Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beaded Purse with Wrist Strap

The idea of making a purse with one strap for a handle appealed to me because one handle seems so unbalanced yet so right. I came across this book The Art of Making Hand-Beaded Bags by Karen Torrisi at the National Library and I just love how every step is illustrated clearly in simple terms, including the beading parts. The only obstacle. I'm not a beader. Not even a beginner. I thought about skipping the whole beading part but the "impossible is nothing" part of me rose to the occasion and I raided my girl's beads. With the purchase of a beading needle, I had no more excuses. Besides, the book was due soon. I used my girl's old overalls and I beaded away. Truthfully, my beading looks nothing like the book's sample bag which is gorgeous, a bit tai-tai for my taste though. The next 2 days were spent trying to assemble the bag. My Secondary 1 Woodwork teacher once commented I lacked "bird's eye view" when I kept assembling my wood craft wrong. (Huh?) I don't know which view was missing but I kept leaving the handle in the lining. I would unpick the darn thing and redo and the handle would end up in the lining. I really wanted to give up on this bag. In all fairness, the assembly of this bag is done a little differently from what I usually do. (I adapt slow) I discarded this project and returned the book to the library. Funnily, (ha ha) I was drawn back to the bag one day and I just got it right at first try. Unfortunately the side seams of the lining was all scrunched up.

Denim Beaded Purse


Once again, giddy with success, I had to make another beaded purse with one handle. This time I used store bought cheap black poplin and I embroidered chain stich for skull/bones structure. The eyes and teeth were beaded. I did everything right this time. Only thing. The black poplin attracts lint like crazy.
Black Skull and Bones Beaded Purse

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wonton Drawstring Bags

When I first saw a picture of a delightful simple round drawstring bag with tatted edging in Beeton’s Book of Needlework Consisting of Descriptions and Instructions by Isabella Beeton found at Antique Pattern Library. (Tip: Don't try and print the whole book. It's a lot of pages.)

I knew I had to make it. Just 2 round fabric, sew together, turn right side out. Sew 2 circles for casing and add the tatting edging. Ha ha, ha.

Tatting, what's tat? (pun, get it?) Tatting is an ancient art done by people who had no television or computer or internet. Now, people who have television, computer and internet turn to tatting because it's a challenge and all that "impossible is nothing" propaganda.

Tatting, it turns out is not for the patience impaired. It took me hours to finish the simple rings. All my picots have different sizes! Finally sewing the edging to the edge of the bag numbed my fingers and every nerve on my arms. I'm never making another tatted edging again. For the cords, I just crochet a simple chain stitch. (Fingers can't feel anything by now.)

When I showed the finished product to my husband, he said it looked like a giant wonton.

White Wonton Bag with tatted edging



Colourful Wonton Bag with multicoloured cord


The numbness in my fingers and arms slowly left and having recovered sufficiently, I knew I had to make another wonton bag.

Okay, okay. When I was making the white tatted one, I was overcomed with ambition to make dozens of wonton bags. (I don't know why. Okay, it's called obsession.) So I had jumped the gun and cut out 2 round fabric from my tropical island fabric collection. Therefore I had no choice but to make another wonton bag.

This time, I left out the tatted edging. (I wasn't kidding. Absolutely no more tatted edging. Ever.)

For the cord, I braided 3 different coloured yarn using my braiding machine. The braiding is done like how you would braid your hair. I love the braid. When I grow up, I want to be a braider.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fat Bottomed Drawstring Bags

Lately I've been having a strange obsession with fat bottomed drawstring bags. I thought I was done with drawstring bags... When I first started exploring bags bottoms, I thought that logically the circumference of the bottom should fit the surface area of the bag perfectly. But it soon became clear that I would end up with a tube-like bag. Not very attractive.

Fat Bottomed Bag No. 1



This blue-white gingham piece started out like a usual flat-piece bottomed bag. At this point, flat-bottomed bags was beginning to bore me to death so I thought why not explore round bottoms.

I started out with a rectangle. At four corners of the rectangle, I marked four small squares. To calculate the length of the rounded corners, I found this website http://www.mathopenref.com/arclength.html which gave me the formula. After driving myself insane with the massive calculation, I finally finished with the paper pattern.

Just to be sure, I used a measuring tape to measure the paper pattern. It fitted the base of the bag perfectly. I should have been a mathematician! (Um, what do they do?)

Sewing the bag bottom to the bag wasn't really difficult. Cutting little notches on the seam allowance of the bottom helps.

I really like this bag. It's cute. The embroidery is of my kids and me skipping. (The one with the big head is me). It's a fantasy world. In real life we just sit in front of the computer playing Heroes V.

Fat Bottomed Bag No. 2



I borrowed this book Handmade Gifts from Fabric in the Japanese Tradition by Kumiko Sudo from the National Library and was delighted to see a few fat bottomed drawstring bags featured.

I'm usually rather wary of following tutorials via books because it always turns out to be harder than it looks. Browsing through, I knew I had to choose the hardest one to make.

This little baggie consists of a million pieces of patchwork. After joining them into a tube like structure, you handsew the bottom pieces together. Check out the bottom! (You can see my ugly handsewing thread sticking out.)

I just love this baggie to death. It's completely useless though. I don't know when I might have the occasion to use it.

Cute Bottom



Fat Bottomed Bag No. 3



This bag is far easier to make as it only consists of strips of fabric sewn into a tube. The bottom is sewn together and the seams covered by a yo-yo.

I made a huge mistake when I used denim for the casing. It's too stiff and as a result I cannot close the casing all the way.

My Bottom's really a hat?



Check out the cords I used for drawstring. I braided it using my braiding machine.
My Braiding Machine


I found this stool which has a hole in the centre at a household goods store. The hole is where you put the finished braid. The empty jam jars act as weights.

This cord is a four string (lily yarn) round braid and it's really gorgeous. I like the cord more than the bag (you know because of the casing being too tight).

This bag is meant for keeping your favourite marbles and that's exactly what I'll do with it.
Related Posts with Thumbnails