May 1, 2018

Vintage 1920s Beaded Purse

I haven't posted anything about vintage clothing repair in a long time.  Here comes an absolutely lovely item - a 1920s vintage beaded purse.

As with almost all of the vintage clothing and accessories I post about, this is a repair that I did for my friend Julia's shop - Basya Berkman Vintage Clothing

The little purse was in nearly perfect condition, all beads present and accounted for.  The fabric was coming off the frame in a couple of places, plus it was missing a lining.  All that remained were a few shreds up at the top where it had been stitched onto the frame.

Here are close-ups of the beaded net, outside and inside. 

And even though it doesn't apply directly to the lining process, we need to take a moment to appreciate the wonderful clasp.  It glows just like this in pretty much any lighting!

I knew the lining had to be replaced to protect the amazingly intact beading from keys, cell phones, and compacts, assuming that it might carry items from a wide range of decades! 

I made a pattern by drawing around the purse - adding 3/4" seam allowances to give myself plenty of  just-in-case fabric, and marking where the hinges of the frame were.  For fabric, I used a silk half slip that Julia had given me to keep for a fabric source.  Most appropriate!

Here's the lining, stitched, trimmed, and clipped.

Upon examination, I discovered what I needed to do to attach the new lining.  I quickly decided that it would be easiest to remove everything from the frame and start anew.  Before unstitching everything, I marked the center points and hinge points of the beaded fabric and the metallic braid (that was stitched on the inside to disguise the attachment to the frame).  I was soooo very glad that I thought ahead to do that. 

First, I slipped the lining into the purse, turned under the top edge, and whipstitched to the top of the beaded fabric, just like the way the purse had been stitched originally.  Second, I stitched the metallic braid back on with a running stitch, matching those little safety pins. 

You can see the whipstitching attaching the lining to the purse on the bottom in this photo, and the running stitch attaching the metallic braid at the top of this photo.

Third, I stitched the whole purse back onto the frame.  And isn't the frame lovely, by the way, with its filigree design, which is graceful and elegant while also allowing the purse itself to be stitched on.  I pondered for a while about how to hold the purse in place while I stitched, and finally settled on this porcupine-ish technique.  It was a bit pokey to be sure, but I couldn't have gotten the fabric situated evenly without the pins.  For this, I was stab stitching.

And ta-da - here is the finished effect. 



  1. Beautiful job on the lining! And how clever that they used the internal metallic braid to somewhat disguise the attachment stitches -- and also protect that area from too much abrasion.

    1. Thanks! And yes, I was delighted when I figured out that bit about the braid. This was one of the most delightful "up close and personal" experiences I've had!