Isn’t “adorned” a lovely word? My husband is away again this week, so I set my sewing machine up on the dining room table and set the goal of sewing together the pouches I began adorning a couple of weeks ago. I was trying out various ideas here. I like some of these ideas better than others.
These first three have decoration on only one side. The top left is printed with a hand-carved stamp on linen. The top right is embroidered, and the bottom one is a combination of the two.
Embroidery inspired by faience design.
The embroidery on this pouch was inspired by designs on faience, such as on this bowl. I tried to match the fabric to the color of faience, but this fabric is hard to photograph correctly. I’m not sure I like it as the entire pouch, actually. (I’ll show you another pouch further down that uses the turquoise fabric more sparingly, to better effect, I think.)
The tree pouch is a favorite size of mine–it uses a 5″ zipper and is just the right size to hold money and credit cards, or a cell phone. I have two pouches this size in my bag and I use them for exactly those items.
The perfect size for my cell phone.
The buds are French knots, and the tree itself is stamped with a hand-carved stamp. I’m pleased with this design. I don’t think I’d change it. Most of these pouches, by the way, are lined with a simple sturdy woven cotton, thicker than quilting cotton. It gives the bag some structure, and it was serviceable for this trying out of ideas.
These next bags are decorated on both sides.
On the top one, I kept the outside fabric as one piece because I wanted to experiment with having the embroidery wrap right around. I do like that effect, but I’m not sure it’s worth the extra fiddling–it makes it much harder to sew the zipper onto the second side, because it creates a tube. Top-stitching was tricky. (I like to top-stitch along the zipper edge so no fabric gets caught in the zipper teeth–you can see the line of blue stitching in the bottom pouch above.) And I’m not sure the lining sits perfectly. I am a stickler for perfection; I see so many flaws in these that I’m not sure I should consider selling anything ever. It bothers me to no end that I can’t figure a reliable way to get the zipper edges to line up exactly right on the sides. They always seem to shift a little.
That said, I will say that the embroidery on this pouch is beautiful, interesting, and unique.
Embroidery detail, inspired by Haeckel’s radiolarians.
The bottom pouch in the photo above is decorated with prints of hand-carved stamps, again inspired by faience designs (from this hippo). I much prefer the turquoise sewn onto the linen like this, and the inside of that pouch is lined with the turquoise fabric. I find it much more balanced, and I love the patch effect.
Here’s the other side of these two pouches.
And a detail of the embroidery on this side of the larger pouch.
Embroidery detail on zippered pouch, inspired by Haeckel’s radiolarians.
Finally, a word on the size. I made the larger pouches deeper than I have in the past, mostly to give myself a larger canvas to work with. But I tend to like a shallower pouch with this length zipper. In the photo below, you can see the difference. I keep my sketching pencils in the bag on the right.
Size comparison of two pouches.
I’m not sure what the best use of a deeper bag with this length zipper might be. Is there one?
So, I’m curious. What size do you like best in a zippered pouch? Pencil size, or bigger? Which of these do you like best? Least? I like the look of anything on linen, so I like the stamped and embroidered linen bags quite a bit. I’m a little overwhelmed by an entirely faience-colored bag, but I like it as one element in the design–I really like how the patches came out on the smaller bag. I also like that these bags have a story–they are inspired by something in particular and are all unique. Each design began with a drawing of mine, translated into either a stamp or a piece of embroidery. If I were to work these into something to sell, I’d want to include the inspiration story with each piece.
I’d love to hear your opinions, if you have any! And because today is Thursday (Dawn’s Making and Listening day), I’ll let you know that I mostly listened to the NCAA basketball tournament while I sewed these on the machine, and I watched Merlin while I hand-sewed the lining opening. I created a Mumford + Sons station on Pandora this week, but it dragged in all manner of depressing songs, including a strings-only instrumental of Eleanor Rigby. It’s probably not the best station for me right now…