beads, clothes, fiberart, layers, sewing, stitching, Uncategorized

Bohemian Cell Phone Case

Most of the clothes I own are devoid of pockets. This means that juggling a cell phone is an adventure. Finally, there seemed to be no other choice but than to make an over the shoulder bag to cart it about wherever life might lead. Well, if you are going to make a bag, why not make it awesome? If you’re making something awesome, Gwen has the goods that will get you started.

I decided to use some paper from Gwen’s shop to make some paper fabric to then construct the bag using that material.

Materials Used:

piece of cotton fabric (I used muslin)

painter’s tape (well, I used masking tape)

board to tape the fabric on

gel medium

papers from Gwen’s shop

raffia (embroidery thread will also work)


embroidery floss (about one skein)

sewing thread


Turkmen jewelry parts

sari ribbon

scrap of fuzzy yarn


  1. Constructing the paper fabric. Cut 2 pieces of your fabric into the size for your bag leaving a seam allowance on all sides. Using the masking tape, secure the fabric tightly to the board. Notice there are plenty of wrinkles in the fabric. I do my best to smooth the material, but it will be smoothed again so I am not picky about it. Apply gel medium to the whole surface. Then smooth and flatten.


Add your paper to the fabric and more gel medium on top. Three pieces of paper were used in the picture below. Japanese chiyogami on the sides, Gwen’s handprinted paper in the middle and a block printed paper with a hamsa in the middle.


This piece uses the same background and adds a figure from Gwen’s printables.


Make sure to add a layer of gel medium over the whole. This will make it stronger.

When completely dry, remove from the board.

2. Next, a zipper was sewn to the top edge of both front and back. This zipper was in my stash from my mother’s sewing box. Notice that it cost only $0.40 back in the day. It was handstitched using regular sewing thread. It could just as easily have been stitched on the machine, but I did not want to wake anyone up so I forged ahead with handstitching.

3. Trim. This is a fun part. So many possibilities. I had some raffia left over from my first post for the Artist Tribe as well as this fun eyelash yarn. There was also a substantial load of beads. 

While still debating about how to put it together, I had the occasion to try out making these bracelets from a popular trend. I had seen them on Pinterest and wanted to try my hand at one. I got chance. The next day I realized that using this technique to make a line of beads would be great, so I made them for each side of the hand. The raffia and the beads were used for this.

The other side was trimmed by chaining a length of the eyelash yarn, pairing it with sari ribbon and sewing it along the line where the papers met.

4. Sewing the bottom and sides. I still had napping going on nearby, so I handstitched the bottom and came up one side. The zipper was too long, so the thread was used to secure the new end. Insert needle at desired spot, wrap the thread around the zipper and repeat three or four times. Tie off and trim off the excess. Then sew up the other side.


5. Securing sides with sari ribbon. Colorful pieces of sari ribbon were chosen. They were folded over the top of the seams around the perimeter of the bag and sewn down using rough stitches. The embroidery floss was a contrasting color. The sari ribbon continued around creating the strap.

6. Final decoration. Using some Turkmen jewelry parts finished it off. One piece was sewn beneath the portrait of the woman. Beads were strung and applied to the bottom edges of the bag. Turkmen jewelry parts were hung calculating how the beads would swing in order to get the most pleasant chiming. Sewn-on the bag was finished!


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  1. Jill McDowell says:

    A Boheriam Cell Phone Case! You come up with the most amazing ideas Lynda. And all hand sewn? I never would have thought to see in a zipper by by hand. Napping family members to tend to increase the creativity levels I think😁. Great technique for meshing paper and fabric together too.

    1. lshoup says:

      Thanks, Jill! Yes, it is all handsewn thanks to those nappers, I just took out a needle and thread old school. Now, this bag is small and will not hold the amount of stuff I usually cart around. If I was making a bigger bag, one that had to hold up to significant weight I would definitely wait to use the machine.

  2. This is such a great idea Lynda! I love how it turned out, too! So cool!

    1. lshoup says:

      Thanks, Gwen! I seem to be in a bag mood lately. I’m making things to put things in. Not sure why, but it is definitely a trend. I love the way your handprinted papers look in this piece.

  3. I totally agree with Jill! You rally do have such an array of amazing ideas! And this Boho piece is just stunning! If i had a cell phone, i would have to have such a case! heehee

    1. lshoup says:

      Thank you, Jackie! I am a little distractable which makes for lots of ideas! Maybe you could carry a handkerchief.

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