Saturday, March 12, 2011

Felted Purses

  I've had some interesting motivation to make fun felt recently. Writing this blog for one! Writing the Monday Inspirations really is helping me to focus and keep my thinking involved, but a bit above the actual piece at hand. I've also been playing with textures while planning for my Surface Design Class coming up next week.  Plus I've been making samples for jurying for the Salt Spring Island Market, and Christmas Craft Shows, which has involved making one of a kind pieces that showcase technique, colour or texture, plus can be made repeatedly (with variation) for selling. Whew! It has been so busy the last few weeks!
  The result, in part, are these wool felt purses. I love them, especially the "Change" Purses! 
 I tried to work on all three at once, thinking that I could save some time by doing all the lay out, then some light individual felting, and then rolling all three to get the felting really happening. I do know better than that. Sometimes I can get this plan to work, but most often I just end up exhausted and frustrated late at night, with nothing finished.  Now that it's in print, I will remember for next time!  
  The two round purses have a foam resist inside and are felted all around, then cut open to sew in the zipper. The large bag has a rectangular resist inside, plus an extra pocket with resist. All made with Norwegian Wool batting, with two colours- one for the inside and one out,  for the blending/shadowing effect, and just for fun!
front flap of the wool felt bag

 I used Indian cottons and silk organzas, and handmade prefelt for the surface design. I wanted to make a lightsome and cheery bag, warm and playful.
I hand felted the rope separately, keeping the ends unfelted, and once the bag was finished, I cut two holes on the sides, passed the rope through the opening and felted the ends together. It worked well- a good strong bond, and strap.
back of the wool felt bag

The Indian cottons (skirts I picked up at the thrift shop) have sequins sewn all over them- Sometimes they come a bit loose during the felting, and I either let them come off, or secure them while I embroider over the surface. I love using these-just a touch of sparkle.
lip gloss/key pocket inside, in lime green- just because it can be!

Now these are my absolute favourites- the Change Purses. A metamorphosis in wool, through dyeing, felting, beading, lots of stitching, sequins, and felted protrusions. Note the coins used like shisha mirrors!


It's funny how making one thing often leads to ten more projects! It's all good....and probably good to realize that there can be no such thing as a creative to do list...or at least not one that will ever be fully checked off! 
  I love to hold the Change Purses, and look at all the different surfaces. I want to make these in the forms of larger bags, pillows, and art hangings. Yum!

Maybe week....after I get back from FibresWest!
Warm wishes,


  1. Love the combinations of color and texture; they are all just beautiful!

  2. Lovely. These are beautiful Fiona. P

  3. Absolutely beautiful and charming!

  4. Hi Judy,
    I am trying to research how to put a zip into a wet felted bag. Do you have any tips on this, I have a machine but never used it for zip but want a professional look to the bag...I saw your purses (lovely) and I think you have a zip inthem. Can I ask how you did it? Thanks

  5. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for your comment! I do both machine and handsewing, and on my bags my hand sew them in.
    I find it easier to fit the zipper this way, and also to make small stitches that hold the zipper in well, but do not show on the outside, if I don't want them too. I can still secure the zipper well by just picking up part of the wool felt, rather than stitching the whole way through. I use a back stitch. Hope this helps!
    Warm wishes, Fiona

  6. Hi Fiona,
    I thought that's what I might end up doing, that does help clarify. Thanks.
    I an really enjoying your dyeing experimants by the way.
    Michelle :-)