Pearly Queen Shoulder bag


I'm so excited to show you this, I think I might die! Ok, maybe not actually die, but I love it and it's one of those things that totally 100% looks better in real life than in photos so much so that I wish you could all come round and have a stroke of it.'s my first entry for the A Lemon Squeezy Home's Purse Week 2012.

Everything for this bag was from my stash, I didn't have to purchase anything and it used around 260 buttons.

I was inspired to try and de-stash some of my buttons by the Pearly Kings and Queens. I've pasted a bit of bumpf about them below in case you don't know who they are.

"It is 150 years since founder Henry Croft was born and raised in a Victorian workhouse orphanage in Somerstown, St Pancras.

He left at 13 to become a roadsweeper but became enamoured of the costermongers (street fruit sellers) and their flashy suits, decorated with penny-sized pearls down the outside seam of their trousers.

Henry was fascinated by the way they rallied round helping any "costers" down on their luck with a whip round and the rhyming slang they used.

He decided to go one step further and covered an entire suit with pearl buttons. He became quite a draw for crowds as he went around collecting pennies and half pennies for the orphanage where he grew up.

London's Pearly King was born.

In all, 28 families constituted the original Pearlies, one for each London borough at the time and succession is by inheritance. It continues to this day."
(Via BBC News London)

I used Rebekah Lambert's Phoebe Bag pattern which is a free pattern (but does contain various copyright restrictions) and modified it slightly for my needs.

Firstly I added an extra 10cm width to the bag to make it a really good sized messenger bag that I could wear around hip level as I also added an adjustable strap.

I cut out the outer pieces and overlocked them to a piece of felt each to stabilise them. Then I drew on a swirly wirly design in tailor's chalk.

Next I started to lay out some of my buttons in my starting corner. I laid out a few, stitched them on then laid out the next batch. I tried to double stitch after sewing each button on on the back side so that if any were to fall off, the whole lot wouldn't come unstitched!

It took me almost all weekend and almost 260 buttons but I finished my design til I was happy with it!

Next I followed the pattern to make up the bag adding in a central divider inside and omitting my usual zipped pocket (the lining was slithery suiting and the zip puckered terribly so I re-cut and left it out).

This is what I've ended up with!

Weighing in at only 300g (11oz) this bag hasn't gone too far towards my Stashbusting September but it has emptied half a jar of buttons!

Have you uploaded your entry to the Purse Week 2012 Flickr group yet? I'm just about to!

p.s. I'm linking up to Weekend blogging with Serenity Now 

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  1. I love your Pearlie Bag!! I think it has just the right attitude of that Henry Croft fellow!

  2. WOW!!!!!!!!!! That's a lot of buttons to sew on but it looks wonderful. Well done. Oh and thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  3. That bag is perfect for a pearly queen! :D Congratulations on using up some more of your stash, too!
    Do you ever find yourself getting possessive with things like buttons? I have real difficulty using up some of the really awesome ones in my stash lol
    Thanks for posting about Henry Croft, I was utterly ignorant to the roots of Pearly Kings & Queens until now!

  4. Wow - that was lovely and AWESOME!

  5. Beautiful bag. You did an amazing job. I have a link party on Wednesdays, and I would love it if you would link this and any other posts. It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party. It runs from Wednesday to Sundays.
    I hope to see you there. I am your newest follower, and I would love for your to follow me also. Have a great Day.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above

  6. Awesome! I remember reading somewhere about pearlie outfits and saw photos of people completely covered with buttons. How cool your bag is! :-)

  7. This is so gorgeous. I would love to have a bag like this. You could even make a dressy clutch with the pearls for fancy events.

  8. Oh gosh! This purse is just too divine! Thanks so much for showing us how you made it. I'm loving the button design but the sewing looks a bit much for me...I might try adding them to a pre-made purse though! I saw your lovely post over at "Serenity Now".

  9. Hi Sammantha,
    This is an amazing work! So beautiful bag and a nice way to recycle buttons!
    Thansks for sharing.
    Have a look at my blog I’ll be so glad.

    Hugs from Portugal
    Ana Love Craft

  10. OOoohhh, so nice. I have a couple of button projects I want to do but I love my jars so full of buttons, I don't know if I can use them. Your purse is so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This is such a pretty purse. I really love this. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesdays Adorned From Above Link Party last week. This weeks Link Party is opened at
    from Wednesday until Sunday.
    Hope to see you there.
    Debi Bolocofsky
    Adorned From Above


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