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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Accessories Challenge · Purses

The theme for October's Accessorizing Head-to-Toe Challenge was Bags and Purses.  Read about last month's entry here!

October was a very busy month, sewing wise, due to Reformation Day (posts about our outfits will be up later this month!) so I wanted to keep this month's "Accessories Challenge" small and quick.  It was just the impetus I needed to finally make a purse for this frame that I bought 5 years ago. :-)  A quick trip to Pinterest, and I had the inspiration I needed. ;-) ( I love that site so much!)  Since the design on the frame is fairly "Art Nouveau", I wanted a purse that fit into an early 1900s theme. 

I did have to put away my grand thoughts of a microbeaded purse after I remembered the "quick" part, though.... ;-)

See?  How can you not want this??  And surely I'd be able to acquire the requisite skills and proficiency to make this in 2 weeks, right? ;-)

I looked through our stash for fabrics to use, and came across scraps of this velvet, leftover from a different project.  I found several velvet purses from the early 1900s, so after deciding on a shape, it became clear that I needed some embroidery to spruce it up a bit. :-)  I was quite pleased to find that we also had enough pieces of various coordinating colors of silk ribbon for the embroidery, so that was an easy choice!

It has been awhile since I've done ribbon embroidery, and I'm not sure why I haven't found more excuses to use it!  I am always amazed by how good it looks with so little effort and time!  Very gratifying. :-)

The lining was left over from my silk 1950s dress and turned out to be a great match. :-)
The one aspect that paralyzed me with this project was attaching it to the frame!  I tried to find some tutorials online, but was unsuccessful in finding one for my style of frame.  It has a few small holes around the edge, so I just finished off the edges of the purse and then sewed it on through the holes.  The end result is passable, but I'm still not convinced it's as good as it could be.  So if anyone has any tips, I'd love to hear them! ;-)

All in all, I'm very pleased with the result and I'm sure it will get plenty of use! :-)

Historical Period:  Inspired by purses from the early 1900s

The Accessory:  Ribbon-Embroidered Velvet Purse
Outfit It Accessorizes:  None specifically
Materials Used:  Velvet, lining, silk ribbon for embroidery, and metal frame and chain- all from the stash, Hooray!
Techniques Used:  Ribbon Embroidery, Sewing


  1. How stunning! The colors are just gorgeous and I love the coordinating lining. Makes me want to give ribbon embroidery a try! I just scored 3.5 yards of aubergine rayon velvet at a garage sale yesterday for $5... Was thinking of a Christmas dress for L. I'll bet some ribbon embroidery around the neckline would be lovely! Hmmm, will have to ponder that... :-). Anyway, sorry I can't help with the frame issues... I haven't made this kind of purse before, just drooled at frames online. ;-)

    1. Wow! What a great deal! I can't wait to see what you make with it- ribbon embroidery would be a lovely touch! :-)

  2. That is absolutely gorgeous!!! I love it. I've got to try that soon!

  3. So pretty! Love the ribbon embroidery. I've only done a very little of it but I really appreciated the instant gratification factor. ;-)

    1. I think you should do more of it. On second thought, how about if you come up with more ribbon embroidery projects for me to do! ;-)

  4. Even with your perceived "imperfections" it still looks perfectly lovely! :) Ribbon embroidery is something I've always wanted to learn. Was it hard at first?

    I have a reproduced Titanic handbag (ie, movie reproduction) that I'm wanting to finish with a frame, but haven't yet. This gives me the inspiration to settle on buying one soon.

    1. Thank you, Cheri! In my experience, it had very little learning curve. It truly is the easiest form of embroidery I've done! :-)

      I'm glad I could inspire you, and I'd love to see your finished result! :-)

  5. Wow, what a marvelous mix of colors and textures! The orange lining is such a surprise, but it works so flawlessly with the color scheme of the embroidery! This is really very beautiful and inspiring (:

  6. Beautiful! The embroidery adds the perfect touch, as well as the gorgeous orange lining.

    The Middle Sister and Singer

  7. Oh my, that's so beautiful. Where did you learn how to do the ribbon embroidery? Methinks it's high time I get around to learning... :-)

    1. Aww, thanks Rebecca! :-)

      I picked up some booklets a few years ago when they were on clearance at Hobby Lobby. Specifically, they were from the Anna Griffin Decorative Stitchery collection and I got the "Josephine" and "Victoria" books. I also purchased a "lot" of ribbon embroidery supplies from eBay and that came with some booklet from the 90s. It had just as much information as the Anna Griffin ones, but I found the uninspiring colorways and designs to be surprisingly off-putting and hard to use for ideas.

      All that to say that you can find instructions for how to do the stitches just about anywhere, but I really recommend the Anna Griffin books for inspiration. :-)



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