Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mending the handles on a handbag with faux leather

Do you like shopping for handbags? I do NOT! 

I like a functional (not trendy) handbag/purse that holds all my stuff in an organized fashion. I like a purse in a basic color, sections on the inside, a light-colored interior, pockets on the inside and outside, and zippered or flapped pockets are even better. The bag also has to completely close—so if it slides or tips over in the car, the contents do not fall out. So when I find one that suits my criteria, I want it to last!

My functional purse with worn out handles.

I’ve had this purse for several years. It fits my needs! But, as you can see, the fabric is cracked and worn at the “bendy” place on the handles.

Cracked and worn purse handles.

On a visit to Wilson’s Fabric in Boaz, AL, I talked to the expert in their upholstery department. I asked her about a faux leather fabric, showed her the purse, and she fixed me right up!

Faux leather, tools and old handles.

The purse repair process

The repair was quick and fairly easy. After removing one of the old handles, I measured it, added about an inch to accommodate the fold around the hardware, and cut four pieces (two for each handle). The faux leather was easily cut with a rotary cutter and ruler.

With wrong sides together, two pieces were edge stitched to each other for each handle. The faux leather does not slide as easily under the presser foot as does other fabrics. A roller presser foot would have helped with this.

I left one of the old handles attached so I could use it as reference on how to attach the new one. It was a bit cumbersome to get the handle and bag under the needle at the sewing machine, but I took it slow and managed. I used binding/hem tape to hold the handle in place while sewing—a good tip as I couldn’t get a pin through two layers of the faux leather. The black thread (top and bobbin) blended with the faux leather to camouflage any stitching inaccuracies.

Successful handbag repair!

So, here is a completed project for “Me Mend May#memendmay! The project supports the concepts of slow fashion, sustainability, making do, and prevents me from making a trip to the mall and facing the arduous task of finding a suitable replacement. The new handles work great and it’s like having a brand new handbag.


Sunday, May 12, 2024

The 100 Day Project: Day 85 update

Happy Mother’s Day and Day 85 of my 100 Day Project 2024.

With only 15 days remaining of the 100 Day Project 2024Paint, Paper, Stitch, I’m posting my progress with some of my favorite watercolor and stitched compositions.

Day 14 composition: slow drawing, background fills.

The Day 14 composition (above) started with the flower shapes drawn with a black waterproof ink marker and a watercolor background fill. Around Day 73, color was added to the flower petals. On Days 74 and 75, the feather stitching was added to the petals. The french knots were added recently on Day 84. This is how these painted compositions generally evolve.

The composition below from Days 30 and 31 used the flat wash technique and is one of the first that included stitching. The stitching with the orange thread gives this composition a focal point.

Days 30 and 31: flat washes and background fills.

The composition for Day 32 is a second composition in painting flat washes with these oval shapes. This composition came to life with the stitching using the backstitch. The variation in thread weight (thickness), thread color, and overlapping the stitched oval shapes gave this composition a lot more interest than the painting by itself..

Day 32 composition: flat washes.

I experimented more with wet-on-dry painting techniques (glazing) on the Day 48 composition. I needed a painted background on which to practice the slow drawing “U” pattern. Wanting to test a new cotton thread from Scanfil, the seed stitch and french knots were added over a period of a few days. Perle cotton and embroidery floss were used for the color stitches. 

This composition has become more intricate and layered. I have not decided whether to add more stitching…

Day 48 composition: wet on wet painting, blooming, slow drawing

The Day 7 composition was a “walk the dog” painting exercise from Willa Wanders’ Watercolor for Relaxation course. It was also an early experiment with running stitches.

Day 7 composition: color mixing, flat wash exercises.

Create Daily Tracker

I continue to use my Create Daily Tracker for documenting a daily practice. During the 100 Day Project, the date square is colored with the sky blue colored pencil. If my daily process consists more heavily on another technique—free-motion quilting, slow stitching, garment sewing, etc.—the block is colored differently. I’ve had a few finishes during the 100 Day Project as well, which is indicated by a color other than sky blue.

Create Daily 2024 Tracker: May 12, 2024.

A snapshot in time of a daily creative process.


Sunday, May 5, 2024

Scrappy kitty quilts, Make Nine 2024 finish #5

Fun and Easy! These two scrappy, kitty quilts for our neighbor’s two cats definitely qualify. This is my fifth Make Nine 2024 finish.

Quilted and trimmed scrappy quilts ready for binding.

I pieced two scrappy quilt tops earlier this year when I was purging and organizing discontinued fabric samples. Then, when my machine was set up for free-motion quilting for the Spellbound quilt, it was easy to sandwich and put these two tops under the needle as well.

The quilt backs are a soft, thick flannel.

Flannel quilt backs.

The binding was attached by machine.

Prepping the binding.

The quilts went to our neighbor, Julie, who has two indoor cats… and who occasionally feeds our outside cats if we are away overnight.

Two scrappy kitty quilts. 23.5” x 26.75” and 22.75” x 27”. 

I’m counting this finish as fulfilling the “Fun and Easy” prompt for Make Nine 2024.

Make Nine 2024 tracker, April 20, 2024.

Five down. Four to go.


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