Thursday, 22 December 2016

Making an Embroidered Purse

This is my first embroidered purse ( a gift for a friend ). She was looking for a glasses purse that she could wear around her neck. I’ve wanted to make a purse for ages so this was my Christmas project !
My biggest problem was sourcing the purse frame as I wanted one that had two links to attach the chain. The only size I could find to order was slight smaller than I would have liked and I was worried that glasses might not squeeze in !!

First I eco dyed some silk noil as a background. The silk noil has more ‘bite’ that slippery silk and is easier to embroider into, also a lot hardier for use as a purse.
There are less blooms to choose from in winter but I have a kind local florist who had some roses and eucalyptus that were about to be binned. I wrapped and steamed my silk noil and left for a few days to dry. When unwrapped I was pleased that the flowers had given soft shades and the eucalyptus had blended with the rose leaves and given defined green shapes.

I gave myself a basic shape to embroider into and tacked the dyed silk down.
The base under material I choose was cut from a discontinued upholstery fabric swatch book - my purse was starting to be very eco ! The grey fabric had a slight sheen was a nice neutral starting point to lay the dyed silk over.
It is so easy to be nervous and take too long to pick the ‘perfect’ section to cut and this part of a project is the hardest for me. Once I am committed I enjoy the process but the first choices of colour and layout selection are often painfully long for poor indecisive me !
Really .  .   .  you have no idea how long I debate and agonize !!!
To help with this I usually photograph my fabrics in position and then print a few A4 sheets where I can draw some ideas for embroidery before I start to stitch.

Choosing the antique lace is much easier. I have a large collection of Edwardian and Victorian lace and I have divided it into shades and style and size. Old lace is very beautiful and so any choice is a good one. You can’t go wrong with antique lace.
I took inspiration from the natural marks that the flowers and leaves had left on the silk noil to layout the lace and build a flowerbed.

On one side I stitched wild lavender and daisy and a fossil spiral. The shades of purple and pink give a very vintage style to the purse.
The other side I embroidered an open pod with small scraps of antique lace trapped inside. Also some cow parsley as I always love to include french knots.

For an extra bit of colour I stitched a blue moth - an exotic little creature to sit in my antique garden.  The moth was born out of reused work .   .   even more eco! 
Years ago I had some designer knitwear in a fashion awards show and had silk painted a dress for the model to wear with it. It had swirls of marine colours and fish and has been a fantastic source of scrap silk for some time now. I have never been afraid to cut up past work to reuse and relove !

Stitching the purse together and onto the frame was certainly a learning curve !!
It was not easy and there are things I will change next time . . . but all in all I did very much enjoy making my first fabric embroidered purse.
I put it in some tissue and Christmas wrap and it is now ready to give to my good friend Barbara
.  .  .  . just hope her glasses fit !