How We Make A Purse

The amount of time it takes to hand-craft an ObiCreations purse depends on its type or style.   The steps listed below are typical for a Kisslock clutch which, not including gluing and drying time, takes 3-4 hours.  A Classic bag, on the other hand, which has an exterior pocket, two interior pockets - one with a zipper - and a zipper closure. can take up to 10 hours to finish.  Other styles - Contemporary and Minaudière - fall somewhere in-between. 

No matter the style, the first thing we do is inspect each obi for defects, excessive wear and stains, next we air it out for a couple of days (in many cases the obi has been stored on a shelf for months if not years).  After a thorough airing we move on to ...

  1. Measure and Cut. After the backing is removed and the obi in inspected for imperfections, a pattern is placed to take full advantage of the design. The fabric is then cut. If the obi is heavily embroidered, the bulky thread ends on the back are trimmed as well.

Iron on backing


2. Add Stabilizer. To add body to the purse,  stabilizers are attached to the back of the fabric. For instance, the exterior pieces of this Kisslock bag get one layer of thin stabilizer plus 2 layers of fleece. Lining pieces also receive a layer of stabilizer.


3. Sew Pieces.  The sides and bottom of the lining pieces are sewn together. The sides and bottom of the exterior pieces are also sewn together.
4. Box the Corners. The bottom corners of both the lining and the exterior pieces are folded and measured and a seam is sewn diagonally to “box” the corners. (If the exterior fabric is especially heavy, an industrial sewing machine is used for this step.)

5. Turn Inside Out. Next, the lining and  exterior pieces are sewn together and the purse is turned inside out. This step is easier to decribe than it is to do.  The fabric, which may be thick, also has several layers of stabilizer. Too much force can tear a seam or worse the fabric itself.

6. Glue Frame. After open edges of the purse are sewn together, one side of the frame is glued and allowed to dry overnight. The other side is done the following day.  We've learned to not force anything and to apply the glue sparingly but thoroughly.

7. Voila!  After letting the glue dry overnight, each purse gets two applications of Scotchgard ... and that's it!  Another unique piece of wearable limited edition art has been masterfully repurposed from a vintage silk Japanese obi just for you!