Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Alterations & Repairs -- Purse Strap Edition

Last weekend, I took an afternoon off from the big project in my studio and the big project in the office and did some mending. At the end of the day, I had actually completed something -- and not just one thing but four things. I'm still icing the shoulder I strained patting myself on the back. Yes, it felt good.

At the top of the pile was the purse I've carried most of the time since 2005 or 2006 (can't recall for sure).

The purse is just large enough to hold a wallet, some business cards, a few receipts and a lip balm, which is all I really want to carry most of the time. I made this piece as a sampler of knotless and knotted looping stitches and looping intarsia. It's worked in 7-ply Irish waxed linen from Royalwood. The bag itself has held up beautifully. The weak point is how I attached the leather strap.

I used loops of closely worked buttonhole stitches attached to the rim of the bag and passing through the loops on the ends of the leather strap. The system works well enough -- except for when I get lazy and clip the carabiner on my key ring to the purse strap. It should come as no surprise when the threads in the buttonhole loop eventually fatigue and fray.

And yet, it did come as a surprise when I reached to greet my host in Fargo and found my purse dangling awkwardly, one end of the strap completely detached. Do I know how to make a good impression or what?

When I started the repair, I could see that the other side was about to fail, as well.

Both sides are fixed now. This is the fourth time I've reattached the strap. I can't imagine how many more times I'll repair it before the purse itself wears out. I'm willing to do that. I love this little purse.

But I'll be more careful about clipping my keys to the strap. For a while.


  1. as much as the little purse and repair impresses me, it impresses me even more that you manage to carry around ONLY THAT MUCH stuff...i am lost without my cell phone, my knife, my powerbar...

  2. I made that purse after a friend who is a physical therapist weighed my then-purse and told me I could not carry that much weight on one shoulder. I based the size on her then-purse. She then had a couple more kids and you can guess what happened to the size of her purse!


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