Call Pam LeBlanc at home in the middle of the day, and you’re likely to hear the sewing machine going in the background. LeBlanc, a Kennebunkport resident, designs and sews handbags in her home several days a week. Some are simply a pleasant mix of colors and textures; others feature fun quotes and vintage photos of 1950s-era housewives, motorcycle pin-up girls, pulp fiction covers, cats and dogs, and even Ouija boards. Consider her “Farm Chicks” bag, made with images of livestock and a Recipe for a Farm Girl: “A pinch of create. A dash of grow. A tablespoon of wise. A teaspoon of care. A bucket of nature. A cup of laugh. A kiss from a calf.”

LeBlanc calls her business Old Bagzz. About 80 percent of the fabrics she uses are recycled; she also collects vintage fabrics from antique shows, flea markets, and materials – grandma’s bedspread, for example – that are given to her by customers. She recently started using recycled leather from a local furniture manufacturer.

“I use a lot of clothing,” she said, “so I’ll take a suit coat and make it into a bag.”

Many of her bags are appropriate for the #MeToo era because they feature strong women, from vintage Wonder Woman comics to a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” (And yes, she also has a “Nevertheless, she persisted” bag.)

LeBlanc’s favorite is her “gypsy bag,” which features vintage drawings of gypsies, the lyrics from the Stevie Nicks song “Gypsy” and another quote: “She had the soul of a gypsy, the heart of a hippie and the spirit of a fairy.”

The handbags come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs – with lots of pockets. The regular-sized purse has eight outside pockets – four that zip and four that are open – and another four pockets inside the lining. LeBlanc sells her bags on the craft show circuit and ships them all over the country. Her next show will be at the South Berwick Strawberry Festival on June 23.

You can email LeBlanc at [email protected] if you see something you like on her Facebook page or website,, or buy a bag through her shop.

Prices range from $10 for a coin purse or credit card holder to $70-90 for a handbag. Her most expensive bag is an overnighter priced at $150.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.