Having recently built up a modest fountain pen collection, I wanted to have a way to carry around multiple at a time without scratching them up. The individual slots in my work bag left the caps a bit exposed, so I wanted something a bit better. While I really like leather, I found that most leather wraps were too bulky for me, or just too expensive for no particular reason. I wanted a fabric wrap, because I could get a bit more variety in fabric, and it was less bulky. I stumbled across a few posts about Nan and Ling's wraps, which are amazingly beautiful, but Nan seems to be a bit busy now and hasn't been responding to messages as of late. Luckily, I happened upon some posts from @exboling, who also makes wraps. She started out making some for herself, but also will make wraps for others. Yeah!
So, I went to Elizabeth's website to see what I could find. A few things immediately struck me about her site:
- She not only makes wraps, she provides instructions on how to make your own wrap, as well as sells a full PDF book on the topic.
- Provides a description of what a pen wrap is, and how to use it.
- Provides a list of her current inventory, as well as a description on how to contact her for a custom order.
- Interesting/Important to me, she is based in southern Indiana, and I am also based out of Indiana. I like to support local businesses.
I have a lot of respect for someone who will not only sell a product, but tell you how to make one on your own. However, since sewing is NOT my forte, I decided to see what Elizabeth had to offer.
After a quick look at her site, I decided I wanted to have her make me something a bit custom. I loved her work, but wanted a bit more conservative patterns. I liked the fact that Elizabeth uses new, vintage, and reclaimed fabrics. I emailed her, and gave her a general overview of what I was looking for. Once I gave her some indication on my fabric color choices (or, limitations, if you like - I only wanted dark exterior colors), she emailed me several images showing me what types of fabrics she had available. All I can tell you is that her website only has a small fraction of what fabric choices she has available. I quickly found 4 - 5 patterns that I liked for the interior of my wraps. I narrowed my choices down, and asked her to help me a bit with a good matching exterior color, and asked her to let me know how things went. Since I was a bit new at ordering something like this, and I had so many customization choices, I did waffle a bit and sent Elizabeth several emails trying to figure out what I wanted. She was patient with me throughout the process.
Elizabeth did mention to me in advance that this is not her day job, so to be a bit patient, but I was in no rush. In actuality, she quickly put together the first wrap (within the next day or so), the purple one. It looked amazing, except for one minor issue... In our flurry of email exchanges I didn't communicate properly and she put leather ties on the wrap. Before I responded to her (it was over a weekend, and I was slow in responding), she also created the blue one. While I do like leather, I wanted more of a fabric cord to go with the fabric. Elizabeth, once again, was very patient with me and remade a new wrap to my exact specifications.
Elizabeth did an excellent job with both, and I like the fact that she did a slightly different interior on both wraps. I didn't ask for this - I asked for her best judgement. I'm glad she did this. It's a nice difference, since the interior patterns are a bit similar (wavy pattern).
Here is a photo of the blue one wrapped up:
Once everything was complete, Elizabeth emailed me and let me know she shipped the wraps. She packaged them nicely in a bubble envelope and even sent me a lovely hand-written card:
Elizabeth is definitely all about customer satisfaction. She sent me all four wraps (per our discussion) to see if I liked the ones with the leather ties, and to see if I was satisfied with the build quality. Her craftsmanship is excellent. If I was happy, I could keep them all and send her a check. If not, I could return what I did not like and pay for the rest. The wraps have just the right layers of fabric. The wraps fold up very compactly, but I feel that my pens are well protected. Her lines and stitching look great and very professional. I am supremely pleased with how well these turned out. I ended up keeping all of them.
I have several more photos of each wrap, with and without pens at EXBPens Pen Wraps Photoset on Flickr
Would I purchase from Elizabeth again? You bet! I definitely will be. She was incredibly patient with me and has a great eye and was able to do exactly what I wanted with very poor instructions from me. I am pleased and impressed with her ability.
- Two-Pen Wraps - $12.00
- Three-Pen Wraps - $15.00
- Four-Pen Wraps - $17.00
- (Add an additional dollar if you want silk fabric)
These wraps were a steal to me. The quality is excellent, and I know that I have something crafted by someone who cares as much about her pens as I do about mine. I would gladly have paid double the price.
More information is available at: EXBPens (by our very own @exboling)