What do you get for the intelligent, literary and stylish woman in your life? How about a purse made from a book? This summer after making placemat purses I found a book showing how to make all sorts of creative totes and bags, including a purse made from a hardcover book. Yes, yes I know I don't need another purse but this one was so cute I couldn't resist.
It's Designer Style Handbags by Sheri Haab and I've had fun making several of the purses it describes, including the woven ribbon purse that I mentioned in my "My Collections" post. If you can get past tearing up an old book then this could be the craft for you. No sewing skills required--well almost none, just three small straight stitches.
You will need:
* Fabric glue such as Sobo
* 1 yard of fabric as lining
* An old book, cloth bound and the thicker the better
* 1 yard of ribbon or chain for straps
* 4 "D" rings if desired (you can instead glue the straps directly on the purse)
* Any embellishments you'd like such as the wide grosgrain ribbon, bow and broach
* Paper, scissors, pencil, ruler, thread and a sewing machine
1. First pick the right book. I found irony in choosing Ulysees by James Joyce. First, because I think it's highly tragic that it was chosen as the best book of the 20th century, second because it's unintelligible and third because what is intelligible is junk. (Sorry, I'm sure there are other opinions out there but I'm just an old-fashioned, Edition Wharton-loving girl). But whatever book you choose, get one with a cloth cover. The other nice thing about my book is that it's long (ergo wide), in nearly-new condition and is a lovely cream color that matches everything.
2. Cut the book from its cover. Using a razor blade, gently cut the pages from the cover along the spine on the inside of the front and back cover, being careful not to cut into the cover. When you're done you'll have only an empty cover.
3. Make the pattern for the side panels. Measure the width of the cover (to be the height of the panel) and the width of the spine. Then for the upper width of the panel measure approximately four inches across and then give half an inch of seam allowance all around the pattern. See the photo at left.
4. Form the side panels. Using a piece of fabric that has been folded in half, wrong sides together, and your new pattern cut two side pieces on the fold by laying the top edge of the pattern along the fold. Sew each piece along the three open sides with 1/2" seam allowance then clip the bottom corners to make 3/8" notches on each side (see photo at right).
5. Reinforce the spine. Laying the book cover open in front of you, glue the 1/2" notched end of each fabric panel to each end of the spine. Cut a strip of cardboard that will fit inside the spine and glue it in the spine over the top of the panel edges (see photo at left).
6. Create the lining. Measure the exact dimensions of the book cover plus 1/4" all around. Press under 1/4" seam allowance and glue it onto the book cover at each end of the spine so it is still unattached along the rest of the cover (see photo at right).
7. Make the handle attachments. Fold four pieces of grosgrain ribbon over four "D" rings and glue the ribbon edges to the inside covers of the book in the spots where the handles should go (see the photo at left). You don't have to use handle attachments, you could use ribbon that is glued directly onto the cover where you see the handle attachment in the photo. The "D" rings merely give it a more professional look.
8. Glue the side panels and lining to the cover. Close the cover part way and glue the side panels in place along each edge. Use binder clips to hold things in place while they dry (see photo at right). Then glue the rest of the lining to the cover, making sure that it is glued all the way to the edge, and again secure it with binder clips at the corners until it is dry.
9. Add handles and embellishments (if desired). Attach the chain or ribbon handles and decorate the outside cover however you'd like. I made a bow out of matching ribbon and sewed an old brooch of my great-grandmother's onto the bow before gluing it in place with fabric glue on a wide strip of ribbon running around the cover. If you want to have that same ribbon strip on yours, you'll need to glue it lightly in place around the cover with fabric glue and glue the ribbon edges down over the inside cover before completing step 8.
Technorati tags: handbags, crafts, purses, sewing