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DIY Pearl bag in the LEMAIRE style

Photographer : Anna Rakhvalova

When I saw this Lemaire bag on instagram, it reminded me straight away of the wooden ball seat-covers you can find in taxis, don’t you think so? So I stared at it, warily, until I realised that twisting kitsch into something special was fun, and even trendy when you think about Jean-Paul Goude taking over the artistic direction of Desigual haha! So I ordered my seat cover online, and it was a good thing I started this DIY because the result is amazing and I am delighted to wear my wooden balls under my arm.

For this DIY you will need: 2 wooden ball seat-covers (Carpoint Coussin-Siège “Classic” 139X45Cm) white/brown costing between €10 and €20 on www.amazon.fr /a 1mm nylon roll (I used 0.4mm that I doubled) costing 12.60€ in M.Bricolage / glue / a pair of scissors / a measuring tape / and extra resistance: a brown plastic covered cable of 1.5mm (5M roll) and a wire-cutter at 4.45€ in M.Bricolage.

For each side of the bag:

1 – Cut (5min) the seat-cover in two around the 40cm level from the curved bottom of the cover (which will be the bottom of the bag). Keep this “lower section” and take away the pearls that don’t fit anymore so you end up with a complete and well-attached row at the top. On the sides, at each end, make a knot with the strings that stick out. Glue them to make sure they won’t fall apart. On the end you’re left with, undo a few rows in order to collect pearls to braid the rest of the bag and the handles.

2 – Braid (1:30 – 2h)

  • Main body of the bag: so you have the “lower section” of your bag. You will need to complete it by braiding 2 rows of pearls. For each row, you will do as follows: (I use two colours so it’s clear but actually you just need a long nylon thread). On your nylon string: with the left piece, thread 2 pearls. With the right piece, go over the existing plait (“lower section” of the bag) then pass again the other way round in the 2nd pearl of your left piece.  Continue like this while respecting the colour scheme in the picture above.  Tie a knot at the end of each line. Reinforce the knots with a drop of glue and put the thread sticking out in the pearls around it; cut what’s unnecessary.
  • The handles: Plait your first handle starting by the first black pearl situated on the upper line, close to the extremity of it. Once your first handle is plaited, attach its end to the other side of the bag, at the same level as the black pearl, up top, nearly at the edge. Do likewise for the second handle. Then make the link between the handles (“intermediate handle”): In the middle of a handle, plait and knot the end in the middle of the second handle. Make sure your “intermediate handle” is flat on your shoulder before knotting it.

3 – Assembling (30min)

Now, you just need to connect the two sides of your bag! Overlay both of them. Pass a new piece of nylon thread in the pearls situated at the end of each side, by alternating, top side and bottom side, to form pairs. Tie a knot regularly so they are well attached. Don’t tighten too hard though, or your bag will warp! Finally, if you want, so as to reinforce your bag, you can pass a plastic covered cable in the 1st and 3rd lines situated at the top of your bag. Cut the cable at 1cm after a pearl exit and pass it through the next pearl. Do as so with the 2nd bit of the cable. And it’s done!

If you like to thread pearls, I have other DIY that you should enjoy like these BO DIY Y Project style. And if you really make of this pearl threading a way of life and that going to haberdasheries to buy the necessary stuff is an obstacle to your creativity, take note that on October 23rd the Box DIY by Elsa Muse will be available.  You will find in it, everything you need to make DIY inspired from fashion shows like this one and delivered straight to your door. Thrilled?

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