:26 pm

      Hello Inez! Thank you – I’m so pleased that I have inspired you to get back in to sewing <3. x

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