What I’ve learned in dating, I can apply to vintage purses. Even though it’s beautiful and in tact on the outside, watch out for rotting on the inside. When I picked up this wicker purse at a local Goodwill, it was love at first sight… until I turned the latch and saw the condition of the inner lining. After battling with my gag reflex, I swallowed my hesitations and made the purchase (for $3.49 a deteriorated lining was not a deal breaker). Luckily, I discovered that replacing a purse lining was much easier — not to mention more affordable — than couples counselling.
Step One: Resist hacking away at the lining the second you open the purse with scissors in hand. This step I almost skipped completely, and am sure I would have regretted that decision later in the process. By taking a second to examine the bag’s interior, I was able to see that the lining was attached to the wicker with multiple tacks. With further inspection, I saw that these tacks could all be easily removed, allowing the lining to be removed exactly as is, and for the tacks to be salvaged. Since my scrupulous nature has now been revealed, there is no more need to hide it.
Step Two: Once the lining was removed, I proceeded to ‘break it down’ (MC Hammer, eat your heart out). Separate the seams of the lining so that you have three sections of fabric, or however many parts your lining breaks down into. Pin these to your new fabric and cut around them, leaving an inch or two so you have some room to sew them together.
Step Three:Pin the new fabric together, right sides in. This part of the sewing process always seems like a brain teaser to me. But since it’s a lining, things are a little easier. You won’t be seeing the outside seams, so you want the inside to be the good sides of the fabric and free of waste.
Step Four: Once you’ve sewn all the seams, you can trim them down so there is less bulk. Now you’re ready to fasten the lining to the purse. I lucked out, and was able to use the thumbtacks that had originally been holding the lining in place. Depending on the bag though, you may be forced into some ‘creative thinking’. Might I suggest having a glue gun or needle and thread at hand?
After some last minute tucking and folding more suited to a drag show than my living room, I emerged successful; lining in purse, purse in hand. And now that I know the ease at which I can make a purse’s insides match the beauty of its outer shell, I will never again be discouraged by a pretty saddle bag with a sad interior — though I will proceed with caution at the sight of a pretty boy in saddle shoes.
- Casie Brown