Subject to a few exceptions, I don’t understand bags that come with a chain strap – it just seems like a ludicrous way to carry a bag. Literally a chain, with weight hanging off it, running over your shoulder. Recently I found a small, square gold bag, perfect for wearing with jeans and a tshirt, or something granny chic, for less than $10 in the Redcurrent end of season mark downs on mark downs, and despite its chain strap I decided to grab it and make it the subject of the world’s easiest DIY.
I was inspired by Gucci (can we talk about how Gucci is really enjoying a place in the sun right now?) and, in particular, the Sylvie bag (pictured above). While this bag has a number of beautiful features, the thing that I recalled as I was pondering the tiny golden bag of dreams, was the use of striped ribbon as a strap.
To be honest, I don’t even know if you can call this a fashion DIY – more of a tip for snazzing up your favourite bag? – because all I did was buy some beautiful ribbon from Small Acorns here in Wellington, detach the chain strap (and throw it away), and tie on the ribbon.
You will need about two metres of ribbon, perhaps more than you would expect, in order to get it to be cross body. I threaded the ribbon through one loop and tied it firmly to the second loop, so that I could carry it with a long strap or with the strap doubled over. However, since you’re only tying the ribbon on, you can have a play.
Make sure to use grosgrain ribbon or similar, so that it has enough structure to remain perky when tied. I went with burgundy and this warm cream colour because I liked the colours with the gold, but ribbon is reasonably cheap so I’m likely to buy at least one other option so that I can mix and match. This bag is little, so a narrow ribbon seemed best, but for anything larger I’d suggest a wider ribbon.
(In fact, I recently received an order from the lovely Annabelle of Wilson Trollope, which came with a navy grosgrain ribbon tied around it so - this bag already has two looks!)
I love being able to do simple things that perk up an item that you otherwise might not use (or which you might have inadvertently damaged on the first outing like the shirt above). Being able to tack down annoying sleeves, or close up pockets that just won't lie flat, requires only basic sewing skills and can make something that was ho-hum a much more enticing option. I certainly do not have any amazing crafting or sewing skills to draw on, but even with my limited creativity (and with access to a hot glue gun!) I've tweaked, mended and upgraded things for years, and still find it really fun.
Get some narrow velvet ribbon to run through as laces on a pair of patent flats - perfect. Wear a brooch on your hip to hide a burn mark on a skirt - how avant garde you are. Channel that sense of clever can-do spirit that led Parisian women to draw seams on their legs during the war and see what you can come up with! Then tell me in the comments below (that's right - comment away people!)