Something I have wanted to try for ages is needle felting! I’ve been very distracted by learning to construct clothing, design work, and work at a local PR firm. Recently I was inspired by a purse my mom brought home from the Anthropologie sale rack. It was a beautiful sack style purse with leather handles and was decorated with burnt red needle felted wool on black.
I loved the bag but I definitely wanted to try making it for myself! Below is my first attempt (and success!) and needle felting, purse design, and sewing with leather. It was a really fun project!
The bag is a heavy wool felt in dark slate grey with all different colored wool yarns. Pinks, yellows, browns, blacks, purples, blues and greens. I also used bundles of wool to add some variation in thickness. It took me two days to felt the fabric and from there I cut the shape. I really wanted something asymmetrical and something that would show off the leather strap. On one side is a kind of slumped rounded satchel and the other is a corner where the leather follows the edge into the corner.
This is my first time carelessly cutting into fabric with just a general idea of what I wanted the finished project to look like. I allowed space for seams, darts and zippers and was pretty happy with what my mental guestimations resulted in.
The inside is lined with a beautiful brown silk and has every pocket I could ever want. Gum sized, pen sized, phone sized, iPod sized and one zippered pocket.
The top has a really nice heavy-duty gold metal zipper. I wanted all of my materials to contrast a bit so with my soft fluffy crafty purse I wanted a hard industrial looking zipper and a super textured geometric leather.
This was my first experience making a leather strap. I read a lot online about buying a teflon plate and foot for the machine to keep the leather moving through the machine smoothly but I am not about to invest in new machine parts. Instead I put tissue paper on either side of the leather I was stitching, and used clamps instead of needles to avoid extra holes. The tissue paper worked great but afterwards is a bit of a challenge to remove. A damp (not wet!) tooth-brush was able to soften the paper and scrub it lightly out of the stitches.
All in all I’m quite happy with this. I’d like to know how people feel about it. I have gotten a positive response on my purse but I am thinking of making some smaller clutch style bags with my felted fabric and leather to sell in the Megnificent Made store. I’ll have to wrap my head around designing this week!