Elegant Crazy Quilt Purse

Designer Marilyn Green © 2004

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This purse began when Marilyn Green opened a box that arrived from a friend, Carole Cree. The box was brimming with fabulous over-dyed and burnout velvets and metallic print fabrics, beaded organdy ribbons, chenille trims, beaded fringes, ostrich trim, vintage lady prints, and other bits and pieces of wonderfulness. Marilyn could hardly wait to make something wonderful. Crazy quilt immediately came to mind so she could to use some of everything in the box. The finished piece became the elegant crazy quilt tote seen in these images.

The purse is based on an easy to make ‘tote' pattern. The following are Marilyn's 'How To Instructions.' "I cut my own pattern and followed the usual sewing methods for the basic shape. The use of the elegant fabrics, trims and special embellishments make it special. If you prefer, use a commercial tote bag pattern and add the crazy-quilting techniques and embellishments to create your own fun to make wearable art.

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Materials You Will Need:
(Note - trims and embellishments can be chosen based on your ‘stash' and needs for your own embellished crazy quilt tote)
Paper for pattern or commercial tote pattern
Base fabric to correspond with velvet and other patchwork fabrics (I chose brown linen)
Thin stable batting
Lining fabric (I chose silk)
Select assorted pieces of over-dyed velvet, burnout velvet and other elegant fabrics for crazy quilt design
Elegant trims to cover piecework seams
Vintage lady prints (I chose silk)
Short and long beaded fringe
Ostrich trim
Wild Thing Fiber
Flesh-colored polymer clay and a face stamp
Small piece of heavy wool for back of polymer lady (I used heavy coat wool)
Other bits and pieces of ‘vintage' embellishments (optometrist lens, flowers, ribbons, buttons, beads etc)
An old map stamp by Stampa Rosa Inc.
Face stamp by Stampers Anonymous, Creative Block #10.
Picasso Quote stamp by Dawn Houser for Inkadinkado, Inc.
Fabric and pigment stamping inks
Quick drying fabric glue
Needle, thread, scissors, and sewing machine.

Making Polymer Face Embellishment:
1. Stamp polymer clay with face stamp
2. Mold clay face over large spoon and bake for 20 minutes at 275 degrees.
3. Slightly color face with colored pencils and stipple with sepia and rosy colored ink. (Optional)
4. Glue a piece of dark, heavy wool or thick felt to the inside of the face, leaving 3/8" edge around the face. I recommend heavy coat wool so the edges will be strong enough to support the face.
5. Stitch the face to the front of the tote, using the 3/8" edge.
6. Cut a piece of velvet or other elegant fabric for the hat. It should be the right size to fit around the head from below ear level, add a little extra for hem or adjustments. Needle-sculpt the velvet around the head, using a fast drying strong fabric glue to fasten the hat down in places. Add the ostrich trim around the outside of the hat to give it a finished look. Add trims to hat and neck, such as vintage fruit, beads, lace, buttons, bows, feathers, etc. I added oversized earrings of dripping beads by using one strand of long beaded fringe.

Preparing Materials:
Stamp some of the solid velvet with fabric ink, heat set with iron and set aside. (I used Picasso Quote Stamp and Old Map Stamp).
Using the Old Map Stamp, randomly stamp a piece of the linen with pigment ink, emboss with gold.
Randomly stamp the lining of the purse flap using a combination of the stamp images.
Make polymer ladies face and set aside

Making Your Tote:
1. Make a pattern with paper, a square or rectangle the desired size of your purse, plus about 1 ˝" extra for seams and slight shrinkage when quilting. Either include the flap to the back piece or make a separate piece for the flap.
2. Using the pattern, cut out the base fabric, batting and lining.
3. Pin base fabric and batting together and machine stitch, leaving raw edges.
4. Arrange and pin fancy fabrics to base you just made. Leave edges raw and overlap with adjoining pieces. Trim the raw edges so they can be covered with trims.
5. After you follow instructions above for front, back and flap, sew all the trims and beads by hand to cover all seams and as needed for embellishment design. Bunch the Wild Thing fiber to make an interesting back drop for beads, buttons, flowers...etc.
6. Stitch the long bead fringe onto bottom edge of front side, then back and front are sewn together with beads sandwiched between. (Hint: I use masking tape to tape the bead fringe to the fabric in order to keep them away from the sewing machine.)
7. Sew the short bead fringe to the right side of the purse flap.
8. For the strap, cut a piece of the fancy fabric 5" wide and the length you want the strap. With right sides together, sew seam leaving both ends open. Turn and press with the seam in the center of the underside of the strap. Press in seam allowance at both ends, and stitch. Sew to each side of the purse, centering on side seams. I sewed this on the machine about 1" from the end of the strap, leaving a little flap.
9. For the lining, just make a replica of the purse in lining material. With right sides together, sew around flap, turn and put lining into the purse. Press a seam allowance around the top of the purse and lining opening. Stitch the two together.

Marilyn Green, an accomplished artist in fiber and paper art, is a designer for Flights of Fancy Boutique. Her designs are influenced by her world travels as an Army officer's wife.


Flights of Fancy Boutique

Stampa Rosa Inc.

Stampers Anonymous

Picasso Quote Stamp
by Dawn Houser
Inkadinkado, Inc.

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