Amongst my boot fair finds was a fab wool embroidered handmade bag , fell in love and thought I would carry out a bit of refurbishment .
The embroidery was lovely but the fringing was felted and the handles needed replacing , so I took the bag apart, the front panel was quite an uneven shape, happily the lining was in good shape so I cut a pattern from the lining from that. I used the new handles to draw the stitching line then added the seam allowance .
As the bag opens either side of the handles to about 6 inches , I cut out a facing which sat just below this opening. I cut the bottom part of the lining from glazed cotton, adding a pocket in the seam . I choose some black mid weight wool from my stash for the replacement back panel and the facings and cut canvas backing for front , back and facings. Making sure all pieces were notched at the opening , centres and for balance around the curves.After stay stitching the backing to all the pieces it was time to put the bag back together!
Firstly I used a piping foot to attach a faux leather piping all round the back panel and to the opening section of the front – ending stitching at the notch.
Next I attached the facings stitching, trimming and clipping the curve. Pressed the seam open and then attached the lining , the pocket goes in the back panel , I stitched one pocket bag to centre of facing and one to centre of lining panel , leaving seam allowance of 1cm free at the both sides.
The lining was then attached , stitching right up to the end of the pocket bag stitching on either side.
The pocket bag was then stitched all round taking care not to catch the upper seam allowance .
Back lining done, I then stitched the lining to the front facing , and pressed .
I should have changed thread colour to attach the lining as the black shows on the pocket opening edge – knew I should do it but thought it I would get away with it !
Deciding to carry on regardless, next I attached the handles, the “shoulder” seams of the bag (from the handle to the opening are to be sewn with the handles in place, I inserted the handles between the facing and outer pieces and stitched from the opening notch as far towards the handle as possible with the machine .
Then stitched the remainder of the seam by hand .
Next a magnetic fastener was attached to the centre of each facing , just above where the seam allowance sits to reduce bulk , I marked a small piece of canvas and used an unpicker / seam ripper to make small holes through to the facing , I find best way to ensure these holes are not cut too large accidentally is to insert the unpicker at the base of the marking and then bring it back out at the top of the mark thus limiting the cut . Once done the fastenings were inserted to both facings .
Next I stitched tch the seam across the base of the bag. Matching balance notches , I stitched from one notch marking the bottom of the opening , round to the notch on the other side , up to where the stitching line for the “shoulder ” seams stopped . There was a lot of bulk here so I hand tacked to control the placement before machining.
This was repeated for the lining seam , leaving a gap in the seam sufficient for turning through .(just larger than the handle!)
The seams were trimmed and curves clipped and then the bag was turned through.
I used a bone seam presser to encourage the fabric up around the handles, anything sharper may have penetrated the fabric- which would have been a bit of a disaster at this stage! The binding sits nicely up around the handles .
I’ve just noticed my seam presser is called “Crease Mouse”!!
To hold the handles in place I stab stitched around the curve with wool , using a yarn similar to the original embroidery .
To finish off I tacked the seam allowances at the sides of the bag together to prevent it pulling out and slip stitched the lining seam closed. Am pleased with how the bag has turned out , there are other ways to attach the handles , the original was hand stitched to the lining, this way worked pretty well although needed some persuasion to sit tightly against the handle once turned through, a lighter fabric may have turned through easier!
Do you have any tips for this type of bag ? Would love to hear from you !