I only made 3 of these clutches as it’s really hard to find a great leather with a natural edge that has some character & a little burnish. I like that the zipper is hidden under the flap. At first glance it looks like a very simple fold-over construction but by adding the zipper it becomes a fully constructed bag. This may definitely be a style I’d like to continue into fall. Now I just need to get my hands on some great leather!
I collect old books. Not special, limited edition types, just old books with good pictures & sayings. I recently pulled out an old atlas that I found at a goodwill & sewed the pages into little bracelet bags. The colors of the old prints are fantastic & I like that each bag was a different country or state. These types of books just pile up at used book stores & really have no where to go but the recycle bin. I like that they can have one more life before they are discarded.
I found this big, heavy canvas, turquoise duffel bag & immediately knew it could be something fun. I held onto it for about 4 months before I actually had the nerve to cut it apart. From this bag I was able to make 2 fold-over clutches (One with white leather & one with brown) & an oversized tote bag (that will be another post… it’s a work in progress).
By adding a leather bottom, contrast zippers & a leather pull, the simple canvas fabric was transformed into a real hipster clutch. When it’s open, it can also be used to hold an iPad or small computer. I like when there can be more than one use for a simple bag.
The fabric for this clutch is made from an old army tarp. Add some bright canvas, paint some stripes, sew in a zipper, add a leather tab….Wa-La!
This tote was one of the first ones I made in this style. It’s made with a printed gray linen & then I painted the stripes on the bottom. The handles are natural vegetan leather that will darken with age & use. This is kind of where the painted tip started. My style keeps evolving depending on the materials I use but as I can see from this sample, I stay on the same path.
A friend came to me & requested a linen bag. She had a very specific use for it & we wanted to create a tote that could go all around town, hold her things (like a computer) plus extra kid stuff. Her water bottle was floating around the bottom of her current bag so I suggested we add an extra outside pocket to hold her drink. Simplicity was the key, she is a person who has such a beautiful natural yet subtle style. The tote material is an antique, heavy herringbone linen. The handle is a knotted horse bridle that can be removed for washing & the lining is a nice neutral striped linen fabric.
The hand stitched initial was a last minute addition just for her.
Yesterday I posted about a tote bag made out of an army tarp. Here is the clutch version sporting all the same details as the tote down to the fishing lure attached to the zipper.
This tote was made as an example for my upcoming class at Fabricate here in Boulder. After following a pattern the first time I made one, I realized it was not exactly what I was picturing. Like anything else, making a pattern can be about the concept your trying to achieve. I changed the height & width of the original & made the front & back pockets 2 instead of 3 which I thought was just too many for my needs. I ended up with a good sized, very functional, multi-pocket handbag which I use constantly especially when the weather gets springy. Bags like this are great for the farmers market & also keeping your goods separated when you’re lugging around not just your things, but your kids as well. For this sample, I incorporated detachable leather handles that can be removed for when you need to just throw it in the washing machine.
If you’re around & interested, this will be a 2 part class from 12:30-2:30 on Thursday May 17 & 24th.
Just wanted to share some pictures of some hand painted metallic leather totes I made a while ago. I wanted to contrast the silver & gold outside with a heavy linen on the inside. I also found these bags a great vehicle for a little added embroidery. The stitching gives each bag a unique look that contrasts to the shiny leather. The straps are horse bridles & for a pop of color I carried the embroidery detail onto one side of each strap.
This is the third version that I’ve made of this bag. For the first one I copied a pattern & when it was done, it worked but was not the proportion I was looking for. The second time I made it, I ended up using it all summer as it was made from this really great brown & white heavy linen stripe. The THIRD time I tried this bag, I used the concept but made my own pattern. Instead of the 3 pockets on each side I revised it to 2. Plus the 2 outside pockets on either end it still had 6 pockets which was just fine with me. After I cut out the pieces I painted the white bits by hand then sewed it together. Instead of a lining I just added a natural twill tape binding. To finish off the inside hem I painted a bright yellow stripe on the cotton webbing for fun. The straps were also hand painted on the tips. I finally made the bag that I was thinking of. I think this would make a fun 2 part class……