Thursday, February 2, 2012

Making a purse

I'm having to re-do each and every single post on this blog because i was hijacked by someone and everything dissapeared,  so some of the pics might not be in exactly the same place as they were, sorry but its already taken me hours of work and i am missing some of the pics, i'm also trying to remember what pic went where, fun times lol

Well i tried my hand again at making a little purse.   I used BFL for the main background then added in threads, silks, merino/silks and rainbow nylon. Its a bit thin in spots ( i still cant seem to get it nice and even) and i did only use 2 layers to this as was small

 So i have a couple of problems, or questions really

 Sorry this could be a bit long winded

My first problem is in the layout, i cut a resist of bubble wrap and started on the back. I know a lot of people use resists and then cut the felt later to open it up , i'm wondering if that might be easier ? 
i know its a bit fluffy but this is the back of the purse , the resist is underneath and cut at the top to create a curved flap and its here im already thinking, if i get this back how i like it and then turn it over , the fibres from the front are going to wrap around and sit on top of these fibres here,  right, so if this was perfectly how i wanted it right now at this stage , how do you get around that.

So the back is now wet and had a little rub, i actually love how this is turning out though !  

I've turned it over and added the fibre to the bottom half, on top of the resist ( didnt think to take a pic first) and started just lightly rubbing to hold in place, then of course its lots more rubbing and a few rolls and more rubbing rubbing & rubbing, i was a little scared to roll to much as thats when it really started to shrink up and go a bit wonky, i was stopping a lot and reshaping but the opening  length always goes a little wonky and the corners are never right

The top corner bits from the underneath never seem to get super strong

and i had to add more fibres to this side to, to hide the fact that the fibres from the back wrap around to this side and you could see the difference, although slight, in how it was placed. Can you tell why i wanted to make a smaaaaalllllll purse lol  
So this is inside ( of course)

And this is the back with the front folded down. I'd like to line it with something nice and add lots of stitches and beads and maybe use it for a make up purse or put it away and never touch it again lol

I will finish it to see how looks all lined and embellish but i just wanted other opinions on how to get all of the above perfect !!!!
I'll have to keep practising as i really would love to make myself and nice big bag, but if i cant get something this small right then, what hope have i got  haha Its back to the felting board !!  


  1. This is turning out beautifully! Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

  2. I find it pretty as a purse or cosmetic bag. Don't put it aside. May be you rub the corners with one hand inside and the other rubbing with a scrap of bubble wrap, it will become more strong and felt. Only my 2-cents.

  3. Karen - have you tried putting the embellishments on the inside of the bag next to the resist? Then you layer the wool over the top and you don't have to worry about the overlap because it ends up on the inside instead of the outside once you turn the purse right side out. I hope that makes sense. So the steps are to put the wool down first for the back side, then put the embellishments on, then lay the resist on, then put the other side embellishments on top of the resist. Then fold over the back side wool around the resist and layer on more wool to the front. Wet down, rub and felt until it holds together. Remove resist, turn inside out and there are your beautiful embellishments.

    Laying out evenly just takes practice. Corners are hard because you end up with extra fiber there. I usually try and pull a bit off before wetting down to make the corners even with the rest of the piece.

  4. I forgot to say that a closed resist (where you cut it open) will always give you better edges than the open kind like you did here. That's because it's all on piece and felts together evenly. Open edges lets the fiber "escape" and become uneven. Just make the resist a bit bigger to include the extra you will need for the flap and cut the flap out as you get the resist out. Hope that makes sense.

  5. Thankyou so much Ladies

    Terrie i'll try that and see if i can strengthen it up a bit :)

    Ruth i didnt think of turning it inside out, i'm emailing you :)

  6. Karen--I agree with Ruth that working with a closed resist is always easier. I don't use bubble wrap, either, since I find that the edges of foam floor underlayment are easier to 'feel' under the wool.
    I use thin layers, rather than thick...laying out fiber over the edges of the resist, wetting it out, covering it with bubble wrap, and then flipping it over to the back side...then wrapping the bits that stick out over the edges smoothly to the new front, adding a thin layer, and on and on until you get the thickness that you want.
    I agree that working 'inside out' as Ruth suggested makes your embellishments felt in beautifully. If you check out some of my purse projects, you'll see that I very often work this way. Hope this helps, but write with more questions if you want! heather(dot)woollove(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. Thankyou so much Heather, i'm emailing you :):)

  8. Kaz, your purse is great, I think it's incredibly neat. You didn't cut the edge of the flap at all?
    I work in a similar way to Heather, I do 3 thin layers that overlap at the edges, then the top layer is just upto the edges so it doesn't overlap. I wet each layer as I go, then I add the extra fibres to the top so they can wrap around the edges. I usually do something I want to shrink a lot and thicken,and full over a resist like camera cases, so it's not so easy to do inside out.

    Or do it like the texture felt in the washing machine :)

  9. I am to long winded to write it here so I sent you an email. I do think you are to critical or your own work

  10. Thankyou Zed
    OMG i actually had a light bulb moment while reading through Heather's blog, its been in the layout of my fibres and trying to get all layers on one side and then flipping and adding all layers on the other side, instead of course (duh) adding one layer at a time, flipping, another layer, flipping again and so on and so forth. I really dont know why i was working the way i was so today i'm trying again :) Thankyou

    Ann Thankyou i'm emailing you back lol

  11. Hi Karen I think that will be a lovely make-up bag or purse.. and its going to be gorgeous if you add your embroidery & beads!

    I lay down 2 layers at a time with the ends sticking past the resist, wet it & flip it. The 2 layers on side 2 go just to the edges. And keep going like that for however many layers I want. Also I dont start to add surface decoration until I have laid down the last of the 'ends wrapping round' layers.. so nothing interferes with the design - once that layer is down I decoate it, flip it, lay to the edges then add decoration on the 2nd side.

    There are always certain areas that take more work, like the corner joint you mentioned. As the others have said an enclosed resist where you cut the opening and flap shape later are always easier to work with, the felt is more stable & even thickness.

    One other thing I want to mention is that smaller isnt necessarily easier! Please dont beat yourself up for finding a small resist project tricky - in my opinion they are more awkward than a medium sized project.


  12. Thankyou Deborah
    I realised my problem was in the layout and trying to add to much to soon and decorate as well lol I'm trying a closed resist today so hopefully i'll have a much better handle on whats happening and why.
    And your right there to, i was thinking smaller would be easier but its not so i'll go medium size next and see if that helps.

    Thanks again everyone for your extremely helpfull comments and suggestions, i dont know what i'd do without you xoxoxo

  13. Hi Karen, Pretty much everything that I was going to say has actually already been covered by the other comments! Like Heather (Hi Heather!!!) I like to use laminate floor underlay for my resist (2mm or 3mm) because it's flexible but you can feel the edges through the wool. Keep your corners slightly rounded to make laying out easier and you can always full it in such a way as to get crisp corners if you want. Laying out the design on the inside means that it doesn't felt into the body of the purse quite so much so the detail is clearer but if you prefer to lay out the design on the top so you can see it better wet and soap the top layer lightly first and then lay the design. This means that you can lift up and reposition your design pieces if you are not happy with what you have done. Each time you lay our a side and flip it over pull the overlapping fibres very firmly aroung the edge of the resist with SOAPY hands before laying out the next side. I also would weigh your wool to make sure that you have an even layer on both sides, don't add your decoration into the weighed amounts, that should be extra! Three fine layers will be better than two and give you a quality felt. If you're not sure exactly how much wool you need weigh a purse you like belonging to someone else or get the volumes from a book, (Chrissie Day and I have plenty of suggestions in 'From Felt to Friendship'). Do plenty of rubbing between your bubble wrap before you do any rolling and periodically run your soapy cupped hands around the outside of the resist resist to ensure that the fibres don't stretch outwards and form a ridge. When you cut out the resist (for the closed method which I recommend) make sure to seal the cut edges well immediately or they will stretch then work on the edges where the resist was to even out any seams.l Turn the purse inside out for a while and then back to the right side out. Good luck!

  14. Nicola Thankyou so much for all that information, i really do appreciate it. I'm finished up another one now and it is working out so much better, the top is still not right ( where i've cut) it did stretch a bit to much but i'm still a lot happier, i'm starting to get them more solid and i found it so much easier to work layer by layer, I'm also starting to feel more comfortable with everything so with all the help and suggestions from everyone , i might just make it lol
    Thanks again, Your all amazing Felters so i know i'm learning from the best :)