Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dream Purse Upcycled!

Hi there!  So this story begins with me buying an allotment of canvas bags over the Internet with a certain idea in ironing transfers of my artwork onto them.  Well, when I got the bags, I didn't like them.  The handles were too short (like a grocery shopping bag) and they just lacked so much pizazz.  So, they went unhappily into the vast storage closet....waiting for the day they might be transformed into something better.

Well, skip to a couple of years later.  I start sewing....something I never thought I'd do!!!  Sewing and loving it.  I don't really know what I'm doing, but I sure am having fun learning.  Finally, one day I saw a bag online with these sort of ruffles.  I loved it.  I wanted to order it.  But since times are hard and I haven't been able to make any money with my own business, I got the grand idea to make one.  Of course mine is quite different than the purse I saw on the Internet.  It was just the idea of the little ruffles I loved.  

Now, I probably would never have had the patience to make the entire bag myself.  But it so happened that I saw another bag in a magazine...handmade....and the skeleton of the bag was just like those hundred bags I'd ordered.  Hummmm...  Smash!!!  The idea for this groovy little bag. 

First, I removed the handles that came on the bag....the ones I really didn't like!!!!   Just cut them right off.  I then cut down the middle of one side of the bag and the middle of the bottom, until I was left with a pretty flat surface on which to sew.  Next, I chose my fabrics, which were largely ones I'd had for years and never made use of until now.  They were also largely fabric scraps; great little cheap left-over pieces they sell around here for half of half price.  Makes it nice.  Also, the scraps are usually just enough to get one, two or three bags out you are always 'keeping them fresh.' 

After picking out the fabrics, I made sure there was enough for my project.  I then cut a little into the material about 2 1/2 or so inches up, and ripped off a 2 1/2 inch long strip.  I like the tattered sort of look the ripping gives.  Next, I attached the strip to the bottom of the bag, pleating it as I went, and then pinning.  When I got done pinning, I started from the end with the pleats going 'with' the presser foot instead of against it.  This will help you sew quickly and get the pleats to lay nicely.  You don't necessarily have to pin the fabric either.  The thin yellow fabric I used here was bunched up under the presser foot as I went along, using a wooden cooking skewer.  They have an actual tool for this at the sewing store, but why pay so much more for the same darn thing???

After I sewed the ruffles either half way around (just the front of the bag) or all the way around (front and back of bag), I then centered an image stamped on fabric (and slightly painted with water color pencils) into the middle of the bag front.  Some of the paisley green fabric was placed behind the image to help frame it, and the image was covered with white tulle to give a dreamy sort of effect.  Another border of ribbon was added around the image and then on the top of the bag.  Fabric buttons were glued on, and two more strips of fabric were sewn to the sides for an easy fit over the shoulder.  Obviously, you need to sew up the bag again, right before you add the handles.  Finishing touch:  a little Velcro right inside in the middle to keep your private stuff private:)

And that's it! 

I'm making more...yes, I have a new addiction;  fabric!!!  Fun with fabric!!!  In fact today I am working on a geisha doll commission...that is basically a fabric painting.  Ok..back to work.  Thanks for stopping by my place...and love to hear your comments any time!!!



daisy69778 said...

See? You are SO creative girl!

Cynthia Elizabeth Anderson said...

Hey Lady! Thank you...and I miss you so much. If you ever get back this way you better give me a holla!!!