My latest tote bag -- a gift for a friend.
I was very fortunate to be given a large collection of vintage fabrics, craft supplies (which included buttons, lace, trims, floral supplies, ribbon, etc) by a close friend. They once belonged to her mother. She offered them to me and I was very happy and honored to take them. I have used some of the lace trims on my angel ornaments as well as some of the little flowers on the halos and gowns. Ironically, I found out that her mother used them to make paper angels of her own.
It was so fun to go through all of these interesting printed fabrics and other supplies (over and over again) and going through the process of sorting through my new collection of goodies, it was amazing to me how similar our tastes were and that our sewing and crafting interests were so similar. Kindred spirits I think.....If we had had an opportunity to meet, we would have had much to talk about. As it stands, her daughter and I can talk up a storm and in fact turn a coffee hour into four hours or so.
I found this piece of fabric that was like a polished chintz or maybe a bit heavier, likely a home decorator fabric which was dated 1979. There was no manufacturer name on it which is disappointing to me only because I fell in love with the fabric and would absolutely love to be able to purchase a couple of yards or so.
Anyways, I decided to make my friend a tote bag using only materials in her mother's stash and this is how it turned out. I decided I to try my hand at embroidering some details on the fabric to add a bit of interest and dimension, mind you I have not embroidered in very many years.
Surprisingly, it all came back to me pretty quickly. I started with the back stitch to outline some leaves and then decided to also outline one of the birds. I did some french knots in the centers of some flower blooms and then decided to do a little outlining of the flowers as well.
My intention was not to embroider the entire front of the bag but simply to add some little details to the fabric. I love the print and it is beautiful and charming in its' own right.
A bonus from the embroidery (which didn't even occur to me while I was embroidering it) is that it created a quilted effect which I love.
I then made a gift tag using the fabric glued to a folded piece of kraft colored cardstock. I stitched with a medium zigzag stitch around the entire piece of fabric. I stamped a few words on some muslin fabric that was also from her mother's collection and used fabric glue to attach the words. I found a small bit of lace in the stash and trimmed it to place randomly on the card. In a small box I found 3 sweet little vintage buttons. I attached them with a tiny bit of glue but then added actual hand stitches to keep the buttons safely in place.
Lastly, I used a small star paper punch and punched a star shaped hole in the upper left corner and added white and natural twine with a piece of pale pink tulle. Even the teeny, tiny gold pin that I used to attach the card to the bag was from her mom's collection of sewing notions.
I zoomed in (photo above) for a closer look--I apologize for it being a bit blurry.
Attached to the bag, the tulle adds a delicate touch with vintage appeal.
I had a very difficult time photographing this with nice, natural light as the sun has been hiding and weather has not wanted to cooperate. The photo above seems to be the best one of the card.
The bag has dual duties: it is functional and can be used to hold her knitting supplies, or used as a shopping bag or to carry any number of other things and it is a keepsake that I hope serves as a reminder of her beloved mother each time she uses this bag.
"May memories of your mother make you smile,
and ease your sense of loss for just a while.
Know that she walks beside you every day,
and kneels each night beside you as you pray.
When it seems to feel as though you're worlds apart,
Just know her love is safe within your heart."
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