Oh, handbags! So necessary, so nice, and sometimes so troublesome. A few months ago mine broke, and since then I've been searching for the perfect new bag to carry all the rubbish that I seem to feel it necessary to tote around with me. I tried a few out, but none were quite right - usually either not big enough, or too tricky to find little bits like keys in quickly. We were in IKEA a couple of weekends ago for some much needed bits, and (despite my promises of no impulse buys!) a SIGNE rug caught my eye. Now, we have all the rugs we need, but there's something about the rough robustness of the weave that I loved, so I decided I'd make my perfect bag out of it. I really only have two demands from a bag: that it be easy to get your stuff in and out of it, and that you can fit a bottle of wine in it...
I started by removing the fringe, folding it in half and cutting small rectangles from the bottom corners. This was so I could fold under a bottom panel to create a shape with depth, rather than a straight envelope-style bag.
I double and then triple-stitched it for strength, plus a zig-zag stitch along the internal seams which I then sealed with a great all-purpose craft varnish. My bags take quite a lot of wear and I wasn't taking any chances on this one - I wanted it to last!
Time for a cup of mint tea... and then onto pockets! Using some faux-leather from a cheap rucsack that had broken, I cut one large pocket (for kindle!) and two small ones (phone/keys etc) and stitched those into place. Plus handles, also recycled from the broken rucsack and we're nearly there!
I wanted a closure that I could easily undo with one hand to reach in and grab things easily, so I attached a duffel coat toggle with quite a generous loop. And there we have it! One new bag for a grand total of £1.75, plus an afternoon's work. I've been using it for a week and so far I have to say I'm pretty pleased with it. It seems really strong and you can get loads in there while still being able to fish your lip balm out with one hand. Job done!