The Peachfuzz Chronicles

May 1, 2013

Making Old New Again

Filed under: Life after Chemo — by thepluckygastronome @ 11:45 am
Tags: , ,

26236842_077When my grandmother died, I was fortunate to be given a few of her things by my father.  One of her treasures was an old mesh pocketbook. The inside of the bag was a bit tatty, but I held on to it for sentimental reasons. Grandma was a fashionista. A Southern woman, she always had gloves and her pearls. She’s been gone 20 years now.

Recently, I had an occasion to drag out the pocketbook for a formal occasion. J_E_FlingI was chairing a fundraiser for my ladies group and the theme was Downtown Abbey. We had a fabulous evening!  All the men turned out in black or white tie and tails. Everyone was dressed to the 9s. We were raising money for educational programming at our two museum properties.  As chair, I had to set the tone for the evening. I found the dress and the shoes, but, what would make the perfect handbag accessory?

I had to look no further than my stash of old purses.  There is was!  The silvery mesh bag closedlooked brand new but the frame looked a bit tarnished and beat up. The bag was made by the Whiting-Davis Company The model number 2891.  The clasp portion of the bag showed signs of wear or tarnish. But the grosgrain interior was “kaput.” To read up on this company, here is a link to a nice article on  Based on my research, the bag appears to be vintage 1930. Not quite Edwardian, but close enough!

I went to my local fabric store and found a lovely silk that matched my dress.  Since the shoes were to be dyed, I sent a swatch to the dyer. Then I proceeded to tear the stuffin’ out of the bag.  My inner “historical preservation” voice said, “Nooooo! Its value will diminish if you restore the bag.” But I am not selling this bag. Grandma would have thought it to be a fun project.  I even kept notes on how the bag was constructed so I could put it all back together.

The frame was pretty beat up. I got out a Jeweler’s Rouge cloth and polished most of the tarnish away.  It made a vast improvement!

Under the lining, there was a layer of backing that was attached to flannel.  I went back to the fabric store and loaded up on supplies.  Using the original backing as a template. I cut a layer from canvas and a new layer of flannel. Then I fused them together with stitch witchery. I made an inside pocket the same size as the original (I kept the original Whiting-Davis tag!) and then whip-stitched the whole thing back into the frame. The result:  good as new!

This little handbag story is a metaphor for my experience surviving Ovarian Cancer.  I too, got the stuffin’ ripped out of me. The Jeweler’s Rouge was akin to chemo, taking away the tarnish of cancer. Today, 18 months post-chemo, I feel good as new!



  1. Great picture Echo…or are you Lady Grantham??? 🙂

    Comment by Karen — May 1, 2013 @ 7:55 pm |Reply

  2. LOL! Not quite. BTW, Lady Grantham never had to stuff a cell phone in her handbag. Mine does NOT fit inside this little jewel.

    Comment by thepluckygastronome — May 2, 2013 @ 9:38 am |Reply

    • That may be true but you dressing to the nines…you can leave the cell in the car.

      Comment by Judy — July 4, 2013 @ 1:09 pm |Reply

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