Friday, July 13, 2012

Upcycle: From placemats to purse

I can't believe how fast this one came together.

Wait, let me back up for just one second.

A few weeks ago I was at my local Goodwill (there's one a few blocks from my house--on Saturday's I can go to the farmer's market then over to the Goodwill in one fun walking trip) and found two super cute placemats for only 50 cents each.

Super cute, right?

The minute I saw them I thought, "Those could be a bag."

And a few weeks later, they were.

There are two straps and they're long enough to wear the bag either on one shoulder or across the body.

These stitch closeups are kind of hard to see (what with it being black thread on black pattern fabric) but I used a zig zag stitch to make the straps and to attach them.  The straps are from my remnant stash (it's the Ghastlies collection, I think this is called Ghastly Brambles).  It's a very light purple with black squiggles all over it.  The straps are triple (?) folded?  I took the strips (approximately 44 inches long--or whatever the width of the bolt is/was) and a couple inches wide.  I didn't measure.  I just took the remnant I had and folded it in half then cut on the fold.  Then I took each half and folded it in half then brought both sides in until I had a size I liked.  Then I just finger pressed/pinned it down eyeballing to keep the width about even.  Then a quick zig zag stitch along where the fabric came together (and slightly overlapped, so no worries about not catching all the layers and having a mess).

I measured the placement of the handles by pinning and just holding it up to myself to see how it hung (I pinned both palcemats together along the top line between the ears to make sure both sides would match pretty well).

The only major flaw this bag has is with the ears.  Since the placemats aren't mirror images of one another, they don't line up perfectly.  It's noticable only at the ears but since I didn't stitch all the way up the ears, they kind of flap a bit so the mismatch isn't as noticable.  It matches very well along the rest of the bag.

And. . .the bag is really roomy.  A bit roomier than I expected.

There are three magazines and a day planner in it and there's still plenty of room.

Now I don't see this as a very practical every day bag.  The outside fabric is kind of like a faux suede so with a TON of wear it would probably give up the ghost.  But I'd anticipate this bag to last farily long with moderate use.  I also don't think it would wash well AT ALL given the outside fabric on the placemats (so don't get caught in a rain storm!).  I think the construction would hold up to moderate use.  And if for some reason it all fell apart after only a few uses, the straps could be salvaged (just tear out the seams) and I'd only be out the $1 I paid for the placemats (and about an hour of my time constructing it).

All in all, I'm very pleased with how it turned out and I think it's going to get a lot of attention when I start using it (my mother will adore it--she loves black cats).

Up next?  I really need to get to that robot and the embroidery on that last tattoo doll.  BUT. . .the fabric I bought to make a skirt arrived yesterday so now I'm all "gotta make a skirt, gotta make a skirt" but I need to get the right size elastic and get the best tutorial (and/or pattern) for my skill level (beginner's beginner) so the super cool BIKE PRINT fabric (Lucy's Crab Shack collection--it's cream color with navy blue cruiser bikes randomly printed all over--which should be very forgiving for making a skirt--no worry about matching the print up on both sides) will have to wait just a wee bit.

EDITED TO ADD:  Lucky me, I found a great blog that's having a competition that this project works for so. . .

Crafters Apprentice

Check it out and join in!


  1. What a great idea, the finished bag is fab! Thanks for entering my competition

  2. I adore your bag. That's just brilliant.