*All names are pseudonyms


Karen's mother was a war time make do and mender!  Having been independent from an early age, taking a cruise on her own at 21, she became a secretary at a university, then war broke out.  For her training in the WAAF she up-cycled an old folder from her previous job, making colour coded tabs and reusing paper where possible.  Each page was written in neat handwriting using blue fountain pen ink.

With three children, her post war housewife skills came in handy, creating patchwork bags from old clothes to giving worn bedsheets a new lease of life by cutting them down the middle and sewing the outside edges in.  When clearing out the house after she’d passed away, Karen discovered hundreds of toothpaste tube lids that may have been saved for ‘just in case’.  As well as the WAAF folder, key items that her mother used were a good quality leather handbag in the style of a Bayswater, with a flap over the top.  It smelled of fountain pen ink, perfume and cotton hankies.  Her writing always beautifully neat in her work in blue and red ink.


The bag was made with the Bayswater style in mind.  It is hand stitched and was made carefully, making sure to get the best use out of the leather.  The lining of the bag and the attached cotton hankie is a patchwork of the pages of writing from Karen’s mother's WAAF file.