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
This is an adorable craft! My girls would love to try something like this. I can think of all sorts of books that would be perfect for a purse. :)
As always, thanks for stopping by the blog!
Wow...I was pretty brave to make the placemat purses, and now I am going to be teaching them for Super Saturday next month...
I don't know if I can bear to rip apart a book. That is my main drawback.
What an interesting idea!
And yes vegimite is the closest you will get to marmite!!!
That is a wonderful idea!
Ha! Love that you used Ulysses. I think I would use Of Human Bondage by Maughm. For about the same reasons.
This is a great idea, but it wouldn't work for me, because you can't cram a diaper or camera or one last handful of snacks in a purse with no stretch. I'll have to wait until my little ones can carry their own junk. What is that, 18? 20?
Such a cute bag! I love it!
People who are this creative never cease to amaze me!
Gorgeous! Oh how I wish I was crafty, I've got a book or two just screaming to be "improved" that way.
how creative and cute!!!
I saw these for sale online and was wondering if I could make them myself. Now I can, thanks to you =) Although I am worried about my abilities to sacrifice a book just so I can look good...
Sacrilege! I'll have you know that kind of behaviour is on a par with book burning.
However, at least you'll know the true size of the bag in advance.
Cream! Probably a little optimistic for this neck of the woods. Good point! Perhaps I can find a camoflage coloured boring manual of some kind - now that would deserve to be recycled in such a manner.
Very very adorable! I wish I had time for arts and crafts right now!
That would be something I would like to make! My oldest might like this!
This is SO COOL but oh no can I *cut a book???*
Using My Words
Have you set up that Etsy shop yet???
That is awesome!
It's definitely a cute and creative idea. I could never get past the tearing up the book part though.
Well, unless it was a math book. :)
Oh - how cool looking! I'm so not crafty (just ask my cub scouts what a disaster craft projects turn into) but I love shopping for new things!
Wonder if I coudl convince one of my friends to make this FOR me?
OK, you are officially super woman :) !!
TOO CUTE! Going to check out the placemat purse.... (((((HUGS))))) sandi
Very clever. Your pictures and directions are always SO crystal clear. I feel like I could just whip one of those together in no time!
I am so going to do this! Thankyou!!!
I like it. If I carried a purse, that would be a great addition.
I don't blame you for the choice of material. Any book that so many critics name to be great has to be mind numbingly boring. I don't trust critics of any type of art, AT ALL.
We read a couple of Joyce's smaller works in college and it made me wish I were taking another calculus or physics class instead.
Give me a good thriller, spy novel, or science fiction any day.
I do take an Israeli Paratrooper's Briefcase because of it's toughness and book carrying ability to work. Of course Lovely Wife and daughters refer to it as my purse. Oh well, I'm cool with that. Payback is fun anyway.
how cute is this....for those who consider it sacrilege (i do love books so i'm almost in this category) i recommend an old cook book...less of a profanity than tearing up literature, i suppose...
Cool, very cool. I recommend finding a big book of little worth at a thrift store. Then you will feel no guilt in cutting it up. Pefhaps an old Readers Digest Condensed Books collection -- they're huge and perfect.
What a great craft. It looks like a purse from the 50's. I love it!
Oh just what I need! Another adorable craft to start and never finish! I used to make placemat purses, but these are even cuter! Thanks!
What a great idea! I love this, I am just going to HAVE to make one of these. Thanks for the run through on how to do it. Sounds like a great weekend project!
Kim @ TheBitterBall
I have a friend with a bag like this. She got it from someone we call "the skirt lady" because she makes terrific, well, skirts.
I. Just. Love. This. Purse.
you are so cool.
that's all i have to say.
Oh wow - this is just TOO cute!!! And how perfect for a gift for the bookworm in ones life. I love it!!!
Are these the ones that you made? If not, I'd like to see your creations! How cool!
Wow, these are really neat! I'm not sure I have the articulate patience to put this together though! Thanks for sharing!
How cute!!! What a GREAT idea! thanks:)
O my gosh! How cute!!!
that is just so cute! but, as my husband was quick to point out when i showed him this post, the only thing i need less than another purse is another book!
clearly, he is W.R.O.N.G!
What? So you're telling me you don't like un-punctuated rambling paragraphs that go on for 45 pages??? (How sick is it that I had to go look in my copy of Ulysses to count the pages so I could get it right? And how telling is it that my bookmark - from when I bought the thing in graduate school, determined to read the all-mighty Joyce to the very end - is still stuck about mid-way through that dang last chapter?)
Wow Michelle, your creativity never ceases to amaze me. What a "novel" idea. (waits for collective groans to die down.
My heart actually hurt when you said, "Cut the book from it's cover." ACK! Poor book. But it's okay, I'm over the shocking visual now. *grin*
And I KNEW I liked you - Edith Wharton ROCKS. Dude.
That is too cute. Really the perfect gift for a book lover!
Oh my goodness, I just love it, M!
Oh my goodness, I MUST make these for gifts!!! How adorable! I have three sisters-in-law that would appreciate these bags.
Thanks for a great idea!
absolutely gorgeous!! Wow, what a great idea!!
Wow that is a cool project! Thanks so much for sharing a wonderful MIFS craft.
Man, that looks so awesome...but I don't think I can tear up a book... =(
I saw these a few years ago at a crafts fair and wanted one, but they were $50 and up, which I thought was too high. Thanks for the instructions; I'm thinking Xmas presents for all my female relatives. Bravo on slamming the overrated mess Ulysses, and I'm with you on Edith - House of Mirth is one of the best books ever.
You know, the original and best book purses can be found at www.rebound-designs.com. Hers sell for over $100, but judging by the time she puts into each one (10 hours!) and the quality of the construction, I think they're well worth it. I've had one for 3 years, and I use it every week, it has held up extremely well.
I just made one of these today after my LP record purse cracked by accident. But instead of taking the jacket off, I hot glued it on. I love it, but I used Peace Breaks Out and well I can't really fit a whole lot in it. Only some Pens and two softcover books(yep, I'm a reader.
I notice that there is no indication of a fastener. How is it held closed?
There is no fastener, though you could make one with a button and loop of ribbon if you wished.
Thanks for this wonderful post...even though I am reading it a couple of years after you posted it. =) Google searches....wonderful!
Great gift idea!
Your work is wonderful! Absolutely love it!
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