An Evening Out

Lynn Schoeffler © 2005

   
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Finished Purse

This little evening bag was a Mother's Day gift for my dear mom-in-law, Betty. She'd had a tough three years, finally culminating in a major back surgery, and then a broken foot. Her wonderful spirit kept her going; I wanted this bag to say: “thank you, and we love you”.

Although this piece doesn't contain any new techniques, I wanted to show those who are just beginning to crazy quilt the steps and my thought process in design, color and stitching choices. The foundation pattern is from Christen Brown at The Store On The Corner in San Diego, California.*

Choosing the fabrics  I had originally planned to use only lace for this project, but after a day in the dye lab augmenting my stash, I had a beautifully dyed old cut-work rose that just said “Betty” to me. I pulled a box of “maybe” choices from my fabric stash; the box is neatened up for the photo—my fabric audition process is never that organized! I always pull way more fabric than I use—when you compare colors, like 3 or 4 different shades of rose to a blue, you'll see which one is the right one. 
Placement of fabrics and trims  This photo shows the application of the first layer of fabric around the photo: this is an old picture of Mom (the little girl with the long yellow curls!), and her mother, Jennie. The photo is a silk print done as described in the CQMagOnline April 2005 edition. The piecing was an exacting process, because I wanted the rose motif to cover the top and side edges of the photo. Most of the fabrics, like the Dupioni silk, were stabilized with an iron-on interfacing to help cut down on wrinkling. I used the “flip and stitch” method for piecing the fabric; however, I never cut the fabric pieces before I sew them in. That way, I can make a change when I add the next layer; for instance, I might find I want to make a bottom layer patch larger to show more of the print. This will cause a little extra waste, but I want to have the latitude to make a change if I need to (and I always need to). 
Building the look  The next layer of fabric pieces is added, along with a piece of tatting from a vintage hanky. Notice the cream-colored fabric piece below the photo, under the lace: in traditional flip and sew, that piece would be on top of the striped fabric. I chose to layer the striped piece over the top of the cream piece because it has more interest, and brings in a touch of green to balance the green in the cut-work piece 
  The cut-work motif with leaves is carefully pinned in place to cover two edges of the photo, and the yellow and rose fabric seam lines.

Again, a tricky fabric placement: The rose/blue print is placed on top of the dark mauve, and underneath the dark green on the upper left. The un-sewn edge of the rose print was appliquéd on by hand.

When the piecing is completely finished, I framed it up in a paper template of the exact purse shape. Originally, the photo had fallen in the center of the piece. I thought it would be more interesting to move the photo slightly to the right, and a little lower. That's another reason I have a tendency to leave long edges on my pieces—it might need re-centering.

 

As you study the final piecing, notice the balance of color: for instance, the reddish tones are placed toward the top and bottom of the piece, and greens to the right and left. The dark blue balances the darkness of the mauve, but is slightly “toned” down with the addition of the lace.

The following photos show details of the embellishment. The hummingbird in is Rosalie Wakefield's 22-Stitch Hummer, and the ribbon for the SRE is from Thread Gatherers. All the seam work is stitched in Edmar rayon thread in various weights.

Embellishment details  More details  And more embellishment 

The bullion flowers started out with five petals each, but looked better when changed to three. As I embellished each patch, I couched the cut-work motif to not only cover seams, but also to keep the seams from showing in the open part of the motif.

The third photo above reveals two things: the little brass basket is placed to the lower right for visual interest, rather than in the center. If it had been placed in the center of the patch, it would have been visually in line with the cut-work motif. Better design! A major mishap occurred when I used a woven interfacing for the vintage monogrammed hanky at the upper left. The minute holes in the interfacing showed through the fine Swiss Lawn of the old hanky—making it look mildewed. Fortunately, a quick trip to eBay! found another handkerchief.

Finished purse back of purse

The finished piece, front and back. The back is embellished with a piece of vintage hand-made bobbin lace, and the motif reads “To my dear Mother-In-Law, Elizabeth Jane Schoeffler, Mother's Day, May 2005”.

*Christen Brown's purse foundation pattern is called the “Pagoda Purse”, and the pattern and instructions are available from The Store On The Corner

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