Creating June, a vest bag.

I found & fell in love with this gorgeous blue satin vest on one of my thrift store hunts, the beautiful pattern is embossed black flowers & leaves. The vest has an oriental flare and I knew it would make a gorgeous little purse without too much effort. I thought it would make a great example for showing you how I make a vest into a purse.


First job is to undo both shoulder seams very carefully so that the edges can be neatened up afterwards.


Now before I do anything else I need to work out what fabric will make good pockets for this vest. I have some black quilted material that I think will look good because of the oriental style & color of the vest. I cut 2 similar oblongs that are big enough to make good sized pockets, as I plan to put 1 inside and 1 outside. Then I turn in & sew a seam around the edge of both pockets to hide the raw edges. The top inside edge has to be very neat as you will be able to see it.


Next job is to pin the pockets in place on the vest. Because the front of the vest has the beautiful fabric covered buttons, I will be placing the pockets on the back of the vest 1 inside & 1 outside. I put them in the same place on the inside & outside so that I can sew them with one seam. If you want to sew the inside pocket on first, you have to put the outside pocket in exactly the right place to hide the sewing. You could put a smaller pocket inside & cover the sewing with a larger pocket on the outside. It takes a little bit of fiddling to pin the pockets in exactly the same place so you can sew them with one seam. Make sure you only sew 3 sides, don’t forget & sew the top of the pockets closed!


Then it’s time to turn the vest inside out & pin & then sew a seam along the bottom to make it into a bag. After I pin the seam I turn the bag right way out so I can see how it looks before I sew, whether it’s even, how it hangs, if I want to round the bottom corners or if the bag is going to be the right length. I then adjust accordingly & sew the bottom seam. Next I pick whether to use ties for the handles or whether as in this case the material is so pretty that I don’t want to detract from it. I picked wide black webbing to make the handles as it looks good with the pockets & the vest fabric. I fold the vest shoulders over the webbing & pin them in place, & then try the purse on to see if the handles are the right length and the purse hangs correctly on my shoulder, I make sure to check it out in the mirror. Then I sew the straps on neatly, matching the thread color to the fabric so it doesn’t show up too much.


Voila now the pretty purse is finished & I can pick her name, please meet June she is all ready for an evening out with you. Check out my bags under ‘reclothe’ on the menu above, made with love by Helen.


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