The Perfect Winter-Wedding Clutch

We're loving the handmade creations of this local designer ...

Three years ago, Susan Flanagan sold two of her homemade handbags right off her arm. So she decided to show a few around to her friends to see what they thought of them  —  and in no time, she was selling out of her hand-spun creations at craft shows and fundraisers all over the area.

Today, she’s got an Etsy shop, and a selection of her pre-made bags for sale at Blue Bell’s Cotswold Home, but loves the idea of providing brides with their own custom bag for their wedding day: “A bride should be able to have a bag made just for her, and working with a bride to design her own bag is such a pleasure for me,” she says.

The process for making them, called wet felting, begins with knitting the fabric — with yarn purchased from women in Manos del Uruguay, who hand-dye and -spin it to earn money for their families — then felting it by soaking it in hot or cold water for several hours. She then shapes the wool, brushes and trims it, and the dries it for days before steaming it, and, in the case of her bridal creations, adorns the finished bag with a vintage brooch from her selection curated over years of traveling and scouring the Internet. (You can remove the brooch if you prefer — or, give her your own heirloom, which she’ll happily affix.) The whole process, says Susan, leaves your bag is “waterproof and practically indestructible,” which is good news should anyone gesticulate a glass full of champagne your way during a heartfelt toast.

Susan’s bags, sold under the label SGB Couture, range from $40 to $325; chat with her about designing your own by getting her at 267-481-1491 or   — Samantha Gray

Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Philadelphia Weddings' guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.