HMDH Beginning Handbag Course

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Beginning Handbag Course

The Beginning Handbag Course is designed to teach a series of techniques that will allow you to make almost any kind of soft handbag. These are easy to learn techniques such as, walking the pattern, making a gusset, making the master pattern, the outside pattern and the lining pattern. What's hard is getting them to work together to produce your design, the way you want it to be.

You will be asked to complete a series of assignments where you will give your interpretation of a handbag I have made. In each bag you will work with a different element of the bag. This will also show you the relationship between different bags as you move through the courses. 

  • First review the videos in each lesson.
  • Then you go to the assignment.
  • Before you start to make your bag review the assignment so you know what you are suppose to accomplish.
  • Use the video as your guide. The videos teach technique that will which never change.

Please review the shorts library for pocket and zipper development. Instead of repeating those steps in each video I made small videos to address possible questions. To find it just scroll down to the "shorts" library.

One of the things I try to do is make each student change their mindset in how they approach pattern making. Pattern making is a problem solving craft, every time you change something you are presented with different options to resolve the problems. Over time each student will develop their own way to resolve those questions using the set of techniques taught. How you resolve those questions will determine your style and limitations as you go forward. You are always presented with choices, which forces you to make decisions, those decisions are your learning tools.

The goal is to get you to look at any bag and know how to make it, but breaking the design down into a set of techniques, that we teach. Then to make this tiny bit of space your own, it's called design and the people who do it in a unique way are called designers.

Assignments are submit through the assignment link, view your assignment before developing your bag. If you submit an assignment and I have not graded it, please contact me. Sometimes I will miss notifications or just not get one, so please contact me.

HMDH Academy is the most intense online handbag pattern making school on the internet, it's not easy and it wasn't meant to be. Our courses are more intense then many brick and mortar design schools, our lesson are comprehensive and detailed covering techniques from the 40's to the present day.

HMDH Academy now offers you a certificate of Completion if you complete all the lesson in a course. Each course teaches you a different set of skill to free your creative spirit.

Thank you for becoming a student at HMDH, we value each of you and want to make you proud that you are part of our little community.


"Inspiring creativity through knowledge"


Feeling stuck or need help?

Check out our this classes Forums or leave a comment below!


    1. Hi Belinda,
      I didn’t get a notification and I didn’t see anything submitted from you. Try again, normally that means the file was too big.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      I sent you a response, that no files were in your assignment just a question. “Hi richard – I’ve finished the first lesson, but am getting quite frustrated in trying to upload it to you. Can you help, please?
      Nancy Jones”

      My response was ”
      Note by handbagmaker posted on June 2, 2017

      Hi Nancy,

      Put the images in a zip file, make sure they have been resized to 450 to 500px, then zip and up load to this assignment.

      Since then I haven’t received anything.

  1. How do I finish uploading the rest of my assignment I finished making my patterns. I made some changes and noted on Master pattern. for instance I decided to make a larger bottom. The goe pattern i decided would look out of sorts, so I am going for a 4 inch bottom to distribute the pattern more evenly.

    1. Hi, Jack_Vicky,
      Go back to the assignment and upload the images you want me to review. Don’t forget to show me the gusset, back/front, and bottom, plus the patterns. Also, take note, make sure your patterns are notched properly. The beauty of making your own patterns is that you can make those changes! 🙂

  2. I’ve tried going back to the assignment; however, there is no link to take me back there, so I cannot upload my patterns. I am really proud of what I’ve done — trusting pings vs. the graph lines on your mat was a hard lesson (5 sheets of card board!). but I learned to trust the ping and know that it was better to get the card board straight that way vs. using mat measuring lines.

      1. Sorry, this took so long the link got lost to this comment.
        It depends on what you mean by “board”? A self-healing cutting mat is better, try

        1. Ok thanks I have a couple of them already. I just wanted to know what would be better. Now when I click on 1 To-do-Assignments 1. T-Bottom tote Assignment it takes me back to the student lounge. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

          1. My “todo” link has disappeared into the twilight zone and I have yet to find it when I do I want to assure everyone that I will tell where it’s been hiding. I’m hoping to have it fixed within the next 48 hours.

  3. Hi Richard,
    I wondering where you are with getting the “to do” button/link fixed. All I get when clicking on my assignment is spinning and then blank page.

    Thanks, Gail

    1. Hi Gail,
      I’m doing everything possible to get the problem resolved, please go to the next lesson and assignment, it’s a major problem and we have to find it, to fix it. I will let you know when fix, please accept my apologies.

      1. Ok, as an FYI, I’ve tried to click into other lessons and the same thing happens, just spins and then a blank page/window opens.

        I have another question though. When I got my bontex order there was a paper inside that said Pellon 726 could be used in place of bontes when you’re turning the item. I can’t seem to find the particular one, not even on the pellon website or searching on the internet. Can you tell me where I might buy some or is there an alternative.
        Thanks, Gail

        1. I’m sorry, I forgot it affected all the lessons, really old age is getting me!

          The 726 we got at our local Joanne’s. This is a designer preference thing, go and look at them, feel them, see which one gives your bag the body you desire. Each material, fabric or leather will require a different backing depending on the support you require. Just remember to not buy fusible, only non-fusible. Remember the videos are a guide, to get you started, experimentation is needed to find what is right for you the designer.

      1. Just touching base with you, first I hope your holiday was great. I was wondering if you got my email. I sent it on July 2nd. Let me know if I need to do it again. Thank you and you have a great day.

        1. Hi this is Linda ,Richard’s wife. He will respond to you tomorrow. He has been in the hospital for sever back pain hoping he will be home tomorrow. thanks for your patience.

          1. Hi Linda, enjoy your videos. I’m so sorry to hear about Richard’s conditions. I know what’s it’s like to suffer for back pain. I found out earlier this year that I have arthritis in my tailbone. I truly understand!! I wish him well. Thanks for keeping me informed me.

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