Purse Repair and Updates

After a wonderful 2 weeks in North Carolina, I had to return home and return to work. I had hoped to have some pictures of Neil’s baby nephew wearing the shirt I made for him, but sadly, when Neil and I left to drive out to visit his brother, we both forgot to bring the box of baby clothes. We did, however, leave them in NC with his Dad to give to the baby later next month. So, pictures are still to come, they just have a longer wait than I originally anticipated.

While I was on vacation, I took advantage of the time to read Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline. If you’ve been following my Facebook page (click on the “like” button in the Facebook widget to the

overdressed_bookright of the blog), you’ve already seen my praises for this book and that I feel everyone needs to read it. What happens in the textile industry and how clothes are consumed does not stay in the textile industry. It has direct ties to the economy, unemployment and the struggle for a living wage/ fair labor practices, the environment, and how arable land is used just to name a few.
If you’re like me, you can’t really afford to buy “new” clothes anyhow, even the fast fashion from the mall or Target. I buy almost all of my clothes second hand, or I make my own. But when you DO buy new clothes, you should understand the power your dollars really do have. No matter where you get your clothes, it could be worth the time to learn how to alter and/or repair them yourself to make them last and fit better, or find a local seamstress or tailor to do the work for you (and help support your local economy while you’re at it).

It is in the spirit of repairing and keeping what I already have and getting it’s full use that I am fixing one of my purses. This backpack purse was actually my very first purse. My father got it for me when I was in 6th grade. I never really used it until I started riding my bike more than driving my car – the little black backpack purse was both cute and effective for carrying while on a bike. However, the lining inside my little purse ripped and I’d been having issues with my keys and other things falling through into the no man’s land between lining and purse. Not really having any lining on hand and knowing cotton is sturdier anyway, I chose to re-purpose an old pillow sham.

The old lining, after taking a seam ripper to my purse. I used the original lining as a pattern for the new.

New lining.

The inside of my gutted purse.

I still have to do the actual sewing yet, but wanted to share the start with you all the same. Stay tuned to see how it turns out!

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How to Make Rope from Rags

I was doing laundry this morning and decided I wanted to try to save some money by drying my clothes on a clothesline. I had two major problems. 1) I didn’t have rope to use as a clothesline. 2) I currently live in an apartment and an outside clothesline just isn’t possible. So, after surveying my pad, looking for places to secure a line to that would be level and could withstand the weight of wet clothing, I set out to solve problem number 1. Rather than get in my car and drive all the way out to some store to fork over hard earned money on more rope than I actually needed, I decided to use resources I had at home already and make my own rope.

I have a lot of fabric laying around, so I had plenty to chose from, but I certainly didn’t want to use my good cotton for such a project. What I used was a old shower curtain I’d picked up from Freecycle in a bulk fabric box some time ago. It’s a fabric shower curtain, not a plastic or vinyl. Of course, you could use just about any old fabric. Old sheets, old clothes, etc. It doesn’t have to be pretty because this is strictly a utilitarian project.

I cut the curtain into strips of fabric. Starting with 3 strips, tie them together at the top in a knot. You can now begin braiding the strips together.

Once you’ve braided to about 2 or 3 inches from the loose end, it’s time to start joining in the next strips. What I did was lay each new strip on top of an existing strip, so that as I continued braiding, I was braiding with 3 double strands (6 strips). Because this causes the rope to suddenly become thicker, I gradated the new strips so the new thickness wasn’t as sharp.

As you can see, I have the 3 loose ends of the new strips hanging out from the rope where I began joining them in. These loose ends can be cut off later.

I would like to note that while this homemade rope may not have industrial strength, and I cannot vouch for just how strong it is, it is sufficient for the vast majority of the everyday tasks most of us would require rope for.

In the end, my rope was a success. My jerry-rigged clothesline however, not so much. As I don’t seem to have the space to adequately dry a full load of laundry in my apartment, I may need to rethink this afterall…