Presto Change-o! Pants Become a Purse: Part 2

I know that a lot of time has passed between my last posting and this one. Part of that was dealing with the holidays and part has been trying to bust my butt to get other projects done to apply for Hatch, as the deadline is in just a few days. What is Hatch? In short, it is a creative re-use art fest that will be taking place this March in Champaign, IL. For more information, please see The Official Hatch Info Page.

Since last I posted I have completed the purse. I’ve been working on it here and there for the past month and actually just finished it off about 20 minutes prior to writing this entry. If you haven’t already read parts 1 and 2, check them out here: Part 1 & Part 2.
When I left off last time, I had transferred the Buddha image onto the purse but had not yet begun embroidery. For those of you that follow the Facebook page, you’ve already had a sneak peak at the progress on the embroidery. If you haven’t, well, do you see that little Facebook thing to the side? You should click the “Like” button. I’ll wait for you.  …  Done? Good. Here’s how Buddha turned out: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After Buddha was done, I began work on the lining. I used an old cotton bed sheet I picked up from a second hand store  awhile back. I added an inside pocket on one side of the lining, which proved to be a bit of a pain. If I make anymore, I’m using a zippered opening. I also added two more smaller pockets to what should have been the back pockets of the pants. I hate how so many women’s pants have fake decoration pockets. Maybe we might actually want to put something back there, huh? Maybe it’s just me. I’d also like to see more women’s pants with functional cargo pockets. Before I started carrying a purse regularly (which became a necessity for transporting yarn), I used to wear men’s cargo jeans almost exclusively (I’ve actually discussed this before).  Anyhow, here’s some pictures. First the back pockets:


Now, the lining:


The lining actually turned out to be not as deep as the purse itself, partly because I merely estimated the dimensions while laying the purse flat on the floor. I can always go back in and fix it later, but it’s good enough for now. I used part of the pant legs to make the handles. I made two. I cut 2 strips that were about 3 in x 30 in. Striped material is quite nice for nice straight lines.

The pants themselves had 4 nice belt loops that were more or less evenly spaced and ended up being the same width as the finished straps, so it was only natural for me to feed them into each other. Although I play hell feeding that much fabric through my machine, I think it came out quite nice.


The Finished Purse Yields Paid Work!

It’s been roughly a month since my last posting. I have since finished the purse I was working on (see parts 1 and 2) and after I took it to work, one of my co-workers paid me to replace the zippers in one of her higher end purses (and I am happy to report that she was pleased with the results). Around the same time, I had responded to an ad on Craigslist looking for a seamstress to do some custom work, and that sucked up about a good two weeks between design, production and fine tuning, but was worth it.

Anyhow, here are the photos of my purse!

The inside of the finished purse, from the top opening. You can see both the inside pocket zipper and the back zipper. The pillowcase turned out to make quite a nice lining indeed.

The purse from the back opening.

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!