Sarah & Company

Custom Handmade Handbags that are as Unique as You!


view:  full / summary

Wow! International Recognition!

Posted on November 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (6)

This is fun!
One of my bags has been selected for the Rebates Zone "Holiday Gift Guide: 30 Gift Ideas for Women."

You can check it out here: http://www.rebateszone.com/holiday-gift-guide-30-gift-ideas-for-women

What do you know?!?

Have a great day!

Winning the Lottery?

Posted on November 6, 2015 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I've heard it said that just being born in this country is like winning the lottery. With the everyday priviledges we take for granted, like religious freedom, the right to vote, hold a job of your choosing, living where you want to, access to healthcare and food in this country, even those born into poverty here are better off than an amazing number of others born across the world...at least that's how I've  heard it ...

I have to say that in my life's experience, that has been true for me. I even though I didn't grow up in wealth or great monetary riches, I always had clothes to wear and food to eat and I think now, my own kids can say the same thing. The verse from Luke 12: 48 always rings in my head when I think about this.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." NIV. 

So, what's your "much?" Do you feel like you don't have much? Maybe you don't. Or...just maybe your "much" is more than someone else's. Maybe your "much" is money, maybe your "much" is time, maybe your "much" is something totally different, but one thing is for sure, WE ALL HAVE IT. We all have something to give. ALL OF US.

So today, I want to tell you about an opportunity to give from your very own "much."  Later this month, some local artisan friends and I are having a shopping/shoe cutting party. WHAT? Shoe cutting? Yes! Through an organization called Sole Hope, YOU can help provide shoes for people in Uganda who struggle with jigger infestation. Not too pleasant to talk about right? Well..imagine having them! At this great get together later this month in Maplewood MN, we are going to cut and sort pieces of fabric and  plastic that will then be sent to UGANDA where very skillful sewers will turn them into shoes for children and adults to wear after their feet have been treated and the jiggers removed. Come see how your "just a little bit" of time to cut a simple pair of shoes can be "Much" to someone else.

Not only do we need people to come help cut, but we need your used, washed denim and empty, cleaned out plastic milk cartons. Please save what you can and let me know if you are in the area and I can come pick them up.

No time to cut or save? We can use your $$ too! It costs money to send this great stuff to Uganda, so any help we can get for postage and shipping would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure where to send the money at this point, but I will figure it out! 

Got questions? Be sure to let me know! 

The Tale of Three Dresses

Posted on September 23, 2015 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (3)

When my parents started the process of moving out of their house, my hardworking mother cleaned out all her closets and in doing so, had collected a whole buch of wonderful things that were soon to be mine. Packed up in that box was a rather large collection of photos from my growing up years, a few pieces of old clothes, a cast iron ableskiver pan and krumkake maker, a scrap book full of my mom's valentine greetings she received as a child and what were 5 sets of teacups and saucers that orignally came from Sweden...The tea cups never even had a chance. 

As I started looking through this collection of photos, I realized that it was a wonderful documentary of the many pieces of clothing that my mother had made for me and my two older brothers over the years. Some of the photos were of clothes she didn't make, but still, come with great stories behind them. Some of them had a profound influence on my life and you're going to hear all about them.

 My mother made this patchwork outfit for me out of yardage my grandma had made out of old suits that were left over after clothing the missionaries who were home from the field.

This is proof that my mother made all our clothes. Even my brothers were not exempt. All clothing seen here, compliments of Joann. Not sure where the Nelly Olson inspired hairdo came from, but true story, my mom even made my swimsuits and underwear! 

But this is the real reason for this blog post, the real story, a Tale of Three Dresses if you will, that perhaps has affected my entire fashion life and will give you a little insight into my life as the youngest and only girl-child of Art Kalafut...much to my mother's dismay.

This story has been told to me many times. Maybe that is why I know it so well, although I do remember most of it firsthand.

 I was born in a small town in Southern Minnesota. My dad was a pastor, or actually, was still going to school to become a pastor. He would go away all week long to school and come home on the weekends to squeeze us all and bring us candy. Then he would preach on Sunday morning and go back to school for another week after lunch. I am the youngest of 3 and I was old enough at the time to remember him doing this for quite a while. Needless to say, my parents did not have much money, hence my mother making clothes for us out of anything that sat still long enough to be cut up.

 One year, when I was about four or five years old, my mother did the unthinkable. She BOUGHT me an Easter dress that year. GASP! Had she gone daft, had she gone crazy? Maybe there was not enough fabric left in the curtains anymore and the carpet was too think to go through her sewing machine, but sure enough, we went to Burke's Department store to BUY me a dress.

 After a little time shopping, I found a dress. I LOVED this dress. It was apricot colored with a pretty ruffle around the shoulder line and a big bow that tied in the back. At the hemline a little piece of ivory lace peeked out,but the best part of the dress was that it had a little jingle bell sewn into hemline and when I twirled, the dress made the most beautiful music I had ever heard, as it floated on air around me.

I HAD to have this dress.

 My mother, knowing quite a bit more than me about price tags said, "Sarah, you cannot have that dress. It costs too much money. Try this one on instead." as she held up a boring, all ivory colored frock that had stiff, itchy lace all the way up my neck. It nearly choked me to death!

This, that I know of, is the only surviving photo of me ever wearing that dress.

When we got home from our shopping trip to town, my dad wanted to see the new dress that my mom had just bought for me. I showed the dress to him quickly and then proceeded to tell him all about the other dress, how it had pretty ruffles, how it danced around me and how the little bell made such a wonderful sound. Oh how I wanted that dress!

 I do not know exactly how long it took my dad, but later the same day, before my mom had any idea of what he was plannng, my dad had gone back to town, to Burke's department store and purchased the apricot dream dress himself. He didn't take the first one back to the store either...

he had bought me ANOTHER dress.

 It took me years to understand exactly what that look on my mom's face meant when she saw him walk into the house carrying that wonderful piece of fiber art, but looking back now, I'm pretty sure I have seen that same look on my mom's face a few more times since then too.

 This is the dress.

This is the bell.

This is the princess.

A few years later when a man named Pete Sola asked me to marry him, I knew I'd wear a special dress on that day too. In the summer of 1995, Pete and I flew back to California as a newly engaged couple and my mom, Karen and I went wedding dress shopping. After a whole afternoon of looking and not being able to find that perfect dress anywhere, my mom said..."well, I'll just make you one." So she did. My mom designed and made my dress from scratch. She took patterns of formal dresses she had made for me during my high school years and mixed and matched this sleeve with this bodice and this skirt with that hemline and viola! She came up with a beautiful dress that was made of natural silk chantung. The only trim that was on the dress was taken off of my mother's dress that had been white when she got married on August 3, 1963, but over the years, had turned the perfect shade of ivory to match my wedding dress perfectly.

 When it was time for my mom and dad to come back to Minnesota, for the wedding, my mom used her Iowa farm girl charm to get to know her neighbors on the plane sitting beside her and somehow, she ended up talking them into riding the whole way with my wedding dress draped across all their laps so it wouldn't wrinkle.

Oh, how I wish I had a picture of that!

Here is the dress...

Not until the actual day of our wedding, had I even tried on my dress with the veil and shoes to be sure everything was right, but when it came time to dress for the wedding and my mom helped me put my dress on.

As I slipped into it, I heard a funny little sound. As I looked at my mom with the question on my face, she just smiled, bent down to turn my dress over at the hemline and this is what I found...

 A bell.

My mom said, "from your dad."


It's Hip to Zip!

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)
Zippers. If you like them, you LOVE them on your handbag.
Chances are, you won't even buy a bag without one. When you buy a Sarah & Company handbag, a magnetic snap closure comes automatically with it, but to get a zipper, you will pay a little more. Here's why. Watch me put  a zipper in a bag.

First, I sew a guideline about 3/8" down from the top.

Then,  I pin the zipper on with zipper teeth down and right side facing the fabric all around the bag right at that guideline.

Next, I sew a stay stitch along the zipper tape. 

After that, I pin the zipper ends down on the side of the bag so they don't get in the way for the next step.

Then, I slide up the lining with the right side of the fabric facing the outside of the handbag shell.

Next, I stitch the lining and shell together.

When both pieces are sewn together, I turn the bag rightside out through a hole I left in the bottom of the lining, then roll the edge over as well as I can and pin it to get it ready for topstitching. 

Then, I topstitch twice for durability and just because two stitch lines look good and I like to do it. =)

The last step is to cut the zipper ends off and sew the tab over the end and viola! A handbag with zipper.
Now, you try it!

What's in YOUR bag?

Posted on January 8, 2015 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

I got to thinking...dangerous, I know...that maybe you wanted to know what kind of a handbag I carry.

No? You weren't? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway. :)

I switch back and forth between one of every style, but today you can fine me with my Sarah & Company DayTripper.

This is a NEW one with the bottom being LEATHER!


I LOVE the classic style of this bag and the with amount of stuff it carries, it is just perfect for me. Last year I sold more DayTrippers than any other bag in the collection! With the new, optional, extendable strap, I find this bag to be perfect me.

I tend to dress a little more in a classic style, but I feel the most comfortable with the DayTripper, that has classic handbag handles, to wear on my arm but I find that the extendable strap comes in very handy when my hands and arms are full and I need to go hands free. I find it to be just the right size for what I usually bring with me.

Now...I am not a handbag overloader. 

I find this size, the DayTripper and the pocket system inside this bag, to be the perfect thing to keep me organized. 

A place for everything and everything in it's place. With the new inside zipper pocket, I have a great place to stash little things I might need in a hurry, like chapstick, cough drops or car keys. 

SO...what kind of purse do YOU carry? 


Posted on December 2, 2014 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm so happy to announce a collaboration project with Sifa Threads, a group of young ladies that I met in Africa in October of 2014. They are a beautiful group of gilrs learning how to sew to stay out of poverty as well as running a business. They have big dreams and are learning how to accomplish them. Right now, they are learning how to dye fabric with the Batik method and I am so excited that they are going to dye some fabrics for Sarah & Company!

Be sure to contact me to let me know what color schemes you'd like to see in these fabrics, then keep your eyes open this spring for handbags made from these unique prints!

Also, don't forget to "LIKE" Sifa Threads on Facebook to keep up with all their latest news too!

Here are some photos of Sifa Threads and my mission trip to Africa this past fall.