Friday, January 09, 2009

'Tighten the Purse Strings'

Hope you are all having a great week. I've been spending my time sewing and creating, so the new stock for my website is slowly coming together. I'm excited by what I have produced so far, but am finding each item is taking longer that I would like. I have a vast array of fabrics to choose from, so narrowing it down each time takes a lot of effort on my part! My on-line shop has been re-edited with a new cheerful colour scheme and I look forward to launching it when I feel I have a enough stock to refill the shelves!
In the meantime, I thought I would update my blog, inspired by the credit crunch and tightening those purse strings! ;-))

I have collected vintage bags and purses for many years, but have only ever added to my collection when I have discovered a bargain! This little Dorothy bag is one from my childhood. I bought it at a jumble sale for pennies. It reminds me of the tiny brightly coloured zip-up purses that you used to be able to buy during the 1970's. (Do you remember them?) They had plastic beads glued onto them in wacky designs. I was always very tempted to pick them off and inevitably they always ended up with bald patches!
This version is slightly more grown-up.

And this little clutch purse has a beaded design too, but amazingly has had each bead stitched on by hand. These intricately crafted pieces were often made in France or Belgium, but can still be picked up for under £10 despite the hours of work involved in producing them. (Roll-over Monsoon Accessorize!)

It even has a little strap on the back to slip your fingers through.

Another beaded bag, this time slightly larger. I image the darker coloured beads would have been shiny silver metal when new, but over the years have tarnished, but still ooze glamour.
My latest addition is the tiny coin purse with chain handle bought at a vintage textile fair late last year.
And this one could almost be its mummy! I love the little glass stones set into the clasp - such attention to detail makes collecting these vintage treasures so interesting, as there is something new to discover all the time..

A metal purse similar to chainmail, which would have had a bright silk lining when it was produced during the 1920's. The flash of colour would have shown through and also softened the inside of the bag to safely hold its contents. They can sometimes be found made from pure silver, but these obviously command a high price tag.

I have found that once friends or relatives know that you enjoy collecting a particular item, they will also look out for additions to your collection and give them as gifts.
My neighbour very kindly gave me the gold brocade bag and one made from silver lurex - they had belonged to her mother-in-law during the 1950's.
And my Mum gave me this black fabric bag with the beautiful deco inspired clasp. I do use this one if I go out, as it has a handy little coin purse attached to a bar inside.
She also gave me this one which has sparkly diamante stones smothering it and a glorious silver satin lining.

Finally, this is one of my favourites, still in its original box. Another beaded example in lovely condition. Ideal for an evening out playing bridge perhaps?!
Funnily enough, I'm not the 'dressy' kind of girl, but I do love to search for the beautifully made accessories from a bygone era which promote sophistication and glamour, including adding to my shoe collection, vintage costume brooches and of course millinery. Taking time over the years to add to them, bargains can still be discovered to make the prize even more rewarding.
OK, I better get back to the sewing machine now...Hope you all have a lovely weekend,
Niki x


  1. Niki you do have some of the most amazing collections. Such beautiful little bags. I too remember the zip up purses covered in beads from the 70s. I also used to pick the beads off mine!

  2. These are beautiful! I have a collection too, but they are all in the attic, waiting...for what? I should get them out of their dark boxes. Thanks for inspiration!

  3. Oh such pretties. I had a bald purse in the 70's too! I still have one! They were a great distraction on boring shopping trips! t.x

  4. Anonymous11:52 am

    You do know how to economize with style. I'm torn. Is the bag collection more delicious than the shoe collection? Yes, I think it is, since one size fits all with the bags and some of your shoes wouldn't fit on my big toe! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What lovely purses, you have a fantastic collection. I'm another one who used to have a lot of bald patches on my little bead purse. I was clearing out a while ago and I found one of those little purses, so cute :) xxx

  6. Just lovely Niki...I don't feel so bad about my collection now...I hang them on the walls at home...I have some lovely beaded ones bright colours...I had a pink bag like your first one when I was a little girl...cant wait to see the and hugs H

  7. Hello Niki,
    Wow, they are seriously gorgeous. Thanks for sharing them with us.
    Hen x

  8. A very pretty collection, and if I had to pick a favorite, I think the last one would be the one. I have 2 beaded clutch style purses from the 60's, and in all my cleaning out for yard sales, etc. I have managed to keep them.

  9. Niki, you do have the most beautiful collections! I think a stroll through your house would be a delight! (And I am so glad I have little glimpses each month via your calendar!) Hubby giggled when I pointed out to him my birthdate on your calendar.... it says "Queen's Birthday"! lol My mother has kept telling me since I was a child that I share your Queen's birthday of April 21... now with your calendar hubby can't miss the date! heehee =)

  10. I do like those little bags - I have a cream and brown beaded one from the 50s that I bought several years ago at an antiques fair. I should probably dig it out as it never sees the light of day!

  11. You have some of the most wonderful things in the world.

  12. Weren't you supposed to pick the beads off the purses? Wasn't that half the pleasure? LOL mine got picked at too.
    Love those old bags, I cn remember picking some old ones up at jumble sales during the 70's but don't know what happened to them. They used to smell of makeup and old ladies perfumes.

  13. Girl, you have such wonderful things! I love the bag collection. I can't wait to see what you have in store for your shop!

    Deanna :)

  14. These little gems are amazing! The detail work is just lovely. Things like that just aren't made anymore. You have some wonderful items, and your blog displays them perfectly.
    Just charming.

  15. I remember those purses well Niki.. and I too had the temptation to pick off all the little pink pimples on them..Your collection is wonderful ..I especially love the hearts design.. what an incredible amount of work of painstakng work must have gone in to creating that purse.
    I am so sorry this is so belated.. but wishing you a truly Happy and rewarding 2009..
    With love

  16. They are absoluetly beautiful, thanks for sharing some more of your amazing collections!

  17. Lovely collection Niki... where do you keep all your goodies.. I never seem to have enough space to collect.. well apart from the odd dollshouse.. vintage dress.. floral china... plaster heads... tee hee.
    Lizzie xxx

    ..and I got some fab cups & saucers today which I will blog soon....

  18. Hello Niki,
    I love your purse collection. I collect vintage beaded purses too.
    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous ones with us. Happy Sewing Pinkie

  19. your purses and little bags are delightful so lovely that you use the one from your mum, the deco style clasp is gorgeous.
    Jan x

  20. What gorgeous bags, Niki, all of them are beautiful. I couldn't single out any particular one as my favourite as I love them all. A belated happy new year to you.
    Ruth x

  21. Beautiful collection of handbags!!

  22. I love vintage bags, too. You have a wonderful collection! WOW! They are so much fun to decorate with!

  23. I love those little purses too and I just happen to have one for sale in my online shoppe! If you're interested visit and go to the Victorian Lovelies section!

  24. You have such a wonderful vintage purse collection. I especially love the one with the hearts and the original box. I too have collected them for many a year, but you have some exceptional ones. Thank you so much for sharing them.
    Jean in Virginia

  25. Oh, Niki! Your collections are amazing! Where on earth do you find those treasures and... the ROOM??!!?? Hehe...
    And thank you for your lovely comments on my blog- I started too to believe we're living parallel lives!!:)))

    Have a great beginning of the week,
    Monica x.

    P.S. Furniture???? Scraps???? PLEEEEASE, DO IT!! Can't wait to SEE!!!!
    I'll email you ias soon as possible.

  26. Anonymous12:57 pm

    Oh la la! The third one and the last one are my favorites and they are all beautiful.

  27. Anonymous3:17 pm

    what a lovely collection, I particularly like the bag with the beaded hearts. I had forgotten about those beaded purses...and yes I picked the beads off too!!

  28. Niki these are so beautiful, I'd love to own one even though I don't go anywhere nearly glamourous enough! But I'd look and look at it, just like I did my 70s bead purse. Weren't they fab.
    What a lovely post, thanks.

  29. I remember those purses too lol! I had an orange one and a pink one.

    I love your collection of bags; bags and shoes are my thing too ... :0)

  30. Hi Nicki sounds like you are inspired and busy. What a beautiful collection you have, do you use them or are they to delicate, they look so fragile, so feminine.
    Happy making not too long til May eitherxxx
    Hugs Lynn xx

  31. Dear Nikki,
    I have just discovered your blog at a time in my life that I really needed something wonderful to lift me. I just wanted to thank you for changing my perceptions. It is lovely to be reminded of the joy and beauty that can be found in the simplest of pretty things, even when life is a struggle and full of angst. Your colour sense and the your heart and passion for vintage treasures carries us with you on your journey, we savour with you the joys to be found in the innocence and prettiness of the little treasure in life that are available to everyone. In this way I think you have more talent than you probably realise.
    Thank you again and I wish you a very rosy future with all your crafts,
    Kindest Regards,

    Millie X


Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx