• Madwomanstitches

4th assessed piece - Accessory or set of Accessories: Part 1

Okay - so this is the FINAL piece of work to be created for assessment ... HURRAY! Once I had okayed my idea, I could prepare my design brief. Being a lace-maker, I wanted to make something that had been on my mind for a while; so here is the design brief:

  • Design a bag/case to carry lace bobbins. The bobbins to be held in removable internal pockets

  • The pockets will each hold 20 pairs of bobbins and there will be 5 pockets to hold a total of 100 bobbins.

  • There should be at least 1 internal pocket to hold other accessories such as pricking tool, pin lifter, pins, thread etc.

  • There should be 2 outer pockets: one to hold a matching pincushion and the other to hold: a matching needle case… to be completed if time allows.

I found sample images of bags to use as inspiration (I don't own the copyright, so won't show them here), and began by sketching some ideas:

Final design sketch:

The next step was to make a mock-up of the bag. I mainly wanted to check that the bag would be of a manageable size.

Now I had the main bag sorted, I began work on a design for pouches to fit inside the bag that would hold my bobbins. There are a couple of designs that are well known, but somehow they didn't suit my plans. I didn't like the first one as the beads on the bobbins would become crushed in the middle and the bobbin themselves would probably fall out!

This design is more well known and is functional as a stand-alone folded case. The top folds down and then the whole pouch is rolled up and tied with a ribbon.

Finally, I decided on this:

Another thing I had decided to do from quite early on was to create my own fabric. Using a design development from an earlier module, I came up with this:

I cut out card shapes in the size I wanted and then used them to produce a colour overview like the one below. At this point I knew that I was going to make something resembling stained glass. I love glass art and have done a couple of workshops with a brilliant stained glass artist on the Isles of Scilly - Oriel Hicks. I sourced some binding that was self adhesive, so all I had to do was to iron it in place before stitching - fab!

Of course, I went through the usual process of trying out different colour swatches, etc; and so, my sample fabric looked like this:

However, if you look carefully at the sketch above, you will see a note to use 'ice-dyed' fabrics and linings dyed to co-ordinate! I knew I would find a good use for those beautiful fabrics I dyed way back in Module .. erm ... whatever! Too excited to look now, I just got out the fabrics and started work. I had a limited amount of fabric and no time to dye more, so I had to be careful. I prepared patterns for cutting; cutting guides; scale diagrams and a list of pattern pieces to cut out; all with the aim of being as prudent as possible when cutting out.

Cutting out the fabric shapes was so enjoyable; knowing that this was my fabric and there was nothing else like it anywhere, was such a thrill. The first step was to rough-cut shapes in fusible webbing. There are various brand names out there, but it must have a silicon paper backing and adhesive on both sides for this. Trace the shapes onto the paper and then cut out roughly (leaving a small amount outside the cutting line).

Next, iron the pieces onto the wrong side of the fabric. Carefully cut out each shape.

TIP: peel back the paper backing a little so that it will be easier to peel off after cutting. Cut on the lines and be as accurate as possible.

I ironed the pieces onto a backing of plain white Egyptian cotton, I had ice-dyed fabric in various shades, so cut them all out first and then mixed them up on the backing fabric. I tried not to get too similar pieces next to each other. Here you can see how beautiful they look when pressed into place!

The bias binding was self adhesive. I applied the short pieces first, then the long, wavy ones. It was so much better having the adhesive backing on the binding and it stretched into shape beautifully, as I went along with my mini iron. I use my soldering iron with a tiny iron-shaped tip. It gives better control.

The final stage of preparing the fabric was to stitch the bias binding into place. I used a twin needle to save time.

Wow! I had forgotten how much work this was. I really was on a tight schedule for this, as I had only a few weeks until the final deadline for finishing the whole City & Guilds qualification. I took the full 5 years, because of various family and health problems, and I still have to pinch myself to believe I did it! I actually ended up taking this on holiday ... luckily, we were self-catering for 2 weeks, so I could take my sewing machine, etc.

Next time will be the bag construction .. hope you come back! Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment, ask questions etc.

#bobbincase #bag #biasbinding #fusibleweb #stainedglass #twinneedle #pattern #cuttinglist