My Red Leather Bag

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Last Christmas I came into a bit of money- my grandfather in law is generous around the holidays.  I always sit and think hard- what is a good gift from an older gentleman to a younger woman in the family?

Red Leather Bag 1

This is just before I went out earlier today to run errands and meet with another creative professional in the city…

This year, I chose a smart new shoulder bag.  I must have a large bag to carry around my files and samples and the international post.  I don’t drive, opting instead to avail myself of Brisbane’s excellent public transit services.   My travel habits demand a good, solid bag.

Red Leather Bag Pockets

This bag has so many pockets I can keep a mini-desk inside!  There’s plenty of room for my laptop, or dolly samples, or fabric, too!

Red Leather Inside

Excellent stitching, very durable I should think.

Red Leather Bag

I know it’s a no-no, but I definitely wear my bag like this when I’m hiking across the City center… Do you recognize my silk-cotton cummerbund belt? And the Pavlova skirt? Wear them all. the. time.

The red works for me because it’s a core color in my wardrobe.  More than half my makes are black, white, navy or red.  Here, I’m pairing the shoulder bag with my sensible red leather ballet flats.  Tell me- is it permissible to wear two shades of red or is that simply not done?

For me, this bag is a little more than a carrying case.  I’ve been schlepping Cake work all over Brisbane in a clean and smart canvas bag.  This new bag makes me feel more “together”- like a professional working lady.

What’s your everyday/work bag like?

Today’s Giveaway Winner:

Picture 6

*No one asked me to write this post, I’m just happy with my boss new bag and wanted to show her to you!


  1. I have a few totes that I’ve made and a cute little satchel the color of this blog’s background that I use on a day-to-day basis (most of my clothes are red or purple and I’ve come to adore mint green as a complementary color to both). I do, however, have a big sturdy Pan Am bag for when I need to carry a larger load, like for school and weekends away. I also have a lovely large brown leather satchel but the strap broke and I need to send it away to be fixed (it has a five year warrantee from the maker).

    • Oooooh! I love green! :) I think I’ll find some green canvas for my next canvas shopping totes, I’m so with you on green as a complementary color…

      Do fix it! It’s so easy to just let them lie around (like the mending, amirite?) but it takes so little to fix it, and then you have a new bag! :)

  2. That is such a great bag. I have a fabulous leather bag that I’ve had for years. I used it every day and miss it at the moment because it needs repairs. I’m planning to have it refurbished purely because it has such sentimental value, it was bought for me by my husband, even though its cheaper to buy new. It’s a light tan and like the red goes with everything. And it’s big enough to carry everything I need.
    Love the red shoes…I think the look totally works.

    • Thanks, Evie.

      I get that, I like to mend and repair whenever possible, too. Sentiment, also because I think I have some kind of landfill guilt meter in my brain… I bet your bag is just goooooorgeous and worth saving. :)

      And thanks… I’m so sad because these shoes are starting to die after about 7 months of near constant wear. And I don’t think Born is making these anymore. Sigh.

  3. I have a similar red patent mock croc leather bag that I actually bought as a laptop bag as I travel quite a bit for work. It makes me feel very professional. Like you, red is a much worn colour for me and my bag goes with more things than I thought. My usual every day bag is a handmade black leather backpack that has travelled all over the world several times now and is faded grey in places and the leather is soft and supple. I bought it from a leather worker in Sydney almost 20 years ago. Once a year I spend an evening rubbing leather conditioner into every nook and cranny. I walk to work every day and it carries my lunch and my shoes, as well as all the other things a lady has in her handbag. It has such history that even though it’s not the most attractive of bags and I do have a decent collection of more dainty bags and totes, this backpack will always hold a special place in my affections.

    • OOoooh. I’ve been thinking it would be interesting to get my hands on some local (semi local) croc offcuts and see what I could make with it…. Croc is so rad…

      What a lovely description of your favorite bag. :) I’ll be sure to take time to condition the leather, too… I’m hoping the bag will age well, acquire that lovely look of worn in but gently cared for leather…

  4. I take it you were being sarcastic when you called Brisbane’s public transport good? Living in Brisbane drive me to buy a mOtor scooter – living only 4 km from the CBD I got fed up at taking 45 min to get to work by bus many days!!! And buses that ran only every 20 min – in peak hour!
    P.s. love love love your bag!

    • Could be worse. The buses where I live, just south of Sydney, run once an hour. No matter the time of day. And usually arrive about one minute before my son’s school bus despite being scheduled to arrive 5minutes after, so I can’t even combine trips out of the house.

      That bag is gorgeous, though I usually prefer mine black and a bit smaller. If my bag is too big I tend to fill it up with junk junk instead of useful junk!

      • Hahaha I get that! I have to discipline myself to clear out the extra stuff from my bag every few days, or it piles up with junk, too. :)

    • No, not a trace of sarcasm. I think the public transit and the libraries are two things Brisbane does exceptionally well. Though I will agree with you that the buses right around the city center get a bit crazy… I live on the middle of an express line that runs every 15 minutes in peak and 30 offpeak. It’s been late ONCE in five years. Once. Astonishing. 10 minutes to the city center offpeak, 20 in peak time. Not bad at all.

      I hate the damn taxis though. Seriously, this is 2013, I should not have to give a taxi driver instructions on where to go. I should sit down, rattle off an address, and then zone out for a few minutes while I wait to arrive. GPS! Ugh. Brisbane taxis. Ugh.

  5. My commuter bag is a backpack ( so stylish, right?). The good part is that it holds my laptop, files, lunch, and a small purse. Your bag is gorgeous. I really think those days of matchy-matchy are gone and your shoes shouldn’t exactly match your purse. I’ll have to check out the etsy shop.

    • Backpacks get you where you need to go, they do the job, so they’re great. :) I think matchy matchy days are over, too… But we have such a variety of peeps who read 3 Hours Past, sometimes I just want to know what people think and where they are? It’s endlessly fascinating. :)

  6. That’s one attractive bag. I’ve just bookmarked them for when I am more solvent.

    I’m also fairly certain that I snagged some of the exact same red and white striped fabric that you made one of your Tiramisu dresses from. I can’t wait to whip it up!

    • Yes. I’ve been wanting a nice bag for such a long time, I couldn’t even tell you how long.

      Oh what fun! :) Do send me a photo or a link to a post or something cause I’d love to see it.

  7. Working from home keeps me from splurging on a real grown up lady bag with pockets for all sorts of business goodies. When I do have to go out, it is to JoAnn’s for some much needed sewing item and I carry a purse made in a women’s co-operative in Africa called that trains women to produce things and be self sufficient.You look so smart in your outfit and I think your red shoes are perfect…no need to feel you have to be matchy-matchy…that went out with matching you nails to your lipstick color…thank goodness.

    • Cool! Thanks for the link, I am so so so into that kind of enterprise. :) The clutch inside my leather bag was a present from Mom a few Xmases ago, it’s made of old juice boxes and was part of a similar sustainable women’s enterprise in the Philippines. Let me tell you, those juice boxes have stood up to a LOT of rough and tumble…

      Thanks so much, Mrs Mole. :) I guess right now for my lips to match my nails I’d need a lime green top lip and bright blue lower lip. That’d be interesting…

  8. Wear two shades of red if you want to! I don’t think it matters if you like it and feel comfortable with it! And I agree with Mrs Mole, matching shoes to handbag is probably worse than deliberately mismatching them!

  9. So stylish! And I love the colour (of both bag and shoes… I adore my red ballet flats, too.)

    I confess, I couldn’t stand a bag like this for serious schlepping around. I’m a big fan of public transit, too, but I’m a backpack addict. They’re not classy and stylish (except in a sporty way that doesn’t match my regular style) but I can’t stand the lopsided feel of a bag on one shoulder, especially if I have some real goods to move.

    Of course, now I’m dreaming of a red leather backpack. That would be a start…

    • I kind of want a rolling bag. A nice one. For loads… I’ve never been much of a backpack person, even when I was a “backpacker” I usually carried something more like a suitcase… But I get it.

      You also have red ballet flats? :) I am so not surprised. Love it.

  10. ooh, i love red bags and shoes! i commute to work with lunchbox/ kindle/ bottle of water/ assorted detritus than is always in my bag. at the weekends i have to carry around crayons/ colouring books/ princess dolls etc. so i need a monster bag with strong straps! currently i am using a grey slouchy jane shilton bag i bought second hand for work, but i also love my cath kidston messenger bag (bought in the sale). i am very much a bag person tho and can always be tempted by a lobvely new bag!

    • I think we have very similar bag contents! :) And I always like to have bandaids and lipstick… And dried fruit. Always a bit of dried fruit. :)

  11. I LOVE this bag! I’ve bookmarked the Etsy shop for when I have enough cash – they have so many I like, and I have my eye on a lovely yellow one … The bag looks great with the shoes, as others have said, it looks much better than if you had deliberately matched the colours. My grown-up work bag is a fake leather black patent holdall from Gap, which I love but the handles are breaking. My everyday bag is a fairtrade Turtle bag made from a cement sack! It gets loads of comments!

    • I never thought of myself as a bag kind of person, but maybe when I’m older and grander I’m thinking I’ll branch out and find a few more… :) I have the just in case mentality, too… Sometimes makes for a heavy bag!

      • A few years ago I didn’t think of myself as a handbag person either, I bought my first handbag when I was 22! (I thought it was too feminine and grown-up for me). But now, 10 years later, it looks like I can’t stop buying new bags – I’d say one each year :)

    • Hahahah! Thanks! I think I read something, or heard something on a style show once saying it’s really bad etc to cross the strap over your body… But it’s kind of essential sometimes when you’re out and about and *moving*…

    • Ooooh I had SUCH a hard time choosing which bag from that shop… They have so many lovely ones! I will say that the bag smelled horrible when I first unpacked it, but a few days airing out and it was fine. :) Thanks!

  12. Whoa!! First off, the bag is great. I think red is a perfect neutral and will definitely go with everything you wear :)

    Second – OMG thank you for introducing me to this shop! My every day bag is a PoCampo Logan tote (the orange feathers!) that my mom bought me for this past Christmas. Prior, I was using old thrifted bags. I’ve had my eye on a Coach bag (which sadly appears to be discontinued, at least according to their website), but at $350+ I was a bit hesitant. These prices are much more up my alley :)

    • Thanks, Lauren. :)

      OOoooh that shop is amazing. I think I’ll have several gifts from there eventually… I hear you about the $$$, I know you get a good quality bag when you plop down several hundreds of dollars, but there has to be some middle ground between a super expensive bag (I was looking at spendy bags in the $700 range.. everything is expensive here) and a cheapie… This seems to be a good balance, I was really suspicious of how the craftsmanship might turn out, but it’s really solid and nice. I may replace the lining later with something prettier/more substantial but for now I’ll leave it.. :)

  13. That’s a beautiful bag, absolutely timeless and a good investment piece. It looks big enough to hold what you need but not so big that it becomes a bottomless pit.

  14. Ooo, gorgeous bag (and you look so cute)! I wear my purse across my chest too, it’s just so much more comfortable. I hate having to hold only a purse strap when it’s just dangling off my shoulder (and I feel more secure with the strap across my body). :)

    • Thanks, Heather… :) I often carry bags over my forearm, like the first picture, but I definitely “strap up” before getting on the bus. Just easier. And I’m always terrified I’ll leave my bags if they aren’t attached to my body…

  15. I tend to carry three or four cloth totes with me, rather than one big “real” bag, for work or knitting projects. As a purse, I’m currently dragging around a quilted, paisley-printed shoulder bag that was a gift from my MIL; and which languished in a closet for we-won’t-say’how-many years. A favorite black leather handbag was just too awkward to carry any more, I needed a bag with long straps, didn’t have time to sew what I wanted, the MIL bag fell onto my feet when I opened the door … you know how it goes. Had a red leather shoulder bag decades ago, that I used until the lining fell into shreds; and then used some more, until the thread holding the bag together gave out. I miss that bag … red is a good neutral for persons with your coloring. Oh, and wearing a bag cross-body is always in style — it leaves both hands and arms free, and is harder for pickpockets and purse snatchers to access.

    • Thanks, Lin, I think so too… My husband carries a yellow leather bag his dad bought backpacking in the 70’s in Columbia… It’s a really nice piece, we just had the handles re-attached and it looks great, especially considering the wear and travel it’s seen. Leather’s such a durable material…

      Ugh purse snatchers… I haven’t had one of those happen for a few years, but I guess it’s always a possibility.

  16. ha i chuck my bags across myself messenger-style all the time! your new bag is fab, really practical but flippin’ beautiful, you’re looking very slick (in a good way incase that doesn’t translate!).
    p.s i hadn’t tape measure handy while reading til now so:
    hand 16.5cm, bicep 23.5cm straight, 25.5cm flexed ;-)

    • I do too, I really do wear it that way constantly. I’ll feel less “bad” about it now. :) And yes, translates, and thank you so much!

      Thanks for the numbers, Louise.

  17. I do miss Brisbane’s excellent public transit… and your bag is perfect for what you need! Very stylish indeed, and lovely with the flats. I love colored handbags but struggle with styling. Maybe include this in some of your outfit photos – for most of us sewing, our clothes end up working with all the other paraphernalia… be it diaper bag or briefcase ;)

    • It really is astonishing. Some central buses run a bit crazy, but I live on an express line and the bus has been late once in five years. *Once*. I don’t know what kind of voodoo magic they use, but it’s good, I’ve never seen anything like it.

      Soo.. You would like to see me wear my bags and hats and whatnot with my makes? That’s sensible, I need to be more careful with that. Thanks for the tip. :)

    • No, I don’t think they do. My buddy Enid is a stylish person, I consulted her when I was bag shopping- I was seized with a strong desire to buy an ocean blue bag rather than red. She pointed out to me that many of my shoes etc are red and that red + red = looking more put together than blue + red. Something like that, but no emphasis on matching…

  18. Lovely bag! I’ve just gone through the transition from student to working gal’ and I bought a lovely pillarbox red satchel from the satchel company, practical and it has my initials monogrammed on it in red! :) I feel super put together and sassy when I wear it!

  19. Hi! Lovely bag. So nice to have generous in laws! And I enjoy your blog so much. But puh-leez, please the tee shirt? I so want/ NEED a dolman/kimono pattern. Is it yours? I am working up to the pavlova sewalong. Deadline, scary. But I would so happy to discover that I can also but the pattern for the blue striped tee. Thanks

  20. Pingback: Hummingbird Presale Begins with a Naming! « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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