Friday, April 27, 2012

A Suitable Purse

Our most recent challenge in Designer Group III  was to use suit jackets (men's or women's) to make a purse or tote.  And the point was to use the lapels, pockets, sleeve details, and other parts unique to the jackets as focal points on our bag.

I took my project outside to photograph it in sunlight, but the colors are a bit too bright.  The jackets I used were a solid green (with a bluish tint), a beige and green tiny check, and a gold, tan, and brown plaid.

I used the upper chest pocket for the front of the purse and added a "hankie" made from the gold and green linings.  That pocket will be a good size and location for my cell phone.  The lapel on the left front is stitched down and accented with the buttons from that jacket.

I used all three colors of the linings to make the piping that separates the various parts.  The right side of the purse front is the sleeve cuff - with added buttons) and that piece wraps around to the back.

The back of the purse is the lower pocket from the women's jacket (the gold plaid).  I added a snap to the inside of the pocket so it wouldn't gap open.  The button is just for looks. 

This shows the zipper and the facing made from the jacket lining.  I like zippers on my purses to keep me from losing stuff every time I set them down.  I used one inside jacket pocket as part of the purse lining and a stash piece of cotton for the rest.  Tabs at each side of the top edge allowed me to sew the strap on with more buttons and avoid having to sew through too many thick layers.

I am very happy with my results - nice color for spring, too.

Be sure to go to our group's blog to see the great variety of bags from all our other members.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


My sewing lately has been mending and trying to finish projects that have waiting WAY too long.  But I keep getting distracted by beads.

Here is a picture of a wall hanging I made for a friend. 

The fabric was pre-printed with 16 hearts in various patterns and colors of green, pink, peach. tan, and ecru.  I started by using embroidery floss and a stem stitch to enhance some of the vine-like patterns.  Variegated green floss and bullion stitch made a cute little rose and extended French knots made flowers to cover some icky colored dots.  White and green pearl cotton was couched over the grid pattern on two of the hearts.  And white floss made lazy daisy flowers to go with the white flower button and green French knots filled in the centers.

Then I put a layer of batting and muslin behind the fabric and started adding the beads and sequins.  See the pretty flower sequins in the lower left corner?  And I had a pink flower bead to add to them.  The ones that were the most fun to do were the 2 hearts that are totally covered in beads (they were ugly colors, so best to just hide them).  One has a white heart shaped bead in the center, green bugle beads and white and pink seed beads to fill the remainder of the area.  The one with the silver colored center was a plastic button.  I painted the embossed flowers on it with acrylic paint and then snapped off the shank and glued it to the fabric.

Here are close-up photos.

After the beading was done, I added my real backing fabric and hand quilted around each heart and along the grid lines that were already printed on the fabric.  Pink binding and it was done.  And done 4 days before her birthday - probably a record for me.

Now instead of making a purse for Designer Group III, I have been working on a beaded necklace inspired by Jenny Schu.  She came to talk to NTGM last week and brought many beautiful examples of her artwork.  Her techniques are wonderful, but her designs show what a true artist she is.  Gorgeous!!!