Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Baubles & Beads

A few years ago, I made this dress.  I also made a matching velvet purse, but never got around to blogging about it.  Well, I am currently working with the scraps of the cherry silk/wool to make myself another dress, which reminded me of the bag.

I had some red velvet stashed away, and it was the perfect fabric to make a matching evening bag for my cherry gown.  Coincidentally, I used the same velvet to make an oversized rose hair accessory  many years ago, and ended up wearing it with this dress.

I started with Vogue 7354 as a pattern.  As drafted, there was hardly any room in the purse, and I wanted more of a round shaped accessory that might resemble a cherry, so I increased the diameter of the two circles that make up the bag.  Before cutting into velvet or spending a lot of time beading said velvet, I mocked up a version in some scrap fabric.  One circle was cut 1" larger in diameter than the original, the other 2" larger - I ended up using the larger of the two.

Some of the beads I found in my stash, but I did have to make a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to find the larger ones.  My initial idea was to really go for a cherry inspired look, so I thought I would add beaded leaves near the handles.  Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, as it turns out) time was against me, and the beaded leaves never materialized.

Then I had to test out my beading pattern.  If I hated it, I could scrap the beads and go for a plain velvet bag.  But where would the fun be in that?

A scrap of cotton doubled as interfacing and a means to mark my beading pattern.

I basted the two layers together with red silk thread.  The thread almost disappeared into the nap of the velvet, but did leave a slight trail that I could follow while applying the beads.  And since the basting was invisible after the beading process, there was no need to remove those stitches.  Hooray!

I was not about to fight with this velvet and a zipper foot and hope that the top stitching would look decent on the first go, so I knew I would be hand-picking the zipper.  

I decided to add beads along that stitching line.  A few years ago I saw this technique in Threads Magazine used on a center back zipper for a dress, and I thought it would work nicely for this bag.

I was a bit concerned that the embroidery hoop might leave a mark in this napped fabric so I decided to make the beaded portion of the design fit within that hoop.  

As it turns out, the gathered velvet really masks where the beads stop, so there was no problem there.  And a quick blast of steam from the iron solved the ridged hoop issue.

The final bit of beading was adding the large rondelles to the middle of the gridded pattern.  One side down, one to go!

Once the beading was complete, it was time to stitch everything together.

Gathering velvet fabric is a real pain, let me tell you!  But I did manage to get it done without breaking a thread, thank goodness.

The velvet pieces were basted together before sending them through the machine.  

Yes, I was in a rush, but I really did not want to rip any seams out, and without a walking foot, I just do not trust that my machine will behave.

My basting served me well, and everything went together painlessly (although I can vividly recall thinking that this outfit was never going to be finished on time!).

This lining fabric was not my first choice.  With no time to find something I liked better, I had to go with something that I had on hand.  

I prefer lighter colors in handbag linings because it makes it easier to find what you are looking for, and I thought the cherry print was a cute callback to the cherry print fabric of the dress.

And it doesn't get much easier than working with a quilting cotton!  That is one well behaved fabric.

A pocket was added to each side of the lining. 

And there we have it.

Another accessory finished just in the nick of time.  And I think I like this one better without the green beaded leaves.  It is certainly more versatile this way.  

And I was pretty pleased that I did not have to use some old boring black clutch to complete my outfit!


  1. How lovely! It's a perfect complement to the dress, and the beading adds just the right amount of sparkle to make it an extra-special accessory.

  2. What a special bag to match your dress. I really, really love the addition of those beads around your zipper!

  3. Wow��Beautiful bag, perfect finishing touch to the outfit.

  4. Both the dress and the bag are gorgeous!

  5. Laura Mae,

    You tame velvet, turn tell-tale thread tracks into a guide, go out looking better than the law allows, and you made this bag at the last minute out of scraps!

    Can't recovery mode.

  6. I'll just say "Wow" and leave it at that. Beautiful work! Confidentially, a black clutch is Cathy's favorite go-to accessory. I hope she won't be offended!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous! Love the attention to detail, it is beautiful.

  8. Laura Mae, What a pleasure it always is to read about your care & planning. Your joy in handwork is palpable. Thanks for sharing with us all.

  9. Ridiculously talented - that's all I'm going to say...