Why barkcloth?

There's something irresistible about vintage barkcloth...

...the nubby texture of the material, the mid-century design aesthetic and the color combinations, all of it is just fabulous! Many of my customers feel the way that I do about this special, sought-after material.

When I first spotted a piece of barkcloth at a flea market in 1997, I just had to start making handbags from this cool fabric. From the beginning, I always knew that the material is limited and that there are other people out there who make bags and other items out of vintage barkcloth.

In fact, it can get kind of competitive trying to buy the fabric at antique shows, because we all know the goods won’t be available forever.

There have been times where I literally had to outrun some ladies on the way to the textile dealer‘s table on the fields of Brimfield‘s largest Outdoor Antique Fair in the US, just to get a first peek at the selection.

Because I love the fabric so much, I have always wanted my bags to be very special and detailed to really feature the beauty of this material.

I found a company in Switzerland named RIRI that makes "Rainbow zippers", a zipper where each little tooth is a different color. For more than 15 years now, I've worked with these fun zippers.

A few years ago I thought it would be fun to accent the beautiful floral patterns in the fabric with beadwork and incorporated Czech glass beads into the designs. The bag shapes are unique and in combination with the unusual zippers and attention to detail, the bag is pretty much immediately recognized as a SylvieBag.

One of my favorite stories a customer told me once was, that she walked into a coffee shop on Madison Avenue in New York City and spotted four ladies with SylvieBags!

Éva Raposa