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Mummy's Hand Sewn Patchwork Bag - the whole story

Sorry for the delay replying, my camera needed charging and the other half's camera was full, but here we are.

My mother had collected scraps for several years, so they include bits from dressmaking by my sister and I as well as recycled garments and pieces bought as remnants.  I still have my Sindy with dresses made from some of these for instance, so it is also a memory collection.

She then cut them to rectangles and hand sewed them around card templates.  She had started to assemble a piece that was intended to be a quilt, but only reached about 18" by 18" before she lost interest.  The problems being the scraps were truly random, and the template really small (1 3/4" x 3").  She gave it all to my cousin to try and complete.  

After she died in 2009 my cousin returned it all as she knew she would not complete it.  I got as far as sorting the pieces into Pinks or Blues and left them stored in a in a box.

In 2011 I looked at it again, and came up with a plan.  Using my old pattern from school, I could use her patchwork to make a bag instead of a quilt, and then I would only have to add a few more to make the piece big enough.

With reference to my "Very Easy Crazy Patchwork" by Betty Barnden and a chat with the ladies in my local patchwork shop (Sew Creative) I added more pieces then assembled my quilt sandwich with batting and tacking.  The pictures above and below show the piece finished. For my first attempt at quilting I was really pleased.

I had decided to quilt it by hand as apart from anything else the templates were not all the same size, and hand sewing would disguise any imperfect joins.  I used Anchor embroidery silks in pastel colours matching those in the fabrics. I wanted it thick so I used the floss whole.  

I went down the long straight seams first using Chain stitch, Feather Stitch and Closed Buttonhole.  Then I went across the short seams with Long & Short Loop stitch, Cross stitch and Blanket stitch.

I added a lining, and fitted the handles, using Blanket stitch.  It may sound a lot of work, but it was a labour of love and was done in easy stages.  There is no fastening.  I always considered this style of bag a knitting bag for carrying your work.  I could have added a little strap across with a magnetic catch I suppose, the handle is open enough.

It hangs in my sewing room now and I love it.

I have gone on and used some of the pieces (but machined them together) and hand embroidered them.  One used an oversized purse frame (given to my cousin)....

the other was a small zipped purse (given to my niece)....

You can see how many more pieces I still have left, but I would like to make something for my sister, 2 other nieces and my aunt!

Hope you all found this useful!

ChrisW Designs

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Comment by christine on May 22, 2012 at 10:30am

I love everything you did with all the pieces!

Comment by Susan on May 22, 2012 at 8:00am

Awesome story!  I've featured this on the SWN Facebook page as well.  :)

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