Handbags are more of a necessity than an accessory nowadays. The world’s handbag market is worth more than $52 billion and is expected to hit more than $78 billion in the next few years.

Handbags are popular, but they come in so many fabrics and additional materials that it becomes almost hard to choose between them.

In this article, you will learn about different handbag fabrics’ pros and cons and about additional materials that come with them.

Quick List

1. 10 Types of Handbag Fabrics

90% of handbags are made from synthetic fabrics because they are cheaper than natural ones and do the same job as natural ones.

The most commonly used fabrics are:

  • PU Leather
  • PVC Leather
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • Denim
  • Tweed
  • Burlap
  • Velvet
  • Felt

PU Leather

PU leather is also called vegan leather, which is made from synthetic thermoplastic polymer “polyurethane” instead of natural animal skin.

PU leather

PROS

  • Waterproof and mildew resistant
  • Come in many colors
  • Real leather-like texture and appearance but cheaper
  • Crack-resistant than real leather in sunlight

CONS

  • Flammable
  • No stretchability
  • Only hand cleaning
  • Less durable from real leather
  • Microporous, less breathability than real leather

PVC Leather

 PVC leather is also a synthetic leather-like PU leather, but it has more layers underneath. PU leather is made with 2 layers, a base split leather backing and an upper layer of plastic coating. In contrast, PVC leather has 4 layers, a base fabric leather backing, foam layer, skin layer, and at last coated with plastic coating ” polyvinyl chloride”.

PVC leather fabrics

PROS

  • Waterproof
  • Come in many colors
  • Cheaper from PU leather
  • More stain and mildew resistant than PU leather
  • More durable than PU leather

CONS

  • Flammable
  • No breathability
  • No stretchability
  • Only hand cleaning
  • It is thick, less flexible than PU leather

Nylon

 Nylon is soft, smooth, and silk-like thermoplastic commonly made from petroleum products. 

Nylon fabric

PROS

  • Cheap
  • Shrink, abrasive, wrinkle resistant
  • Mildew resistant
  • More elastic and stronger than polyester
  • More flame resistance than cotton 

CONS

  • No water resistance
  • Costly than polyesters
  • Poor Sunlight resistance
  • Not stain and dirt resistance
  • Flame-resistance but they can melt and attach to the skin

Polyester Fabric

Polyester is a manmade thermoplastic derived from a chemical reaction of petroleum, air, and water. Polyester is more common than other natural and synthetic materials.

Polyester fabric

PROS

  • Cheap
  • Shrink & Mildew resistant
  • High breathability & Medium stretchability
  • More wrinkle resistant than cotton
  • More durable than most fabrics

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Nylon is stronger than polyester

Cotton Fabric

Cotton can be woven into many patterns, such as plain-woven cotton called muslin, while twill-woven cotton is called denim, and so on. Different weaving patterns provide different surface textures, durability, e.t.c.

Cotton fabric

PROS

  • Durable
  • High breathability
  • Medium stretchability
  • Soft to touch than burlap fabric
  • Cheaper than linen, wool, and silk

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Mildew susceptible
  • Noticeably shrink in the first wash
  • Being stained easily
  • Fade in sunlight more easily than synthetic materials

Denim Fabric

Denim fabric, also commonly known as the jean fabric, is a species in which cotton is woven in a specific pattern known as twill pattern. Denim fabric is widely used to make jeans, jackets, e.t.c.

Denim fabric

PROS

  • Washable
  • High breathability
  • Excellent wrinkle resistant
  • Can be dyed into any color
  • 100% recyclable
  • Excellent abrasive resistance

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Shrink but slowly
  • Not stain and dirt resistant
  • Burn slowly with high flame
  • Fade in direct sunlight but not very quickly

Velvet Fabric

Velvet fabric is only second to natural silk when it comes to softness and smoothness. Velvet is a woven fabric in which cut threads are evenly spread with a dense pile. It can be made from both natural and synthetic fibers. Velvet handbags give more of an expensive look than other fabrics.

Velvet fabrics

PROS

  • Premium look
  • High breathable
  • Come in many colors
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Soft, velvety surface

CONS

  • Hard to wash
  • Absorb moisture
  • Not sunlight resistant
  • Not stain and dirt resistance
  • Hot water can ruin fabric shape

Tweed Fabric

Tweed fabric is woven mostly from Wool, but it can also be made from Wool and cotton, Wool and rayon, and Wool, and other artificial fibers. It is mostly used to make coats and sofa upholstery.

Tweed fabric

PROS

  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Can hide stains very well
  • Can be dyed into any color
  • Very durable can last for years
  • Fire retardant 

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Not waterproof
  • Low breathability
  • Slowly fade in direct sunlight
  • Not easily washable only hand washing in cold water is recommended

Burlap Fabric

Burlap fabric, also commonly known as Jute fabric, is a woven fabric made from the skin of sisal fibers or jute plants that may be combined with other materials.

burlap fabric

PROS

  • Durable
  • High breathability
  • Low stretchability
  • Cheaper than cotton but expensive than synthetic materials

CONS

  • Not waterproof
  • Very flammable
  • Not stain or mildew resistant
  • Fade in the sun very quickly
  • Only hand wash in cold water

Felt Fabric

Felt fabrics are made by pressing, matting, and condensing fibers together instead of woven like other fabrics. Felt fabric can be produced from natural materials such as wool or animal fur as well as from synthetic fibers such as plastic, e.t.c.

Felt fabric

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Soft to touch
  • Fire-retardant
  • Come in all colors

CONS

  • Not-waterproof
  • Not stain and dirt proof
  • Shrink in water, especially in hot water

2. 5 Types of Handbag Lining Fabrics

You can not decide the fabric for the handbag’s lining based just like you chose on the fabric for making the outer surface of the handbag because there are also many choices. Handbag’s lining material choice should be more of a practical approach than of looks and appearances.

The most useable fabrics for making handbag’s linings are given below;

  • Cotton

  • Oxford

  • Canvas

  • Nylon

  • Polyester

5 handbag lining fabrics

Below are 3 types of natural and synthetic fabrics:

 Cotton

Oxford

Canvas

Natural material

Cotton or synthetic materials or both

More Cotton and Less or no synthetic materials

More costly than synthetic materials

Cheaper than canvas

More costly than oxford

Not water-resistant

Water-resistant

The coated canvas is water repellent

More soft

More soft

More soft

breathable

 More cotton, more breathability;

More synthetic material means less breathability

More breathable than oxford fabric

Depends on the woven structure, may be stronger than all

Durable

More durable than nylon

Flammable

More cotton composition means easy fire while synthetic materials resist fire

Flammable

Easily washable

Easy to wash and dry than canvas

Less easy to wash and dry than oxford

Below are 2 kinds of synthetic fabrics:

Nylon

Polyester

Synthetic material

Synthetic material

Cheaper than natural fabrics, such as cotton, canvas, e,.t.c

Cheaper than nylon and other natural fabrics

Water-resistant

More water-resistant than nylon

Less soft

Less soft

Less breathable

Less breathable

More durable than Polyester

Less durable than nylon

Not easy to Catch fire

Not easy to Catch fire

Easily washable

Easily washable

How to choose the right material for handbag lining?

Using waterproof material for lining can keep your handbag safe from spills and stains, while breathability saves your bag from foul-smelling.

Synthetic materials are less porous than natural fabrics to make them stain and water-resistant. These days natural fabrics are coated with chemicals or blended with synthetic materials to make them stain and water-resistant as near to synthetic fabrics.

Natural fabrics such as cotton, canvas, e.t.c, are softer than synthetic fibers. But synthetic materials are shinier than natural ones.

Last but not least, synthetic materials are fire-retardant. For example, polyester melts at 220°C and ignites at a very high temperature of 440°C. So, they are safe to use for everyday activities. But natural materials like cotton, linen, silk, e.t.c catch fire instantly. Natural fabrics can be fire-retardant by different coatings or by other methods.

So, when choosing a material for your handbag’s lining, check the above features for easy use and a longer lifespan.

3. 8 Types of Handbag Ornamental Materials

When you are done selecting a fabric to sew your handbag’s exterior and inner lining, now it is time to add functional and styling materials to make it look beautiful.

Not all of these materials are necessary to add. You can skip as many as you want. But adding more materials makes the handbag look more expensive and presentable.

Below is the list of some handbag materials;

  • Chains
  • D rings
  • Zippers
  • Buckles
  • Grommets
  • Swivel hooks
  • Magnetic clasps
  • Handbag bottoms

Chains

Chains

Chains can be functional parts or ornamental parts, or both for any handbag. There are two chain kinds, strap chains and hanging chains. Chains come in mostly golden, black, silver, and more colors. They are detachable, and you can change chains daily according to your liking. 

Chains give your bag an expensive look. Many modern handbags are equipped with both a fabric strap and a chain strap.

D-rings

D-rings

If you have a detachable strap, then D-rings are an option for you. D-rings allow you to change your strap whenever you want, plus they also provide more flexible movement of the strap and lower pressure on the shoulder. D-rings can also be used as decorative materials only. Either way, D-rings enhance your handbag’s functionality and look like many folds.

Zippers

Zippers

Zippers are a crucial functional part of any handbag. Most handbags in the market have zippers to keep things safe from thieves and falling over. Zippers also provide beauty to your bag. 

Zippers are the most used part of any handbag. You also can add two sliders in the zipper if you want to. They are sewed into a handbag, so getting heavy-duty zippers can define a handbag’s premium quality.

Buckles

Buckles

Handbag buckles provide additional security to your objects. Some people do not like zippers, so handbags come with a covering over the zippers to give a more expensive look to the handbags. But to keep the cover in place, buckles are used. 

The most common kind of buckles are belt buckles and push buckles. Belt buckles give the handbag an antique look, while push buckles give a modern look. Push buckles are easier to use. Sometimes buckles are added on handbags only as an ornamental piece.

Grommets

Grommets

Grommets are replacements for outside loops. Loops are made out of fabric to attach a strap with the handbag. Grommets also serve the same purpose. They are installed by pinching a hole and fixing them in. 

Grommets are more durable than loops because they are made out of metal parts and are smooth, so friction does not wear them out like fabric loops. They can provide beauty to the handbags so they can also be installed just as pieces of ornaments.

Swivel hooks

Swivel hooks

A swivel hook is a part that can give your strap detachability feature whenever you want to. Swivel hooks are helpful if you want to try a different color or material straps every day. Plus, they save a lot of hours when changing a broken strap. Swivel hooks also come in many colors and give your handbag a more elegant look.

Magnetic clasps

Magnetic clasps

Magnetic clasps are the replacement for buckles. If you do not like a bulky buckle on your handbag, you can go for a small magnetic clasp. A magnetic clasp hides entirely under the cover. Plus, a magnetic clasp can be used quickly, unlike a buckle.

Handbag bottoms

Handbag bottoms

Handbag bottoms are not essential but are handy parts. They can keep your handbag in an upright position and keep things in place and well managed.

In The End

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