Google+ House Revivals: Jimmy Choo Inspired Up-Cycled Handbag

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jimmy Choo Inspired Up-Cycled Handbag

It was time for a new "city purse".  I've tried lots of different bags, and have found the handbags that worked in my old suburban life, don't always work well in the city.  For instance, I need a bag with a long strap, that can be worn across my shoulder (and on the rare occasions that I drive somewhere, it's nice to be able to use the long strap to swing the purse out the window to swipe the card reader when leaving the parking garage -- so the people in the cars behind me don't get angry and start honking their horns while I'm frantically digging through my bag, removing the contents, in search of the little magnetic card.  Not that that has ever happened to me...).

The "city purse"  needs to hug close to my body when I'm digging through bins at my favorite GW Outlet, or trying on shoes at the Nordstrom Rack; and it needed to distribute weight evenly when I'm walking downtown.

So, when I found this bag at the local GW, I thought it might work.  It has tons of function, is light weight, and is comfortable to wear.  And navy handbags are definitely making a comeback in the higher end stores.

  • The Problem?  The bag is dated and not very attractive.
  • The Solution?  Draw some inspiration from favorite designers; in this case, Jimmy Choo.

  • The Resources?  These two thrifted leather purses, with broken straps --  99 cents each!

  • The Method?  Cut the extra purses apart using strong scissors (but not your fabric scissors).  Cut away all the piping, zippers, lining, etc., so that you are left with only flat pieces of leather. 
  •  The Flowers?  Cut flower petals from the leather.  I free-handed mine, but you could easily draw up a pattern.  You will want two sizes,  the larger petals will form the larger flower, and the smaller petals will form a smaller flower.  Cut two circular "bases" about two or three inches in diameter, on which to build your flowers. Use Gorilla glue to gather the base of the petals into a shape you like.  Secure with clips until the glue cures.  When all your petals are ready, they can be glued to the round bases you cut earlier, to form a nice flower shape.  You will make two flowers, and glue the smaller one right on top of the larger one.

  • The Leaves?  I cut mine free hand, but you could use a template, if you wanted.

  • The Flower Centers?  Just cut some long narrow strips and braid them, then coil them around and around until you have the desired size.  I secured this with a small amount of Gorilla Glue.

  • How about a tassel?  If you want a tassel, cut a neat rectangle from your flat leather pieces, then cut a fringe into it.  Cut one narrow strip of leather for a loop.  Begin tightly rolling the fringed rectangle, securing the loop in the center of the roll with a small amount of Gorilla Glue.  Secure the end of the roll with glue, and clip until cured.  Work carefully, as the glue dries white, so you don't want any of the glue to be visible.  The tassel can be secured to one of the zippers with a jump ring.

  • Putting it all together.  Decide how you want to arrange your elements.  When you find an arrangement you like, you can secure the whole thing to the purse with Gorilla Glue, or for more flexibility, secure the flower and leaves together onto another scrap of leather and add one or two large pin backs.  Use the pin backs to secure the flower to the bag.

And there you have it!  Three dated leather handbags, up-cycled into a new Jimmy Choo inspired bag.  Total cost for this project was around $5.00!

Tell me what you think.  Would you try this project?

Also, I have a question for those of you who have clicked my Facebook "like" button -- have you been getting House Revivals status updates on your wall?  I think there may be a problem with the widget.

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