Tag Archives: applique inspiration

handmade purses with applique

One aspect of sewing I enjoy is making handmade purses with applique. Very useful as far as projects go, and distinct and generally one-of-a-kind in the end. Putting designs together can be a lot of fun if you take the task lightly and try not to get overwhelmed by the possibilities.

owl applique on purse

handmade purses with appliqueThese are fabric circles cut and stacked to look like flowers. The stems are just cut out of green fabric, leaves out of leaf looking fabric but just green fabric would look great too. The shapes are just zig-zag stitched along the edges, loosely or with a tight stitch, depending on the look you prefer.

flower applique on pursesIn the case of the above purple/pink flower above, I cut out the flower already printed onto fabric that I loved. I just had a scrap of fabric left, not big enough to use for anything else, and I didn’t want the flower to go to waste.
bird applique on handmade  purseWith a picture of birds and branches in my head, I just looked for the right colors of fabric to make the branches, bird bodies, beaks and wings. Applique with just a straight top stitch about 1/6 of an inch from the edge on all pieces- this will hold just fine OR zig zag stitch along all edges OR a bit of both.
owl applique handmade purse

This owl body, beak and leaves are bits of felt fabric thrown in the picture. I like the look of mixing in various textures for a different over all look. Of course these pieces can be hand appliqued into place with a blanket stitch or comparable edge stitch. It time is an issue then finish on the sewing machine for a quickly finished project.

I’ve been making purses all week, wearing my puffy nonstop because this week’s theme was back to winter. I guess I wasn’t missing much holed up in the studio or sweat shop as I lovingly refer to it one month before the Beehive Bazaar. As you can see I’ve been loving making handmade purses with applique. Machine applique is such a fun, collage-with-fabric- making project. I especially love working with bright colors. My favorite is the tiny purple owl amidst all the fabric in the first picture. Why it ‘tiny’ so funny to me? It’s funny to everyone, right!?
For a tutorial on actually sewing the purses together after the front has been embellished, check out my easy handmade purse step-by-step tutorial.

fabric, felt, Indian games

owl applique

Here is my favorite wool felt applique owl before he got sewn onto the front of a purse- about 3 inches tall.

I been putting together purses all last week and into the weekend, I lead a real exciting life as you can see. My lovely spouse is on the road again so it is just the kids and I. The kids ran wild all weekend playing Indians in the backyard, smashing berries and smearing the red mush on their faces, then reverting to a red Sharpie when the berries didn’t achieve the desired affect. The good thing about being a modern Indian I suppose- resources like Sharpies to fall back on. The Indian braves were even hanging out shirtless (it was in the 50’s) for a few sunny hours. The look for the ladies was one arm and their head through their stretched-out shirt neck-hole- Tarzan & Jane style.
Carefully and cunningly (while I ran to the store for a few minutes), the Indian tribe attempted to properly construct an Indian village, complete with a Teepee, belt pouches for each Indian, and a fire pit. They tracked numerous muddy tracks throughout the house gathering up resources they needed; including but not limited to- most of the available hand tools and utensils from the garage and kitchen. They each cut up socks to make the essential Indian pouch one must hang from their belt for special small objects, a decision we might all regret the next time some one needs a pair of clean socks. The plan was to sleep in the Teepee constructed from blankets and tarps. This didn’t pan out- the weather wasn’t cooperating and most importantly, the great spirit said ‘no’. Once again, another bonus to being a modern Indian- you have a warm bed to crawl into at the end of a hard day whether you see that way or not.
At last, the grand finale- the thing that sets you apart and makes you a real Indian player– the real fire. The actual flames sprung up from still green wood from our recently cut down sickly Aspen trees. Needless to say it was extremely stinky, that is of course, if you don’t appreciate super smokey fires. I think we made the neighbors nervous, since the fire was just about 20 feet (on the other side of the fence) from the corner of their house. But they had a great time- the Indian tribe, not the neighbors. Using straightened out paper clips they roasted (or more like smoked) carrots from the kitchen and partly frozen green beans they found still hanging on the surrounding garden vines. In a stew of potatoes, carrots and green beans they carefully simmered up, the Indian chefs even remembered the salt, pepper and a pinch of rosemary for flavor. I was awestruck when they divyed it all up into bowls and gobbled it up, I myself, declined a bowl. While feasting on their stew, I overheard commentary from my 10 year old son like, “I think I’ll use some chicken broth next time…”

While all of this was going on, I was in my basement sweat shop/workroom making purses (boring)- getting ready for the Beehive Bazaar (far from boring) coming up here the first weekend in December. Pictured here are the unfinished outsides of a few purses.
I put quite a few owls in the mix, I just couldn’t stop with the feathered friends once I got started.

applique felt birdsA little piece of the bright and cheerful New York City fabric put to use here. When I sewed this purse top all together I moved that green birdy over so you can see the all the words, and the cardinal isn’t riding the bicycle. Not that there would be anything wrong with that…
Ahh… the city that loves Barack Obama, bicycles, birdies, good eating and shopping and so many other fabulous things. I love NY.

applique felt flowersI’m sad to say but this is one of my last little pieces of this fabric. I’m going to try and not freak out about it and spend the next hour or so frantically searching online to find some more. Hmm… that sounds like an admission of guilt, like I’ve done that sort of searching before…