Monday, June 9, 2014

Bags from Upholstery Samples

My husband brought home a pile of beautiful upholstery samples from the interior decorator at his firm.  She gets new ones each year, so the old ones go the trash (sigh), to a maker like me, or (thankfully) to the local creative reuse store. 

On a tip from A, I made one square into a sleeve for my coupons (fold in half, sew up one short and one long side) and made another sleeve for a pair of sunglasses.  Because these are upholstery samples, they are sturdy and somewhat stiff and the edges are finished.  So fast and easy to work with!

Then I needed an evening bag for a treat at our local opera house.  My friend took me to a show her fiance didn't care to see.

I used 4 shiny upholstery squares to mimic the popular zippered clutch - it's nothing but a rectangle with a zipper on a long side, folded in half to carry.  I lined it with some odd geometric knit scraps that I found in my stash (from a bag of odds and ends my aunt gave me, I think).

I made the tassel from the scraps of leftover upholstery.  I hope you can see the colors - three shades of coppery brown and one of lavender.  I topstitched the joining seams of the squares and the zipper so they would lay nicely.  I used all regular settings on my machine and no pins - simply held things firmly in place as I sewed (you could use binder clips or clothespins).  I'm very pleased with this clutch!

All evening clutch photos by Genevieve! 
We slipped down to the beach for a day already this summer, and I planned this next bag as I tried, yet again, to carry and conceal my legal tender in my bathing suit and pocket-less yoga skirt.  Silly!  But sometimes it takes a while to hatch just the right solution, right?

So, I made this bag the right size to carry my cash, credit card, and phone when I run up to the boardwalk to fetch fries, milkshakes, pizza, and whatnot.  The loop is elastic so it stays on my wrist by itself as I haul all these things back to our umbrella while fending off seagulls.  I'll put the bag to the test next time we go the beach, but I'm pretty sure it will fit the bill.

So far, these upholstery samples are proving to be very helpful!  Our local creative reuse store has samples like this for very cheap, and most interior decorators will be throwing out scads of these every year.


Lisa said...

Nice ideas, Margo! I especially like your evening bag - I've been thinking lately about making a foldover clutch myself.

Unknown said...

Love the clutch and wrist pouch! Totally great use of samples : ) Looks like you're having a good summer vacation so far too! You've got a budding photographer in house!

Julian said...

Very genius!

jenny_o said...

Beautiful clutch - how smart, in all senses of the word! I learned to make a zippered pouch last year and it is such a versatile object, as you have shown here. (I even made our daughter's wedding purse this way - satin and lace on the outside, lined with taffeta.)

Also, you look so elegant! And your daughter has a great eye with the camera!

The only use I've made of upholstery samples is to repair the side of a chair that our cats unfortunately thought was their scratching post. I was able to get a pattern and tones that came close to the original material, and it blends in quite well. I'll have to check again for different fabrics; this is intriguing :)

Rebecca said...

You clever clogs! That lining is genius.

Samantha said...

I love the metallic. Very clever reuse. I would so not throw those out either.

beth said...

Great projects! Love that last one!

Polly said...

So clever. The last one is ingenious; I mean, that's something you REALLY NEED at the beach. I use a ziploc baggie, which has far less panache.

Anonymous said...

That evening bag is gorgeous! I'd love to see what you're wearing in that photo. That tassled shawl is a teaser!

Margo said...

Anon, it's the same poncho shown in this post:
with a longer black skirt and red shoes.

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

You look very nice. and I love your evening bag..Looks so elegant.. Smart use of your free samples..
and I love,love the idea of the wrist pouch.. Just perfect..