Adding Feather Trim To Your Brocade Bag

You can make your own feathered brocade bag by attaching feathered trim from the craft store onto a vintage brocade clutch purse.

The latest rage in handbags is a vintage style brocade bag with feather trim. While designer bags can cost more than $200, the sharp shopper may find just the purse or clutch bag she wants for a dollar or two at a second-hand shop. Many of these vintage bags are made of patterned metallic brocade fabric, perhaps in gold, silver, or some other color. Two popular styles of yesteryear were a long horizontal shape of perhaps 12 inches long by 4 inches high, with or without a short handle, and a squarish purse with a chain or other type handle. Many of these bags were stiff, but some were softer pouch types.

Fabric and craft shops now carry feather trim that can be cut to the length desired and sewn onto clothing items like fringe. Feathers can be fluffy ostrich feathers dyed in a wide array of stylish colors, or natural feathers for a Native American look. Either way, when sewn to a brocade bag, the look is trendy and fun.

Ostrich feather trim can be purchased for $4 a foot and comes in many colors. Look for this at shops that provide millinery (hat making) supplies. The simplest way to make a feathered brocade bag is to choose a complementary color of feather trim and sew it to the bag right below the hardware at the top. Sew this on by hand, using a large needle and sturdy thread. Clear nylon thread would be tough enough for this job and the color would not have to be matched. Fabric glue can also be used. Try glue for a stiff purse and sewing for a soft brocade bag.

Ostrich feather fringe comes in lengths as long as 6 inches. If desired, it can be layered, using the same or different colors. Glue or sew one row of fringe on, then another about an inch above. Start with the lowest row so that the next row will lay neatly on top of the first. Save your main color for the topmost row. The entire brocade bag can be covered in this way if desired. For this style, it would be best to choose a bag with a handle. For an extra designer touch, sparkly beaded fringe or a bohemian style braid trim can be sewn or glued along the top of the bag right beneath the hardware. An advantage to adding a trim at the top is that you can cover any mistakes you may have made glueing or sewing on the feathered fringe.

To finish this bag and really make it look like a designer bag, pin a large vintage or vintage-look rhinestone brooch to the bag on top of the feather trim. The brooch can be centered for a square shaped bag or placed to one end for a long horizontally shaped bag.

An alternative to ostrich feather trim is a marabou boa. These are made from downy turkey feathers and firmly attached to a cord in the center. Make stitches around the cording, being careful not to stitch the feathers down. Marabou is available in many colors and with lurex added for an extra sparkle and shine that would add glamour to that brocade bag.

While a gold or silver brocade bag with black feathers and rhinestone trim would be elegant, any color combination you find attractive can be used. Designers are pairing purple with blue, green with turquoise, and pink with lavender. Follow your own instincts.

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