After a childhood of unhappy parents who were never pleased with anything I did or said, never living up to expectations, never being pretty enough/accomplished enough/sporty enough to be worthy of praise ….. I know that I crave acceptance and acknowledgement. At one time I used to suppress this feeling, making myself dreadfully unhappy in the process. But as I get older, I realise that this is an artefact of my childhood and my nature, and not my fault. This need to care and nurture often means I attract sad cases to me, people who are drawn to being mothered. And so I always make presents for my workmates for xmas and easter, I always cook something for morning teas at work, I will feed anyone given the opportunity, and, I love giving people gifts.
R is a great friend, for lots of reasons. She is at roughly the same place in her life as me, similar age and being married for roughly the same amount of years, although she is blessed with 4 children (something I would have adored) so has a couple of younger children than I do. Best of all, she doesn’t need me. She is happy and comfortable in her marriage and her faith, and so I don’t find myself in a pseudo-therapist role. We have similar interests without being boring, differing opinions enough to make conversations interesting, and a level of respect that means we don’t argue. I value her beyond belief. And so …… I made her a gift, a totally frivolous, unnecessary pretty little clutch purse.
I broke out my gollum like hoarded (my precious) handloomed Thai Silk. This fabric has green on the weft and blue on the warp, resulting in a mottled teal colour in the fabric. Its not an easy fabric to work with. It shreds, it will pull out of seams, and it has a lot of bias stretch. But the colour is beautiful, with an iridescent sheen that only silk can have.
The pattern used is the Melly&Me, Out with the Girls clutch pattern. First, I traced the flap shape on a piece of fabric, and got ready to iron on the embroidery design that came with the pattern. Cue the first problem. The fabric would not take the iron on. I dug out my heat transfer pen, and tried that, but nope, the fabric was having none of that. Eventually I figured out that I could put the design onto some tearaway stabiliser, tack that to the fabric, and then embroider over the top. Once completed, I pulled away the stabiliser, having to resort to tweezers in some of the tricky bits. What was a simple 1 hr job, became nearly 4 hrs of work, but I was very happy with the result.
Next sewing the flap. I decided I was going to pipe the flap, giving me a crisp, defined edge to the flap. Since the piping matched the embroidery, it turned out really well. I even followed correct procedure, basting the piping in place, before sewing down with the zipper foot. My first pass, the stitching on the piping showed, so I sewed again a couple of mm’s closer, and that provided a nice tight profile, with the added advantage of a second row of stitching to secure the fabric. Trimmed and turned, I gave it a press, being careful to not iron the piping which I knew would melt.
You can tell I love this colour, you can see the colour of my shirt.
The next step was quilting the body of the bag. Because of the bias stretch of the fabric, this was tricky, but I took my time, and alternated directions so that I wasn’t placing strain on the fabric. It ended up lovely and neat, but with the thread so closely matched, it actually fades into the background of the fabric, being more a texture rather than a visual element. I raided my scrap basket, and found a tiny scrap of a vintage cotton that I discovered at an op-shop years ago. This fabric made a retro styled apron for a work friend a couple of years ago, and I couldn’t face throwing out the left overs. There was just enough to make the lining of the purse. I decided not to interface the fabric. Its a bit rumpled looking, but I had so much thickness with the silk and pellon, that adding interfacing to the lining may have made it too bulky. I piped the edge of the wrist strap, and while this was an impulse decision, I am glad I did it, as it gives the bag a balance, and a professional finish.
And the completed clutch ….. of course it has the usual “mistakes only I can see”. The dreaded pulling out of the seams happened where the flap joins the body, requiring me to unpick and re-stitch. This means the fold over on the flap is a bit tight, but since it doesn’t have a zip, this will probably keep the contents in the bag. The fragility of the fabric means that it is most definitely a special use only bag. I am hoping it matches R’s dresses, and that it suits the event she is going to.