HANDCRAFTED WAXED CANVAS AND LEATHER BAGS Designer + Bag maker sharing my process and inspirations| Small batch and custom work | Vancouver

My First Design | Medium Zipper Tote | Waxed Canvas and Leather | 4 Inside Pockets | Black

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Jun 15th, 2017

I have mainly been featuring customs bags that I make on this blog. I don’t think I feature some of the bags available in the shop enough.

Today I want to show you the Medium Zipper Tote in black, one of the most simple, yet useful bags available in the shop. In my opinion, the Medium Zipper Tote is an ideal size. It can be used for work, school, as a 13″ laptop bag, a diaper bag or for travel. It’s a classic style that can be used for a long time.


If you’re familiar with this site, you’ll know that I use lightly waxed canvas, Italian vegetable tanned leather and brass hardware. These materials are durable and water resistant.


This tote is actually my 1st design. I wanted to create the perfect tote that I would love to use. I saw so many beautiful looking totes out there, but they were not functional. Even the most high end bags were, in my opinion, lazy. Many totes were wide open without any closure. Placing a full zipper requires more time and labour. I wasn’t finding a lot out there with a full zipper closure, so I knew the tote I made had to have this. Over time, I’ve heard from so many customers, who have stumbled upon my blog or shop, that they have been looking for a bag with a full zipper top for a long time.

Comparison of the Large Size Tote vs. Medium Size Tote

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by May 24th, 2017


Large Zipper Tote
Size: 18.5″w x 14″h x 6″ deep (47cm wide x 36cm high x 15cm deep)
Best used: If you carry a lot during your day, as a travel carry-on, need a large diaper bag, carry a 15″ laptop
Note: Utility Tote and Carrier Tote can also be made into this large size.
Availability: through custom order only. Please contact. cathy@moderncoup.com

Medium Zipper Tote
Size: 16.5″ W x 13″ H x 5″ D (42cm wide x 33cm high x 13cm deep)
Best used: If you carry a moderate amount, everyday bag, work bag, standard size diaper bag, light travel, 13″ laptop
Availability: in stock in the shop


Utility Tote and Carrier Tote | Lightly Waxed Canvas and Leather | Charcoal Grey and Brown

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by May 16th, 2017


Utility Tote (short hand-held straps) and Carrier Tote (long shoulder tote straps)

Size: 16.5″ W x 13″ H x 5″ D (42cm wide x 33cm high x 13cm deep)

Also available in: brown and black




New Bags: Pouchette Purses In Black, Charcoal Grey and Brown | Handmade in Vancouver | Water Resistant Waxed Canvas and Leather

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Apr 20th, 2017


It’s Thursday night in Vancouver and I just can’t believe how fast this week is going. Recently, I’ve been also working on Sundays on custom orders. I like being busy, especially since I’m running my own small business. Being not busy is…not so good.

I got a chance this week to photograph the Pouchette Purses. I had to wait for a nice weather day for the natural lighting to take pictures. It’s been raining a lot here lately.

Some of you may recall that these look quite similar to the Petite Purses I had and you’re absolutely right. I made them a little bigger because customers were custom ordering them in a larger size to fit their iPhone 6 size phones and essential belongings.

When I first designed the Petite Purses, phones were a little smaller, so the size was adequate. A sign of the gadget times, I guess. I thought that I should also change the name of the bag to reflect that it is a little bigger than “petite.” So, here are the Pouchette Purses in black, grey and brown. I hope you like them!



Here’s the grey one. These are really nice to take with you when you just want to take your essentials. I like to take mine on walks, to the park with the kids and when travelling (when I’m lucky enough to get away).

This Week In The Studio

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Apr 15th, 2017


Happy Easter Weekend. Here’s a few shots I took in the studio this week. This cute bunny train is my younger son’s.



My mom bought this pin cushion for me probably 20 years ago in Chinatown. I wonder if they still sell these. I’m guessing that they might be hard to find now. 

This Week In The Studio

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Apr 8th, 2017


I just want to show you some photos I took in the studio this week. Sometimes I put them on Instagram, but I think I’ll compile a few at the end of each week and post it here.

These are a couple of pencil pouches in charcoal greyThe one at the bottom with the brass zipper is what is in stock in the shop. The one at the top is a sample carbon colour zipper I wanted to try. I think I still like the brass one more.



A couple of completed bags. The Commuter Bag in charcoal grey (left) and a Utility Tote with added front pockets. 



My parents take care of the little one when I work. Lately, it has been raining a lot in Vancouver, so he usually stays in. Here he is hanging around the studio playing hide and seek behind my chair.

What A Medium Zipper Tote Looks Like After 3 Years of Use

Category : CUSTOM BAGS, STUDIO · No Comments · by Mar 12th, 2017


This Medium Zipper Tote in charcoal grey was purchased by Miranda in Toronto, Ontario 3 years ago. Recently, Miranda contacted me and asked if I would customize this bag and put a crossbody strap on for her. She said she really likes this tote, but also wants to wear it across her body, like a messenger bag.

The above picture is of Miranda’s tote. She kept it in really nice condition.



This is Miranda’s tote after the crossbody/shoulder strap was put on. Actually, this bag is called the Carrier Tote in the shop. It’s a very versatile bag because it can be worn on the shoulder or messenger style.



After 3 years, the bag is in fairly good condition. The wax has faded somewhat, but the wear on it is minimal.

I like working with this lightly waxed canvas because it doesn’t rub off on your clothing or anything that the bag touches. As you can see, the rub off is very little considering it was used for a number of years. Some waxed canvases or cottons are heavily waxed and it just gets onto everything. Having said that though, it really depends what you’re using it for. Remember, this material was originally used in the sailing industry, so they needed it to be really waxed and tough.

New Bag: Minimal Purse in Charcoal Grey

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Feb 27th, 2017


I”ve been selling the Minimal Purse in black for quite some time now. There have been some custom requests for this bag to be in charcoal grey, so I decided to stock this colour in the shop. The grey and the brown strap still looks very minimal, don’t you think? If you are interested in one, you’ll now find it here in the shop. 



This purse is not too small and not too big, which makes it a great companion for walks, shopping, travelling and everywhere you want to be hands-free. 

Toys Left In The Studio

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Feb 22nd, 2017


When I post on Instagram (@moderncoup), I try to have a theme for the day. I posted these photos that are about toys left around the studio by my 2nd little man. It’s one part work room and one part daycare.

Here’s Percy from Thomas and Friends. If you have young kids, you probably know of this show. I really enjoy watching it with my kids.


This is Bear Bear and Bunny. Bear Bear is actually Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, but my little man insists he’s Bear Bear.

Shop Update: Petite Purses Are Still On Sale

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Jan 12th, 2017


I put the Petite Purses on sale ( $30, reg. $42) before Christmas.  Many people bought them for gifts and for themselves. I’m extending this sale for a while longer…maybe until Valentine’s Day, I think.

It’s a purse for your bare essentials. I use this bag when I take walks or take the boys to the playground. It’s good when I just need my phone, keys and small wallet.

It comes in 4 colours: charcoal grey, brown, midnight blue and black.





For 2017…

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Jan 5th, 2017


This year will be my 3rd year in business. I’m very appreciative of the support I’ve gotten from customers. Only in recent years have designers, makers and creatives been able to represent and sell their own work directly to customers, mainly attributed to online platforms.

There’s still a lot to improve on though. I have 3 main goals for this year:

  1. Building an e-commerce website for Modern Coup. I will still have an Etsy Shop because I like this platform. However, I would like customers to be able to look at the bag offerings and be able to purchase directly on the site. My husband is working on this and also improving on the blog. He is pretty busy with his own work, so if he gets this done in the first half of the year, it would be great.
  2. Better at updating the blog and having more variety of topics to share. Being busy with orders and taking care of my little boys sometimes doesn’t allow me to update the blog as much as I would like. I will have to make more time for this and keep it more interesting.
  3. Slowly adding more bags to the shop. I’m designing a few unisex bags in my head right now. It will take a little while from design, prototype, testing, re-working the design to the final product.

2016 Modern Coup Year In Review

Category : STUDIO · No Comments · by Jan 1st, 2017


2016 was a good year. Work and family is pretty much my life. Running a micro-business, being the house manager and taking care of 3 boys (yes, my husband included) has put me at capacity. I must say though that this year has been really good all around.

Starting with the business… I didn’t expect that making custom bags would be such a big part of my business. This year, I had many requests to do something different almost half the time it seems. It’s interesting when customers tell me what they need their bags for, what they need to put in there and other details . I like making customs bags when I think that the bag will turn out well. The above bag is one example of a bag I made for a customer with a very specific custom bag in mind.

What I found about this year is that the customers were buying the bags as gifts (for girlfriends and wives), many were buying them for their upcoming travels and expecting customers were buying my bags to use as a modern diaper bag. That’s pretty great.



I also introduced the Commuter Bag this Spring in 3 colours. It’s one of my favourites as a mid-size and very portable bag. I’m happy that customers like it.