Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I am working on another cigar box purse. I need to get around to taking pictures, but we are having my sister's baby shower at my house this Saturday, so I have to spend the week cleaning.

Oh yeah, thats right, thats all I do now. :o/ I guess thats what happens when you are the only one cleaning up after two people AND you suddenly get the urge to go through everything you own and trash 50% of it. Its taking a while. but my house will look so perty when I am done.

Rabbit trail traversed.

I already have one completed purse. It was actually created to match a dress I wore to a friends rehersal dinner/dinner boat cruise. Finding the dress was a complete accident and then I had a very frustrating time trying to find a purse that matched. The result of which was me finally deciding to get around to making a cigar box purse. The reason for this takes a few minutes of explaining:

My husband smokes a pipe. He frequents a shop in our mall called The Briar Patch and over the last few years, we have become friends with some of the employees. Ed, especially, is our favorite.

During one of many trips to the shop, I noticed a HUGE stack of cigar boxes behind the counter. Ed, noticing my interest, allowed me behind the counter and I was able to chose a few really beautiful boxes. (Not the type made from cardboard but those made of stained woods) Originally I just wanted them because I like the look of the boxes but then I got the bright idea that I would dabble with attempting to make cigar box purses. Over the next few visits, I collected a farely decent stash, but then I got crafters block and couldnt think of anything to do with them. So, much to Nate's annoiance, they sat in the living room collecting dust for that last 6 months.

Enter the dress for the dinner cruise dress. I couldnt find a purse for the dress for the life of me, and was sitting in my living room one evening, three days before the day we were to leave for Washington D.C. I was rather irritated because I had already had a very bad time of it trying to find my dress for the wedding and shoes to match, now I was having the same issue all over again. Thankfully I had found shoes for the dinner dress, but the purse was still an issue and I was out of time.

I dont know what made me go to the desk drawer I have all the boxes in, but I did, and I suddenly remembered that I had some lovely squares of yellow and gold Chinese brochade in my sewing supplies that matched the flowers on the dress. So ran to Jo-Anne Frabrics and Michaels and spent the Sunday before our trip, at my parents house (for my dad, sister and niece's birthday), on the floor, trying to make a cigar box purse. This is the finished product:

Its was interesting, so say the least. I decided to use a small box since this was supposed to be a purse for a cocktail dress. I removed all of the hardware from the box and then used spray on adhesive to apply the fabric to the wood. I did learn the hard way that, especially with satin/brochade material, you have to let it dry for a few moments before applying the fabric to the glue, otherwise it 'weeps' through the material. Unfortunately, I didnt notice the resulting finger prints in the material until after I had finished both sides of the box and I really didnt feel like starting over.

Next, I used some very soft but strong maternial as the lining. I believe that its supposed to be vehicle/chair upholstry fabric, but I am not positive. I have quite a collection of weird material that I picked up for cheap out of the salvage bin at Jo-Anne's. Whatever it is, it was perefect for what I needed.

When I finished with the lining, I re-attached the hardware and some extra pieces, like the handle brackets, that I found at Michael's. The handle was made with some beads I found at Michael's and a few strands of tiger wire for extra strength. Unfortunely for me, Michael's was out of their gold wire, so I had to use silver. So I found some regular gold wire and hand wrapped all of the places where the tiger wire was exposed.

The only thing left wasnt a necessity, but it was bothering me that the folds of the fabric had left a gap inbetween all the corners, so I filled it in by placing a satin ribbon border around the edges.

When I fnished, I realized that there are some things I would changed but I left it as is since it was my first attempt. And I did get quite a few compliments on the purse. The funny part was the looks on peoples faces when I told them I made it. I dont think they believed me. :o)

My current box is about 50% complete, This time I am using this really great tan/blue/brown houndsooth material. I have to order the new hardware from a special site, but when I am finished with the box itself, I am going to be placing special corner pieces on the box and the finished product should look a little like a minerature travel trunk. Should be cute.

I started the current box last Saturday and so far, I believe I have put about 3 hours worth of work into it. With everything going on this week and next, I am not sure how much time I am going to be able to give it, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes to finishe this one. The last box was such a rush job, I didnt bother documenting the time to see how long it took....

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