Monday, 4 May 2009

Dyed & Applied

A week or so ago, I was dying some clothing chocolate brown and decided to throw in a couple of my unbleached cotton tote bags which I use for making my photo totes. I thought I could just applique a few fabric flowers on the bags for a quick and simple makeover.

The resulting bags came out a pleasing shade of brown but unfortunately all of the stitching remained cream. I assume the thread used was polyester and not cotton or else it would have taken the dye as well. I really couldn't put up with the cream stitching showing around the top of bag and along the handles, so I decided to unpick it all and redo it in brown thread. For some additional decoration, I used a decorative leaf embroidery stitch in a gold thread.

The flowers are made from suede, corderoy, wool and a faux suede, all taken from old clothing and remnants. The flower centres are vintage all buttons. The buttons were definitely the best bit, I was dreading sewing them on, particularly pushing the needle through leather. I suddenly remembered that my new machine could sew on buttons so I decided to try it out.

It was fantastic! So easy! There was a small amount of setting up beforehand but the actual sewing of the button took about 10 seconds. It would have taken me at least half an hour of fiddling to sew them on by hand.

Overall the bag was more involved than I had originally intended, mainly due to changing the cream stitching but I think it was worth it in the end and I am quite pleased with the finished result. Hopefully you will agree!

Bookmark and Share


  1. Looks really great. I've just bought a similar one at Ballard Designs and i love it. They have unique tote bags.

  2. Love it!! Very, very cute!
    ~Michele from "It's in the Bag!"