From jacket with a past to bag with a future

Hi, I have been lurking here a while and this is my first post. I have become interested in sewing from vintage patterns after a couple decades of not sewing very much. Inspired by all the talent I’ve seen on We Sew Retro, I recently took a short dressmaking class.

Since I haven’t made much progress on my class project (a dress from a 1970s pattern), I wanted to tackle something quick and easy to feel a sense of accomplishment. I made a bag using Simplicity pattern 9553 from 1971 and fabric from a well-worn jacket made in India in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Bag from Simplicity 9553

Sabina of India vintage jacket

Made of hand-block printed and hand-loomed cotton, the jacket was originally sold at the upscale department store Bergdorf Goodman in New York. I bought it at a local thrift shop.

Simplicity pattern 9553

I made a few changes to the pattern and now this is my dream bag — the perfect size, shape, and color.

Although I know this period is later than what I mostly see on this site and my project was very basic, I thought readers who appreciate vintage clothes might enjoy the story of how my bag led me to meet the grand-daughter of the jacket’s original owner. Read more on my blog, Joyatri.

• Meet the Author • Joyatri

Thrifty vegan packrat who loves late 60s/early 70s styles, medieval history, traveling to India, dancing bhangra, and making stuff.

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7 comments… add one

  • Wow, nice bag, and what a wonderful print! Your pattern seems to include instructions for making boots, I didn’t know that was possible, but how cool is that?! Are you going to make matching boots for your bag? I think they would look great. If you do I’d be very interested to read the details of how one makes boots… Enjoy your bag!

  • Lovely bag! Finding a bag that is just right can be really difficult. Lucia, I think the pattern is for spats, not boots. A patterned bag with matching spats could look neat imo!

  • I think the readers of this site are up for fabulous vintage projects of any era – and this definitely qualifies! Great job, and I look forward to reading the whole story on your blog.

  • Welcome – we’re thrilled to have you along for the ride :)

    I appreciate you bringing some sassy seventies onto the site – 1970s inspired projects are definitely A-OK.

    P.S. Make the spats! ;)

  • Cool! like that print

  • Thank you for the welcome and comments. Yes, the pattern includes spats! I am definitely planning to make them. I also want to make the rectangular bag as I own a couple vintage bags very similar that I have been looking to replicate.

  • Ah, of course, spats, that makes more sense… great to hear that you are planning to make them. I for one would love to see how they go with your bag!


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