The first time I did any patchwork, I was at junior school. We had to make a patchwork cushion completely by hand, using squares of fabric. I can still remember making it and spending hours sewing each square together, trying to make the stitches as small and as neat as possible. I still have the cushion, over 30 years later and miraculously it is still just about in one piece!
My next attempt, about 15 years later, was patchworking my sofa. When I bought my first house, I bought a large, green and very comfy sofa secondhand. It was very green, so I came up with the idea of patchworking all over it to make a completely unique sofa. I set about sewing on pieces of fabric by hand when watching TV in the evenings but eventually realised the task was too big and gave up.
I've always been quite partial to patchwork though, I just don't have the time or patience to make anything too big, such as a quilt. I wish I did! Anyway, I decided a patchwork handbag might work quite well, so rifled through my fabric collection found some materials that worked well together.
Having drawn up a paper template to fit the handbag frame I was planning on using, I cut out a random piece and sewed it onto the backing fabric. This was followed by another and then a third. I have to admit, it didn't take me long to realise that my usual method of handbag making, with very little planning, wasn't conducive to patchwork. Having sewn the first three pieces in place, it struck me that you really do need to plan ahead with patchwork or you become completely unstuck. You end up trying to shoehorn odd shapes into place and trying to figure out the best way to sew them on. You really have to be methodical and work in one direction. I started randomly in the middle and promptly struggled!
I eventually managed to get all the pieces into place, having chopped the odd bit off here and there. I was quite pleased with the end result but then was reminded why I hate working with handbag frames. Never, ever again! I find them a nightmare. Trying to glue the fabric into the frame is virtually impossible. Glue seeps out when you push the fabric in, you push in one bit and another pulls out and then you find the whole lot is slightly off centre!
I have to say, I did my best. It's not perfect, but it's not bad. I will definitely try patchwork again some day. Maybe on another bag. Definitely not using a handbag frame though. Maybe I'll go back to my roots and make another cushion.