Organza tote bag
A combination of appliqué, embroidery and beadwork is used \ to create the design on this delicate little bag. It is made from contrasting shades of silk organza and the bag constructed with French seams so that there are no raw edges inside. This bag is very easy to make and the appliqué decoration so simple that you could create your own motifs for a unique design. Use pretty pastels and white or cream to make stunning bags for bridesmaids or even the bride.
32 x 30 cm (12 1/2 x 12 in) bronze metallic silk organza
32 x 70 cm (12 1/2 x 27 1/2 in) pink silk organza
Fusible bonding web
Pale pink and bronze stranded cotton
4 oval pearl beads
Seam allowances are 1.5 cm (5/8 in) and machine stitch is straight stitch.
Cut two 16 x 20-cm (61/4 x 8-in) pieces of each colour of organza and put one set aside. Lay the two colours from one set one on top of the other with right sides facing and machine stitch along one long edge to make the seam. Press the seam towards the darker fabric and trim it neatly to 6 mm (1/4 in). Repeat with the other set to make a second panel. Photocopy the template on page 88. Lay one panel on the template, right side up so that the seam is level with the central horizontal line and the bronze part of the fabric is below the line. Lightly trace the stems onto the fabric with a pencil.
Trace the leaf shapes on to fusible bonding web and iron on to scraps of bronze organza then cut out the shapes. Now trace the squares on to fusible bonding web and iron on to scraps of pink organza then cut out the shapes. Iron a second piece of pink organza on the reverse side of the squares so that they will show up against the darker fabric. When all the shapes have been cut out, peel off the backing paper and stick them in place on the right side of the marked panel. Cover the area with a piece of non-stick baking parchment to protect the iron and press to fix in place.
Using two strands of pale pink cotton, work stem stitch along each stem. To work stem stitch, bring the thread up at the bottom of the stem. Take a 4-5 mm (1/8-1/4 in) straight stitch and then bring the needle out halfway back down the stitch on one side. Continue making stitches the same length and bringing the needle out at the top of the previous stitch. Make sure your length of cotton is long enough to sew the entire stem in one go.
The remaining embroidery is all worked in a combination of backstitch and holbein stitch which both look the same from the right side. With holbein stitch, you work a line of running stitch and then go back to fill in the gaps to create a solid line. With backstitch you work the line as you go, bringing the needle out a stitch length in front and taking the needle back through at the top of the previous stitch. Work the leaf veins in holbein stitch then work the leaf and square edges in backstitch.
Tip When embroidering on see-through fabric avoid taking the thread across the back and always work along previous stitch lines.
To make the handles, cut two 4 x 30-cm (11/2 x 12-in) strips of bronze organza. Press the strips in half lengthways then fold the edges into the centre and press. Stitch close to the edge down each side of the straps in a matching thread colour. Pin the handles to the top edge of the bag panels directly above the leaves so that the raw edges are together.
Cut two 18 x 23-cm (7 x 9-cm) pieces of pink organza and pin these lining pieces to the right side of the bag panels. Trim the bag panels to the same size. Machine stitch across the top of the bag panels, trim the seam to 6 mm (1/4 in), fold over and press.
To work a French seam, pin the two bag panels together with the right sides facing out. Stitch a 7-mm (3/8-in) seam along the sides and bottom. Trim the seams to 3 mm (1/8 in) and trim across the corners. Turn the bag through and press. Machine stitch a 6-mm (1/4-in) seam along the sides and bottom then turn back through to the right side and press. Finally, stitch an oval pearl bead in the centre of each square to finish.