Category Archives: bags

Quick Little Gift

Isn’t this a dandy little tea bag case!  My friend Suzanne Sawko just made a dozen of these as favors for a tea her daughter is hosting.

Though she made twelve, each was personalized with a monogram, making the gift especially nice.

Many years ago, Mildred Turner and I traveled together a good bit.  We both enjoyed a nice cup of Bigelow Earl Grey tea, but few of the airport or hotel restaurants we frequented carried it.  I found two small, inexpensive crazy patch ultrasuede zipper pouches that we used to carry our own supply.  We used those until they fell apart.  This is so much nicer–I should make one for Mildred. Continue reading

White Hankies


This image has been darkened to show details of the white-on-white embroidery.


The opportunity to post a White Wednesday blog along with others at Faded Charm motivated me to plunder through my handkerchief collection again.  As I said in an earlier post, there are few genres of needlework that include so many wonderful techniques as handkerchiefs.





In a relatively small area, spectacular stitching is often combined with extraordinary edgings.  These beauties are tiny treasures.



Note the unusual shaping of the linen and the delicate handmade edge.




This small silk organza hanky is one of my favorites, though it would be pretty useless if you had a cold.  The drawn thread work is as delicate as the fairy weight lace edging.   I wish you could see how fine this thread is.




The woven leaf border adds extra interest to this one, not that it needed it.  The surface embroidery has a sheen  that suggests silk thread.  The bow is shadow work.




Each of the other three corners is embroidered with this coordinating design.  When purchasing heirloom hankies, I always give special consideration to those with embroidery on all four corners.




The width of the elaborate lace and its graceful shaping into the linen makes it  likely that this is a wedding handkerchief.




This has been stashed in one of my handkerchief boxes for about 15 years.  I’ve always like personalized linens and the way the name was worked into the drawn thread ground seemed to make it extra special.  I had none quite like this.




I was just delighted when I opened it and saw SABA woven into the opposite corner.  I had assumed it was a last name!  But after posting a blog about my brother’ gift of a Saba lace tabletopper and a book on the topic,  I enjoy it even more.  The Saba lace story is a fascinating read with an interesting look into women who support their families and local economy with cottage industries.




Ladies of yesteryear made bags and containers for everything from lettuce to pajamas.  Of course, there were handkerchief keepers.  This one belonged to the mother of a dear friend of mine.  Her mother had told her that cases such as these doubled as veil cases.  Who knew?

There are more hankies in those boxes.  I’ll pull out more if you would like to see them.

If you have a special hanky you would like to share, please send a photo with some information about it.

Happy White Wednesday!

Vintage Baby Laundry Bag



Antique baby things always enchant me.  I hope you are not bored with them because I have several I’d like to share with you.

This little white laundry bag is one of my favorites.  It makes me wonder how a young mother, with all the responsibilities of raising children and running a house, could find the time to make this sweet sack for soiled baby clothes.  Of course, there is the possibility that a resident grandmother or other relative could have made this elegant little accessory for the family’s newest member. At any rate, it is charming.

This is truly a modern project for old fashioned Nanas.  A sturdy, 15″ x 18″ drawstring bag is a useful item appreciated by young mothers.  My daughter kept one folded in the diaper bag for the soiled clothing inevitably generated on outings with baby Alastair.

My friend Suzanne Sawko used this vintage bag for inspiration when she designed and stitched these for an article in Creative Needle magazine.




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Penguin Pack

How cute is this?  Jo made this back pack for her kindergartner and he loves it.  But what little guy wouldn’t!

Jo says, “The pattern is from the book, Little Things to Sew, by Oliver + S.  The pattern is written very well and it wasn’t hard to sew.  I did have to order the zipper and the strap adjuster online because I couldn’t find them anywhere locally.  

The grey fabric is I’m-not-sure-something-bottom-weight-possibly-in-the-wool-family.  The yellow and light blue are both from  fat quarters.  I just about danced out of the store when I found the penguin fabric!  Continue reading

New Mother Gift



This sweet new mother gift set was photographed and sent to me by one of my friends in Puerto Rico, Haydee.  Several previous posts on this blog have shown her work or ideas.   As I have explained before, the language barrier prevents me from scoping out the details of these projects. Continue reading

Make a Girl’s Pouch Purse



When Laurel and Robert arrived for a two day visit,  my little granddaughter was wearing the ladybug dress I made recently. While she was here, we made a matching “purse.”

This  is a nice little sewing project for a child, as the purse foundation can be a ready made handkerchief requiring just 4 lines of straight stitch to be finished.   Or it can be more elaborate, like a square with lace edging or bias binding and machine embroidery.  Note:  I attached the bias binding but Laurel did  the remainder of the sewing.

Regardless of your choice, you begin with a finished square.  Large squares make large purses, smaller squares make smaller purses.  Nothing tricky here. Continue reading

1st Communion Accessories



This is a continuation of the previous post about the exquisite First Communion dress Judy Day made for her granddaughter Courtney. Details of the dress, slip and veil were included  there while this post focuses on the extensive accessories–Bible cover, garment bag, hanger and purse–that make the ensemble  all the more special.  In Judy’s  words:




My parents, Courtney’s paternal  great grandparents, gave her the First Communion Bible. It was smocked and beaded by my mother, Wanda Stewart,  in  the same diamond pattern as the dress.  The beaded cross on the Bible was formed by sewing the pearl glass beads  in place  after the smocking was completed.  The instructions for the Bible cover can be found in the April, 2007 issue of Creative Needle  magazine.  Continue reading

Party Sewing

Note the ever popular Happy Birthday tablecloth. Several years ago I made 3 or 4 of these. They have been through more parties than Thomas has been through tunnels.

The birthday boy chugs a cold one as he admires his birthday balloons.

Alastair’s Two-toot birthday party was a big hit with the children and as well as the adults.  The cupcake train delighted everyone and was so easy to make.  Typical of Florida spring, the sun shone brightly and a gulf coast breeze kept everyone comfortable.


My daughter Rebecca and I made the cupcakes and built the train cars the night before the party.  A Thomas train engine  pulled flatbed cars loaded with cupcakes.

The train cars were  built with a stack of two graham crackers with buttercream frosting holding them firmly together. 

Other graham crackers were  broken into “sticks” and stacked three high for the axels, with mini Oreo wheels.  Gum drops served as hitches between the cars.

We all enjoyed watching 2 1/2 year old Ethan surreptitiously pull an Oreo wheel from the train and pop it into his mouth.  His mother scolded, but  Rebecca assured her that the flatbed cars were there for the children to enjoy, just like  the cupcakes and their teepee train bags.  Continue reading





Sewing for Alastair’s upcoming second birthday party is such fun.  I’ve only just begun and I am glad to have another week  to sew for this gala affair.




A  few of the “boy” teepee goodie bag favors are sewn up and I am working on the girl version in more feminine colors.

As usual, a simple little project turned into something more time consuming.  I chose the  pillow ticking fabric because it reminds me of  traditional engineer bib overalls, worn by little guys (and train engineers)  for ages.  Until he was six, our son  had a new pair every year because he wore them out as he explored every inch of  our three acres, climbing trees and digging  “forts” under the cascading bridal wreath spirea by the clothesline.    It makes me grin every time I see Alastair wearing this same garb, 35 years later.

For the festivities, Alastair will be wearing his overalls  along with a matching cap, both of which I plan to embroider with “Amtrak.”   There is also a red bandana to tie around his neck, but we’re not sure he is going to be enthusiastic about that. Continue reading

Sewing Bag


Note the shading on the tree trunk.


This is the most incredibly beautiful bag I have ever seen.  It was displayed at the fashion show at Sewing at the Beach in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago.

It was a class project somewhere in the South–I’m sorry I didn’t get the details.  But I do know they met weekly for some time and learned a new technique at each class.  That technique, then, was applied to a section of the bag.  After a number of weeks, the bag was complete.

The design, workmanship and detail are just breathtaking, and more so in person than these woefully inadequate pictures can convey.

The topiary to the right of the front door features a variety of silk ribbon embroidery stitches.  The life-like climbing roses over the door and across the front of the house motivated me to feed my climbers this week.

And just look at that basket of flowers!  Oh, my!  And in each window is a little rabbit, carefully selected and cut from novelty fabric.  Benny the Bunny Butler, a button cottontail, sits at the front door, ready to greet guests.  Surely, a responsible party is monitoring these hares or all the blossoms would be gnawed to the ground.



The details around the tree are intriguing, from the community of bird houses to a garden art angel to a bee hive on the ground.  A tiny button bird is perched in the tree, undoubtedly singing a glorious springtime  tune.

Just beyond the house on the right side a guest is arriving, most likely for a quilting bee.  Beneath a three dimensional straw hat, a her braid swings as she scurries through the butterflies fluttering in the air.  The elaborately embroidered and beaded bag over her arm carries a thimble.  At her feet rests a large tote, equal to the thimble bag in glorious, meticulous embroidery.  It must be heavy with a  charm squares to trade and a quilt top ready for her tiny 12-to-the-inch stitches. And probably a bag of chocolates in a zip lock.


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