Once upon a time, many moons ago, two sisters were wandering through the purse section in a high-end department store. The younger, more fashionable yet practical sister, saw a beautiful, white, leather, handbag. She walked over to the bag, and with eyes lit up picked up the purse. “My life will reach it’s pinnacle when I can buy a white leather handbag”, she told her sister. See to the younger sister, a white leather hand bag was the ultimate accessory, but also extremely frivolous for not only are they expensive, but being white, they will get dirty and ruined in no time. To buy a white leather handbag was basically throwing money away. The older sister always wanted to give her sister what she wanted. She put that conversation in her head, and stored it knowing one day she could do something about it.
Years pass. The girls are now out of college and split up by miles and mountains. The older sister is working in Aspen, CO in high-end residential design while the younger sister is in Wisconsin. One day at work, the older sister came across a perfect white leather couch. The owners no loner liked the six month old couch leather and wanted it to be reupholstered. The sister recalled the white leather handbag conversation from years previous, and with caution proceeded to ask for the tossed-aside leather.
“Your life has reached its pinnacle. I have found the most beautiful, white leather, and will make you a handbag.”
For days on end, the older sister worked on the purse. Having never sewn with leather, it was a long, hard, bloody journey. The temperamental sewing machine refused to work, so with a fork for even spacing, thimble to push the needle through the leather, wrench to pull the needle through on the other side, the sister worked on the purse. Many lessons were learned, but finally the purse was complete. She packaged it up in black cloth bag, inside a beautiful box with pink tissue paper, and sent it off to her sister where it still lives happily ever after.
Unfortunately, Lianna and I didn’t have cameras when this first purse was made so we have no proof/pictures to show you. However, what would be a story without some images? After Lianna’s first purse, I learned a lot, and really began to learn how to sew leather. Each project I learn more. Here are a few purses I made in that first year.
One for our mom-
Like I said – I learned a lot while doing purses. When this one was first given to my mom, it had a zipper. It had its debut at my cousin’s wedding. About half way through the night, we could no longer get the zipper to work. I had to find the manager of the banquette hall to get us a scissors, and cut the bag open… The couch leather I was using was incredibly thick, and when it gathered together, it made for very challenging zipper placement. I have since learned tricks and hope that wont happen again. So far – so good.
One for our other sister-
With Lindsay’s love for gardening, I made her a rosette purse. It is big enough for a book (she lives on an island – I feel like she reads a lot. Not to mention she is a teacher), and check book. Though this is an in progress shot, the strap that I made for her was long so she could where it across her body, and it hangs behind her, just as she prefers.
And last – one for me.
In all the handbags I make, I do bright colors on the inside that reflect the new owner. For my mom, it was lime green as it’s one of her favorites, Lindsay a paisley in earthy tones, as she is earthy. And for me, I used some scrap faberic from pillows I had made for my old apartment in Denver. I figure, life can be boring, why should your purse – right? This purse is now 4 or so years old, and I just took these pictures. I am happy to say, its still in great shape!
All the purses above were hand-sewn with a needle and a fork for spacing. It took me a LONG time to get my sewing machine to work on leather, but that is for a different day!