29 December 2010

Bag Lady

Ages ago, when she heard I’d gotten into quilting, a friend in DC sent me a couple of dozen Marimekko fabric samples. They’ve been maturing in my stash until two or three months ago when I decided to make little purses from them. Most of the swatches measure about 8 x 9 inches which, trimmed and sewn, is just the right size for a bag to hold the walkabout essentials: cell phone, reading glasses, house key, kleenex and, for dog owners, a plastic bag or two. I have tons of commercial printed fabric for lining, and a vast collection of ribbons for shoulder straps, plus my grandmother’s button tin and random embellishments I’ve accumulated over the years. It’s time to use some of this stuff up!

Since the Marimekko samples are one of a kind, the front and back of each purse is different, which I guess makes them reversible. It’s fun playing mix-and-match, pulling out yardage I’d once considered star-quality quilting material to use as lining, inventing loops and closures, maybe adding a flap or pocket when I find a scrap that works.

I’m quilting each bag, just a bit, with perle cotton, to keep the layers together. Some of the samples included tiny patches showing additional colorways; I’ve left those on. The overall effect is funky, but functional (hey, there’s a marketing slogan). Each purse is slightly better constructed than the last, and takes less time to put together, since I’ve figured out the basics. The first one (below), which doesn’t have batting, I’m calling “summer-weight.” The others are all padded.

This one (below) is lined and trimmed with a plaid cotton that used to be one of my favorite skirts. I still like the muted purples, browns and grays. The closure incorporates the buttonholes from the original waistband. I love this kind of recycling.

I feel like I could crank these out indefinitely while half-watching TV or listening to podcasts, but I’ll probably stop once I’ve exhausted the Marimekko stash and move on to something equally exciting in another realm. The downstairs sofa is calling out for pillows.