Tag Archives: fabric

Embroidery Thread Purse


I was lucky enough to be given a big box full of fabric bits and pieces recently, one of which was this gorgeous piece of thick woollen fabric (it would have made a gorgeous coat!).  The piece in my box had one straight end which had obviously been cut, whilst the opposite end was the natural selvage and it had a beautiful ruffle effect to it.

The shape and size of the material lent itself beautifully to a small bag or purse, so I set about finding some suitable lining fabric and a couple of buttons.



I hand stitched the lining in place so that it wouldn’t show up on the front of the bag.




Once the lining was done, I used 2 strands of embroidery thread to sew up the sides using a large, decorative blanket stitch.



All that was left was to sew on two buttons for decorations, and then pop some press studs under the buttons to close the purse.


I think this purse could very well be the new home for my embroidery thread stash!

Rag Rug Wreath

I first learnt the traditional craft of proggy mat making about ten years ago when I attended a course to make a proggy Christmas tree which was great fun.  Since then I’ve had a go at hooky mat making and rag rugging too.  They’re all great ways of using up scrap fabric and really easy to learn – just make sure you wear an apron as you’ll get covered in little bits of hessian as you work!


I’d starting making this particular rag rug wreath last year, but since then it had lain abandoned in my WIPs pile.   It was lovely to come across such bright fabric, particularly when the weather outside was so miserable!


Ragged Life have produced an excellent blog post that takes you through all the steps of making your very own hessian wreath, but it’s beautifully simple to do.  Basically, you want to draw a large circle on your hessian (I used a dinner plate to draw around).  You then need a smaller circle inside this one (a smaller plate!) and the space in between the two is where you’ll be doing your rag rugging.   Leave a good hem all the way around your wreath and tack the seams as it will fray terribly otherwise.


Next you need to make a smaller circle still, right  in the centre of the hessian, and it’s useful to stitch all around this to stop it from fraying as you’ll be cutting here later.  (In the photo to the left you can see the thick black line which is where I need to rag rug up to).

I used a selection of different cotton fabrics for my wreath, but you can use whatever you have to hand really.  The cotton frayed a bit but to me that just adds to the rustic look of the wreath.  Cutting it on the bias will reduce the fraying though.

To rag rug a piece of your fabric you hold it behind the hessian, push your rugging tool through the hessian from the front to the back and use the hook to grab hold of your fabric and bring one end of it through to the front.  You then repeat this procedure to bring the other end of your fabric piece to the front of your work, leaving a gap of about 3 holes in between.


You’ll see from the back of the work that you don’t need to fill all of the hessian in.  The fabric flays out on the front and covers the holes so you don’t need to worry too much about where you place the pieces.  Hessian is a very forgiving fabric to work with!

Once you’ve filled in all the space between the two largest circles, you’re ready to attach the hessian to the backing.  To make the backing you need some strong cardboard (I used an old packing box in the garage).  The backing needs to be exactly the same size as the wreath.


Now it’s time to cut out the very centre circle of plain hessian and make a few snips up toward the rag rugging, being careful not to cut into your fabric.



Place the cardboard backing onto the wrong side of the rag rugging and work your way around, stapling the hessian into place as you go.  Make sure you pull it tight.  If you don’t have a staple gun, you can open up an ordinary stapler and use that.



If you like, you can attach a felt backing to the wreath to cover up the staples and the cut hessian, or you can simply attach a piece of ribbon and hang it up ready to be admired!





If you’re interested in finding out a bit more about the history of these traditional crafts, there’s a really handy guide to proggy and hooky produced by the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead here.  It even includes details of how to make your own frame if you fancy having a go at a larger mat.




Clasp Purse

Well, I’ve been wanting to have a go at making a clasp purse for a while now, so was delighted when I discovered two clasps at the bottom of a basket that I’d totally forgotten about!  I thought it would be sensible to start with the smaller of the two first and see how I got on.



First of all I chose fabric for the outside and the lining of my purse, and I also needed interfacing too as the cotton was quite thin.




To make the pattern, I drew around the top of the clasp and then sketched out the shape for the rest of the purse.  I did this on a bit of greaseproof paper so I was able to fold it in half to make sure that both sides of the purse pattern were symmetrical.


Once I was happy with the shape, and I’d marked on where the hinges were, I added a seam allowance of 1cm all the way around.

Now I was ready to cut out 2 pieces of outer fabric, two of the lining and 2 of the interfacing.


The interfacing I had was fusible, so I ironed one piece onto the wrong side of the two floral outer fabric pieces.   I then placed these two outer pieces (now complete with interfacing attached) right sides together, and placed the clasp in position so that I could use a couple of pins to mark whereabouts the hinges came.  I did the same thing with the two lining pieces as well.


I was now ready to sew the bottom half of the purse between the pins on both the outer and the lining pieces, then trim off the excess fabric.



The next step was to turn the lining inside out and insert it inside the purse so that the right side of the lining was facing the right side of the purse.  Then I pinned both layers of fabric in place before sewing them together (making sure to leave a small gap to allow me to turn the whole purse inside out!)

Then I carefully hand sewed the gap (where the pins are in the final photo above).


Now that the purse itself was complete, it was time to attach the clasp!

I folded the purse in half to allow me to find the centre top, then counted the holes in the clasp to find the centre hole, and married up the two so the clasp would be symmetrical.


Attaching the clasp was definitely the trickiest part, and it took me a few goes to get the hang of it.  Basically you’re working a back stitch through the holes whilst trying to make sure that your stitches don’t show on the inside of the purse (the idea being that they should be hidden under the back of the clasp but this is easier said than done!)

I’m definitely not 100% happy with the final result, but it’s functional for now and I’m going to have another go at the stitching when I have a bit more time.  I’ve really enjoyed having a go though and am looking forward to making the large purse next.  I think I’ll experiment with the shape of the next purse too!