Thursday, 18 October 2012

Beautiful Bags

I really enjoy my weekly machine embroidery class at The Letchworth Settlement but it is not without its challenges. About half a dozen of the ladies have been coming to the class since I started teaching there but each term we also have another half dozen new ladies, some of whom are complete beginners. So my challenge is to come up with something interesting enough for those with experience but not so difficult as to put off the newcomers.
 
 
I usually start with some sort of sampler of free machine stitches and this year we have appliqed strips of coloured fabric to a felt backing and worked a variety of free machine patterns over the surface. Plenty of opprtunity to practise! We have then used the resulting fabrics to make a simple bag consisting of two circles based on the petal bag in Jenny Rolfe's lovely book of Embroidered Bags. Making bags has also given us the opportunity to make cords and tassels.

 
I made a couple of samples...one large bag from circles about 6" wide and then a second smaller bag from 3" circles.

 
The ladies in the class then set about making their own with these fantastic results. Not all of them were finished when I took the photos but you can see what a brilliant job they have done. I thought I would remember whose was whose when I took the pictures... but now I'm not so sure!

 
I'm pretty certain the collection above are Jean's but everytime I look at the following five photos I change my mind as to who made which bag. Sorry ladies... they are all fabulous!





 
Just remembered that the one below is Jan's... maybe?

 
And this one is definitely Margaret's...

 
Because she also made these very clever scissor keepers from her smaller bags.

 
And this gorgeous multi- coloured bag is Di's because she also made a very clever beaded button closure as well as a beaded tassel.

 
And Marian made this one with a beautiful twisted and beaded cord (all done on the sewing machine)

 
One of the other "challenges" of this class is they like to come up with things for me to do while they are busy stitching. Someone will casually throw out a suggestion... and before I know it I've taken the bait! This time someone thought that the smaller bags would look good as little gift bags for the Christmas tree... and then someone suggested a collection of then would be rather nice as a Christmas garland...

 
So here they are... I made six mini bags, finished off with beads rather than tassels...

 
Just waiting for a suitable cord from which I can string them.

 
I did however, resist the suggestion that I might make twenty four of them as little Advent bags. A step too far even for me I think!

18 comments:

Julie said...

Beautiful work by all the ladies. What a lovely idea for Christmas.

Sarah said...

Fabulous! What a great idea!

Heather said...

Stunning results from everyone. I usually have a nervous twitch at just the wrong moment when working free machining. I love the shape of the bags and it's a great idea to hang tiny ones on the Christmas Tree.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

They certainly are fabulous. :)
You're obviously an excellent teacher as your student's work is always amazing!
Vivienne x

Jill said...

Genius Gina! - I have the book, but have never made this bag. I like to stitch a Christmas ornament for friends, couldn't think of an idea for this year - you may have done it for me!!
Yours and your pupils are lovely by the way.

Cathy H said...

The bags are fabulous....... What a great idea to make the smaller ones for Christmas decoration......

Clare Wassermann said...

Wow these are just fabulous. I've got itchy fingers now. Must make some xxxxxxx

dottycookie said...

Very lovely bags, what lever ladies! But yes, 24 might just push you over the edge ...

Carol Q said...

fabulous results Gina, especially if some of the ladies are beginners and what an interesting shape for the bag. I must admit, I like the idea of advent bags though I'm not sure I could make 24 either! lol

FLOWER FRIEND said...

These look great Gina and how nice that you all had ideas bouncing around to extend the original class. Wish it was near enough for me to take part.

pam said...

They are all lovely and the small garland bags are really gorgeous.

Angela said...

The bags are lovely and I agree with the suggestion of you making them into an advent calendar. I'm sure you've got plenty of time :-)

Twiglet said...

Well what a fab post this is! I love the bags - what a simple but so unique idea. The little Christmas tree bags are stunning too - I might have to have a go myself! x jo

Jane Greiner said...

These bags are gorgeous, Gina! Your ladies must have worked hard to produce them.
Jane
www.texturetrail.blogspot.com

Printed Material said...

What a gorgeous thing Gina, in all its permutations. As my machine embroidery is not up to the fabulous standard of your ladies I may adapt the process and try making them with something else as the idea of using them for scissor keepers really appeals. What a great idea for a personally crafted Christmas gift. It has set the old grey cells a churning...

Annie said...

Gorgeous work Gina. Can't believe you held out steadfastly against that challenge of dear little Advent bags. They would look so cute........

menopausalmusing said...

Such lovely work and such totally individual interpretations re colour and pattern.....

Greedy Nan said...

I too have this lovely book [and another by her]. They're both so inspirational. I've made a couple of bags from it but unfortunately, just having the books doesn't make you able to be emulate what's inside. More practice needed [story of my life I'm afraid].