embellishment, embroidery, sewing, stitching, textures

Ornamental Petals Screen Embroidered Zipper Bag – Tutorial for Gwen Lafluer’s Artist Tribe

I’m excited to introduce my first project for Gwen Lafluer’s Artist Tribe. This is the first design team for me. Usually, I simply follow my instinct when creating. To be truthful, I did not do the steps in the most logical order, but I will walk you through my process. Feel free to adjust the steps.

The end result is a zippered pouch approximately 6″ X 6.25″. It is embellished with acrylic paint, embroidery and vintage buttons. The inspiration for this piece was Gwen’s Ornamental Petals Screen stencil from her Ornamental collection produced by Stencil Girl. I love all the details. 

Recently I have been interested in adding more fabric into my artwork. The first piece I could find was a piece of pale, pink fabric covered with delicate roses. It was just the right size to print this luscious stencil

Printed twice, back to back, the piece was perfect to make a bag.  

At first, I thought it would be a drawstring bag, so I used artist tape to block off a space for the drawstring and added paint for a little extra. In the end, I decided it would be a zipper bag, so this part was trimmed off. 

Using the stencil as the pattern, the edges were embroidered using the backstitch in DMC floss 703.

While the green was taking shape, the circular patterns reminded me of vintage buttons I had in my button jars. The center buttons were a set of nine buttons that mimicked the decorative aspects of the stencil. Perfect! I needed eight buttons! I then decided to use a mix-matched set of smaller buttons. I found 32 buttons that were similar in style but added variety. 

Here is the full stretch with buttons attached. 

Taking a look at it, I determined that the details should be embroidered in a pale pink – DMC 618. The teardrop shapes were done in blanket stitch and lazy daisy stitch was used in the crevices. 

It was time to trim the edges and sew the piece into a bag! Hooray! Unfortunately, it was impossible to use my rotary cutter to trim up the edges. Having the buttons sewn on made the surface too unstable.  Using a quilting ruler and a fabric pencil I added a quarter inch mark on both sides and cut the line with sewing sheers. The top I left untrimmed until sewing the piece together.

Next came bias binding tape at the top. Once basted in place, the zipper was pinned on top. This zipper has been in my stash since 1970 so I am delighted that it found its way into a project at last. Look! It cost 45 cents. 

Once the zipper was secured, a chain stitch embroidered in green secure the layers together so they lay flatly.

Then sew up the sides for the finish! Wait a minute, how could we skimp on details? The zipper pull deserves a little love. So that ninth button in the set? Together with a mother of pearl button and a couple of large jump rings, this zipper pull is charming it!

Here’s another view of the finished product!

For this first project, I used only one of the many wonderful materials that I received from Gwen. In the photo below you can see a hint of some of the materials that will show up in some of my future projects. I can’t wait to show them all to you. 

Don’t want to wait for me? I don’t blame you. You can head over to her shop where she is having an end of the season sale going on. 


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  1. Lynda this is such a beautiful bag. I love how you worked the buttons into the design. Just lovely!

  2. Thank you, Jill! My button jars are sitting in my windowsill daring me every day. The pattern of the stencil and the pattern of the buttons was so similar it was an easy match. So glad you like it.

  3. This is gorgeous! I keep wanting to make zippered bags, but I always shy away from putting in the zipper even though I've bought a few. You've made it look easy enough for me to try! I love the embroidery and the buttons… all of it!

  4. I love your use of fabric with Gwen's stencils, genius! I too don't create in an orderly fashion but in an intuitive way, I love letting art take me along for the ride!

  5. Fantastic project!!!! Nice job!

  6. Wow, such a beautiful project and well-detailed post. Makes me want to get out my sewing machine, button box and vintage zippers!

  7. Thank you so much, Gwen! Your stencil inspired it all!

    I stitched it all by hand so that I could get everything to line up just right. It was interesting, but the zipper I used had a raised line in the weave that I stitched along and made everything nice and straight. If your zipper doesn't have it you can always pencil one in! I'm glad I made it look easy enough to try. Can't wait to see how you do.

    I'm glad you like it!

  8. Thanks, Sandee! Your comments made me happy. You have explained it so well. I'm just along for the ride.

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Christine. I'm glad you liked what you saw here.

  10. Thank you so much! I'm glad the details worked. Ahhh, to think of all the vintage buttons and zippers we have between us! I sewed this project by hand…it was small and I had better control of everything matching up just right that way. I am hankering to put my sewing machine to work on something bigger….

  11. Totally amazing bag Lynda!! I just sat here reading your steps and as I did my face was lit up with a permanent smile- you are sooooo clever! I love your whole thought process on this from using the stencil as a pattern down to the button love for the pull! Bravo!

  12. Thanks, Jackie! I'm am so tickled that I could light up your face with a permanent smile! That made my day. Glad you liked my project. I know I'm blown away by your latest.

  13. Thank you! I'm glad you like it.

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