Brown bagging it

When I’m shopping at the Goodwill store (we live near a really great one), I walk up and down the aisles with my radar set on “linen.” I love, love, love linen, and it calls out to me from between polyester shirts and corduroy skirts and cotton blend trousers.

So I was delighted to find a gorgeous Ann Taylor linen skirt in a nifty tweedy brown. For–given that its tag was the magic color of the week that meant it was 50% off–$3. Alas, my size radar isn’t so acute–the lovely skirt was a size 4.

My bones are bigger than a size 4.

But it was gorgeous fabric, and, as you’ll see, the shaping (very slim with an interesting front detail) told me it could be turned into a wonderful bag.  Within minutes I’d found (for .99) a pillowcase in a beautiful blue with a print of pink and brown flowers–perfect for the lining.

This is not exactly a tutorial, but perhaps you can see what I did from the plan I sketched (the orange thing on the skirt is a flower petal that’s an inclusion in the paper the journal is made from):

I sew totally by the seat of my pants, rarely measure anything the proper way, and fudge a lot of things, but most of the time they come out.  Here’s the finished bag. It’s on the big side, about 8 x 15. There are buttons I covered with the lining fabric on both sides where the strap joins the bag, and the underside of the strap is made of the lining fabric:

If you look carefully, you can  see the interior pockets below. And I was ridiculously pleased with the magnetic snap, which was a breeze to install.

And, once again, a thrifty project.  Even with the thread, the snaps, and the button forms, the whole thing came in at under $10.  It was a great way to recycle this gem of a skirt, too.

As I’ve said before, I hate carrying a purse. But I love making them–what’s a person to do?


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