Velvet Evening Bag
Crushed velour has a gorgeous, opulent quality that is ideal for making an evening bag and because it is for the evening, it is worth going over the top with the embellishments. Ostrich feather trim and beautiful bead fringing are added to make this a really stunning bag. The bright red is ideal for teaming with that little black dress, but of course, you can make the bag in any colour. Keep the feather trim, beads, and crushed velour the same shade for a classic look.
60 x 25 cm (24 x 10 in) red crushed velour
60 x 20 cm (24 x 8 in) ultra-soft iron-on interfacing
Red sewing thread
20 cm (16 in) ostrich feather trim
Red quilting thread
2 tubes of size 11 red seed beads
1 tube of 6-mm red flat oval beads
1 tube of 6-mm red rice beads
1 tube of 4-mm red faceted beads
1 tube of 3-mm red teardrop beads
60 x 20 cm (24 x 8 in) red taffeta, for the lining
Seam allowances are 1 cm (5/8 in) and machine stitch is straight stitch.
Iron two layers of interfacing on the reverse side of a 10-cm (4-in) square of red velour (if you have a heavier weight interfacing, one layer will be sufficient). Draw an 8-cm (31/8-in) circle on the interfacing side and cut out. Now cut a 50 x 20-cm (193/4 x 8-in) piece of velour and iron one layer of interfacing the same size as the velour to the reverse side. Fold in half widthways with right sides together and machine stitch the back seam. Mark the circle into quarters with small notches on the outer edge and mark the tubular bag panel around the bottom edge in quarters in the same way.
Machine two rows of gathering stitches around the top and bottom edges of the velour tube (see Techniques, page 13). To do this, increase the stitch size to 4 and machine stitch 12 mm (1/2 in) in from the top edge and then 17 mm (3/4 in) in from the top edge. Repeat with the bottom edge. Pull up the gathers around the bottom edge slightly and then, matching the notches, pin the circular base in place to the bottom edge of the tube. Adjust the gathers so that they are evenly spaced and tie off. Snip into the bottom seam allowance of the bag panel to flatten the fabric then machine stitch around the edge of the circle, removing the pins as you go. Pull out the gathering threads and then zigzag the seam and trim neatly.
Turn the bag through and pull up the top rows of gathering stitches until the flattened bag measures 20 cm (8 in) across. Cut sections from the ostrich feather trim with about five or six feather fronds and tack in little groups around the whole top edge of the bag. Machine stitch across the feathers, just above the seam line. Triple zigzag across the ends of the feather trim to secure.
To make the binding, cut a 5 x 43-cm (2 x 171/4-in) strip of velour. Fold it in half widthways so that right sides are facing. Machine stitch 2 cm (3/4 in) into the back seam and reverse stitch out to the edge again. Repeat from the other edge to create the hole through which the gathering ribbon will be threaded. Press the seam open and set aside.
Tip: choose one of the new ultra-soft iron-on interfacings that will stretch slightly with the velour but give it enough body so that the bag holds its shape.
Thread a needle with a double length of red quilting thread. Bring the needle out below the h../ binding on the right side. Pick up three seed beads and a flat oval bead, three seed beads and a rice bead, three seed beads and a faceted bead, three seed beads and a teardrop. Miss the last bead by taking the needle through the next bead and back up the bead strand. Sew a faceted bead at the top of the strand. Continue around the bag adding beaded fringe strands every 7 mm (3/8 in) just below the binding. Alter the number of seed beads or double the strand length occasionally.
With right sides facing and matching the back seam, pin the velour strip from Step 4 around the top of the bag. Machine stitch and then trim the seam to 1 cm (1/2 in). Fold the strip over the top edge of the bag and pin. Machine stitch around the bag just below the binding from the right side.
To make the strap, cut two 2-m (2-yd) lengths of red quilting thread. Thread both lengths through the needle and knot the ends together 15 cm (6 in) from the end. Pick up seven seed beads and then a decorative bead of your choice. Repeat until the strap is 50 cm (20 in) long and knot both threads together. Sew the ends of the strap into the bag on either side securely. Make a lining from a 20 x 43-cm (8 x 17-in) piece of red taffeta and an 8-cm (31/4-in) circle. Press under a 1.5-cm (5/8-in) turning around the top edge and tuck the lining in the bag. Pin and then hem to the machine stitching inside the top of the bag. Thread a length of ribbon through the casing and tie the ends.