I started Mee a Bee just over two years ago with an idea. I would sew bags for kids from cute printed fabrics. Around that time the news was full of terrifying stories like the toxic Chinese-made toothpaste and the dangerous lead-based paint in Thomas toy trains. It was with this in mind that I decided I would try to only use fabrics and materials that were made in Japan. So far I have largely been successful.
I thought you might be interested in learning more about the construction of my 'signature' messenger bags.
The bags for girls almost all start with a gorgeous natural linen and cotton blend fabric. It's lightweight but has a slightly hard surface which means it holds its shape well even when it is machine washed. This is the base of the bag, the bag itself. I make the bottom of the bag flat so it's nice and roomy inside. This fabric makes beautiful crisp corners which are important to me.
Lately I have been using the perfect fabric made by Nu Handworks (pictured).
I sew with a high quality polyester thread made by Fujix. This Kyoto-based company has been approved to the Oeko-Tex 100 standard. That is to say that they do not use harmful chemicals in their manufacture and are safe even for products for babies. This company has been making thread for sewing and embroidery since 1921.
The Fujix website is in English, it's amazing how many different kinds of threads there are and how they have considered the unique needs of each type of sewing. One for hand-sewing thread "hardly ever kinks".
If your computer can read Japanese then pop over to the main company website, click on the link on the right that says 'Fil'. You'll be taken to the collection of handmade inspiration booklets. The stitching is exquisite.
I'll post more about how I make my bags in the next few days.
Here you go! Part II is here.