Monthly Archives: December 2013

Reclaimed Retrobellish Purses

The following articles feature stylish purses made from reclaimed materials. These reclaimed purses were each featured blog posts in recent years. Each article describes the purse in an introductory paragraph followed by a link to the rest of the article including additional pictures.

Retrobellish pink-recycled-fabric-knitted-purse

Make Your Own Recycled Fabric Knitted PurseIt all started when I watched a craft show about knitting with fabric. The show featured a lady who sewed a simple summer dress in a smooth beautiful floral colored cotton fabric. The beautiful summer dress had an empire waistline, and although the top portion of the dress was fashioned in a tube top style, it had the most beautiful braided-like texture, and it tied at the shoulders with thin straps. The lady explained that she had created this beautiful texture by knitting it with strips created from the same floral fabric. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the dress looked. I immediately knew that I wanted to try this technique, although it would probably be on a smaller scale, and I came up with the idea of a small knitted purse.

White-Crochet-Purse

White Crocheted Pearl Purse
Just when I thought I couldn’t find any other type of fiber thread to crochet with, I found this Twisted Mason’s String Line in many colors at our local home improvement store. One of the pros I liked about this nylon string is that it’s very strong and lends itself to making very strong crochet pieces such as purses and straps. Other great qualities about this string is that it’s so soft to the touch and crocheting with it creates a great thick texture and an incredible satin sheen. It’s also waterproof.

Reclaimed Fabric Paris Theme Purse

Reclaimed Fabric Paris Theme Purse
This small evening purse was made from the reclaimed fabric of a bridesmaid dress that I know I’ll never wear again. In the past, I’ve donated bridesmaid dresses, but there were only a few that I just couldn’t part with because the dress fabric was so beautiful. I saved these dresses, took my time taking them apart, saving the zippers, buttons and fabrics. As a big fan of all things Paris, I decided that I would use this beautiful pink silky fabric to make a Paris themed purse. The first thing that came to mind was the Eiffel Tower, so I decided to make an Eiffel Tower of sequins. I really didn’t know how this would turn out, but thought I’d give it a try.

chicago-cigarbox-purse-back

Cigar Box Folk Art Purse
Cigar box purses were once very popular and a great way to reuse these great boxes made out of wood or chipboard that could be used for a multitude of craft projects from jewelery boxes to purses. We used some of these for a lot of our folk art projects where we painted city and farm scenes on the boxes. The box featured here is an abstract rendition of our city of Chicago’s famous landmarks. And although this purse was used as folk art, some of our other pieces were functional purses lined inside with velour fabric and a small mirror.

Plaster Art Dresses

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These dresses are all made of reclaimed cardboard, recycled paper, and then covered with wall plaster. I start by picking out a reclaimed cardboard base and cutting it into a square or rectangular shape (approximately 4″ x 5″). I then crumple many pieces of recycled paper into small different sized shapes. Next, the paper shapes need to be glued down onto the cardboard base and it’s at this point that I try forming the dress shape by gluing the pieces onto the cardboard base. The paper shapes should not have too many gaps in between because the wall plaster is what will give the dress texture. Once the glued paper shapes are completely dry, I start spreading a thin coat of wall plaster over all of the glued paper pieces and background. I usually let the plaster coating completely dry overnight. I chose to give these pieces an abstract look (using a small plastic knife to spread the plaster), but it’s at this point that you could add as much or as little detail over the entire piece.

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Because many of the steps involved in making these pieces is time consuming, I try to make many pieces at one time. Another fun part of the process that I enjoy is painting the dresses. I try to imagine the colors and details on these dresses and many times the outcome of the dress will change my mind to a different color I didn’t even think of before I started.

paster-art-dress3

Other times, I’ll pick out colors and not know what patterns I’ll end up painting on these dresses. I enjoy the process very much and have a lot of fun. So the sky is the limit as to the themes you can make – be it flowers, animals or dresses. Just have fun creating your own designs and enjoy!

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Other Examples Could also be Seen Here

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