I've been sequestered lately with my digital camera, my tape measure, my postal scale, and -- oh yes -- all seventeen of the revamped purses that Destiny and I have created. The result of all this detail work has been getting these purses into the online Sassy Feet store.
We'd be delighted if you visited the store and did some holiday (or personal-splurge) shopping, but even if you're not up for that, go take a look and see what we did. You'll find lots of ideas you might want to use in your own work. Each purse is unique; each is painted and most all are also embellished with everything from button stacks to vintage watch faces. Some use fabric collage, and one that Destiny did (at right) is partially glittered and graffitti-painted front and back. You'll find photos of the front and back of each purse, plus closeups of the embellishments and straps. Lots of fun to look at!
It took me a couple of years of doing shoes to realize that purses were made of the same materials and could be painted and embellished in the same ways. Sometimes I'm a little slow.... Then I started experimenting. I learned that if you were going to do something really inventive with embellishments on a shoulder bag, it was best NOT to do it on the back side of the purse, which will rub against your body as you walk.
I also discovered a couple of delightful differences from doing shoes. First, you only need ONE focal-point embellishment not two (one for each shoe), which is a lot simpler. It also means you can browse antique stores for cool things to use.
Second, you can use more delicate embellishments and more detailed paint jobs because handbags are not subjected to the down-and-dirty treatment that our shoes often get. Rarely do our purses get scuffed the way our shoes do!
I also began having lots of fun changing the straps on purses. On the green and black purse above, called Steampunk Time, I cut off the narrow black strap, leaving just over an inch sticking up from the purse. Then I found some very cool black anodized aluminum chain (if I could remember where I got it, I would give you a link to the place -- and buy some more myself!) to use as a strap.
I cut the chain to the right length and threaded the cut-off leather ends through the end links. (See the closeup photo taken from the back of the purse, at right.) Then I bent the cut-off leather ends in half and glued them together with E6000. If you were going to do this on a bigger purse (which would be heavier once you put all your stuff in it), I'd recommend both gluing and stitching the ends together using Dandyline and a leather needle.
I also discovered that the kind of decorative cord found in stores that sell upholstery makes wonderful purse straps. Here's a photo of a purse I called Golders Green, and a closeup of the strap and tassel (also from the home-dec store) I used with it. This kind of strap is best sewn and glued into place.
I've blogged about some of these purses already. To read my posts about purses, go to the left-hand column of this page and scroll down until you get to CATEGORIES, then click on Purses. It will bring up a page with all the blogs that have purses in them. Enjoy!