Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend DIY: Make Do and Mend

A few months ago I was visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and there was an exhibit on British fashion and textiles during the war years when everything was rationed. There were examples of scarves with themes that were patriotic or slogan-y about scarcity and doing what was right for society. It was fascinating. There was also a display of sewing materials and a little booklet titled "Make Do and Mend". (sort of reminiscent of the overused "Keep Calm and Carry On".) I was with my 20-something nieces, vegetarian environmentalists both, who thought these things important messages that still resonate today in our throw-away society. Anyway, this all brings me to today's little Weekend DIY project. It's not really home related, but oh well.

Last summer I bought this cute little straw bag with a raffia zebra on the front. It was $12 I think. Sadly, it was replacing a much, much more expensive straw bag that I'd gotten rid of a mere few months before when I moved because I hadn't used it in a couple of years. I did donate it to the salvation army, but still, I really can't afford to be tossing expensive things away. So, naturally, as these things go, I suddenly had a desire for a straw bag again once it got warm out. I wasn't about to go out and spend a lot of money on a new one and luckily ran across this cute one somewhere. Probably Marshall's. And for $12, I figured it was worth it even if it only made it a season. The inside lining was very cheap, as were the handles, and I assumed that by the end of season, the straw would be unraveling. As it happened, the straw is still in perfect condition. But the handles were dirty and coming apart.

My original plan was to overwrap the handles with black grosgrain ribbon, but when I compared the new black ribbon to the remaining inside lining, it made the lining look all the more grubby.

So, I decided to completely replace the lining and add new handles. I ripped out the old lining, photographing how it was assembled, and took apart all the pieces to use as the pattern for the new fabric.

I sewed together the lining pieces ( took a little experimenting) and pinned into the bag along with the new black bamboo handles that I bought at JoAnn Fabrics.
I reused the drawstring..

Et voila! My new bag is more upscale looking than the original.

I added two pockets on the inside. The original had one zip pocket, but since I never zipped it closed, I decided I could avoid doing that..

And, I am done. The new materials - handles and 1 yard of zebra stripe fabric - cost $8. So my bag is now up to a cost of $20, plus a little time. And when the fabric gets grubby, I can easily put in a new liner. Then I can correct the one glaring mistake I made which was having an exposed seam that should have been on the underside. Oh well.

Have a great weekend! And happy Father's Day to all the Dads. And here's a toast to those dads who are with mine in the great beyond.

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