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Friday, May 7, 2010

How To Print On Muslin; How To Make A Purse From An Old Book-Tutorials

Have you noticed the purses made from hardback books? I've wanted some of my own, and so I searched for some tutorials out there, and got enough ideas to make one. The problem was, even though I love the unique look of books turned into purses, I didn't want to use an actual vintage book, I just wanted one to LOOK like a vintage book. And since I'm a poor little Kudzu, there had to be some way to improvise with what I already had on hand. You don't want to spend money if there's no need to! There's a lot of free images out there, so I knew I could find book covers, and I have ink in the printer, muslin leftover from my quilting days, and a bottle of liquid starch. Here's what I came up with.


You'll need:
an image to use

preshrunk/washed muslin-a piece a little bigger than the average sheet of printer paper(approximately 8.5x11)

liquid starch

a printer and ink

a hot iron and an ironing board or hard surface to iron on

Start by dipping your muslin into a small bowl of liquid starch. Squeeze the starch through the muslin to saturate the fibers, then squeeze excess starch from the muslin. Iron with a hot iron until completely dry and very stiff.

The muslin will now be very sharp and stiff! Use a sheet of your printer paper as a template/guide for cutting a piece of muslin out the same size as your paper. Notice I used very sharp scissors for a crisp, clean cut edge.

Choose the image you want to print, and place the stiff sheet of muslin in the printer tray.

Click print and cross your fingers, and make sure the fabric feeds through your printer.

Oh, worked!! I printed this one out as 8x10.

Just to be sure, I printed it out two more times as 5x7.


Now, let's make a purse! Here's a tutorial at you can follow along with,too.

You'll need:
an old hardback book

a craft knife

your printed fabric-if you don't use fabric, choose a book with a color you like, you could print out a fake label on paper and glue it down just to be different!

tacky glue or a hot glue gun

clothespins or clamps

a large button and a hair elastic for your closure-this is what I used. You can use whatever you have handy or want to use

bias tape

light cardboard or posterboard- I used a cereal box

fabric for your lining and sides- I used scrap muslin to print the book cover, and an old black cotton shirt for the back, and handle straps

handles for your purse-I used handles from a purse I got at the thrift store. You can make your own with bias tape and beads, or fabric. You can make it a shoulder purse, too. Try to recycle something :D

needle and thread or sewing machine to sew the book/purse sides and your straps

I chose a book to use, and carefully cut the pages out.

The printed muslin fits the front completely.

Since I'm covering the front with fabric, I'm going to go ahead and cover the back, too. I used an old cotton shirt of Hoss'. I only had to use part of a sleeve for enough to cover the spine and back section. Make sure you cut out extra on the sides to fold over and glue down. I used Aileen's Tacky Glue. You can use a hot glue gun.

Glue on the front cover piece. I also used a piece of black middy braid to cover the seam where the two fabric meet at the spine. I cut the left side of the cover fabric to fit exactly.

Cut out 2 pieces of cardboard to fit slightly inside the front and back of the book and 1 piece to fit on the spine. Then cut out your lining fabric, leaving extra to fold over the cardboard and glue down.

Use your book as a guide to cut out 4 triangle shaped pieces of fabric. These will be the sides of the purse. Cut 4 rectangles to hold the straps of your purse down. Sew 2 sets of 2 triangles right sides together, leaving room to turn right side out on one edge Fold the strap pieces in half then in half again, and sew. Iron all these pieces smooth. Sew along the edges of the 2 triangle side pieces.

Glue one half of each strap piece down on both sides, front and back. Make sure your measure where the handles will go. ( I did not glue down the fabric covered spine piece, I just forgot to remove it after I made don't do that yet!)
You'll also be gluing down your button and elastic loop. Use a piece of bias tape folded over your elastic and glue it down, keeping it close together. I sewed my button to bias tape and glued the bias tape down. I'm sorry I forgot to take photos of that step....and any other photos after this point!! So follow the tutorial at from this step forward :D

I took some photos of all the sides of the purse so you can get a better look at how it turns out and of the construction.

You can see I folded the strap fabric into a slight "V" shape to spread the fabric out so it wouldn't be as lumpy and hard to glue together. I did the same with the bias tape I sewed the button to.

Here's the other side. See how I did the hair elastic for the loop closure? I have a piece of bias tape folded through it and spread out in a slight "V" shape to avoid bulk, and kept the hair elastic close together when I glued it down.

This is a top view of the book purse. I wish I had put the button on the side. Maybe I should have put a hole in the book, and had the button fastened that way. Next time I'll try that..

Another top view of the purse.

Now go make one!!


concretenprimroses said...

Cherry you are brilliant. This is my fave book purse ever. For a gift you could make up a cover that related to (or was written by ) the person you are giving it to.

vintagesue said...

so clever. i love it!!!!! thanks.

AngelMc said...


The Japanese Redneck said...

A very cool idea!

Anonymous said...

Totally adorable! Once the image is transferred, can it be washed? Or is there something more you can do to set the image other than the acrylic spray from walmart? Thanks and great idea!

Leigh the sewing diva said...

omg!! that is so cool! now to find a hardbacc copy of pride and prejudice!
Leigh at The Sewing Diva

Fae-tality Publishing said...

Can't wait to put this to some use. Terrific, useful tip and reading your comment section was helpful - I didn't know Japan had rednecks. :)