Red bras, beads and lace adorned the dining room table in Judy Scanland’s house as ladies from the Sylvan Lake Sassy Sisters work to transform the bras into purses. These purses are known as ‘bra purses’.
The Sassy Sisters that make them are the former Red Hat Group, and include 30 women who are 50 years of age and older. These women are often seen wearing red and purple. Younger members can be seen wearing pink and mauve, said Sassy Sisters queen Ethel English.
The ladies were inspired to make bra purses as they saw a bra purse up for bidding at a Moose Hall dinner they attended. Scanland had bid on the purse and won it.
The ladies thought the bra was very cute and decided as a group to go ahead and try making bra purses for themselves, said English.
“We will use them to go the Moose Hall dinners so we can look cool when we go there,” English said. “We thought we would donate a couple to the dinner to be raffled off too.”
To make these purses the ladies each took one bra and bonded the bottom wires of the bra cup together with glue guns, or sewed them together by hand.
After bonding the bra cups together at the bottom, the ladies let their creative minds run wild by decorating the outside of the bra cup with beads, lace, flowers and anything else they desired.
“It will basically hold your lipstick and a bit of change, and that’s about all,” English said. “Most of the ladies are looking for bigger bras and most of the purses will not be closed at the top. They will just be open at the top.”
Bra purse making is just one out of many fun activities the ladies do together.
English said the group travels within Central Alberta and will go to places such as the Sundre Museum, and a country bed and breakfast outside of Leduc.
“It’s a huge beautiful place,” English said. “They open it up for people to come in once a year for tours and they have product for sale. They have two little stores — one that’s all Christmas stuff and one that’s got a number of red hat items which are really nice.”
As ‘queen’ of the group, English said she holds monthly meetings and maintains the membership list. At the meetings the group discusses what events they want to go to and who will volunteer to run them.
“Once a month we go out for birthday lunch and celebrate all the birthdays within that month,” English said. “We go to Red Deer once every two months for a hatters’ dinner, which is for all the people who belong to the Red Hat Group and other similar groups.”
English said being a part of the group is a lot of fun. The ladies go on fun outings such as going to plays and performances, and going for coffee or tea.
“We just do it for fun and to have a few laughs,” English said. “Most of these women have worked long and hard and have put in time with volunteering. A lot of us still volunteer, but this is just our group to have fun, be silly and let our hair down.”