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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Handbags and Wallets Part 11

Ever since I saw these handles for the first time when the supplier advertised them, I have wanted to do a project with them. Therefore you can only imagine my excitement today as I finally get the opportunity to do exactly that. The handles are also available from for your convenience, if you would like to purchase them for your own project.
Part 1 of this blog can be found here.
Part 1 of this blog can be found here

The Concept and Pattern
As always, it is important to start with a design concept. I have often talked about my love forFaber-Castell’s Pitt Pens and once again I decided to use these for the design phase. I drew the handle separate from the bag for clarity sake. This way it would be easier to understand that the handle would be attached to the bag by means of a fabric tube. It is very important to include as much descriptive information as is necessary in this phase.

I then set about taking proper measurements for the bag and designing the pattern accordingly. When I was done, I drew up a second set of patterns to fit on A4 paper. This pattern is available for download from There are a variety of other patterns to choose from as well.

Fabric Layout
I would need three different fabrics for the layout.

Pattern piece F is cut from white cotton sheeting. The idea is to paint a design on this piece and that is reason for this choice.

Pattern Pieces A, C and H is cut from fabric. I opted for a rather stiff denim.

Pattern pieces A, B, D, E (cut on fold) and G is cut from lining.

Preparing the Handles
Although the handles are quite beautiful and can certainly be used as is, I have something a little different in mind for them. Wanting to paint designs on them, I start preparing the surface by coating it with 2 to 3 layers of Gesso. Allow the Gesso to dry completely before applying any paint on top of it. I use a wide flat brush to paint the Gesso with.

I painted the handles with acrylic paint in Raw Sienna and allowed it to dry. I used a large flat brush for this.

When the Raw Sienna was dry, I drew my designs in pencil on the handles and painted the outline with white acrylic paint, using a small flat brush. This would allow the colours to appear brighter, than if I painted directly onto the brown. Allow it to dry again.

While waiting for the white to dry, I touched up the black edges of the handles where I had messed it up with my paint. This is all the cut-out parts (not the flat surfaces). I use black acrylic paint and a small flat brush for this.

I used my acrilpens to ‘paint’ the designs on the handles. These are the same pens I would use in my designs on the fabrics. Using the pens here would result in the same colours being repeated in both the fabric and the handles.

I wanted to give the handles a slightly distressed appearance and opted to use Tim Holtz’s Distress Ink pad in Faded Jeans for the purpose. I rubbed the ink pad over the edges of the handles to achieve the required result.

After allowing the handles to dry completely, I painted everything with a coating of Acrylic GelMedium. The Gel Medium dries transparent and will serve as a seal to protect the ‘art’ from wear and tear when the bag is in use. I again opted to use a large flat brush for this task.

Preparing the Painted Panels
I wanted to paint the two middle panels of my bag with some funky images. If this is not something that interests you, you can simply use any other fabric of your choice to cut these panels from and then skip this step altogether. Otherwise, you need to cut the middle panels from a natural fibre cloth, like linen or cotton. I used tabling linen. I have a number of options to choose from for painting on fabric, but I opted to use the Acrilpens that I have recently discovered and fell in love with. I could also have used fabric paint or Derwent's Inktense.

I drew the designs onto the fabric panels using the brown acrilpen.

I then coloured the outlines with the rest of the Acrilpens I had available.

In the next blog we will start with the construction of the bag.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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