Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Readymade Redo

Like most Moms I carry around a ton of stuff.  I thought it would get easier when he got out of diapers, but even at twelve Mom is still the go-to sherpa at our house.  There are times when I realize that I've got bags over both shoulders, my hands are full and I have something tucked under my shoulder . . . and then I see my healthy hearty son carrying a water bottle.  It makes me crazy!  (And you can bet there's some burden redistribution happening real fast....)

Because I must be ready to carry at all times I love a soft sided oversized bag with wide straps and inside pockets. I suppose I could make quilted handbags for myself, and I have many, but I can't bear to give them the beating that my everyday bag takes.  It spends loads of time on dirty car floors, on the sidelines at various sporting events, not to mention the usual sunscreen, lip balm, and sticky snack messes that seem to always happen when I finally get a bag well broken in.

So, I like to buy inexpensive bags at the chain stores.  I've had great luck with Target as I can usually buy a bag that will get me through a few months for $15 or less.  I'd had my eye on this "pleather" strapped hobo bag for a couple of weeks. It was above my price limit at $19.95 but Mother's Day brought me a bounty of gift cards so I thought, why not splurge?

Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and remembered some "molas" that I had buried in my applique drawer.  I thought they'd be a perfect and simple embellishment, and it would be easy enough for me to remove them when the bag met it's inevitable end.

                          
The patch on the left is a machine embroidered patch I picked up sometime in the late 80's or early 90's.  The round patch actually dates back to a high school trip to Mexico City in 1976.  It's already seen life on a few different jackets and bags.

Looking at the bag I decided to applique the square piece on the side that had stitching down the middle.  This was because I figured it would be easier to place it squarely as I'd have the center line to work from.  I decided to applique the round piece to the lower right hand of the other side that didn't have the stitching.  I still can't figure out why there was stitching on one side and not the other. . . oh well, works for me!

Of course I blanket stitched these puppies on with contrasting thread and added some beaded embellishment.  Here are the details from the finished bag:

                                 
You can see that in this case I decided to run the beads into the center of the design.  I also did some contrasting running stitches around the outside of the bird.  I thought it made it look more "mola" like.
                                   
The round real mola looked great with the variegated orange blanket stitching and the beading around the red circle.  I think this looks so cheerful and fun!

                       
Here's one side of the bag finished.  As you can see it's already full of stuff.  I couldn't wait to start using it.

                       
The other side shows the mola in the corner.  I debated over where to put it but decided that I wanted it closer to the edge so it could be easily seen when it's hanging over my shoulder.

I'm so excited about my new bag.  It didn't take long to embellish and now I have something unique.  This is a great way to use quilt squares or pieces of patchwork that you have left over from projects.  A couple of years ago I purchased a great denim bag with leather handles and appliqued a piece of one of my unfinished projects on it as a gift for my mother.  She loved it!  It's like carrying around a piece of art but not so much that you have to be worrying about it all the time.

Next time you're in a discount store take a look at the inexpensive totes and bags with a new eye.  There might just be something you can snazz up for yourself or a friend.

In the meantime,

Happy Stitching!

Susan

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