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Topic: First-ever Purse: Upcycled and Handsewn, with a (quasi) TUTORIAL  (Read 4577 times)
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« on: October 05, 2012 03:31:31 PM »

Upcycled Tote,
With (Quasi) Tutorial

This is my first time ever making a purse, and so now I can finally post in this category!  (Thanks to my Mini 13 Days of Halloween swap partner, Quaggy, who is the recipient of this gift, and was my muse as well.   Cheesy)

This handsewn purse took 20 hours, 2 floppy office binders, a pair of black jeans, a skirt, a shirt, two spools of heavy duty thread (white, and black), a set of four purse rings (79 cents) and fighting off three kitties with a passion for string.


From this (that T-shirt is next in line for upcycling!  oog.):

The outside of the tote, pre-upcycle (skirt):

The inside of the tote, pre-upcycle (shirt):

Not pictured: an innocent pair of black jeans, now deceased.


1. I stuck the blouse inside out inside the skirt (the top opening for the blouse exactly matched the waist opening for the skirt), and sewed them together using a white stitch, making sure not to stitch the skirt's functioning zipper closed.  (Left arrow.)  (Stitching shown on completed purse.)

2.  I reenforced that stitching by adding a line of black back-stitch around the whole purse about 1/2 inch below the white, making sure to not sew the skirts functioning zipper closed (right arrow).

3.  I cut apart 2 of those floppy office binders, creating four "covers" and four "folds of binder" pieces.

4. I put two covers on top of each other, wrapped them with a piece of black jeans, and stitched the base pieces together.

5.  I sewed the base in place, but to the "blouse" only.
View of "base", sewn to "blouse" (picture taken after purse completed):

6.  I sewed the "folds of binder" into the corners of the purse using an invisible backstitch.
7.  I inserted one binder cover into the front of the purse, and one into the back---in between the "blouse" and "skirt".

8.  I created a fabric "pocket" and stitched it in place behind the skirt's functioning zipper, creating a pocket for the purse.

9.  I sewed the outer "skirt" to the base/blouse at the bottom of the purse, in the order shown (Picture shown after purse completed).
  • First, the flat long side.
  • Second, the other flat long side.
  • Third, evened the gathers (though not very well), and sewed.
  • Fourth, evened the gathers (though not very well), and sewed.


10. I made handles and handle holders using black jeans and a set of 4 (79 cent) silver purse rings.

And, voila!!!
The tote, final.

I handstitched the whole thing, since I don't own a sewing machine.  The end result has all sorts of personality flaws, and next time around I'd know how to do it much better.   Fortunately, Quaggy, its new owner, seems very happy with it.   Smiley

For a first try, I figure it's not bad.   Cheesy

As always, comments and criticisms are welcome!   Cheesy

« Last Edit: October 05, 2012 07:38:54 PM by WideEyedLife » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012 04:10:11 PM »

I think it looks great - and awesome upcycling!
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012 04:56:07 PM »

Cool! Excellent upcycling and brilliant idea to use binder parts! That'll help keep out water should it ever get dropped in a fountain or deep puddle (not that I've dropped a purse in either of those  Roll Eyes ) I also love how you incorporated the skirt's lovely details into the finished product.

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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012 07:00:21 PM »

I am the  lucky recipient and and I love it!  Do not let wideeyedlife short sell her awesome abilities!  This bag is the best, very sturdy and well made. I have gotten tons of compliments and even shown my co workers the before pictures of how and from where the purse was born.  I totally love it, the shape color design it defiantly rocks!!!!!! Kiss

« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012 07:33:33 AM »

i love all the hardware from the skirt. you are very brave to tackle this project. i have a leather jacket that i have had for over 20 years that has seen better days, and i've thought about turning it into a tote, but just can't bring myself to do it for fear that it would be ruined...

-i love to try new crafts, and learn new techniques. my strength is color pencils, but i also scrapbook, stitch, crochet, bead, any excuse to head to the craft store!

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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013 10:16:16 AM »


You're a Craftster Best of 2012 Winner!

Craftster Best of 2012 Winner

Feel free to use this badge as your avatar!
If you'd like to use it as a badge on your personal website or blog, you can grab the full code at the bottom of this page.

« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013 09:09:40 AM »

I love this...I would have had a hard time cutting up that skirt, it's super cute, but it made a super cute bag! Great ideas using binders, thanks so much for sharing!

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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013 12:47:10 PM »

WEL, this is awesome!!  Congrats on the Best of!!! <3

It were lightnin'...
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013 06:01:40 AM »

Great job, I love your bag.

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