Tuesday January 11, 2011

This is the purse I made for myself last week.  As I was making it I snapped some pictures in case any of you were interested in trying to embellish your own tote.  The pattern I used is an Ali Foster pattern and you can purchase it here.  You can use any purse pattern you like, so long as it doesn’t have pocket, pleats, or buckles on the outside.  I really love Ali Foster’s Reversible Tote pattern.  It’s dreamy; SO easy to use!  Some of the first purse patterns I learned to sew on where Amy Butler patterns.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Ms. Butler’s style.  She’s swell and spiffy but her purse patterns are… involved.  They usually require a lot of yardage, an insane amount of interfacing, and they cost $12.95.  Her patterns come with very detailed written instructions but only one or two diagrams, which is hard for all of us “instructionally challenged” people (my spell check doesn’t like the word “instructionally” but I’m using it anyway). 

Compare all of that to Ali Foster’s pattern (and a lot of other PDF patterns) which usually take a yard or less, cost on average $6.00, and have step-by-step instructions with photographs for each step!  If you’ve never used a PDF pattern don’t let that intimidate you.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences with them.  You purchase the pattern and they send it in a PDF form to your email.  You download it and print the pattern off on your printer, using regular computer paper.  Sometimes you need to enlarge the pattern but a lot of times it’s not necessary.  The other nice thing about the PDF pattern is you have a copy of it on your computer; so if something happens to your pattern piece you just print a new one off … nice!   Okay.  I’ll stop preachin’ and get to good stuff.

For the flower I used lavender silk crepe, which is exactly what it sounds like… silk that has the texture of crepe paper.  I cut strips in two different widths 3.5 inches and 2.5 inches.  I cut 2 of each size.

I cut off the salvage edge of the material.

They should look like this.

I folded the strip 3/4′s of the way over and ironed it.  I wanted each layer to have a double-ruffled effect.

Then I did a basting stitch along the folded edge of the fabric.  A basting stitch is just the longest stitch setting on your machine.   Leave plenty of thread at the beginning and the end of the stitching.  DON’T BACK STITCH.  Otherwise you won’t be able to gather up the fabric.

Start by holding one of the threads taut with one hand, and pushing the fabric with your other hand.  Go slow and don’t pull to hard on your thread.  Gently move the ruffles towards the middle of the strip.

Once you’ve gathered half of your fabric, flip it over and start from the other end, until the whole length has been gathered.  Do this to all of your fabric pieces.

Start with the outer layer of your purse and place the material right side up.

Chose a circle that is slightly smaller than you want your flower to be.  Keep in mind that you need to leave room on the edges for seam allowances.  The plate I used was 7.5 inches across, and pink ( yours doesn’t have to be pink but if your lucky it will be).  Trace around the circle.

Pin the large sized ruffle along the traced circle.

Stitch along the bottom edge of the material.  I did two layers with the large ruffle and then switched to the smaller ruffle for the rest of the flower.  Continue to spiral, pin, and stitch until you get to the center of the circle.

For the very center of the flower I cut about 6 inches of the smaller ruffle, rolled it into a rosette shape, stitched it together at the bottom and then hand stitched it into the center of the flower.

All finished!  Continue to sew the purse together using the pattern instructions.

It is a reversible tote so chose a fabric lining that you like.

I really did have good intentions.  I was going to save this tote and give it as a gift but I liked it too much… so I’m keepin’ it.

If you have any questions about making this flower purse you can message me through Xanga or on FaceBook.

9 thoughts on “Tuesday January 11, 2011

  1. kerriMeAway

    Love it, April! I am definatley going to try this one. I think I could handle this project. I agree, Amy Butler’s patterns are very involved and often expensive to make after buying the pattern. Only worth it if you plan on making several of the same pattern. But let’s face it, sometimes after doing one of hers it’s hard to muster up the strength to do it again. :)

  2. inanorchard

    @kerriMeAway - You should do it Kerri!  The pattern is worth having even if you don’t embellish it with the flower.  The tote is a great size, it takes 1 yard, and it sews up quickly.  I also thought it would be a great pattern to make a little larger and sew it out of oil cloth… it would be a cute grocery bag or beach bag/ picnic bag.  The possibilities are endless.  I think the only Amy Butler pattern I’ve ever done more than once is the Swing Bag.


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