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Thrift Store Inspiration

on Jan 24, 2012 in accessories, Blog, free spirit fabrics, sewing | 3 comments

I love going to the thrift store. Recently I picked up a little black purse for about $2.00. I really liked the shape and really liked how it was constructed. I decided it would be something I’d have to try to remake.

inspiration bag

I carried the bag around for a day only to find out that it was WAY too small for my purse loot. I liked the shape. I liked that it was vinyl. I like that it had a “binding” around the edges.

Before I make a bag like this little bag, I’d have to do some re-design work. That totally works out because for me, it’s like solving a puzzle. Ok, solving a puzzle backwards…. But still.

Once I started sketching, lots of bag variations emerged. I think that is a normal part of the process. But now, I’ve got these mystery bags that I’d like to make, bigger, vinyl, and finished in binding. I must edit and pick just one for the “test run”.

Hooray for the discount fabric store for having a grey vinyl remnant. I took a picture of the back of the vinyl, so you can see the “fabric” side as well as the vinyl side. And of course, there’s some bright crazy Sugar Snap fabric for the lining.

I sketched. I drafted. I stitched. I pinned. I ironed (the cotton only*). I basted and finally I made a big bag.

*Turns out the vinyl MELTS! -which I knew, but wasn’t thinking about… then the kids came into the studio telling me it smelled horrible in there… which it totally did!!!

It is about 14″ across and much wider than the inspiration bag. I even added little petal details along the front, top edge.

The lining turned out great. It was supposed to be the lining only… but as? I was going along, I realized that my vinyl remnant wasn’t going to be enough fabric to bind the edges, as I had planned.

I had to improvise. Honestly, I have to file this in the “oh, I guess that’s neat” section, because I wouldn’t think of doing a quilt binding on fabric that doesn’t fray, and yet- it totally worked out. And a binding in such a high contrast is kinda cool, too. I love approaching a project in a “who knows how this will turn out?!” way. =)

All in all I think the experiment turned out pretty well. My bag is a little more funky-fresh than the classic small black bag. My bag fits over the shoulder and makes up very quickly. I didn’t add any extra pockets- since I really just wanted to test the concept. It totally works for me though. Here’s a last photo for the whole story- from inspiration to finished project.

I suppose the only question left is – will I go back and make the other sketched designs on the page?? We shall see….


  1. The real question is…..when will there be a pattern??! I want to make one 🙂 Need any test sewers? 😉


    January 24, 2012

  2. Don’t you just love designing something from an inspiration & make it better? My one sister & I did the same thing from a picture of $300 leather bag. After perusing the quilt shop for hours, we found the perfect choice of fabrics, went home, made a pattern…then stitched up 2 purses.


    January 24, 2012

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