In this class, you’ll learn to create the Portsmith Tote with Ellie Lum, the founder and pattern designer at Klum House. The Portsmith is a minimal, workhorse of a tote that will quickly become your everyday go-to. With sturdy leather straps, metal rivets, and a reinforced base, the Portsmith is definitely a cut above your average tote bag. It's also a perfect project for beginners looking to dive into bag making for the first time.
This class will help you build a solid foundation of bag-making skills. You’ll learn to work with heavy-duty materials like waxed canvas, leather, and metal hardware to make a professional-quality bag—all on your home sewing machine! If you have some basic sewing experience under your belt and are looking to try bag making, this class is for you. Build new skills, get lost in the flow of making, and create a shop-worthy finished product with “I made this!” bragging rights.
Hi! I’m Ellie.
I've been designing and making bags professionally for over twenty years. In 1998, I co-founded a custom messenger bag company called R.E. Load bags. After years of training stitchers to manufacture bags, I realized that my true passion lies in teaching. I started Klum House, my current business, as a way to invite more folks to work with their hands, make high-quality finished goods, and gain confidence through making.
Klum House bag patterns are informed by my roots in the industrial sewing industry, but I’ve designed them all to be created on a home sewing machine with just a few extra tools for installing hardware. I love teaching makers to harness the full power of their home sewing machine to achieve professional results without industrial equipment. Klum House classes will teach you to work with natural, heritage materials like waxed canvas, leather, and metal.
Sometimes makers take one look at a heavy-duty bag and think, “I could never make that.” But I promise you, YOU CAN! Just because a finished bag looks impressive doesn’t mean it’s hard to make. I’ll break it all down and guide you every step of the way. You’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of!
- Sewing multiple layers of heavy duty fabric
- Attaching leather straps
- Creating a tote hem
- Constructing an envelope fold base
- Various ways to set rivets properly
- Conceptual elements of bag making
- How to add a zipper expansion (zipper expansion pattern required)
- How to add a lining (lining expansion pattern required)
Digital Pattern + Resources Included with Class
- Fully-illustrated, step-by-step instructions booklet
- Tiled PDF pattern (for home printing)
- Large format PDF pattern (for professional printing)
- Complete list of necessary materials + tools
- Pattern drafting instructions
- Leather + Rivets Guide
"110% recommend this class. Ellie is an excellent teacher!"
- Michelle V.
"Ellie is a fabulous instructor. She gives just enough information with concise direction. I love her style & would love to take her classes in person at her workshop. Great job."
- Felicia G.
"Ellie is such an encouraging teacher and clear as a bell in her instruction. She broke complex information down into understandable bits, and explained the why's as much as the how's."
- Katelyn M.
When does the course start and finish?
Do I need an industrial sewing machine to make this bag?