Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tea Towel Tote

First of all, did you see the PBS special last night, Craft in America?
I tried to email some of you to give you a heads up, but the email got kicked back to me.
Check your local listing to see when the three hour-long episodes repeat.
The show features artisans around the US who specialize in weaving, quilting, blacksmithing, jewelry, sculpture, furniture, etc.

Okay, onward to my submission to the first purse challenge.
I was faced with my own challenge during this project--my eyesight.
I just can't see up close anymore.
Time for reading glasses (groan...).
So this was more difficult than I intended.
So forgive my less-than-perfect stitches this time around.

My tea towel tote started when I found a tea towel hanging in a thrift store for 65 cents.
It still had a little gold sticker on it that stated it was linen.
It was stiff and unused, and I just assumed it was vintage.

I paired it with a plaid in a similar color scheme (an odd brownish, brick red), and a beige linen, both given to me by a friend of my mom who used to be a professional seamstress.

I decided to use one of my vintage patterns, and was pleasantly surprised with how this pattern comes together--I'm sure I'll use it again.
Vintage aprons, scarves, mitts, bags pattern
The construction technique was completely different than any other bag I've made previously.
That in itself has been a fun learning experience.

The towel said "Arabic Snacks", and had several recipes.
I utilized the main portion of the towel as the outer pocket.
Barb (front)
I actually had the presence of mind to reverse the two portions of the strap, so they hang identically.

I had a few scraps left with recipes written on I thought I might incorporate those somehow on the back.
Initially I was going to place a recipe for hummus and arabic coffee on the back (those were the scraps left), above the large piece that I had placed on the bottom of the back piece.
But it was just too plonked on there. There was no cohesiveness.

So I decided to cut the scraps up at random and do a sort-of seminole quilting technique, but without precision.
Barb (back)
I was initially disappointed with myself for being so rash and ruining a perfectly good piece of text.
But I'm trying to get away from being glued to my ruler and a pattern guide.
I figure any sort of experimentation is both freeing and a learning experience.

So I made a band encased with bias strips I cut out of the plaid fabric,
but it was just missing something.

Then it came to me!
I decided to copy two images from a cookbook onto fabric.
I found the cookbook in a box of freebies at the library (written about here. One pic, and the other pic)
Using the entire page was overkill, so I just cut out the woman and placed her to the left under the band.
Tea Tote Detail
I then copied the lamp onto shrink plastic and made two buttons, in two sizes.
I like to work in odd numbers, and travel the eye around to (in this instance ) three places.

I think these elements added a unique twist, and the added interest I needed.

On the front, I didn't like the plain 'Kingdom of Saudi Arabia' design, so I partially covered it with a bowl of something (a dessert probably) from the same cookbook page.
I then took a coin from the United Arab Emirates with matching jug imagery
(I found this when working in a cash vault, and couldn't believe my luck. It's so perfect for this project).
I glued the coin to the back of a button-cover to give it a shank, thereby making it into a button.
button detail
See how it's the same coffee pot? Cool, huh?

So I accomplished what I intended, which was to learn, to grow, to try something new.

The gallery of all the purses submitted for the challenge will be posted tomorrow (link on my other blog).

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Blogger sharon said...

really cute purse, Barb. I've got one in the works but it is patternless.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I love the purse! Great towel and pattern. The piecing on the back is so much more interesting than it would have been if you'd done the safe thing and used the whole piece ( like I did)
I saw the craft show, the crafts were awesome, but the people were really the "stars". What an amazing group of people, so diverse but all with the same drive and passion to express themselves.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Jennifer W. said...

Wow, Barb - it's great! You added so many fun elements! I love the theme so much, and am tripping on the fact that the jug on the towel matches the one on the coin...

6:37 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

That coin is the perfect detail!

Sorry, looks like I'm going to miss this deadline, but I still hope to make this purse. I'm out of town and nowhere near a sewing machine until Monday.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Sue Bleiweiss said...

Nicely done Barb!

3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must really still be sick because I fell asleep during that Craft show. Lucky I've got it on Tivo and I'm going to try to watch it again this weekend.

Your purse is truly brilliant. You've come up with a beautifully unique design.

9:02 AM  
Blogger beckie said...

I like, I like! It looks functional but still fun!

2:45 PM  
Blogger Mizfixit said...

Adorable purse! And what a neat thing that coin and towel have the same design!

5:35 PM  

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