Sunday, April 19, 2015

Label Skirt and Purse

I love clothing labels.  I like the names, the colors, the designs, the size, shape, variety - pretty much everything about them.  I have been collecting them for years.  I've been known to buy a garment at a thrift store just because of the label.  When I first started collecting labels, I didn't know what I was going to make with them so my plastic bag o'labels was ever expanding.  Then one day, I decided I would make a purse and here it is.
Front Side

This is McCalls 5822 - size medium.  I made this purse a few years ago (pre-blog days - 2012 to be exact) so unfortunately, I don't have any pics of my sewing process, but I can tell you I used some very unusual ingredients to make this bag.
Back side

First - I wanted to use things I already had in my stash to avoid making the 1 hour trip to the store to buy something.  I was looking for some stiff canvas like fabric, but of course I didn't have any on hand.  What I did have an abundance of was blackout curtain lining so I decided to use that my base fabric.  Not your normal everyday sewing fabric, I know.  
Close up

Next, I ironed on two layers of interfacing to the back of the curtain lining to make it a little stiffer and then cut out my pieces.  I penciled in the stitching lines, pocket placement and strap placement so I could avoid wasting a full label behind these areas.
Closer close-up

Then, the fun started.  Labels, labels, everywhere!  I just started moving the labels around until I was happy with the design - this took several days too.
Front close-up
Next - take a picture of the placement of the labels.  Because my fabric was far to thick to pin thru, I knew I would be making several trips from the ironing board to the sewing machine and didn't want to mess up my original design.  I ironed a small piece of wonderunder to each label and then ironed it in place on the fabric.

One side
Other side

I did this in small sections.  Iron, then sew.  Refer to picture, iron, then sew.  Refer to picture, iron, then sew - you get the idea - until all of the pieces were complete.
Bottom, including metal feet

Next, I backed all of the pieces with Timtex to make it even stiffer and then sewed the bag together. The lining of the bag was a shirt that I purchased at a thrift store.  I loved the print on the shirt and knew it would come in handy for something!
Inside with pockets

The pockets on each side are lined with polka dot fabric.

There are pockets on both sides

Then I decided the purse was getting a bit lonely by itself and it needed a companion.  So I made a matching skirt! The skirt is Simplicity 1465 - View C.

The process for the skirt was a little different from the purse.  First, construct the skirt in your normal way until you get to the hem.  Sew a basting line in a contrasting thread where you want the bottom of the skirt to be.

Next - dump out all of your collected labels and start playing!

Using the basting line as a guide, start pinning the labels in place.

Keep pinning until you are happy with the placement.  I started with the skirt front first, sewed the labels in place, and then moved around the sides to the back.

Here are views of all of the labels around the bottom.  

The red Esprit label is the only one not fully sewn down.  Instead - it's only sewn on one side and flips out a little bit.  I thought it was a fun element to add to the skirt front.  

The skirt is also fully lined.

I used cotton for the top facing, rayon for the lining and trimmed between the two with a fun bias tape I had in my stash.

For the hem, I used a 4" piece of cotton with hem tape as a sort of hem facing to cover up all of the label stitching on the inside.

Some tips for sewing with labels:
  • Woven labels are best.  Printed labels will work, but they will fade with time if you plan to wash the garment alot.
  • Look for colorful labels!  They are harder to find so keep a look out for them.
  • Don't cut the labels from garments!  Use a seam ripper instead to remove the stitches and release it from the garment.
  • Remove all of the previous thread from the border of the label.  Trust me, it's better to do this at the time you find the label, rather than when you are sewing them on the garment.
  • Remove the sizing label from the main label (if there is one) and save these for another day!
  • Press your labels before sewing in place.
  • Use an invisible thread on top to sew the labels in place.

I am very happy with how the skirt turned out and think the two pieces together look great!  And bonus - the skirt counts towards my stashbustin' challenge!  Between the skirt fabric, lining and fabrics for the facing, I'm adding another 2.25 yards to the total for a YTD total of 23.25 yards busted!  Yippee!!

Happy Sewing everyone!


  1. What a wonderful idea - and such a great collection of labels. I love both pieces. Your finishing is fantastic.

  2. I love it! It's unique, creative and fits perfectly. Good job!

  3. What a great idea. I love the bag in particular. Though I don't know if I would have the patience to unpick the stitching to collect the labels. Looking at The size of your collection it must have taken you years

    1. Thanks Tracy H. Yes, I have been collecting labels for years.

  4. The big reveal!! Wow that's some collection of labels. I love it as an outfit, the skirt just makes it :)x

  5. As everyone said, this is wonderful! Love your bag and the matching skirt is so cool :)

  6. What a fun & creative bag. I love it!

  7. I have seen other ideas for using labels collections, but your skirt and purse are the best ! Fun, but still classy looking.