Heirloom: Turning A Service Member's Uniform into a Family Keepsake

Riveter’s Heirloom Collection was featured by Military Families Magazine last December. In the story, R. Riveter customer Mary Schmid Carter shared her experience of finding her Grandfather’s WWII era uniform. Not wanting to store it away to collect dust, Mary took the uniform to R. Riveter’s Flagship Store in Southern Pines, N.C. There, she and the R. Riveter team devised a plan to turn the piece of family history into ten handbags and clutches for the women in her family.


Mary planned to surprise her mother, aunts, and cousins with the bags for Christmas.


Sadly, Mary’s grandfather, Charles Feigl, passed away on December 8th at the age of 93.


“The bags arrived at my parent’s house a couple of weeks later, just in time for Christmas. They were perfect,” Mary said.


Despite the family’s recent loss, the handbags brought smiles and memories when they were opened.


“I love the fact that I will always have a part of my Dad with me now, especially since he passed away one week before my purse arrived. It might be related to a time long before I knew him, but that makes it even more intriguing. Also, something I can pass on for generations,” said Mary’s mother, Barb.


Her Aunt Dale added, “To have an everyday reminder of my Dad and his service to his family and his country is extremely meaningful to me. He is sorely missed.”


And Mary’s cousins echoed that sentiment. “We are thrilled with this gift from Mary-- it is so special to be able to share this piece of family history with our cousins and remind us of the ties we have with one another. May it help inspire us to give back to the greater good the way Grandpa did.”


When she received the completed handbags in the mail, Mary also received the leftover fabric from her grandfather’s uniform. Fabric, she said, that won’t go to waste.


“Shockingly, I have a ton of fabric leftover and may try to have some dopp bags made for the guys in the family.”


That’s the aim of the Heirloom Collection, to give these pieces of family history new life. After all, each uniform, each duffle bag has its own story.


“Most of us have things in our homes that have been passed down from generation to generation and mean a great deal to us, but we struggle to find a way to showcase them every day,” said R. Riveter co-founder Lisa Bradley.


The R. Riveter Heirloom Project allows customers to transform their well-loved and sentimental materials like old military uniforms, jackets, and duffle bags into one-of-a-kind handbags and accessories.


“Our Heirloom Collection is a great way to honor our veterans and create something truly unique that is useful and beautiful,” R. Riveter co-founder Cameron Cruse added.


Crafted by military spouses like the rest of R. Riveter’s handbags and accessories, pieces created through the Heirloom Project range in price between $65-$500 depending on the size of the product and materials used.


Mary Schmid Carter said the entire experience, from working with the R. Riveter team to design the bags to seeing the joy the handmade pieces brought to her family, was unforgettable.


“I’m really grateful to R Riveter for giving me this opportunity to honor my grandfather. After all the craziness of 2020, it brought me joy to be able to share the heirloom purses with my aunts and cousins, especially so soon after his passing.”


Stories have the ability to connect us. Let R. Riveter help design something unique and beautiful that tells your families’ story. Create your own Heirloom moment.