color, fiberart, layers, mixed media, stencils, stitching

Stenciled Boho Clutch

Stenciling on fabric! 

If you have been following my Instagram feed you will know about the piece of fabric that my sister and I have been passing back and forth between us for decades. This fabric was bought at a dollar a yard shop when I was in college. Back then, if it was cotton I bought it. 

The problem with using up this fabric is that 1.) I did not have any project in mind when I bought it. When I don’t what I am going to use a piece of fabric for I tend to buy a lot. 2.) The pattern is not the easiest to use in just any project. 3.) The pattern is not centered to grain. If you make a project using the grain, the pattern ends up at a weird angle. It would be great if it ended up looking like a design choice. Too bad it never does. 

So when this fabric made it back into my hands recently I had planned to turn it into paper. Before I could carry out this plan paint happened. All over the fabric. Then stencils and more stencils. (Gwen’s stencil – Art Deco Border Stencil) I loved the way it looked! 

Painting over the fabric was good. Stenciling over it was awesome. With a couple of layers of paint the fabric gained the weight of canvas. This is good. Having lined the stencil up with the pattern rather than the grain, the stiff quality helped when I sewed it together off grain. 

Making the Bag

When I started this project I had no idea I would be making a bag. The fabric was simply torn into manageable sizes and painted. Stencils were likewise applied as the mood struck. After a piece sized for the body of the bag is chosen, look for other elements to add. The pocket fabric was a favorite, but quite a bit had to be trimmed to make it work with the background. 

Before the pocket would be added I looked for embellishment for the other side. This piece of stenciling would be perfect for the piece. 

The stencil was trimmed around the edges. Before sewing it down, a piece of lace I have used for gelli printing was pinned down, the stencil arranged and applied to the fabric with cross stitches. This kept it funky and not very serious. It also made for a pocket within a pocket on that side of the bag. Perfect, really, for carrying your sewing scissors. 

The front pocket was sewn wrong sides together with the seam at the middle of the fabric. It was then folded up and an edge folded over. The paint makes the fabric firm enough that I did not worry about finishing the edge in a rolled hem. A zipper from the 1960s sewn across the top edge and the side seams sewn together (with the bag inside out. Take a peek in the front pocket. There’s the rest of the stencil. 

The addition of beads makes it all the more funky. 

Sari Ribbon Zipper Pull

Zipper pulls are a great way to finish off a small bag. Sari ribbon is always a show stealer. The length of sari ribbon was cut into 4 thinner strips, made into a tassel and then trimmed again. The tassel was sewn to the zipper pull to make it more secure. 

Other great possibilities for finishing off zipper pulls in Gwen’s shop are to be found in her beads, buttons and jewelry components.

This little bag with other bags made for the Artist Tribe. 

I can say it is safe to say that I will be making more of these painted and stenciled bags. However, having caught sight of the sari scraps in Gwen’s shop I feel some silky bags coming on.

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  1. Love your little funky stenciled bag! My inner flower child is dancing with excitement and ideas for making some bags like this😀

    1. lshoup says:

      Thank you Linda! I’d love to see what you would come up with! I’m sure you have some fun fabric in your stash to work with.

  2. Jill McDowell says:

    Lynda, I’m loving the funkiness of this bag….. it’s so bright and cheery. The stencils, hand stitching and beading really make it. Really great idea stenciling the fabric. I need you to give me sewing lessons….

    1. lshoup says:

      Thanks a million, Jill! It was really fun to do. I’d love to sit and stitch with you! The entire thing was hand stitched, so very portable. Easy to do just about anywhere. The only thing is that the fabric needs to be painted in advance and well dried.

  3. I love this! Such a great way to use that fabric, and it turned out beautifully! You have quite the gorgeous collection of boho bags / clutches (aka home decor… lol.) Love it!

    1. lshoup says:

      Thanks, Gwen!!! I really enjoyed making this and know that there are plenty more to come. Just think, those bags are all inspired by you!

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