Maker Monday: Meet Melanie

Who doesn’t love a good makeover?  A sweet before and after.  Fixer Upper anyone?   This week’s Maker Monday features one of the most beautiful makeovers I’ve see this year…so make sure you read to the end.  But it starts with my friend Melanie.

Melanie is the designer and maker behind Henry Handbags which offers handmade purses and accessories at Plume as well as select handmade markets around Mid-Missouri.

When she’s not sewing, Melanie is spending time with her husband Jeff, Daughter Megan (16) and son Blake (13) or working in Human Resources at the Daniel Boone Regional Library here in Columbia.

As a pre-teen, Melanie’s mom taught her to sew after she had spent years watching her mother create handmade outfits for Melanie and her sister.  Through sewing and baking, Melanie got involved in 4H one year and designed a plaid jumper which won her a 2nd place prize at the Missouri State Fair.   She’s always loved to create…especially trying new things she’s never made before.   So when her now 16-year old daughter Megan began her Freshman year of high school a few years ago and requested a backpack, Melanie got to work.   It was then that she became hooked on handbags…which she discovered are much easier than backpacks!

Her most rewarding work comes when she works one on one with customers to create custom handmade bags.  She loves seeing them happy with a bag that they have chosen every detail on…a zipper here, a pocket there, a certain strap and the perfect fabric.  So Melanie and I worked together to figure out a way we can bring her custom services to all of you.   Enter her design board at Plume!

When you stop by Plume you can check out two of Melanie’s most popular bags, Grace and Bella.  We’ll help you design your own by choosing the exterior color, hardware & zipper colors, contrast stitching, and many other handmade details like tassels and pocket placement.   While you’re there you can also pick out a cute ready-made coordinating wallet or wristlet perfect for tucking inside your new handbag or giving as a gift to someone you love.

Recently Melanie got to pursue another fun project when she stumbled upon a vintage wedding gown at a garage sale.

Although the gown was outdated and the current owner no long desired to hold onto it, Melanie saw the yards and yards of gorgeous satin and beading as an opportunity to create a brand new product line.  But before she got to work, she made sure she and her daughter Megan had some fun trying the gown on. 

Melanie deconstructed the gown and, after handwashing 30+ years of storage off of the satin, what came next is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in Plume EVER (And we have a lot of beautiful things around here…)   After creating the body of a small vintage inspired bridal clutch out of the satin,  she then hand-cut the beadwork into small patches she could use for appliques on the bag.

Finally adding new lining in the prettiest shade of blue, the end result is all at once something old, new and blue.

I adore these bags.  If you or someone you love is marrying soon and needs a small clutch to hold her phone, her handkerchief (which we also have here!!) and a lipgloss…they couldn’t be more perfect.  The picture doesn’t show it well but there is the tiniest antique gold chain attached to the frame for easy hands-free carrying on your wrist

Melanie and I don’t really want to stop there.  As soon as I saw them I immediately thought of Jana’s Keepsake Pillows from Studio J, that I wrote about in the fall.   Because Melanie loves custom projects…we feel like this is a perfect way for a bride to use her own mother’s, or perhaps even grandmother’s, wedding gown for her own keepsake bridal clutch…and potentially be able to also provide them as gifts for her entire wedding party.   The lining could also be made with a special garment like dad or grandpa’s dress shirt.

Of course these little clutches don’t have to be limited to weddings.  They can be dressed up or down using any keepsake garment you’ve been holding onto and want to put to use.

Henry Handbag handmade wedding clutches made from actual vintage wedding gowns are $79.99.  You may purchase the ready-made bags when we open up this Thursday at 10.  You may also place orders for your personalized clutches by dropping your keepsake garments off at Plume anytime during our normal business hours.  Thursday & Friday 10-6, Saturday 10 – 4.

Melanie & I are so excited to be a part of your special day.

See you soon!

P.S.  If you’d like to say thanks to your POP with GOPO Gourmet Popcorn for Father’s Day, pop over here.

P.S.S. If you’d like more info about our BRAND NEW FELT SUCCULENT CLASS…wander here

P.S.S.S. If you’d like to pre-order cupcakes for your next event…hop here.