This was a present for a good friend (whom I hadn't seen for far too long) with a December birthday. It's a slightly modified version of the free gathered clutch pattern/tutorial by Anna of Noodlehead. I made both the front and back gathered, and the band across the purse is narrower. The whole thing is only 8" long because I cut all the pieces too small by mistake. I only sewed one row of gathering stitches on each piece, which seemed to be enough. And I eliminated the iron-on interfacing - I hate that stuff, it smells so toxic - by stitching the edges of the gathers to some plain interfacing; I used nasty synthetic interfacing here (I am still working my way through that one metre, I haven't bought any more!), but the lining pieces were interfaced with reclaimed fabric (old pillowcase).
|I stitched the crinkles to the sew-in interfacing|
The instructions given are generally very good but I did have some trouble with the zip end covers. I've used Florence's directions before but this time I decided to try Anna's different method. She says you shouldn't stitch through the zip ends when you come to sew the outsides and linings together. I ended up with a hole at each end and I didn't like that so I unpicked (unpicking stitches from synthetic interfacing is not fun!) and re-stitched through the zip ends. It means you get some crinkling but no holes.
|Birthday wishes inside and a scrap of coordinating flowery fabric|
The striped cotton fabric is from an old dress which was cut on the bias. It was thriftier to cut my purse pieces straight along the edges of the old dress pieces, which means they are on the bias too. The plain pink/mauve is handwoven fair-trade organic cotton. The tassel is made from embroidery threads (bought part-used on Ebay from someone who'd given up embroidering), following instructions from an old knitting book. The little message inside is stamped with fabric ink on a scrap of reclaimed white cotton.
|Wrapped in re-used tissue paper with a leaf skeleton and natural raffia|
I don't think my friend realised I'd made the purse when she unwrapped the present. I'm sure other crafters have had this problem; what do you do? When someone admires something I've made without knowing I've made it, I'm often too shy to say, "I made it!" - that might seem like boasting. So this time I said nothing, but I think she will have realised when she looked inside and saw the stamped label. Perhaps I'll send her an email telling her what the purse is made of and how to wash it.