From the second I laid eyes on this quilted bag in a Japanese book I was editing, I KNEW I was going to make it. My curiosity demanded it. I'd never seen anything quite like it and I loved everything about it ... the shape, size, handles, patchwork, colours, monogram with embroidered outline, and of course the super cool swivel hook clasp.
At a glance, it looks pretty straight forward. The patchwork is made from simple sashed squares set on point. The body is mostly just top-stitching (also should have been done by hand). Add a quick appliqued letter and throw on some handles and boom! there you have it.
However, like many clever Japanese designs, this one requires a little more attention than you think. The squares are an odd size, and the patchwork pieces are cut with templates. So when you're cutting/piecing them together, if your seam allowances aren't precise, the wheels fall off.
About the appliqued letter - the book only comes with a template for "A", I'm assuming after the author Akemi Shibata. So I had to find a font on my computer, get the correct size, and make my own template from there. The gorgeous fabric I was given by Lecien is just so lovely to work with, but it's a thicker woven that isn't usually used for applique. It took a little more attention to get the corners right. Not gonna lie, the embroidered outline hides a little of my .. er ... less then perfect points. ;)
About the colours. I know, I know, NOT something you'd think I'd like, right? But I was kinda mesmerized by the interesting mix of black, brown, blue, green, and yellow. So I dove into my stash and found it surprisingly easy to come up with these prints - 3 of each colour - and (almost) all from Lecien. The original bag also used a fun book/letter print for the sashing so when I found this one in amongst all my "script" fabrics (of which I have several, so it turns out), I knew it would be perfect. Don't be surprised if I end up making an entire quilt with these colours. I won't be. LOL!
And then the hardware. Love it. Love it, love it, love it. But here's the thing. I needed to use dark thread to go with the leather, but the lining of the bag is very light. I didn't want the stitches to show through and I didn't want to applique a "bandaid-cover-up patch" over the stitches on the inside afterwards. Soooooo, I just took my time and stitched the handles and swivel hook - which have pre-punched holes - very slowly and carefully by only catching the top layer of fabric and batting with my needle. Somewhat tedious, but well worth the results. For me.
I got several questions about the red handles from my last post. All the hardware from both of these bags will be available very soon from ZakkaWorkshop, the company that is publishing the English version of Akemi's book, "Quilted Bags & Gifts".
Happy weekend to you! xo k