Being a former military girl, I have been in the position of having to stop wearing the uniform I proudly wore, and having to come to terms with either handing it back in, or at the very least, packing it away in the bottom of a wardrobe, only to be seen when moving house, or having a clear out.
Last year I had a request to make an RAF themed bag, so I decided the time had come to chop up what was left of my RAF Mess Dress and turn it into a tote bag, with a lovely poppy print lining and leather shoulder straps :-)
I also had a request for a laptop bag from an old flying suit, which went down really well.
Then I decided I need to try a few more uniform upcycling projects - and thought the classy Royal Navy uniform would look fantastic, especially with shiny buttons!
A ex-Royal Navy friend of mine has a real thing about bags. And shoes. She has a crazy amount of shoes and bags, all designer, and all sorts of colours and styles, and for a while I'd been thinking I needed to make her a bag, so I asked her to send me her old uniform skirt for me to make a bag, I didn't tell her what style it would be, just that sometime soon she'd get a bag made by me.
She sent me the skirt and a couple of her rank badges and buttons - this photo to the right is what it all looked like before I got my scissors to it!
Whilst figuring out how to best use the uniform and badges I decided that it needed to be a bag with "shoulders" somewhere to put her Petty Officer rank badge and also her Photographer branch badge, so I opted for the Annette pattern from Swoon Bags - a fantastic indie bag pattern designer.
And this is what I looked like after I'd finished with it!
With the rank and trade badges attached to the side sections, I also added leather shoulder straps, with added small buttons for decoration, larger buttons down the front and a leather base, with gold bag feet to protect the base. I used this fantastic camera fabric from Riley Blake Designs. I bought it ages ago with a view to use it for a bag for me (For those who don't know, I've been a professional photographer for nearly 20 years!) but haven't yet got around to using it, so thought it would be fantastic to use for this bag!
Although my friend lives a couple of hours away from me, I didn't want to post it to her, I wanted to be able to hand it to her, and luckily I had a photo job in the Midlands which meant I was driving past where she lived, so was able to visit and give it to her in person - luckily, she loved it!!
If you would like me to turn your old uniform (or any other clothing!) into a bag to treasure, please get in touch!