Art with My Needle ~ Week 12

I promise you, I said I would;

now sit you down and I’ll be good

I’ll tell you the story of my little coloured bag!

A closer look.

This was what I call a Home project.  Something I did for me alone about twenty years ago.

We were invited to a summer wedding and I had chosen a jumpsuit in Cornflower Blue Silk.  My Hair was in full autumn glory with not a hint of grey, so I chose not to wear a hat.  I needed to introduce colour to break my long line of blue.

My requirements were:

  • Colour
  • Simple shape
  • Large enough to hold glasses case, purse, keys, tissues and make-up.

Over time I had collected a box full of fabric sample swatches, some not much bigger than a large stamp, I used them for matching colours, textures and sometimes to play with when looking for inspiration.

I selected all the squares of silk, satin and polyester and dropped them like snowflakes on the worktable.  I ran my fingers through them like a good cook, making pastry.  They formed a patchwork collage that pleased me.  The idea was born.  Since my outfit was soft and flowing, I wanted my bag to be soft as well.

Using a mid to heavy weight Vilene interfacing for the base or backing fabric I scattered scraps of Bondaweb* randomly across the surface.  Next I placed the squares of fabric across the surface, randomly overlapping until the backing fabric was completely covered.  I laid a layer of baking parchment carefully on the surface making sure not to move the squares.  Then it was over to the ironing board, which was already covered in a layer of baking parchment.  A hot iron moved gently over the paper sandwich allows the Bondaweb to dissolve and bond the layers of fabric together.  Once the work had cooled I removed the baking parchment making sure not to pull any squares off the backing.

Now for the fun!

Using a Madeira variegated coloured thread in both the bobbin and needle of the sewing machine, I dropped the tension feet in the foot-bed to loosen the tension.  Next the fabric was placed in an embroidery hoop reverse way up, and the hoop placed under the sewing foot with the right side of the fabric facing upward.  With the feed teeth down, the loop was moved along by my hands.  I worked in small circles  moving at a steady even pace until I had all the area with it hoop covered.  Removing the embroidery ring and repositioning the fabric within the circle I worked until the whole piece was covered in tiny circles.  This secured the squares and strengthened the fabric.

Now I had a length of unique patchwork fabric to work with.  I cut a rectangular piece to form an envelope shape.  Once I had decided on the exact size, I shaped the flap end to add interest.  Then I cut two strips to form side gussets.  Now I needed lining.  The previous day I was shopping and came across a rack of bargain scarves.  I love scarves for adding interest to a plain neckline.  There were plain silk squares for £1!  Can you believe it?  I bought… yes you guessed it… I bought two three!  They were the colour of my £ sign. One I used as the lining for the  body of the bag, the second I cut to making lining strips for the gusset pieces and with the remainder of the second I made an internal zipped pocket for the bag.

I covered two buttons to use for closing the bag – one purple and one green.

View of the inside with the zipped pocket open

Side gusset

My hand & machine made cord used to trim and add finish.

The back and flab of the bag showing the cord edging and how I used it for button loops.

You can tell I loved this bag, and yes I used it so many times for weddings and evening occasions.  It worked well with most colours.  The picture at the top was at Elly’s Civil Wedding.  A serious day but with a simple casual feel to it.  The ‘Mothers’ were told (by guess who!) not to purchase a new outfit for that day, but to go to our wardrobes and pick out something comfortable ❗  We did and we were. 😀

*Bondaweb or Wondaweb is a fine, fusible fleece which bonds fabrics together quickly and easily, providing a natural, firmly joined finish. It is sold by the metre, on a roll of paper like greaseproof.

For work like this I use an old ironing board cover and plenty of baking parchment to save accidents, I don’t want to end up with adhesive stains on the good cover. And MIND that Iron!

25 thoughts on “Art with My Needle ~ Week 12

  1. steph


    I lost you at the bobbin and needle bit.

    My mind is still going round in tiny circles trying to work out how you dropped your feet in the bed, with your teeth firmly down, to loosen the tension? 😉

    Nice bag though 😀

  2. Nancy

    You misunderstood, Steph…. Her TEETH were in the bed and her FEET were firmly planted down to loosen the tension..

    Actually, her tension probably comes from having to deal with the pair of us…..

  3. bikehikebabe

    I doubt that Maynard understands this process, but I did.
    I made a patchwork dress. Ugh! It’s still hanging in my closet. With all the work I did, I’ll never get rid of it.

  4. Grannymar Post author

    Steph – Relax… Nancy will be along any minute now!

    Judy – I think I got carried away with the lesson. 😉

    Nancy – I HAVE my teeth! Now I wonder who the others belong to? I’m saying nuttin!

    Darlene – Everybody needs a pillow cover, If you add a pair of handles you have a bag! There is nothing simple about you, Darlene. You are a very wise Lady.

    WWW – With genuine sharing, we all learn something.

    BHB – A Patchwork dress… that sounds interesting.

    Steph – VERY thankful! 😀

  5. Maynard

    Grannymar, pull that patch work dress off of Bhb, and put it to good use and make all the ladies commenting on you post today a patched handbag!
    What’s Bhb trying to say, concerning my ability to understand?

  6. Grannymar Post author

    Darlene – 😀

    Maynard – That patchwork dress made at the fair hands of bikehikebabe is a one off, work of art. She should have it hanging on a wall for all to see!

  7. Lily

    I’m becoming very domesticated. Wednesday needlework classes courtesy of Grannymar, 🙂 cookery classes courtesy of Julie & Julia.

    Domestic goddess – push-over!!!

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Maz, never throw out the scraps. 😉 Make postage stamps, but don’t try using them on letters!

  9. Alice

    You’re really good with that machine. I sure wish you were a neighbor of mine so you could give me pointers about mine. I love piecing little scraps together, but I’m not so good at it. Which isn’t a reason enough to try to do it, right?

  10. Judy Harper

    I also lost the “how to” with the tension of the bobbin-I think you loosened, but I’m worried about the feet. Ahhh! I think I will just enjoy looking at the pictures and say, “You’re one talented lady!” (lol)I think it has to do with the fact that when I was growing up, the teachers didn’t want children to be left handed, which I wanted to be or was, am now-whatever. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Crawford, especially! She smacked my left hand every time I placed a pencil in it to write. Now, I’m ambidextrous and have no controlling side and I have a heck of a time following written directions. I do better with pictures, plans and maps though. I love the purse, can you just take a couple of sentences as to how you got it to shine? Thanks!

  11. Grannymar Post author

    Alice – It would be wonderful to have you for a neighbour. What fun we would have crafting and playing with our sewing machines while chatting about all the wonderful people we meet through blogging!

    Judy – I did think of setting up my machine for demonstration purposes, but at the moment it is not a good idea for me to do heavy lifting.

    Over the years I met people who were forced to write with their right hand when nature intended otherwise, some of the methods were real cruel… hands bound etc.

    Now for the hard question: How did I make the bag shine? The lining silk had a sheen to it as did some or indeed most of the squares. I used metallic threads for the cords and I blame the rest on the flash in my camera.

  12. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – I am sure you have other skills and talents that I lack. As for time; well I do have a certain amount of time… when not climbing ladders. 😉

    Alas, the eyes are not as good as they used to be. I realised the other day that I was threading a needle by memory and feel. I did have my glasses on at the time. I managed and completed the task in hand.

  13. Elly Parker

    Hey mammy, you know those bras you fixed for me? They’ve started going at the other end of the underwires (under the arms), so there will be more needlework for you if you’re willing!

  14. Grannymar Post author

    Elly, Will I be paid with another six weeks of your life? 😉 I will do my best as always, you bring them up next time you visit.


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