Saturday, April 28, 2007


I was in Barnes and Noble tonight, and noticed a new publication out by the brilliant Stampington and Company.

Ooh...Haute Handbags. Handmade purses, clutches, and altered bags.
The second edition is now available in stores.


Friday, April 27, 2007


My apologies to anyone who came to this site recently and found several photo areas blank.

Blogger has had some ongoing problems with the initially post, only to disappear later.

So I re-loaded all my pics via Flickr.

Flickr is usually reliable, but for some reason the pics weren't available.
So I switched back to uploaded images.

Cross your fingers...


Monday, April 23, 2007

More tea towel inspiration

Check out this cute tote from Wisecraft.
She used a tea towel as one of her fabrics.

From Melesse on craftster, a tote made from a fabric calendar.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Flickr group started

I just started a Flickr group where you can post pics of your vintage purse patterns.
Fabric, crocheted, knitting...whatever.

The group is called Vintage Bags Patterns.
Join here.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

More tea towel info

Cut out words from your tea towel or calendar and use them in a collage on your bag.
Like Bella Dia has done with fabric cards.
Hmmm...a pocket? Lots of possibilities.

Another idea is to consider embellishing your towel.
Couched yarns, charms, rick rack, applique...
or embroidery, like Bird in the Hand's bear
Make a statement.

Cute bags made with tea towels, for sale by Frau Liebe

They're not linen tea towels, but it's fun that Never Felt Better is selling small bags made from hand towels.

I look at ready made items for both purchase ideas and inspiration for sewing.
This one is just so hot that I need to share it.
Namaste Needle Binder.



Monday, April 16, 2007

Blogger woes again

What is the deal with Blogger lately?
If I edit a post, then go back to edit it again, it reverts back to the original, and I lose any changes I've made.
Photos aren't permanently loading either.
I sure hope they fix this glitch soon.


More ideas using tea towels or fabric calendars

Just in case you need inspiration for Project #1.

One-of-a-kind creations by A Susi

and Carry Handbags.

These bags are the perfect combination of vintage and new fabrics.
All you need is a piece, a square, a snippet.
So lovely. So chic!
Really, handmade doesn't need to be drab or 'eeww'
(a blog I recently read was stating as much).

Handmade can be fun, whimsical, meaningful (especially if you use a piece of fabric that belonged to your grandmother or a friend or...).
I'll take handmade over designer any day--it has so much more character.

I have already linked some of Rick Rack Ruby's bags, but sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words

These pouches were adapted from linen napkins, by GraceOblivious (craftster).


Sunday, April 15, 2007

More ideas

Before I get to other ideas with fabric and what might inspire you to be creative with your tea towel, I need to pause and continue my info about gum wrappers.

I love to edit my posts. I tend to go back to them and add more details, and I have done that with the gum wrapper post...until I realized you guys who have read it probably won't realize I do that...
So take a glance at that post again, and I'll just add some more details here.

I was cruising ebay and came across this (by seller zaz4300)

Isn't it cool?
Not woven, but oh so fun--it's package tape and gum wrappers!

She says, "It was made by making a pattern from paper, then making each side separately, fitting them together, re-enforcing everything, and then putting in the grommets for the strap, and other details."

She sent me a pic of other bags she has made:

Along the same lines, I love this bar code bag (by Uncommon Goods, or sold by

Okay, now let's get back to the theme at hand.
I figure maybe designs out on the market might get your juices flowing.
Like this:

Cute satchel from J Jill.
I like the idea of mixing fabrics like this--of using more than one tea towel design and or calendars.

Perhaps combine tea towels with different fabric scraps--it's a great way to use your stash.
Maybe add funky texture with chenille, flocked fabric, cordoroy, etc.
Or in my case, this is the perfect model for a bag made out of neckties.
But that's yet another theme down the road.
Boy do I have themes swirling around in my head...

I'll post more ideas for working with tea towels soon.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Purses made from candy wrappers, etc

I was going to wait to post this until the challenge involved unusual materials, but I've had a couple requests to post the information now.

One of the ultimate recycling projects, is utilizing things like potato chip bags, magazine pages, or candy wrappers to construct a purse.
There are several techniques to do this, even as simple as basic decoupage.

Or the next step would be a simple weaving technique.
Most of you have probably seen simple ribbon weaving in projects, so just take this idea but use paper.
This technique may have originated from Mexican paper weaving, or from Polynesian weaving of palm fronds, etc.

Some fun examples:

A purse made from woven magazine strips, for sale at Wonders of the World.

Awesome tote woven from newspaper by Uncommon Goods (this site so totally rocks).

Newspaper and Duct tape bag on craftster.

Small wallets woven from junk mail, available for purchase at Junk Mail Gems.

Same technique here, but Carol Duvall made placemats and napkin rings, using wrapping paper.

But take this all one step further, with folding and more intricate weaving, and you've moved into the realm of folk art.

Silver Utra bag by Ecoist, made from woven candy wrappers.
Hard to believe, huh?
Ecoist constructs these by hand, using recycled materials used to make candy wrappers, food packages, and soft drink labels--stuff that would normally wind up in a landfill.
With each bag sold, they plant a tree.

Checkered baguette from Sweetie Purse.

This technique of weaving cigarette packs or candy wrappers into objects is referred to as Tramp Art, or sometimes Prison Art.

Purse woven from Kools cigarette packs, by Leland Dodd.
More info here.

Gum wrapping Tutorial
(click photo to enlarge. Note the tramp art link above carries this same image, along with another from a different booklet)
This how-to is from a vintage booklet called Gum Wrapper Sculpture.

Or the same info is here.

Or, if you prefer an online tutorial, here's one from Cut out and Keep, for making a candy wrapper bracelet.

It's interesting to note that the word 'trash' in Spanish is basura. Basura Bags makes bags woven from chip bags off the streets of Honduras.

More info here.

The organization Grupedsac is helping poor Mexican families become self sufficient through selling purses woven from candy wrappers, potato chip bags, and cookie packages.

More info here.

Similar product by Georger Vargas.

Candy wrapper purses also available at It's our Earth, Global Folks, Nahui Ollin, and a multitude of other places, including any of stores within the Museums of Modern Art.


Yay--it looks like a lot of people are participating!

Thank you to everyone who has commented here or emailed, expressing interest in this challenge.

If I have not been able to reply to your comment, please forgive me, as my computer is old and slow and gets all wigged when I try to visit your blogs and your comment areas go to pop-up. But please know that I am excited to hear from you, and I hope you keep checking back here as I regularly update the site.

It frustrates me that blogger doesn't always notify me of your email information.
Jennifer just emailed this link from Raising Five, who may have solved the problem. You need to check a box on your profile page.
It's an easy click away. See the post here.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Do you have an idea of what you're going to make with your tea towel yet?

For those of you just discovering this site, the first project asks you to make a bag (tote, purse, handbag, pocketbook...whatever term you prefer) from a tea towel.

I'm hoping you don't just take two towels, sew up three sides and call it done.

What if you use more than one tea towel pattern?
What if you use the towels quilt-style in a patchwork?
What if you make an unusual shape?
"Fussy cut" some areas of the towels and use them as pockets on your bags?
Add some kind of funky embellishment or texture to your tea towels?
Add another product, like leather or vinyl or...

Like I said before, it would be cool if you stepped outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and in the process come up with something you can really be proud to say you made yourself.

If you need some inspiration, I looked around the web for premade bags that might offer inspiration.
You can always buy one and make one, (wink).

These designs could incorporate all or part of their construction using tea towels.
Be creative!

Hipster Holster, a unique take on an apron-style handbag, from Sling Flings.
Available in a variety of fabric colors.

Cute cinch bag from Eddie Bauer, fabric with faux leather details.

How fun is this drawstring bag from Juicy Couture?
Hmmmm...I can see something similar in a tea towel.

DIY has a tutorial for a Dishtowel Bag, using a towel with a decorative edge.

Have you seen any other fun ideas?