Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Potted Purse

I have been waiting for an opportunity to make up Simplicity 4159, and my green silk gown was the perfect backdrop.  I love the flowerpot idea, but thought the idea could be improved by the addition of some foliage.

Because the dupioni is rather lightweight, I used some black cotton in my stash to underline it.  Then I used fleece (also in the stash) in place of the suggested “double sided stiff fusible interfacing” and hand basted it in place.  I am not even sure where I would look for something like that. 

The pattern consists of four trapezoidal pieces.  The padding is sandwiched between two pieces of the self fabric, sewn together, and then attached to a circular bottom.  For added stability, I inserted pieces of plastic canvas between the two layers.  I was concerned that the piece would end up very floppy.  I wanted the finished purse to have enough body to look solid and a few pieces of plastic needlepoint canvas did the trick.

I really did not use the directions very much.  With the addition of my plastic canvas, it was necessary to rework the order of construction.  

I also added a lining to the interior of the bag.  That would be my biggest problem with the pattern – the inside of the bag is completely unlined as drafted and leaves raw edges everywhere!  And the last thing I want in a purse is to reach in to pull something out and get a handful of fabric from shredded edges.

Because I just could not deal with the mess inside, I created my own lining.  To let the handle (which is sewn to the bottom of the purse) come through, I cut two pieces of the circular bottom from my lining fabric, drew a circle in the center (thank you spool of thread), stitched that circle, cut the center out, and flipped right side out so I had a finished hole.

The top of the purse with the drawstring was underlined in silk organza for ease in attaching the flowers and leaves.  

I used the tutorial over at Eva Dress to make my leaves – the only difference was that I used my silk dupioni and therefore had to finish the raw edges, which I did with a simple hand-rolled hem.  

The flowers are small squares of silk that I basted in a circular shape and gathered to create a little pillow which I secured on the finished bag.  I added beads to the prick-stitches that help shape the flower.

The fun part was adding the flora to the flower pot.

Yes, it is definitely matchy-matchy with my dress, but it was too much fun to pass up.  Actually, I was working on the bag prior to finishing the dress and was highly influenced by how the flowers and leaves worked in the silk dupioni and decided to go for the same look with the dress.


  1. Wow this is great. I have been trying to replicate 50's lucite bags in fabric for quite a while now. I sometimes use bucram as my stiffener. I tend to use cotton too. But think it time to try an evening fabric for a glamorous bag like yours. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Maybe some pale green silk chiffon trim would be nice on that purse? I like what you said about surfing and sewing. If you'd like to read more about my surfing experiences, just click on my blog. Email me from my profile, we can trade lessons perhaps. Aloha, D

  3. Have you ever worked with neoprene?

  4. I am not surprised that you won this competition Laura Mae. I always enjoy seeing your work on Pattern Review - your fashion sense is unique and your style is so perfect for you. Did you design the dress yourself and was there a pattern that provided you with some of the inspiration? I love the purse - I think I'll have to buy that pattern.