Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Oh my, is that a Rembrandt on your bag?" Needlepoint becomes shopper bag!



"Are you sure about that one?" the cashier of the thrift store said, raising one eyebrow while looking skeptically at the items that I was buying. She wasn't talking about the sweet pair of high heels (new! can you believe my luck?) or the couple of storage cans I wanted to buy. No, the reason for her eye-brow action was a framed embroidered artwork, depicting some medieval, bearded man doing whatever bearded medieval men usually do. By the look of it, it had been in the thrift shop for ages. I could feel the hesitation of the cashier: the thing was incredibly ugly. But I bought it nevertheless. Was I out of my mind? Maybe, but I had great plans for it: making a shopper bag!


The idea came to me earlier that day when I was considered to paint something on an old messenger bag that I never used. And on the topic of painting on a bag, my mind began to wander. Painting... bags... Could you also make a bag out of a painting? As you can image, I decided that I had to go to a thrift shop to find out. And there I found something even better than the canvas I was looking for: a piece of embroidery!
And thus I spend my evening making a bag out of it. Here's what I did.

I used: 

- a piece of embroidery ( edit: today I learned it is actually needlepoint instead of embroidery, a difference we don't make in the Netherlands ;) so wherever I write 'embroidery' just read 'needlepoint' okay? )

- some denim fabric
- some fabric for the lining
- sewing equipment


First, I took the embroidery out of the frame. I figured that I needed some extra fabric to actually make the bag, so I looked in my stash until I found a big piece of denim fabric that once was the cover of an ottoman.


I traced the measurements of the embroidery onto the denim, And cut the denim around it, leaving around 5 cm on each side(which necessary to give it sides and a bottom). What I did next was basically making the shopper bag that I made in this post, so you can follow the exact instructions from this post if you'd like to. 

sewing the sides and bottom...

making box pleads in the bottom corners.. 
Making a lining with some old upholstery fabric..

As soon as I had finished the basis of my bag and the lining, I sewed the embroidery to the front of the bag. 
Then I added some pockets to the lining, since in my opinion, a bag without pockets is not worthy to be called a bag. It's simply a sack. Sacks are for horses, not for girls. 



Since urban girls also require to some straps to casually swing their bags over their shoulder as they're strutting along, I also cut some denim strips and folded the edges inside to make some straps.

pinned!
The last step was placing the lining into the bag. I folded the top edges inside and pinned them, and made sure to also pin the straps in between them. By sewing everything together my shopper bag was finished. This is how it looks.




I'm quite proud of this project! I mean, who doesn't want to walk around with a piece of art (I'm generous with my titles today) on its bag?  Casually swinging your art on your shoulder when going to work,  going to the market and say: "Oh I don't need a plastic bag, I just put these apples into my painting"? Scaring thieves away with the judgmental look of the old man? I'm sold!

ps: look at those sweet thrifted shoes!





I really enjoyed the art/sewing combination. I'm planning to do a few more of these things in the near future. Maybe with a real canvas painting this time? And maybe make a purse instead of a shopper bag? I'll keep you updated! In the meantime, please let me know what you think of it!

cheers!

18 comments:

  1. Awesome bag! And I also like to rescue handmade "artwork". Your beautiful find is actually Needlepoint, not Embroidery. Just in case someone asks you about it, you can use the correct terminology, and maybe just convince them you worked up the whole thing!!! Or not:-)

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  2. Hi!!

    Hahaha thanks! since I'm not a native speaker, I sometimes get a little lost in translation ;)
    In Dutch we just call it all by the same name -borduurwerk- but English is much more subtle ;)

    cheers!

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    1. to that native speaker thing, I think what you are calling box pleads are actually box pleats. But the non-English as your first language explains that.

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    2. I have always called them boxed corners because boxed pleats are in skirts but either works for me. I just love the great upcycling. Is upcycling a word??

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    3. I have always called them boxed corners because boxed pleats are in skirts but either works for me. I just love the great upcycling. Is upcycling a word??

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    4. Hi! Thanks for the translation :) Being a non-native speaker in English, and an autodidact in sewing I'm not always sure about crafting-terminology. They were called boxed pleads ( or pleats, probably) on another website, but boxed corners also sounds like a good option, I'll keep it in mind!

      BTW: I'm glad you like the project! and as far as I know upcycling is a quite common term amongst bloggers that upcycle, so I'm good with that one!

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  3. My guess is your bearded guy is an alchemist, trying to make gold from base metal. You certainly made the modern equivalent of gold with your fabulous bag made from...next to nothing!

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    1. Hi! Thanks!I figured he was just measuring something, but your explanation sounds so much cooler!
      ps: I peaked at your blog and it's lovely! So nice to look at someone else's thrifting' treasures!!

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  4. My guess is your bearded guy is an alchemist, trying to make gold from base metal. You certainly made the modern equivalent of gold with your fabulous bag made from...next to nothing!

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  5. Really love this bag and you made it look so easy to make. I love to collect old embroideries... some of them are so fabulous! Now, I know what to do when I find a good piece. Nice work!

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    1. Thank you!
      How cool that you collect them!! I always love embroideries and needlepoints in thrift shops, but I'm not sure if I would like them as art in my house ( since we have a bit of a scandinavian interior) I often like those things in houses of others people though. How do you fit them into your interior? I am considering a "tacky" art wall in my house with a lot of paintings and embroideries, maybe that would be cool? And until that point, I just leave this one hanging in sight on my coat rack ;)

      cheers!

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  6. Please tell us if you go back to the thrift store & show the bag to the worker.

    Also hi - found you from refashionista.

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  7. Brilliant minds think alike! I love your version of this idea. To see my versions, posted on the blog DenverSews.com go to http://denversews.com/2014/02/26/bag-refashions/

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    Replies
    1. oh that is so cool! I like yours very much as well!

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  8. thank you sooooo much! I've spent a lot of time looking for a tutorial on how to use my rescued needlework into bags.

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