I'd seen these altered book purses many times on Etsy and looked on with envy. I probably would have bought one already except that they are so expensive and I could tell by looking at them that if I tried hard enough, I could make one myself (for a lot less expense). So while working on Saturday, I took a look through the piles of used book donations for the library's semiannual book sale until I found a hardcover book of suitable size and decoration. So many newer hardcover books are absolutely plain beneath their dust jackets--so it wasn't so easy to find one with a little bit of flair (even an embossed title!) on the actual hard cover. Just one of many things that disappoint me in modern-day book manufacturing. But eventually I turned up this older Webster's Unified Dictionary and Encyclopedia and its raised viny patterning on both the cover and the spine and the colorfully embossed title seemed a perfect candidate for an altered book purse (especially since I felt much less guilty gutting a dictionary than I would a novel).
Next, I found some inexpensive fabric to match (for the lining and sides) at our local flea market. All the rest of the materials, I already had at home: Sobo fabric & craft glue, needle, thread, ribbon, and a sharp exacto-knife. Then I set to work. The only thing that dissatisfied me in the end result was my inability to get the straps to match the rest of the purse well enough. I braided 2 parts brown and one part green fabric trim to make them and, functionally, they are just fine, but, aesthetically, the shades of the colors aren't exactly ideal. Oh well, there's always next time.
Also, while gathering materials Saturday, I did a bit of research on this literary fashion accessory to have a better idea of how exactly to go about making it. I found that the idea for the altered book purse seems to have originated with a young woman named Caitlin Phillips of Rebound Designs (who runs her business through her Etsy shop). She was also interviewed this past April on NPR's "All Things Considered."