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Meet The Maker of Amazing Upcycled Handbags

Meet The Maker of Amazing Upcycled Handbags

Ever wondered where offcuts from making sofas go? Sadly, lots of end pieces just go straight to landfill. But this doesn’t have to be the case. 

So we were delighted to find some amazing handbags which had been created using these very offcuts. These upcycled creations are made by Dorothy Nelson who is based in Gateshead, so we were intrigued to learn more about them. Read on and check out those handbags!

Super Upcycled Handbags Made in Gateshead


Here’s What Inspired Dorothy To Create Her Stunning Bags

Sewing has been a big hobby since I was a child (I am retired now). I am very involved at Bensham Grove community centre and took part in some bag making workshops. I really enjoyed making bags but did not like the styles so I tried designing my own. I have ended up with around 12 designs, although I can also make bags to my clients requirements. 

I have always been addicted to fabric and hit on the idea of making commercially styled handbags but made in upholstery fabric and sofa leather. There are lots of fabric with lovely designs available nowadays. But these fabrics are not affordable to the general consumer.

So I approached some upholsterers and asked what they did with their offcuts or end pieces. To my horror they just go to the landfill! So I made an arrangement to pick up their waste . What I could not make use, to be honest most of it, I have passed on to schools, nurseries and other crafters. I hate to discard fabric. I have boxes of little bits for future projects.

I did have some pieces that were really nice but not suitable for handbags so I have designed and made some gnomes and bunnies to use these fabrics.
This has enabled me to make my bags true designer originals, I never make two identical. Sometimes the fabric dictates the bag design others I have just observed what people are using. 

I have a Facebook page but I predominately sell at craft fairs as really customers need to see and feel the quality of the fabrics and my work.
I have just placed a few bunnies and gnomes in a couple of local stores on a sale or return basis.

Find Dorothy’s Amazing Recycled Handbags at These Local Markets 

I have a stall this weekend at Springwell village on Saturday and the following weekend (25,26,27th November 2022) at Brancepeth castle. The following Saturday I am at Bensham Grove community centre.

You can also find Dorothy’s bags on Facebook: Samantha’s Friends Crafts and Instagram samanthasfriendscrafts

Looking for a a bag that has a long strap to go across your body? Any of the bags that have one strap can be altered to a longer strap on request. 

Are you vegetarian? Any of my bags can be made without leather. Contrasting or toning fabric can be used instead.

If you would like further information on any of the bags get in touch with Dorothy on Facebook. 

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