it’s a book, it’s a purse….it’s a book clutch!


As the big wedding day looms before me, I find myself getting more excited about it–in a good way.  Belle Fille, despite having normal pre-wedding anxiety, seems very content and happy.  Master Bliss is rolling with things and trying not to over-react when a receipt flies under his nose.  I picked up my newly tailored vintage wiggle dress yesterday–it fits great and I can’t wait to wear it with all my fine accessories.  How many mothers-of-the-bride would dare to wear all vintage (with the exception of shoes…and if I could have found a pair…) on their daughter’s big day?  I have visions of the ancient fabric giving way during a pivotal moment…you know, like during “Twist and Shout” or something.   It would be horrifying…yet terribly funny at the same time.  Maybe I will pack a back-up dress just in case.

And during all this normal wedding prep I decided to get a little crafty.  While perusing books on Etsy one day I found a seller who had made purses out of old books.  Loved it!  I Googled tutorials on the internet until I found one that looked simple enough to do.  I made my first proto-type and was rather pleased with the results–despite the fact it was the first time in years I had sewn anything.  I showed it to Belle Fille and she loved it.  She asked if I could make her one and that lead to my deciding to make one for her and her bridesmaids.  I thought they would be nice “thank you” gifts and something they could use for the wedding if they wanted to but certainly don’t have to.

At first I was really determined to make them special.  I asked Belle Fille to find out each girl’s favorite book of all time.  With that knowledge I tried to find copies of these books so I could make the purses extra special.  That proved to be much harder than anticipated–and very time-consuming.  I wanted to use older books and to find them in the titles requested (Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, and Pride and Prejudice) meant I was going to be spending way too much money on a good, older copy just to tear it up.  I gave up that dream and instead found a set of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books on Etsy.  They are a nice size and when you get into volumes from the 50s and 60s, they were very prettily bound.  So I started with these:

I made Belle Fille’s first.  I found some fabric at a local store that actually had the music to the “Wedding March” on it.  Perfect.  I bought ribbon to match her wedding colors and I knew I had a plethora of buttons and vintage jewelry I could pull from for embellishing.  Inside Belle Fille’s I used the Wedding March fabric with a floral pocket.  Inside the bridesmaids’, I did the opposite.

Of course, as I was in my little happy crafting world, just starting to get comfortable with what I was doing, my sewing machine malfunctioned.  I think it can be repaired but I didn’t have time to mess with that now (if anyone can tell me why my needle will no longer pull up the bobbin thread before I start to sew I would appreciate it).  I borrowed my MIL’s even older Singer Sewing machine (1952) and it worked like a dream.  I finished sewing the purses this past Saturday.

The rather stinky part of the whole process is using E6000 glue to adhere the fabric to the books and do the embellishing.  I guess it is the mother of all glue but it has been known to “cause cancer in California”.  Well, I live in Michigan so I am safe, right?  It is very strong-smelling and despite working in well ventilated room, it would get to me.  I don’t like it.  Does anyone have other glue suggestions?  But it does bond well, I will give it that.

So here are the finished products:

Belle Fille’s is the upper left hand one.

I used these little shells from a necklace to put the girls’ initials on the books…keeping with the beach wedding theme.  The other embellishments included buttons, ribbon, vintage earrings and pieces from a bracelet.  All the books have the shells and a pink flower to make them “match”.

It was a fun project and a great way to re-introduce myself to sewing.  After the wedding I plan to make more and maybe, if my skills improve enough, I can add them to my Etsy store.  I think there are all kinds of fun things they could become…eReader holders, organizers, etc.

Do you have a favorite craft you like to do?

~~Mistress Bliss~~

P.S.  I would like to thank Viveka from “My Guilty Pleasures” and  Wendy  from “Chez Chloe” who have recently nominated me for a couple of blogging awards (the Kreativ Award and the 7×7 Link Award respectively).  I truly appreciate being nominated by these talented ladies.  Please visit their wonderful blogs to see why I enjoy them so.


Filed under awards wall, creative endeavors, vintage finds

33 responses to “it’s a book, it’s a purse….it’s a book clutch!

  1. These turned out so pretty!!! What wonderful keepsakes–I’m sure the girls will love them.

  2. What a clever idea in the first place and what a fab job you have done. I love all the embellishments – I bet these will go down a storm with the girls!

  3. Juhli

    So much that is wonderful in this post. Love the creativity and personalization of the book purses. Also love the fact that you can wear a dress you alread have to the wedding. Glad you are getting excited about it in a good way! I am taking notes for my son’s wedding a year from now.

    • It has been amazing to learn of all the little details associated with the event that I wouldn’t have thought about in the first place. For example, we just wanted people to come and sit where they would like at the reception. But the caterers need to know who ordered what…so today I will start on table assigning the whole guest list. Grrrrr. Yes, take notes!! : )

  4. I can’t believe that in the maelstrom of wedding preparations you could still manage to create these little beauties! I am so impressed by your crafty paws Bliss! I bet they’ll treasure them. I love the little embellishments as well. Are you wearing your Super-Mother knickers this week? x

    • Thanks, Sulky…but don’t be too impressed. I truly am NOT that crafty. I was a little frustrated when my Singer malfunctioned but otherwise these aren’t too difficult to make. Super-Mother knickers!! LOL! Did you have Underoos in the UK when growing up? I do believe I had a set of Wonder Woman knickers. Maybe I should score up a pair and wear them to the wedding…~~Bliss

  5. First–LOVE your MOB dress!! you are going to lok awesome!!
    Second–what a cool project!!! I wish I had time to craft something for each of the bridesmaids (two of whom i’ve known since babyhood!) but I have too many other projects to accomplish for the wedding!!
    We are both in the final countdown–keep SANE!!!

    • Thank you~~I can’t wait to finally wear my dress. I don’t think I could’ve found one new that suited me better (I casually tried in case a disaster happened with the vintage one). T-10, 9, 8…~~Bliss

  6. Northern Narratives

    I must confess that I have never heard of a book purse. They are so beautiful. You did a terrific job :) Judy

    • Thank you, Judy. It was fun to be creative and actually “make” something. As soon as this wedding is over, I will be taking the sewing machine in to the doctor’s for repair so I can do some more. ~~Bliss

  7. Love your dress …. wonderful !!!! Very clever what you have done with the books – came out very pretty.

  8. Hi,
    A very unique and wonderful idea, and they look fantastic. :)

  9. Jackie Paulson

    This is extremely clever, and I hope to be just as creative one day. time flies.

  10. Wow Bliss! I’m totally impressed! I want to put in my order please!
    I just checked out your dress…you’re gonna be a knock out mama!

  11. Ellen

    So your blog today was about darling, creative gifts and mine was about pimples! I also included a picture. haha
    This was such a great project. Those young women will cherish this gift forever. Nice going!

  12. I’m not crafty. I tried to make decoupage Christmas balls one year, but all I did was glue the tissue paper on the styrofoam. I called it “minimalism”, but really it is an inability to work with glitter.

    Okay, I am still stuck on the vision of the wiggle dress giving way during Twist and Shout – or the modern wedding dance, Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies. Do you remember Steel Magnolia’s and the wedding dance scene where the ladies observed the woman with the larger rear end (which would be me) dancing without her girdle? That’s the image that is stuck in my head.

    I was recently at a party where they played lots and lots of Abba. I’m so glad I wore my old-lady Ecco sandals with my dress because I danced for about 30 minutes straight – it was more like jumping up and down, doing some Molly Ringwald/Breakfast Club moves, and screaming to the music. And I was sober. So sore the next day…

    • CUPCAKE!! WHY would you bring up that seen in “Steel Magnolias”? Indeed I HAVE thought of it only to banish it from my thoughts because I am so afraid that is EXACTLY what I will look like on the dance floor in my wiggle dress. Oh my despair.

      On a brighter note, you are so a gal I could party with…Abba, Molly Ringwald–ohmygoodness. You do not want to see me “dance” (akin to Elaine Benis on Seinfeld) when “Burning Down the House” comes on a stereo…anywhere or at anytime. ~~Bliss

      • Hey, my rear-view would provoke the same comments so I get it! I think the moral of that vignette is to wear a girdle (now we call it Spanx). Remember the oracle of Dolly Parton: “My thighs haven’t been caught outside without Lycra since I was 14.” And Olympia Dukakis’ response: “You were raised proper (propah).” :-)

  13. wow wow…this is the first time I am seeing your creations and I think they look gorgeous! I think I have to try this book clutch idea, I keep seeing all these lovely vintage books at the thrift stores, this is a great way to refashion a book! I like all the embellishments on those books, you did a fabulous job!


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