March 28, 2010

I can always do a bag first...

I'm so happy at least some of you are familiar with chaotic sewing and posting ;)
Yesterday, I was trying to decide which sewing project to tackle first, when my eyes strayed across the shelf in my sewing room where I keep my less useful thriftshop finds... Hats, gloves and small handbags. About three of each.
Now the gloves and hats are all in fine condition but only one of the bags is. The other two were bought together. I was at the market stall one day admiring them for their nice frames and closures when the seller offered me the two for 7 euros... Of course I couldn't say no! They were both made from what looked like plastic coated paper, printed to look like animal skin, and looking very, very tired.

When I saw them on the self now, it hit me: I know you can't reuse a handbag frame which has the bag materials squeezed in (rather than sewn on), but I can always add a layer! The inside of the bag still looked great, and the sides weren't bad at all. It was just the front and the strap.

I took some pieces of thin black leather (once part of a large coat and left over from making the jacket pictured in the banner) and sewed them together so they were large enough to cover the bag. Then, I used spray glue to put the leather on the bag surface. I trimmed the edges to about 1,5 cm past the corners of the bag and folded those narrow edges over (mitering
the sharp corners).

I made a new strap by sewing the longest scrap of leather together to form a tube and turning it right side out. I inserted a piece of not-suitable-for-its-normal-use electrical wired, and sewed along the edges using a zipper foot. Then came the fiddly bit of attaching the strap to the bag frame. I stitched extra bits of leather to the strap ends and glued those around thin straps of leather, pulled through the loops on the frame, they I put rivets in.
The new strap is a bit longer than the old one used to be, so the bag can now be carried on the shoulder as well. I know there's a loose end visible on the strap in the picture, but I glued that down afterwards.

I'm happy with how the bag turned out, but I think it could use some spicing up. I made a button robot but it doesn't look half as cute when it is hanging down (the arms almost disappear inside the body). And maybe I shouldn't have used such dark buttons. I'm not good at decorations, so I think it will take several tries to come up with something. Do you have any suggestions for me?


  1. I'm impressed. The bag's beautiful, the clasp is its decoration and it doesn't need anything else.

  2. Wow, I am impressed. You are very creative and this is now a gorgeous looking purse!

  3. Lovely bag! Spray glue is a wonderful invention. The only embellishment suggestion that I can offer is perhaps you could a cloth flower brooch type thing? There was a super fun bright red one featured on Etsy the other day, which has me obsessing over them. But, there is nothing the matter with leaving it plain - the shape is unique.

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  5. pfff! the button robot totally made me smile. :)

  6. I like the bag and how rough the leather looks, it gives some edge to that classic form.

  7. I have a Chloe bag that has a leather-wrapped tube trim, basically your bag handle, framing the bag. I think it is called the Paraty bag, if you want to see a pic. Yours is great as is, but would be a head-turner with a little something extra!

  8. Say, can you post a few technical details like that size and type of needle and thread you use to sew something like this?
    Do you use a special presser foot like a walking foot?

    I want to make a handbag and have never sewn with anything like leather.