Dinosaur DIY: The Giles Triceratops Bag

Fashion can be both awe-inspiring and overwhelming. You may have seen a collection and wondered how you could bring some of those trends to life, how to make it wearable, how to pull it off with your wardrobe. Believe it or not, they are all doable with a few simple materials and a lot of confidence.

Stuffed animal purses, which rose to popularity in the late-90’s, have resurrected themselves and after seeing the triceratops bags on the Giles Spring 2010 runway a few months ago, I knew I’d need to find some way to get my hands on one without bringing my bank account to extinction. Luckily, I had a stray dinosaur plush ($14.99) that was begging to be gutted. Don’t ask why it was in my possession -– I am single, I’d like something to keep me warm at night that won’t ask why I insist on being the ‘big spoon.’ But let me preface this by saying that my sewing skills boil down to a back-and-forth motion –- using a machine is out of the question –- and having recently finished grad school, funds are low.

I took a trip to a local crafts store and picked up the following tools:

-seam ripper ($1.59)
-gray zipper ($1.49)
-needle and gray thread
-nylon belt ($8)
-Estimated total: $26.07, a bargain compared to the Giles bag, whose price-tag is unavailable to mere mortals.

Step 1. Measure your zipper, take the seam ripper and run it along the back of the dinosaur in the length of the zipper. Don’t be scared if it opens too much; you’ll sew it back up later.

Step 2. Pull out the guts of the triceratops. It may seem gory, but this is the closest you’ll come to being a surgeon, so relish the opportunity. Keep in mind that your dinosaur is unable to feel pain (he’s cotton).

Step 3. If need be, sew the limbs and head closed to prevent stuffing from leaking into the middle section. This is a fairly easy procedure, but MonkeySee has a great tutorial on how to do a simple stitch.

Step 4. Next, make sure that the zipper is closed and place one side against an edge of the now-open seam. Sew the edges together to firmly attach it to the dinosaur and, at the end, knot your thread and trim it. Then, move onto the next side. This may sound straight-forward, but be sure to keep a steady hand.

Step 5. Once your zipper is intact, retrieve your seam ripper again. Snip off the metal closures on your nylon belt, making it into one strip. Make two slits, one above and one below the zipper, to insert each end of the nylon. Use your needle and thread to sew the ends into the seam, closing it and making a cross-body strap for your purse.

Step 6. Put it on! You’re done!

See? That wasn’t so difficult. But now that you have the low-budget equivalent of a street style obsession, keep in mind that stuffed animal skin is not thick and keep your purse light.


Sara is a 24 year old certified archivist with a passion for wall collages, eating soup, thrift shopping, and old books. Past fashion faux pas include sandals with socks, wearing the same sweatshirt for an entire week straight, and owning a fanny pack. Read her daily tomfoolery at www.sarazucker.com.

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