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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Fun Cross-Body Bags

If you are familiar with Portland, you already know that NW 23rd is a destination.  Shops and restaurants line the street for many blocks.  The area glows with eclectic energy.

Artisan Avenue Marketplace is one of my favorite places to drop in.  Featuring local artists, there is always something new to admire.  The owner is delightful and helpful.  She has shared inspiration and ideas to explore.  My last visit, she suggested cross-body bags with animals.  I came home and started work.  I had a few false starts that I may share later in a blooper blog.  As a result of her suggestion, I made six cross-body bags, three of which feature animal art.  

The process I use has been described in many previous posts, but if you cannot find an answer for your question, please send me email.  I am always happy to hear from you! 

I hope you enjoy!


8 inches across the top, flaring to 9-1/2 inches across the bottom.  7 inches tall

Typically, I do not use patterns for the bags I make.  Over the years, I have adopted a few simple techniques that allow me to customize bag size, shape and features.  For this bull dog bag, I ventured from those basic techniques to add a small pleat - something I thought would be a simple addition.  I made a muslin prototype to test the pleat and verify measurements.  I did not take the prototype far enough and caused myself a lot of extra work.  I like the pleat idea, but need to refine how to make it work with lining, gusset and zipper.

For all of these bags, I start with a bag shape and size that will accommodate the thread sketch.  I draw the bag shape on my sketch pad and make a simple drawing that can be used to transfer to the fabric.  

You can see the shape of the bag and my intent to fill the front with the face and ears of the bull dog.  I thought the small pleat at top center would enhance the wrinkled face.  It was also my plan to place the zipper across the top.  

After transferring my sketch to the fabric, I stitched the outline.  This picture shows the outline completed and paint applied.  I have started stitching the wrinkles and his left eye.  

You can see that the metal zipper is on the back rather than across the top.  The small pleat on the front caused the zipper to bulge in an unattractive manner.  I had also created a bull-dog backside for the back of the bag.  It gave us a few laughs, but "in the end," I decided not to use it.  It will be featured in a Blooper Blog!l 

3D Giraffe

8-1/2 wide x 9 inches tall

If you have followed my blog for a while, you may recognize this little guy.  He first made an appearance in December of 2017, Thread Sketched Africa.  I re-drew him to give a 3-D appearance.

My sketch pad drawing and the head stitched separately to give a 3D effect.

I stitched most of the design on his head before applying it to the canvas.  This gave his face more depth and allowed his ears to remain free. For easier stitching, the small head was supported by a larger piece of tear-away stabilizer.

The sketch of the body was transferred to the fabric and stitched.  Very little paint was added.  I used couching techniques to create the mane and tail.  When the picture was completed, I added it to the bag fabric and completed the bag as normal.  

Lazy Days Elephant

Floppy ears, button eyes, sparkling nails and rag edge canvas.

Basic lines on the scratch pad.

The elephant's basic shape was transferred to the paper side of heat & bond stabilizer.  It did not matter to me which way the elephant faced, so I did not bother to reverse the picture.  I applied the heat bond to the fabric and ironed it to my canvas.  Then used my old stand-by, water-soluble stabilizer to transfer the lines to the front.  The ears were created separately and stitched with a lot of easy, ad-lib type stitching before tucking them behind the head.  This keeps them free of the canvas.    

A little blue background color was added to the completed picture and the canvas was hand embroidered using large, un-even stitches.

Three More Bags

If you see something you like, some of these bags are listed on my 

Thank you for visiting my blog, my new picture gallery, and my Facebook page!
I hope you will come again!