One of my favourite shopping haunts is Salisbury as it offers an array of shops as well as numerous charity shops, craft/fabric shops and also an antique centre over three floors. As I am always on the hunt for interesting fabrics and old textiles, I am usually spoilt for choice and never fail to come home armed with more fabric for my pile.
A few months ago, I was browsing the items for sale on a vintage clothing stall in the antiques centre, when I spotted a piece of folded up patchwork. It caught my eye instantly as it was made from pieces of tweed and other suit fabrics. Whether is was actually made from old clothing or just off cuts of fabric I shall never know but it was the perfect weight for handbag fabric.
When I unfolded the patchwork, I discovered it was in fact a long patchwork skirt. It had been completely hand stitched with even the zip and lining sewn in by hand. It was quite weighty and I would imagine too warm to be practical with modern central heating. I loved the skirt as it was but my thoughts were to actually cut it up and turn it into handbags. At a cost of £22 it seemed a bargain to me. I hate to think how many hours it took someone to make, not just the sewing but also cutting out all the pieces to start with.
When I finally took the skirt apart, I did feel slightly guilty I have to admit. Cutting through someones handiwork made me feel even worse! As soon as I had cut the side panels for the handbag though I knew I was doing the right thing. The patchwork matched perfectly with some pale green corduroy which I had found in a charity shop. The inside has been lined with an old shirt and also has two mismatched shirt pockets sewn on one side for a phone and tissues. A further zipped pocket on the other side completes the bag.
Now that it's finished, I am really pleased with the result. I love the colours and the fact that it is a totally unique handbag which will never be repeated. I have enough patchwork for another bag but the fabrics and colours will be different as the original skirt was made up of so many different fabrics.