How to Embellish a Felt Purse

Embellish a bag with brightly colored thread with these simple steps.
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HCC2c_108_Seashore_purse

HCC2c_108_Seashore_purse

Materials and Tools:

felt:

  • two 9-by-10-inch pieces of dark brown
  • two 9-by-10-inch pieces of dark red
  • 47-by-2-inch strip of dark brown
  • 47-by-2-inch strip of dark red
  • 6-by-5-inch piece of dark red
  • 3-by-3-inch piece of green
  • 2-by-2-inch piece of bright red
  • 4-by-3-inch piece of pink

large spools of thread: dark brown, dark red
small spools of thread: green, bright red, pink
scissors
pins
measuring tape
No. 14 needle for woven fabric
tracing paper
marker
fabric glue
sewing machine

Steps:

1. Sketch an image of a flower. Good ones have nice color variation and interesting shapes. I then pick out basic forms or shapes and try out colors.

2. Using tracing paper and a marker, translate the sketch into pattern pieces to use to cut out felt shapes of the flower. Cut out flower images, pin patterns onto corresponding flower felt pieces and cut out.

3. Make a bag body pattern from a 9-by-10-inch piece of tracing paper. Pin the pattern to the large pieces of brown and red felt (layered) and cut out around it.

4. Trim 3/8-inch edges of red and around the two sides of the long red strap (the lower 14 inches). Don't trim off the end.

5. Lay out the flower on a piece of brown felt. Glue well with fabric glue and allow to dry.

6. Using corresponding threads, straight-stitch around the edges of all flower segments.

7. The decorative stitching depends on the machine. For the pictured project, a zigzag stitch was used, with the stitch length set at zero. You can turn the stitch-width knob while sewing (between zero and 5) to create the form of the lines. Begin with the body of the flower (the stripes) and work toward the pink tendrils, then the bright red petals and finally the green leaves. Darker variations of the thread colors can be used as accents throughout the piece.

8. Use the same stitching technique to create the lines on the back brown piece and on the brown strap (the sides and strap).

9. To assemble the bag, sew together the ends of each strap, allowing about a ¼-inch seam. On the brown sewn unit, be sure the front sides face each other while you're sewing.

10. Line up the sewn part of the strap (hem side out) with the center bottom of one side of the red units. Pin along the bag, moving up to where the bag body stops. Straight-stitch one side to the bag. Add the other side. Repeat the process with the brown exterior pieces. Be sure the right sides face each other while you're sewing.

11. Turn the brown sewn unit right side out. Place the red lining inside and line up the top of the edges of the strap. Pin them and straight-stitch all around the edges.

12. To finish the edges, use the brown thread. Set the machine to zigzag stitch, zero width and No. 5 length (be sure the tension is equalized). Stitch around the edges along the top of the bag and both sides of the strap.

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