Sunday, September 4, 2011

Raspberry Crush Handbag


This is the Red Cross Bag from the lovely book Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal.  There are a lot of really tempting projects in that book, but this one really grabbed me.  I love its simplicity, and I love how it looks like…well, like a real bag.  I’m always fighting with this worry that my crafting will fall into that murky hole of craftiness, you know what I mean?  Once, years ago, I bought a picture frame at a craft fair; one of those puffy padded fabric frames with the glued-on, scratchy plastic lace edging, where I lovingly placed my boyfriend’s school picture, and now I keep a scary visual of that thing right up in the front of my mind, so I never forget what not to do.  Anyway, I think this beautiful and modern handbag is very far away from the padded picture frame of my nightmares—it is fantastic. 


The log cabin blocks are made in corduroy, and the light/dark contrast is achieved by using the back side of the fabric for the first few courses of the block, and then switching over to the textured side to finish.  Isn’t that just so clever?   It’s all the same fabric, you just use the reverse side too.  Wow, I love that.   And, rather than go and buy new fabric, I went out and bought a (it must be said, tragically terrible) corduroy shirt at the thrift store. 


It was an XL, so there was plenty of fabric.  I cut the shirt apart and trimmed away the zipper and all the seams, then pressed the pieces.


Then I chopped them into strips, making sure to align the edge of the ruler with the wales of the corduroy, and pieced the log cabin blocks, using the teeny pieces first and adding the longer ones as the block got bigger. 


The bag is lined with calico, and the button is covered with the same fabric.  As usual, I had the most trouble with the strap (during which time the sewing machine actually had an opinion about the thread I was using!  The audacity!) and at one point, I hollered in frustration and threw it across the room, prompting Dean to ask me if I was still having fun, but eventually, I conceded that I was going to have to stitch that part by hand, and the ship righted itself.  Curling up in a comfy chair with a spot of handstitching and a creamy vanilla iced coffee is very soothing.


  1. Score one for you Kristen! That bag is smashing. Love the corduroy, covered button, all of it. By the way your alphabet sampler turned out lovely. I missed out on that kit, might just have to go get the chart. Have a great week!

  2. Kristen, this bag is so great. I know what you mean thinking that the items you make maybe don't look good enough. I feel that way all the time. I think because you spend so much time making something you lose the ability to see it clearly. You did a great job.

  3. Fabulous up-cycling project! Wonderful idea!

  4. I've said it before ... you're flippin' amazing! Your bag is gorgeous and I absolutely love that you made it out an op shop find. Super impressive.

  5. Hello Kristen,

    What ingenuity, using a thrifted shirt to make such a gorgeous bag, love the covered button too, very pretty.

  6. I think you never need worry about what you make - your workmanship is always impeccable and you make things of beauty. This lovely bag is gorgeous, much better than the shirt you made it from too. A lovely colour though. I bought what I thought was weird second hand dress to cut up to put in my first quilt. However, when I tried it on I found I loved it. Don't know if I am annoyed or not!

    I know what you mean about the quality of work though and as I think you have said, there is a difference between home-made and hand-made. Not that anyone should ever be put off by perfectionism, as that has its own problems. I always ask myself "would I buy this?" I imagine what shop it would live in and how it would be displayed. If I would buy it then I am OK with it. (And it doesn't have to look manufactured and processed in order to count, I love obviously hand crafted, that no machine can replicate, it just has to look good!) I would definitely buy your stuff - from your knitting to crochet, to embroidery and all in-between!

  7. I have just found your blog through my daughter Ashley of 'country rose', it is a lovely blog and your bag is fantastic.

  8. That is a fantastic bag, it doesn't look "homemade" at all, it looks "handmade"