Auricula Tweed Purses

I’m sewing, sewing, sewing at the moment and then in the evenings I’m trying to plan a new website, but it’s taking FOREVER.  I’d love to down tools and just focus on the re-design, but that’s not very practical.

DSC_0147The logo part is a real struggle, as I keep changing my mind.  I was all sold on committing myself to using a cat in there (I often wish I’d chosen a different shop name, but as I’m known under this one now, it’d be quite difficult to change it, plus I own the web domain etc etc).  Ho-hum, I’ll get there in the end.

DSC_0007I’m still mostly sewing blinds and then Christmas things for the shop (as this is always where I make most profit).  Last year was a bit of a disaster, work wise, what with becoming a single Mum and all.  I did put the hours in, but I didn’t promote my work or get things photographed and listed when I should have.  I think I’m in a good routine now of shop sewing, blind sewing and taking care of the boys.  Time is still very stretched, but it’s a huge benefit working from home, I did look at trying to work part time elsewhere, but the reality of who would look after the boys in school holidays and outside of school hours put a stop to those plans, for now anyway (it’ll be easier once they are both settled into secondary school…only a few more years to go!), plus my boys are quite ‘quirky’ and certainly F needs his time out at home once he’s finished school, he’d find after school club etc quite difficult.DSC_0045.jpgRight now, my focus is on getting the shop updated with all the stock that’s sitting around in boxes so I’m starting with some Auricula Tweed Purses.

DSC_0051.jpgI made the first of these years (I think!) ago for my Sister as a present.  Her’s has a jazzy lining made out of snippets of left over curtain fabric.

ariculapurse2.jpgThese new ones have silk orange linings, which I think give a nice ‘pop’ to them.  I love how the silk contrasts with the tweed and felt.

tweedpurseariculaburgundy.jpgThe only other difference is that the Auricula Brooches are the second generation ones, that have two yellow centre colours.DSC_0180.jpgYou can find them here, hanging out with Gold Bunnies….because you know what time of year is coming up next 😉



Heather Hues…

I started writing a very different post, all about big decisions (like where to live) and such, but quite frankly it all felt too serious so I deleted it and instead will just get straight to the subject.

barden fell

On of my favourite times of the year to visit the Yorkshire Dales is when the heather is out, it’s when I’m most keen to go walking and not just because the weather is often at it’s best but because I just love the colours.  I took this photo back in August, when I last visited, it’s taken from Burnsall Fell looking back down on the village, I realise that G+ has done some nifty ‘Auto Awesome’ thing but the heather hues and greens are so pretty so it’s exactly what I imagine when I picture home.DSC_0207 It’s also why I tend to think of this purse as my ‘Yorkshire’ purse, the colours in the tweed reflecting my mind’s image of the colours of Yorkshire, of green rolling hills and Dales and heather moors (OK, I know this is totally romanticised and often it’s actually grey and pissing it down….which reminds me, I once saw a program about buying houses, it was for some Yorkshire lady who’d moved to Australia who was trying to make the big decision of whether to move her family back, apparently someone from ‘home’ had sent her a video of driving around in the rain for an hour to remind her how grim it really is, only she kept watching the video in repeat and feeling homesick as she actually missed the Northern rain – that would SO be me!!!).DSC_0200Sorry for those with good memories who have read about these purse colours from the first time I made this combination, but it proved so popular I wanted to make a second batch.DSC_0187I’m so in love with the brown tweed, with it’s lime green and purple shades running through, I think it’s my favourite so far and I’ve still got enough squirrelled away for a 1940’s suit.DSC_0205

As I’ve covered this subject before, there isn’t much more to say, simply that they are back in the shop.DSC_0121Whilst I was in purse making mode, I figured I’d add another acorn version.  DSC_0120I liked the idea of sticking to brown tweeds for this one, although there is a hint of wine red in the herringboneDSC_0194and for a contrast pop of colour, I lined them in orange silk.
DSC_0200 The down side of using silk is it shows every little crease and bump and even though I’m super careful to push the bag evenly into the frame, it’s inevitable that there are some bumps that look worse for being in a shiny fabric….this really annoys me, as I’m sure those who know me can imagine.DSC_0221 DSC_0235I’m nearly there with all the shop posts, I know it’s been a bit ‘product’ heavy around here and I’m quite looking forward to working on new things, even possibly some sewing for myself which has become a rare thing around here these days.  Watch this space 😉

Red Tweed Flower Purses…

This story begins well over a year ago, when I planned my original flower purses.


Along with the acorn, auricula and pink rose versions, I had intended a red rose one.  Quite simply, I cut the parts for the red rose brooches, but hadn’t anticipated how long the actual bags would take and quite frankly, as per my last post, I ran out of steam and never made up the red ones.  I had also bought some clip frames to have a play around with, thinking these might be an alternative to the zips, so I decided to save the roses for these.


I found this photo on February of last year.  By now I am sewing up the roses….and here they stayed until last week.  As I have mentioned, I am supposed to be finishing open projects, I have many on the go, but when sitting at my desk (for the first time in months) I just felt like doing something new and I remembered the clip frames.


As with most projects, pulling fabrics out and laying them together was the first part of the process.  I take photos as a reminder (not just for the blog) and so I can easily reference how fabrics looked together in the future (sometimes I revisit colour and texture combinations at another time of year, as they simply don’t fit my mood when first put together).  I already had an image on my head of how I’d like to make these bags, and I knew this involved two tweeds (to mimic the acorn purses above, as it’s a detail I really liked).  The red tweed and even the lining fabric (Flea Market Fancy – Posie by Denise Schmidt) had been bought with this project in mind, again, last year; and the lovely dog-tooth tweed was bought for my 1940’s suit, only it’s too thick, but no bother, it’s the perfect weight for purses.


Next, I read loads of tutorials on the best way to draft a pattern for a clip frame – I found this one to be the most helpful – and I made a toile to see if it fit as I’d imagined.


I took time to decide where I wanted the join in the fabric to be, I was conscious it would affect the fold at the side of the purse if in the wrong position, and whilst doing so changed my mind about which fabric should be on top! (the dog-tooth check won).


At this point, I was confident enough to make up a final version, with all the correct interlinings etc.  I always worry at this stage that the linings make the purse feel quite heavy, as I use lots of layers, including iron-on and a heavy sew-in Vilene, but I should trust my instinct as the final purse is prefect and holds it shape really well.


I then had a looooooong head debate about whether an inside pocket was necessary or not.  The first clip-frame version doesn’t have one (I checked and hardly any do on Etsy), BUT, I have a thing about having somewhere to keep my credit card, where is wont get knocked against keys etc.  The thing is, I’m not mad keen on the sewn in square kind of pocket I used in the first purses I made, it’s actually quite difficult to do it super neatly and lined up, so I did a nifty folded kind of thing (the pattern above is supposed to match up exactly and look really tidy, which I nearly managed) the down side of this means, depending on the pattern repeat, this could use up lots of extra fabric; then it’s stitched behind on either side to form a neat, little credit card space.

After then layering the bags together and stitching (and LOTS of ironing), comes to messy bit.  Glue.  Glue on my fingers, glue on the table, glue on my embroidery scissors (used to push the fabric into the groove).  I am quite a tidy worker, but I think I just felt I needed to use a lot, as I panic when relaying on glue, I distrust it.  I have this horrid image of the purse falling apart, so I really went for it, to make sure there was no chance of disintegration down the line.  Again, I read lots of advice and opted for Gutterman HT2, and putting glue on both the inside of the frame and a bit along the purse edge.  My top tip, is to stay stitch both long edges along the top (one you do naturally, to close where you have turned the purse and lining through) as this stops the fabric rolling, when you’re pushing it into the frame. I manage to keep glue off the fabric, only getting the odd bit on the frame, which I rubbed off with some acetate I once bought for removing gel nail polish (which I’d picked off by the time it arrived in the post, annoyingly), I knew it’d come in handy one day 😉


I love them.  I really do.  I think it’s the slightly oversized bobbles on the frame itself and, obviously, the tweed.  I’ve put one aside for myself as I’d already nabbed a rose brooch to wear for a wedding last year.


So, now the really, really horrid bit, pricing.

There is no question that there is less work involved in these than the zip, pleat, handle versions from last year, but I did still put a lot of time into each one, and most importantly the frames are expensive, the little pile in the above photos cost £48!! When I totted up the materials, this is how it was starting to look: frame £7.50, tweed, lining & interlining £6, then there’s the glue (quite expensive and one tube did about 4 purses for me) and thread, so about £15 per purse for the materials alone.  Then the rose, which I would sell at a minimum £13 (as it’s a large cluster). So we are at £28 already and this includes nothing for my time or skills.


Having looked about a lot on Etsy, the range in pricing for this kind of thing is huge, from the art end, to the ones from people sewing for fun (and I’m not complaining here, just saying it how it is) who only cover the frame cost plus a bit.  I feel bad if I price my work high, but I have to make a profit or it’s all a bit pointless, sometimes I think it would be easier to sew one-of-a kind, high-end, art designs and pitch them much higher, but I actually enjoy the mini factory line and have already put myself into the market space where I am, too late to change now, unless I took on a second shop, under a new name with a completely different style (it’s an idea, actually).


Anyhow, I’ve gone for £35.  Hardly any profit, but you win some and all that, and it shows how important it is to write down every bit of the materials, for instance, I wouldn’t have realised the glue cost so much.  I wonder how much I made on the original purses?  I wasn’t so careful with my sums then and just opted for £30 (which the remaining ones, just listed today, are still on at), I imagine there might even have been a loss.


It raises some questions though.  Would you prefer to be able to buy the purse alone, and then you could buy a flower brooch separately, if you wanted to?  (which would bring the price right down).  In my mind these larger purses are not complete without the brooch, it’s part of the design, but perhaps I’m wrong?; there are many being sold in single coloured tweed (ie not even with the two-tone) on Etsy for a lot more money and clearly they sell.  I do plan some smaller coin versions, just to fulfill my clip fame love.

If you’re still with me, thanks, that was a long one with much rambling 🙂 hope the photos partly made up for it.  Next time – a giveaway – hurrah!

FYI, they are listed here and the original version with no pocket is at a reduced price.

Give Away – Tweed Linen Purse

Lots of challenging life things going on around here, meaning my blogging and sewing time may be a bit infrequent from now onwards – I’ll do my best to keep up – but long overdue is the next give away.


When I made the tweed purses a while back, I mentioned that they were quite difficult to line up.  As you can see, one purse in particular is very ‘out’ so I thought I’d set it aside for a give away (the yellow stitching is machine basting that has now been removed).  I was about to write that it’s perfect in every other way, but I also notice the inside pocket is on the wrong side…..apart from that, it is a lovely purse!

So with one LHS pocket and dodgy lining up, but with lovely fabrics, the usual hand holding strap and removable rose corsage here it is.  Please just leave a comment before Saturday 1st December – what!!! December is that close, oh dear, where did the time go – oh, and you can live anywhere, it’s open to all.

BTW, I have managed a few jobs, including some non-sewing (new shelves in my studio) and finally re-upholstering my Gran’s pouffe so I’ll try to get the accompanying posts written soon.


Tweed Flower Purses: Part 2 (Acorns!)…

I spent yesterday cleaning and feel so much better because of it.  This is the kind of house where piles of things appear all over the place and build until they look ready to topple over.  I tend to be too busy to do anything about it for a while, then it starts to get to me and I spend a couple of days putting everything away and clearing all surfaces.  I am trying to train the boys to tidy their own things, they are learning but the reality is it’s always going to be me that has to do the majority, so I may as well just get on with it.  I instantly feel less stressed when the house is tidy (or tidier, it’s never going to be properly tidy!), especially when the hallways are clear….I’m pretty sure there’s some Feng Shui thing about clean hallways?!

Anyway, I’m back in the sewing room today and thought I’d better get this promised post written.

So, the big difference with this purse (the acorn one, as the title suggests) is that I was starting with the brooch and making a purse to match.

Shortly after finalising the purse pattern, I pretty much ‘saw’ in my head a two-tone version to go with the acorns.  An all tweed one wouldn’t work, as the acorn would get lost in the tweed pattern so it was clear that it needed to have a plain top part and then a nice tweedy bottom.  Please excuse my crude sketches, they were more scribbles I made one day but I stuck them in my book so I could remember the thought process.

I bought quite a few tweeds in an attempt to get the right combination, but settled on a cream cashmere wool that I already had in and some new herringbone, that has lovely flecks of red and yellow running through it.  This photo gives you some idea of how much fabric is involved, the pleats take up quite a bit, in both length and width.

For the lining I couldn’t resist using some beautiful Heather Ross ‘Snow White’ fabric from her Far Far Away 3 collection.  I have become a FFA addict, but more in that another time.  It was a bit of a challenge to try to get an interesting bit of the print into each purse lining but I do love this fabric and like how bright but golden the yellow is.  I really like golden and mustard yellows but HATE lemon and acid yellow….no idea why.

Something I wanted to try changing was the shape of the purse.  In my head (and my scribble sketch) I had imagined the purses to have more of a slant to the sides, I’d tried to achieve this with the first two batches, but the slant wasn’t exaggerated enough, so I made the purses wider at the bottom and a little lower in height.

A thought generally with the purses is that you could change the brooches over, this colour combination works just as nicely with the buttercup brooch as it does with the acorns.

The cream wool fabric is very thick so these were even more of a challenge to sew, but worth it, I think.

When I showed one to my sister she said, “oh lovely….is it a pencil case?”.  !!!!!!!!!!

and I appear to have got  a bit mixed up when sewing and have produced a ‘left handed’ purse…in that, I mean that the zip is set to pull from the right to left (something determined by the placing of the inside pocket).  What a muppet.  Still, if you’re buying and want it ‘left handed’ do let me know and I’ll send you the one below.

They are listed here.

Guess what my husband said when I showed them to him……”is it a pencil case” – ha ha ha!!

I’ve bought some purse frames to have a play with, I hope to try to keep the two tone tweed idea, as I like this but not sure the pleats will stay.  These are intended for myself and gifts for friends, but I’ll show them when finished.

Thanks for such a great response to the tweed purses in general, I have packed quite a few up and they’ve gone off to their new homes, I was so pleased to get such a positive reaction and especially happy that the price didn’t put anyone off.  Also, this is the last of the shop posts for a while, I know my blog has been a bit product heavy but it’s just that time of year and it’s mostly what I’ve been sewing.

Right, back to cleaning, now I’ve started I might as well move onto the playroom…..If you don’t hear back from me, send in a search party 😉