Tropical birds

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, November 7, 2013 1 comments

Here's a limited edition (of two) new shoulder/larger clutch bags. Featuring a jewel-like print of tropical birds on both sides, with an aqua background and olive/gold silk lining. Nifty chain handle that tucks down when not in use.

Tropical birds print, Red Ruby Rose

Giveaway with Lillyella

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, November 2, 2013 0 comments

Hibiscus print clutch bag, Red Ruby Rose on Etsy
This week Lillyella is hosting a giveaway over on her blog to win an $85 voucher for the clutch of your choice. Yay! Perfect for a Christmas present or treat for yourself. Which one would you choose? Giveaway runs until 6th November.

I'm so pleased that Nicole of Lillyella is blogging again, and if you get a moment, go check out her fabulous Etsy shop. Love this beauty:

Lillyella's secret garden brass locket on Etsy

Autumn pics

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, October 31, 2013 0 comments


I love this time of year, when the air has cooled and leaves are turning. The Ginkgo tree looks especially beautiful in autumn, aglow with golden yellow.

Bags in action

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, October 25, 2013 0 comments

I was doing some file tidying earlier as my now Jurassic Mac is slowing up (hang in there old gal!) and I stumbled across this image from a customer who bought my gold peacock clutch for her wedding a few years back. Isn't it lovely? I do appreciate it when I get sent photos, and this one's a jewel! Do you have a photo of your Red Ruby Rose bag you'd like to share? I'd love to see, please send me.

New designs and works in progress

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, October 24, 2013 1 comments

I've been working on some new designs, including leather and some new original silk designs. First up, box clutches, which took a bit of experimenting to perfect and take several fiddly stages to complete.

This dusky pink leather is a gorgeous colour. The thickness of the leather is critical with this style - too thin and the hide can tear when it is hand-stretched over the shell, too thick and there's just not enough clearance for the shell to slot into the frame. This particular leather was just on the cusp of being too thick and did feel a little like wrestling an octopus into a string bag at the final stage but I'm so happy with the final result. Because leather is so naturally pliable and flexible it's lovely to get the curves around the shell without any chunky creases or folds.

Note the side gussets - it would be simpler not to include them from a construction perspective but with this style it would be easy for the bag contents to spill out when opened so this stops any unwanted fallout! The lining is a cotton fabric inspired by an English block-print from 1797, reprinted by the V&A museum from their collections.

Next up, a new frame style consisting of two separate pieces joined by a simple drop down clasp.

This style bridges the gap between a wallet and clutch, As a wallet it is slim enough to slip into a larger bag, with three internal pockets for cards, cash and documents. As a stand alone bag it can fit a smart phone and is substantial enough to be a clutch.

Considering the simplicity of the style it still takes me quite a while to make, because of the separate components involved and also because it's a new process for me.

Moving onto work in progress, one process I'm still trying to fathom and master is printing onto leather. Back at college I silkscreened single colours onto leather and suede which can be very effective but these days I want to create full colour photographic images. It's a dark art - those who have cracked it are very secretive about their methods and it's a minefield of blind alleys; heat transfer, dye sublimation or direct print, and then the process of treating the leather itself so it accepts the print and then holds onto it. Also, with leather being such a variable natural substrate it's not as straightforward or reliable as cotton and silk.

A couple of years ago I outsourced my leather printing to a company in the USA and the results were beautiful but the high cost of print and shipping made it commercially unviable, so I continue in my quest to produce something myself. This butterfly clutch is the closest I've got so far:

Experimental full colour print onto leather

I created this using the best heat transfer paper I could find, transferring the image with a heat press onto nappa leather. On first glance it looks great but it just isn't durable enough to take the rough and tumble of life as a clutch bag. The inherent downside of using a transfer is that it sits as a film coating on the surface of the leather so not only do you lose a little of the natural handle of the hide but you have the potential for peeling. It didn't take a lot of scratching and picking for the film to start lifting.

So, I'll carry on searching. Next step, finding a desktop printer with a flat feed so I can print the leather directly through the printer and then treat the surface to protect it.

Finally in this design round up, some new silk designs. Thankfully for these designs I don't have to worry about the printing process as outsource to a wonderful fabric printing company who reliably produce rich and vibrant prints for me. This collection was inspired by flocks of birds, Victorian stained glass and the linear pattern of telegraph wires.

Little yellow car, and other designs....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Wednesday, March 27, 2013 0 comments

 Here are four new designs hot off the workbench. All are based around my original photography and printed onto cotton.

Yellow fiat Car, silk-lined clutch purse by Red Ruby Rose

 Love these old Fiat 500s, this one was parked up next to a Vespa on an Italian side street... fits so neatly on the clutch shape too :)

Cinque Terre, silk-lined clutch purse by Red Ruby Rose

 Here's a close-up of houses in one of the Cinque Terre towns in Italy, clinging to the cliffs with the waves crashing beneath. Such a beautiful region... wanted to capture the higgledy-piggledy nature of the buildings.

Wood circles, silk-lined clutch purse by Red Ruby Rose

 Geometric tree circles, photo of wood rings in yellow and violet tones

Green ferns, silk-lined clutch purse by Red Ruby Rose

 Finally, lush green woodland ferns against a dark green/grey background.

Spring giveaway!

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, March 21, 2013 0 comments

Peony and Butterfly clutch by Red Ruby Rose

There are a few more days to run on the Spring giveaway on the lovely UK based wedding blog Under The Vintage Veil. For the chance to win your choice of clutch simply pop over to find out more. Good luck!

Bye bye barker

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, March 8, 2013 0 comments

Sadly, Barker my lovely ginger chicken has squarked her last squark. She was a fine pet chicken, her and Corbett (who died 6 months ago) liked nothing more than dustbathing in the yard and tapping on the back door for tasty treats. They would follow me round the garden if I was pottering about, on the off chance that I'd dig up a juicy worm for them. A fine life!

New inspiration

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Wednesday, March 6, 2013 0 comments

I've not been doing much photography of late. My lovely Nikon film camera keeps jamming and the iphone camera is on go-slow. Well, that's my excuse. The real reason is I haven't felt that inspired to shoot much, paired with having an excitable puppy snapping at my heels (yes, my iphone is full of puppy pics!)

So, I had a look through my iphoto library to get a bit of inspiration and selected five images that I can work on for new bag prints. Here they are at source, the fabric is ordered and hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be able to share the fabric results here.

New box clutches

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, February 5, 2013 0 comments

Serpentine box clutch, one of a kind

On rainy days when I feel like creating something new I raid the 'bits and bobs' drawer in my studio. This consists of a huge variety of purse frames of all shapes, sizes (and complexity) which I have gathered over the last few years. Some have been placed in the 'too difficult' pile, and that includes a selection of hard shell clutch box frames. I love this style of clutch but I couldn't fathom out how to shape the fabric around the curves without seams, darts or bulky folds. Every so often I'd take out the frame and shell, experiment with a few techniques and pop them back in the drawer disappointed.

This weekend whilst working on some inkodye leather prints (more on that soon) I had a play round with shaping and moulding leather and that led me to try the box frames again. I'm so pleased to finally have got to grips with them. Look no seams!

Charcoal bloom box clutch, one of a kind

These two box clutches are silk-lined. The serpentine opens all the way so you can really see the print, and the charcoal bloom has the side hinges which is useful for keeping things in place but means the print is more obscured.

I have one more (electric blue suede) clutch on the bench which I'm finishing off. They do take forever to make though, I suppose because it's a new process for me but they need drying time and extreme accuracy.

Now I just need another rainy day and another excuse to raid the 'too difficult' pile!

We have a winner

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, January 25, 2013 1 comments

We have a winner. The silver birch clutch will be winging its way to Patricia Ryan Clark, congratulations! Many thanks to everyone who took the time to participate, I'll host another giveaway later in the year.

January giveaway

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, January 10, 2013 89 comments


I thought it was about time for a January giveaway. Here's Silver Birch and it's up for grabs. To enter, simply like my facebook page and leave a comment here mentioning your Facebook name and which clutch you like the best from my Etsy shop. I can ship the clutch worldwide so there's no restriction on your location.

Winner will be chosen (at random) in two weeks time. Good luck!

A brand new year!

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Monday, January 7, 2013 0 comments

Happy New Year! I'm feeling revved up and ready to go and am very happy indeed to put 2012 in a box marked 'not to be repeated'. Lots of new plans and design ideas for the weeks ahead and it's so nice to be forging forward again.


To kick things off, I ordered some of Golly Bard's wonderful dragonfly fabric before Christmas and it arrived super quick from the US. She's such a talent, hope to order a few more in the coming months.

On the business front I have decided to go back to basics and concentrate on what I like most, and that is selling directly from my Etsy, UK and Dawanda shops rather than continuing wholesale. There's something lovely about selling individually and hearing people's stories about who they are buying for, or the reason for choosing a certain bag. It is more personal and feels a little more wholesome. I've also dropped my prices. I'm not sure how long I can hold them at $75 for a standard clutch as materials seem to increase every time I reorder but I felt over the last year that as my prices crept up to allow for wholesale that my work became less affordable so I'm hoping this new price is workable at least short term.

I'll be hosting a giveaway later this week too so more details on that very soon.