Sunday, December 6, 2009

DIY - Smile and the whole world smiles with you!

Do you remember Wa’ad, the talented twelve year old who crocheted this hat back in November? I have good news! She’s still crocheting, and has created this delightful interpretation of the Little Sunflower Purse.

The original purse was kitschy, impractical, and made of polypropylene cord. Wa’ad’s design improves on the original in every way. And as a bonus, her purse also looks like a very happy bumblebee!

To learn more about Wa’ad’s purse:

My good friend Hind (who you may remember from her many exquisite DIYs, including the TV Scarf) sent me these photos along with a detailed description of how Wa’ad created her purse.

She writes:
Hello, I am glad to present today the latest masterpiece from Wa'ad. The original pattern, when made in double knitting yarn, is so small that it could only make a coin purse. So Wa’ad chose to add 8 more rounds in black and yellow to get a proper size. This is how the additional rounds were done:

Rd 5- (In black) 3 ch and 1dc tog, 2dc. 2dc tog, 2 dc.
Rd 6- 3ch, 2 dc, 2 dc tog, 3 dc, 2 dc tog, 3 dc.
Rd 7- (In yellow) The same as Rd 6.
Rd 8- sc in every st with no addition.
Rd 9- (In black) 3 ch and 1 dc tog, 4 dc, 2dc tog, 4 dc.
Rd 10-11-12- sc in every st with no addition. Cut yarn.

Wa'ad could have made the second half of the bag in plain black, but she found it more interesting to repeat the first half, so that she doesn’t worry on which side she carries her bag. Both sides are alike, with a nice smiley face.
I love Wa’ad’s sense of design! And choosing a nice yarn instead of polypropylene cord was a wise choice. I made my own version of this purse faithful to the original instructions, and quite frankly no one wants to go anywhere near the thing. Not even me.
Around the inner yellow circle she made a round of slip stitches, after the work was finished, in order to cover the saw tooth look that resulted from changing the colours. This gives the face a neat round shape. The mouth was made in the same way. Making slip stitches over the finished work creates a look similar to chain stitch embroidery. It is done like this:

Hold the yarn with the left hand as usual under the finished piece of work. Insert the hook with the right hand in one of the 'holes' between two stitches and pick up the yarn. To get a loop on the hook, insert the hook into the next hole and pick up the yarn, passing the new loop through the loop on hook, and so on.
I need to start using this technique, instead of relying on my very crooked hand embroidery! I love how tidy the smile on Wa’ad’s purse is.

Hind continues:
The two parts of the bag were sewn together, leaving an approximately 25 cm opening for the zip fastener, which was sewn by hand.
It even zips up! This bag is awesome!
The strap consists of a number of chains making a comfortable length, and 5 rows of sc.

Now the bag needed a lining with some reinforcement to give it a firm round shape. Wa'ad wants me to be honest, and tell you that I did help her to sew the lining which was a bit tricky, so this is what we have done together in a good team work:

1- We used plain black cotton material (about 50cm by 90 cm) for the lining.
2- A piece of plastic netting, the kind used for windows to keep flies away. It is like plastic canvas, maybe a little less stiff. It is easy to cut with ordinary scissors, and has tiny holes which make hand sewing easy, and it is cheap.
In Canada, I probably could find a similar type of plastic netting at our local hardware store.
3- And a small amount of fibre filling.

We began by cutting two circles of plastic netting the same size as the bag, and one strip long enough to go around the lower part of the bag, to form the gusset.
In case anyone’s unfamiliar with the term gusset, here it means an inset piece of material used to give a garment added strength or shape. In other words, Wa’ad and Hind are making the purse more purse-shaped.
Then we cut two bigger circles and a wider strip of the material. We wrapped the plastic inside it, put a thin layer of fibre filling between them, and fixed every part in its place by hand sewing.
Amazing! This is the sort of purse I’d expect to find in a retail store, only much, much nicer.
Finally, Wa'ad covered two plastic rings (recycled from some jelly candy containers) with a round of sc in yellow. Those rings were sewn over the part where the strap is connected to the bag's gusset to hide the joining stitches.
Very clever! The yellow rings make me think of flowers, which go very well with the bumblebee appearance of this purse.

Because I like to save the best for last, here is a picture of Wa’ad modeling her first-rate handbag:

Transforming the original 1970s kitschy pattern took imagination, skill and hard work. She should be very proud!

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