Karlene's Workshop

My sewing, refashioning and upcycling projects revealed
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Bags with a story…

  • 09/06/2009 5:01 pm

Ah the stories that fabric can tell when passed down through generations.

The scrap fabric that this bag is made from was left over from a dress that my nana made for my mother.  She tells me it was a long A-line dress with a hood (!) and a “muff” pocket for keeping your hands warm. And it had fluffy trim. I can only imagine what this must have looked liked – there are no photo’s, but you can bet that nana matched those seams perfectly :-)


Here’s the inside,

Looking down

And here it is again worn by my youngest son Jordan

Modelled by Jordan

The fabric in this bag also has a history, I think it was used for Bridesmaid dresses at my aunties wedding.

Tangerine shoulder bag

Yes, it’s bright tangerine crimplene. Can you imagine it in a long dress with a white lace ruffle down the front? Tee Hee :-) I just love those 70′s fashions.

I used some coordinating retro knit fabric for the lining, and the for the pocket which didn’t turn out very well – it needed some iron on interfacing for stability. We live and learn!

Inside bag


Handbags for me

  • 28/05/2009 11:08 am

These are the two handbags that I just had to keep for myself.

Groovy paisley bag

This one is made from some groovy paisley fabric that my Nana had cut out for a dress – with hot pink crimplene cuffs and collar – that wasn’t a happening thing, so sorry Nana I used it to test the pattern for this bag. I liked how it turned out, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it!

The button on the tab closure is pink mother of pearl from Nana’s button box, possibly from her mother so is quite old.

Next is the royal blue crimplene, which sounds terrible but actually is a light fine textured fabric rather that the stiff boardy variety.

Little blue hand bag

I had wanted a bag this colour for a while so am pleased to finally have one.

This was a test pattern also,  the next one will be a little bigger with a longer flap and slightly more shaped. I have also done a smaller version for evening style bags that I used for Mum’s bag.

The inside is made from some vintage cotton, from a partly made little girls dress that my Mum was going to make for me but didn’t get around to before I grew too much! It makes me smile to see it inside my bag.

Inside bag



  • 12/05/2009 11:17 am

I’m going through a bag phase at the moment.  Have been making a few when I can, mostly out of fabric from my Nana’s stash (thanks, Nana) and am finding it very satisfying.  They don’t take too long, don’t use much fabric, don’t need to be fitted and hopefully you end up with something useful when you finish!

Here are a couple of my first ones:


This tote bag fabric is recycled from a knit T shirt I bought from an Op shop. I liked the floral print. The inside is lined with vintage cotton (Nana’s stash!) and a layer of thin flannel (from an old sheet) to pad it out a bit and give body.  I also stabilized the outer fabric with fusible/iron on interfacing to stop from stretching.

This next one is a little evening bag, just big enough for the essentials:Little green bag

I’m not sure what the outer fabric is, it was semi sheer and reminded me of my Nana’s curtains…maybe it was a scrap of that? But it looked pretty anyway, especially over the teal lining. The inside is lined with a coordinating velveteen fabric and as you can see the handle is beaded.  I gave this bag to a friend as a birthday gift.

And this one is the last one I have made, to give to my Mum for Mothers day:

Mum's bag

It’s a bit hard to see the details – this is what happens when photo’s are taken at night :-(

The fabric is a yummy soft velvet with a large velvet covered button closure and hand  stitched ruching on the front.  Took a lot of fiddling to do!