Thursday, January 24, 2008

An apron's second life

I'm a huge fan of thrift stores, but really - what crafter isn't, right? When I was in high school, I'd spend weekends with my best friend, Misty, scouring the local thrift and antique stores for cool stuff (ah ... fond memories of the big fake fur, green satin-lined bag, the Welcome Back, Kotter board game, and the cool vintage dresses I can no longer fit into ...)

I'd taken a little break from thrifting, though I'm not sure why. Over the last year or so, I've ventured back into thrift stores, and have a few fun finds as a result. A friend turned me on to one thrift store in south Austin that I now adore - they have one whole section of "shelves" that are full of craft supplies. It's where I got the "thrift find embroidery" and where I recently scored loads of beautiful wooden spools of thread for just a couple of dollars.

And when my eyes hit this amazing, fun vintage-y apron that was sporting a price tag of $1.99, I knew I had to have it. I thought it might be fun to actually use as an apron, or even just to hang up and enjoy - the colors and images are fantastic. But then as I was folding it up one day (after showing my husband, "Look! How cool is this!?" ... he just shook his head) I realized that the bottom of the apron would be the perfect size for a messenger bag.

All kinds of wheels started turning then. I'd signed myself up for one of Leslie's handbags and totes classes months ago, and decided I'd bring the apron in and see if I could make it work (Project Runway, anyone? I haven't watched last night's episode yet - don't spoil it!)

Here's where I'll hop in and share my fist big lesson I learned ... and I'll spare you the stream of curse words that spewed from my mouth when I realized what I'd done ... or had not done. I forgot to take a picture of the apron before I chopped it up. ARGH! (pounds fists on cutting mat) So I've drawn a very rough sketch of the apron here. It's a San Francisco apron with a great cable car scene at the bottom and fantastic read bais tape around all the edges. I wasn't able to save or use the bias tape, but it sure was fun to look at. When I laid the pattern piece for the flap of the bag on the apron, it was like the apron had been made for that exact pattern. It fit the bottom apron image *perfectly* - almost frighteningly so. With some of the fabric Leslie was selling, I was on my way to what is sure to be one of my all-time favorite bags and craft projects.

I was able to use almost every bit of the apron - the bottom half for the flap, and the bib (where the words, "San Francisco" were printed) became an inside pocket. The only part I was sort of bummed about was that I couldn't include Alcatraz anywhere on the bag. The flap cut it right in half at the top. It would have been fun to have it on there, but I'm ok with how it came out.

The bag wasn't hard too make, but had a lot of steps. As always, Leslie was incredibly patient in helping me piece it all together. She told me about how when she worked in the costume department at Zach, someone had put a sign up on the wall that said, "Why is there never time to do it right, but always time to do it over?" I have chanted that in my head over and over again this last week while I've been sewing, and I've really enjoyed taking my time and doing things right. Now I have a great bag that's well made and that I'm madly in love with. And I think it will even fit my laptop.

I'm looking forward to more of taking time to do it right.....


  1. I am beyond jealous right now. You did an amazing job.

  2. That is the coolest, coolest bag EVER! Well done@

  3. Fabulous bag! Love the graphic on that apron!

  4. Yeah, that it awesome. I'm inspired!

  5. Wow! That is SOOOOO(SEW) cool. And from an apron. Awesome. Love the inside SF, too. (Amy)

  6. That is fabulous! Love it!

    kari & kijsa


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