Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Remaking my Sari Silk Purse

I think I'll start with a crazy project that I made back in September. This all began about a year ago when my daughter and I were out yard sale-ing with my wonderful mother-in-law, Gretchen. One sale had this cool (and slightly crazy) purse made from sari silk scraps. My mother-in-law bought it and took it back to Virginia with her.

sari silk ribbon purse before
Until her next visit when she gave it to me saying that she never used it. So I carried it for part of the summer but always felt that it didn't totally 'fit' me. And then it started to fall apart - literally. So I decided to remake it. I'd never made a bag before so I hit the internet and found this wonderful tutorial by littlegirlPearl.

Here's a picture of the bag before. You can see that it is a little crazy. The silk scraps were fraying extensively and starting to fall off the bag. Plus one of the handles had come unsewn.

The sari scraps were gathered and sewn on along the top edge of each row only. I grabbed my seam ripper and undid the stitching and freed all my little sari scraps. how I took apart the purse

Just look at how beautiful the silk is - nothing takes dye like silk does.

sari silk scraps I salvaged from bag - how beautiful

 And my little helper agrees. Say hello to Ginger.
bowl full of salvaged sari silk scraps with my cat investigating

Now I turned to littlegirlPearl's tutorial. Sort of. I needed two pieces of fabric that would be the basis for each side of the bag. So I decided that I liked the underlying shape of the original bag. That meant I could use the original bag as a cutting template. I knew that I wanted to attach the silk bits by stitching them down. (I was really making this up as I went along, but I was hoping that stitching down the pieces of silk would cut down on the fraying.) However the thought of pinning down all those slippery bits of fabric was daunting. 

piecing together the recycled silk piecesSo I pulled out my two-sided iron on interfacing and ironed it onto the side. Then I laid out pieces of silk on this. As you can see, I cut the silk scraps into smaller pieces to get more of a patchwork effect. I made the mistake of sneezing partway through this stage and silk went flying everywhere.

This shows one side after I laid out all the silk. Very carefully I laid down a tea towel on top of it to hold the silk still and act as a pressing cloth. Then I ironed it to stick the silk to the interfacing and the fabric piece that is the basis for one side of the bag. 

one side of bag with recycled silk pieces after I quilted it
Then I stitched parallel lines all over it. Kind of like quilting. I love the look that it gave the piece - I think it unified it.

Can you believe the colors here? I love that some of the pieces are patterned and some are solids. By the way, I found out that you can buy sari silk scraps on Etsy if this makes you crave some.

closeup of quilted recycled sari silk bag piece

I'm not going to try to go through the detailed steps of making this purse. LittlegirlPearl has done such a good job that I cannot compete. I just wanted to explain the evolution of my bag. 

pockets in lining of remade bagOne of the complaints I had with the original bag was the black lining. I often had to stand under a light to see down into its murky depths. So I decided to have a brighter lining this time. I found a bright blue dress at a thrift shop.  And it had some embroidered trim on the sleeves so I could make pretty little pockets like these.

MOP handled antique nail file

It occurred to me that since I was making this from scratch I could solve some of the storage problems I had with my old purse. For example, I have this beautiful antique mother of pearl nail file that I always carry with me. I love how people used to make even utilitarian items look so decorative. I can just imagine that my grandmother carried a piece like this in her purse.

 But my favorite nail file always gets lost in my bags. So I made a pocket just for it in this bag. I love it! Now I can always reach right in and find it.

finished recycled sari silk bag

Here's the finished bag! I reused the straps from the old bag which made me happy. I love to recycle. One thing I especially like about this bag is how lightweight it is. It's as colorful as the original but not quite as crazy. And I have enough silk scraps left for several more projects. (Please excuse my messy house; housekeeping is not my forte.)

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