The Unsolved Case
I found this vintage black clutch online a couple weeks ago. It was not in the best condition, but I didn’t buy it to use it. I purchased it so that I could study the design. I felt the style of this clutch would translate well into barkcloth, and the bag cost less to buy than a vintage pattern would have been. I used to buy lots of vintage dress patterns, but that was before I started designing bags. Now, most vintage purse patterns are out of my price range.
I don’t like to tear the vintage bags I find apart. It seems almost like an act of vandalism to me, and renders the bag worthless. Instead I try to figure out how a bag was made by looking at its construction, and taking it apart in my mind. I ask myself questions such as, where are the seams? And how do the pieces appear to be cut?
This is my first prototype of the black clutch, made up in an apple green 70’s barkcloth-one of those pay dirt finds from Goodwill where I snared well over two yards of fabric for a couple dollars. I could easily spare a little bit of this fabric, and if my project went completely awry, I wouldn't be out that much. I lined the bag with a black, white and green leopard print cotton. I had just enough scraps of it left to cut the lining out.
While this prototype clutch isn’t exactly like the original, I like the way it turned out. And by going through the steps to make it, I can now see exactly how the original was made.
I like being a handbag detective. Knowing that at the end of the day, I’ve done my part to keep vintage style alive and well, and safely preserved for future generations.
Maybe I have been watching too many reruns of Hawaii Five-O.