What are the practical limits of bags for life customisation?

One of the wonderful things about bags for life is there almost infinite possibilities for customisation. When you choose from our Economy or Bespoke services, you decide your own shape, size, handle styles, colours and print. Manufactured in our dedicated production facility, we take care of the detail and invite you to let your creative juices run wild. If you want a green bag with purple sides, pink and blue spots, a zip pocket, a leather handle and a printed swing tag – we can do it. That’s the unlimited version; the Rolls Royce of bag services. In practice however, most of our customers are working to a budget and to a time frame, and that puts some boundaries to their imagination. In this article we hope to consider what are the practical limits of bags for life customisation?


Making bags to order takes time.

When ordering bespoke bags you’re looking at 14-16 weeks lead time on standard delivery, or about 6 weeks if you pay a premium to airfreight. It’s worth noting that we’re not big fans of airfreight. But if you really don’t have a long lead time, then you need to choose our EXPRESS service. By choosing express you’ll choose from about 30 stock cotton or jute bags, standard sizes and handle lengths and we’ll overprinted them with your artwork. Lead time for these is just one week. We can do plenty to brand these ready-made bags and use your artwork to make them your own. But we can’t dye them – nor can we print the gussets.


As your customised bags are made to order in our production facility, the minimum run is 500 bags. The time taken and costs incurred setting up a smaller production run make it impractical to produce fewer. If 500 is too many for you then once again, you need to choose from our Express Service, where you can have a minimum of 250 bags delivered in super fast time.


We supply three main styles, defined by the number of gussets. A bag without gusset is a simple rectangle of material, folded in half and stitched on the sides. For greater depth we can add a single gusset on the bottom, or an all round gussett which gives the bag depth all round.

Coloured fabrics

We dye the fabric on the roll, before it is printed or made into bags. The minimum we can dye is one roll – about enough to make 1000 shopping bags.

So, for 1000 units or more, we can match the precise colour of your brand. Fabric dyes work to the TPX Pantone matching system and not to the more widely used coated and uncoated Pantone charts.

We can try to match to uncoated Pantones, but the TPX shades can vary slightly from uncoated.
If you need less than 1000 bags, then you still have plenty of great colours to choose from. Our standard colour range has about 20 colours – primary and pastel shades which we can always supply. These include all the most popular colours such as olive green, navy blue, black and purple. Most of our clients find these are perfectly fit for purpose but for a close colour match, the minimum is 1000.

Dyed handles

An increasing number of our clients want the handles to match their fabric shade or print.

For cotton bags this is easy, but jute bags present an additional challenge. They generally have handles made of cotton, which has to be dyed using a separate process. Handles are yarn dyed separately: this means we dye the thread before weaving it into material. The result is a depth, consistency and stability of colour that cannot be achieved with the standard dipping procedure.

Getting a precise match however can be difficult. Fabrics accept and reflect dyes in different ways. It is a tribute to our manufacturing team that we regularly match print, body and handle colours – spot on. But if you have any concerns about this, then go for contrasting colours.

About our dyes

The dyes we use are low pollution, water based, AZO free pigments. These are natural pigments (vegetable or mineral) wherever possible. We also use reactive dyes which bond firmly to the cellulose in the fabric and are fade- and run-proof.
Most of our rivals use standard dyes which, especially with jute, tend to fade and even rub off onto clothing. Our process might be a little more expensive but we believe it is worth it.

Contact us now to start your next bag job bagsforlife.com

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