If, like me, you are a bit of an altered book artist, you are always looking for new projects. I just happened on this – a fabulous tutorial from Annie Shao of Hungry Panda Clothing:two styles of handbag, one with handles, one a clutch bag!

How fabulous is that! If you’ve got great covers but horrible pages (water damaged, mildewed etc) then get rid of the page block and turn your covers into a bag!

Here is the full tutorial – including how to make the lining. I’ve seen similar in various art mags but this is the best tutorial I’ve seen – great step-by-step photographs, and very clearly explained. And not too much sewing! (I wonder if I could cheat and use glue? Iron-on tape? Rivets or eyelets?)

Click on the Read More link below to read the rest of the post (more links and YouTube tutorials):

For an even more retro look, I’ll be looking in haberdashery shops to see if you can still get those bamboo handles – and I’ll also be haunting charity shops, garage sales, jumble sales and car boots for crappy old handbags with great handles. And buckles, buttons and other trims for the clutch bag.

For anyone not so convinced about the old book cover look – does anyone remember Cosmopolitan magazine’s great reader offer (must be around 15 years ago – that’s really showing my age, lol) of a magazine cover as a clutch bag? That really did look something… mine was Vogue. So you could use a strong PVA or gel medium – or even Xyron – to adhere the magazine cover over your book cover base, then go over that with clear sticky-back plastic to make it waterproof, then go ahead with the rest of the tutorial. Polka dot fabric, retro 50s prints… very Cath Kidston!

Here are some links for more bags in different styles:

PAC(con)_A_md Copyright Mylinda at Chipwrapperpurse
A rather long-winded but very thorough YouTube tutorial for a fold-over clutch:


When sewing through plastic make sure you use large stitches: nylon thread is best. If you find it difficult to sew, try placing a piece of tissue paper over the plastic (or even tissue paper top and bottom, and lower your feed dogs) and sew through it all. Then tear the tissue away from the stitching when you are done!

You can tell I’m feeling very inspired… I’m also posting this on my Techniques page as an easier-to-find permanent archive.



  1. Country Wings in Phoenix1 March 2010 at 13:49

    Good Morning Susie Sweetie..
    What a cute post. I will watch the tutorial tonight when I get home. I adore new ideas, and you know I have recently seen some bags with those bamboo handles at the thrift store. If I find an extra pair, I will send them to you.

    Hope you have a great Monday. Country hugs sweetie...Sherry

  2. You KNOW this is on my craft to do list already! I have the books.

    HOWEVER, this is by far the best tutorial I have seen. I will have to put it in my blog so I can find it when I get to this. Also, I'm working with an artist on Halloween cigar box purses. This will SO work for the inside of those, too.

    You are a GEM!

  3. Hello, dear Susie,
    Such a creative idea! Just when I thought I had seen it all someone comes up with another brilliant idea! Now, we will all be on the hunt for an antique book to make into a purse. I hope you have a lovely week and hopefully, spring is just around the corner! Vicki

  4. Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents2 March 2010 at 19:01

    Adorable book/purse!!!! The possibilities are endless.

    Big TX Hugs,
    Angelic Accents

  5. A good idea, but you don't get books like that any more !!

  6. Monica@The White Bench3 March 2010 at 20:54

    Hello Susie,
    many thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment about my antique sewing machine. It was much appreciated!
    And this is such a brilliant idea! I'm off to check the tutorial.
    Best wishes,

  7. Thanks for this. Followed your link for the tutorial - quite amusing the way she writes. Some great ideas now in my head (need to find time)but first of all I need to follow all of your other links.
    Thanks again


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