Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Purse Project

My friend Robin received a long black tweed coat from her Great Aunt. It was a piece of clothing that her Aunt had worn for some time and then decided to part with.

Robin knew that the coat "just wasn't her style". The sleeves were too short; even though Robin is petite she claims to have "unusually long" arms; and the bulkiness of the coat just wasn't for her. Robin is more the type of woman I think who likes to wear small jean jackets and fleeces.
However, the coat meant something to her; it has a lot of sentimental value, and she knew that she didn't want to give it away or donate it to Goodwill.

She and I had met earlier in the year at a craft fair; Robin was selling handmade rosaries and I was selling my purses handmade from recycled materials.

Robin did a little thinking, and realized that since I make my purses from recycled clothing, that I could conceivably turn her Aunt's coat into a purse! She also had some curtain material leftover from a project at work, and thought that the two colors--beige and black--would look good in combination.

I picked up the materials at Robin's apartment, that she shares with her tiny dog. At first, the material on the tweed coat looked very bulky, and although I accepted the project, I was wary as to how the purse might end up looking since this is the first time I have done something like this. Generally, I make my purses from discarded jeans, sheets and shirts that I find at Goodwill or that are given to me. This is the first time that I have made something from a piece of clothing that carries some sentimental value. I realized that I would need to take extra care with the material and appreciated the opportunity to try something new.

The colors that Robin chose were much more subdued that I am accustomed to working with; I like to use bright pinks, greens, yellows and blues in combination with blue jeans. However, I noticed that the grey looked good with the beige and knew as well that since this was Robin's idea that what she wanted was paramount.

I set to work on the project, and found that even though the tweed and curtain material was bulkier than most of the sheets or jeans that I generally work with, that they blended together nicely. I worked on the project over two or three days, in combination with other projects that I was working on.

The day after I cut up Robin's tweed coat she sent me an e-mail asking me to please not to--Robin had mentioned the project to her cousin, and her cousin said that she wanted the coat for herself!

I had to tell Robin that it was way too late for that; her coat was cut into several small pieces and transformed beyond recognition. Robin told me that secretly she was glad that I had started the project before she could stop me.
This is the first custom purse order that I have done, and even though the tweed was a little bit more sturdy that the type of fabric that I am accustomed to, it went smoothly and Robin is pleased with the photos of her purse!
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