I’m generally against writing about holiday gifts before Thanksgiving because I don’t want to add to the overconsumption that December -- and at this point, October and November, too -- tends to encourage. But I’m making an exception this year for DIY projects since they encourage crafty skills and reuse of pre-loved materials — and require a little extra time to put together!

4050510402 969bcefe5b m Book review: Refashioned Bags Upcycle anything into high style handbagsAnd for crafty fashionistas, here’s a new eco-stylish book that’ll get you to reduce, reuse and refashion — Refashioned Bags: Upcycle Anything into High Style Handbags by Faith and Justina Blakeney.

Refashioned Bags shows how you can turn practically any no-longer-used material into a bag. Got a handful of out-of-style ties? Turn them into a Cravat Carryall! Have an old tux with elbows that have seen better days? Get your sewing machine out to create a Tux Redux bag.

Whatever you have on hand — a rubber mat, a broken umbrella, a shower curtain — Refashioned Bags will have ideas for you. Plus, the book also includes interviews and tips with well-known eco-fashionable upcycled purse designers, like Ashley Watson who makes plush purses from pre-loved leather to Sylvia Pichler of Zilla, who upcycles industrial materials like air filters and cork into unconventional accessories.


The key to creating successful Refashioned Bags projects seems to be strongly linked to scavenging skills. Sure, you could just use eight random ties and create a very busy-looking purse with clashing colors — or you could take the time to collect eight ties that’ll work better together, color and style-wise, before bringing out the sewing machine. In fact, many of the designers interviewed talk about the time they spend in thrift shops and junk yards looking for upcyclable materials. So put in a little scavenging time to create cute, giftable items — versus dud bags that end up on Regretsy.

Got a sewing machine and a sense of adventure? Then get Refashioned Bags to find out how you can turn what you already have into fashionable gifts for your friends in time for the holidays! Refashioned Bags will be on sale Nov. 3 for $19.99. In the meantime, you can read the authors’ blog, Compai — and follow it for a chance to win a free copy of the book!

Make upcycled purses for holiday gifts
The new DIY book 'Refashioned Bags' shows eco-fashionistas how to create stylish upcycled purses from all sorts of pre-loved materials.