Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paris Box Vintage Lace Bag

It all started with a pile of dry-rotted lace left over from the making of the  "Les Coiffes Catalanes".

Even dry-rotted, the pieces were too pretty to throw out, which was OK since I had a project in mind for them and truth be told, an inspiration I saw in a window many months ago in Metz France. 

The inspiration was an expensive lacquered box with vintage looking women decoupaged all over the lid. I immediately saw something else. Not long after, I saw a Burta magazine article, at least I thought it was from Burta, on making a wood box purse. I can't find the issue, if I even have it, to save my life, but I remember some of the basics of what was done in the article.

The idea sat in my mind for quite a while. Funny how things came together once I had the dry rotted lace. I could not in good conscience take a perfectly good piece of vintage lace and apply paint and glue to it. Having dry rot gave me the permission I needed to play.

One has to be careful when applying paint to vintage lace. One could come up with something like this. 

I saw this at a second hand store and had to take a picture. The machine is real and vintage. The manikin, with bright red painted lips, is on the side board of the machine's table holding a small candelabra. A tea set sits in front with a long table topper, under it draping the manikin for "modesty". 

The whole piece is painted white. I had to take a close-up look. This was once, most likely, likely once part of a display in a store that sold haberdashery somewhere near by in France. I found it rather ghoulish and like viewing a train wreck, I ended up inspecting it for quite a while wondering who made it and what it looked like in the shop it once graced. 

Knowing I wanted to make this project, I was able to collect some items on the last trip back stateside. Between JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, Michaels and stores here in Europe I found items I thought would work well for use on my box purse. I really like the pieces by Jim Holtz. they are well made and fun to use.

I found the box. Unlike others it already had with all of the hardware already attached. The hardware is silver in color and truth be told it was wonderful to have it already attached. One less thing to do to finish the project.

I have something called Paperpatch and while I was stateside I bought some Mod Podge. Using them for this project I noticed that the Mod Podge worked a bit better. It was less sticky faster, or better put it dried completely faster.

The original inspiration for this project was that lacquered box with the vintage ladies. To get my vintage ladies, I have an old book of La Mode Illustree from 1897 and have scanned some of the pictures.

I backed a piece of muslin with freezer paper and cut it to the size of a sheet of paper. using a color printer, the picture was reproduced.

I do not bother buying the ready made sheets at the stores since it is so easy to make them myself.

The result on muslin is a beautiful pastel look.

The drawing of the lady with a chair is called Toilette de Casino ou Garden Party is from 9 may 1897. It is one of my favorites since it reminds me of a park in Paris which has very sturdy chairs on gravel covered grounds surrounded by high walls and fountains. T

The park is popular with tourists and in beautiful weather, the chairs are in high demand. 

On the reverse side is a lady with an umbrella, also in a park like setting.  The issue is Sunday 18 April 1897.

According to the issue, This dress is called "Robe-princesse pour jeune femme". Just like the previous picture this dress once could have been purchased at Mmes Coussinet-Piret, rue Richer, 43 Paris. 

I Google Earthed rue Richer 43. It appears the building no longer exists. Where the building once stood is now it is a modern corner in Paris. C'est la vie! 

Enough research on the past, now to the project. 

To apply the pictures to the wood box, since I did not want a real stark wood background, I painted the box with a light layer of of white paint.  When dried, the wood of the box could still be seen, but it was greatly muted. 

Just the background look I wanted. 

I then Mod Podged the pictures to the box and began to layer the dry-rotted lace pieces over the box. 

When I found the look I liked, I Mod Podged the lace in place.

Here it is once all of the lace was in place:

To complete the outside and to protect the corners, metal corner pieces were glued in place. The box began to look "Paris" to me so a variety of Paris style trinkets were installed.

The hardware for the strap looks like a belt buckle so using some scrap leather, a shoulder strap was fashioned.

The inside of the box was lined. On the shorter depth side of the box, a pocket was sewn into the lining using elastic for the top of the pocket.  Here is is before it was glued into place:

A chain was added on both sides to keep the box from opening all of the way and a fabric guard was added so that when the box is open, the inside contents do not fall out.

Here is a picture of the completed front:

Here is the completed back.

I am going to let it cure for a couple of days before I wear it out, but I am pleased with the final result. Something new for me working with a wooden box and it was such a great use of dry rotted lace!