DIY Antique Book Clutch

I’ve been lusting after these book clutches for some time now, and today at the flea market I picked out the perfect book to transform into my new purse.  I wanted something a little smaller, just to fit the essentials.  The Olympia Le-Tan clutches are beautifully embroidered, but at $1,330.00 I just don’t think I can afford it right now… or ever.

I’m not a huge fan of the Kate Spade version, and at $300 – still too steep for me.  I made my clutch in an afternoon, out of materials I had lying around the house.

Total cost: approx. $7.00.

How to:  Antique Book Clutch (under the cut)

  • Book
  • Button
  • Black eleastic (A hair tie will do)
  • Thick black thread
  • Fabric Scraps
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Modpodge or super glue
  • Cardboard
  • Sewing Machine (Preferably)
  • Masking Tape
  • Hammer, Nail

I found a Webster’s pocket sized dictionary from 1877 – there was a little internal struggle as to whether or not I should keep it intact.  There was even an old four leaf clover pressed between the pages that I found and kept.

I took so many pictures during the process, and they were erased!  Well.. I erased them.  On accident.  So, I’ll do my best to demonstrate the process.

Step 1:  Measure the depth of the book.  Cut 4 pieces of cardboard to act as the inside frame of the bag.  These should be as long as the sides, and as tall as the depth measurement.

Tape popsicle sticks or tongue depresses to your pieces of cardboard to make them sturdier.

Step 2:  Cover cardboard pieces in fabric.  Take a piece of fabric and lay your cardboard/popsicle stick pieces on it in a tight straight line, so as to get an idea of the desired length.  Fold it over to determine desired width.

Once you’ve cut out your fabric, fold it with the good sides facing it, and sew along the length of the fabric.  Turn right-side out, insert cardboard pieces (long, short, long, short), and sew between pieces making sure to keep them very snugly in place and close together.

Cut excess fabric away.  Bring ends together to form a square, and hand sew together.  (Sew through cardboard to make it sturdy).

Step 3:  Cut a piece of cardboard out that will fit snugly inside your new frame.  Cover it with a different fabric (Glue stick, a few quick stitches in the corners, however).  Hand sew the edges of your new piece onto the bottom of your frame.  Be sure to insert needle through the cardboard of the square piece and into the fabric of the frame – this will make it sturdy and keep the stitches hidden under the square piece, as the sides are going to visible on your bag.

Step 4:  Paint the inside cover of your book, or leave it blank it your prefer.  If you decide to paint, take advantage of your masking tape for making nice clean lines.

Step 5: Take a small nail and hammer through the holes of your button onto the front cover, remove nails.  Secure button to cover with thick thread.

Step 6:  Glue, or modpodge spine of book to length of frame.  Tape in place using masking tape to insure it stays secure until dry.

Step 7:  Secure elastic with needle and thread to the spine of the book, on the bad side.  Stretch, and sew again on the other edge, creating the loop for your button.

Step 8:  Glue, or modpodge the outter cover to the bad side of your cardboard, secure well with masking tape, and something heavy.  Let dry completely.

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