I found these amazing Italian military sacks in Texas last October. They were very dirty but had the most amazing character & stenciling on each one. I only found 3 & ended up keeping one for myself because I thought, “this is one of the coolest fabrics I’m bound to ever find.” The bottoms were pretty wrecked so I took the seams apart & patched on leather bottoms with additional pockets. The old worn in belts were perfect to keep the flaps down & the shoulder straps were well worn horse bridles. This combination was just perfect together & gave it a very vintage feel. They definitely appear to be from the WWII era & if I’m extra lucky, maybe I’ll trip over more someday.
I really like the combination of these two fabrics. They really have such different textures but compliment each other so well. This was the start of the cross body bag which I have expanded on for the fall season. The waxed cotton part of the bag is actually 4 functional pockets. Two in the front & 2 in the back for extra storage.
I’ve been very busy this summer in between travels making all sorts of things in anticipation for the September Firefly Market. I know from experience that no matter how organized I am, there are always a million thinks that need to be done. I also keep wanting to make just one more…… here are some new clutches that I made combining leather & waxed cotton canvas from an old hunting tent. The insides are lined in a natural linen. They can be used folded over or will fit an iPad or small computer if open. I really like these 2 textures together which makes me want to play with more combinations & ideas… there just aren’t enough hours in the day!
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.
I found this amazing fabric canvas at an outdoor flea market. While everyone was poking through tables of costume jewelry I head straight for a gentleman who was selling outdoor gear. I felt like I hit the jackpot! I was able to get 2 nice tarps from him that were used to cover a part of an army truck. The canvas weave is super tight & it’s not too heavy. The fabric by itself was very military looking & I just kept thinking bright white was the perfect compliment to the neutral color of the canvas & the leather. The lining is 100% linen with 2 pockets.
When all was said & done & it was hanging on my wall in my office, I just kept thinking something was missing. needed just a pop of color. The following week at an antique show I found some old, bright orange, fishing lures. Wa-la! They were meant to be together. Stay tuned for the matching clutch….
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.
As I make the linen totes & actually, all bags, I put a lot of thought into the linings. I think the inside should be just as thought out as the outside. When someone opens their bag it’s always nice to have a little surprise. For instance, when I made a blue & white linen clutch with a leather bottom, the lining was a bright yellow gingham check linen. For the insides of the linen totes, I collected antique cotton feed sacks & embroidered linen tea towels. Some have printed logo’s, stamped numbers or selvage woven stripes incorporated into the layout. They are not perfectly pristine. They had lives of their own. Each bag is so full of history from the shell & bridle straps to the linings.
I’ve been busy buying & bidding on antique linen the past few months in anticipation of warmer weather & summer. I finally got most of my leather projects out of the way so I could concentrate full stop on working with linen. Oh my, I am falling in love! The fabric is so heavy & full of character. There is nothing dainty & fragile about it. I found linen from France, Sweden & Germany. After buying a little here, & a little there, I realized I was addicted to a very expensive material….. These fabrics will make amazingly beautiful handbags that will have a timeless quality & will hopefully make someone very happy for a long, long time.
Here is a peek at some clutches. Ohhhh, summer!