Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tea-Dyed Purse by Me!

I have gotten really into sewing the past little while---I never really sewed growing up, but I've discovered that it's something that I enjoy and kind of have a knack for. I've done a few sewing projects--the hobby chair I talked about in an older post--I re-upholstered the cushions; I made pillows for our couch; a crib skirt with my mom, a baby quilt with my grandma; and a few other little projects here and there. I think the BIG turning point in my sewing frenzy started in December, when my husband wanted me to make him some Christmas neck ties--so we went to JoAnn's and bought some festive fabric for me to start the project with. I took an old tie and ripped it up to see how it was put together, and then I made my own pattern. I made him 10 ties! I had so much fun, and the more I did, the better and faster I got at it. They looked really nice, and he loved wearing them to work. I decided I wanted to make a purse or bag, but I didn't want to spend the money on a pattern, and I couldn't find one that I really liked enough anyway. So I made my own pattern for this! It took me some time...figuring out the pattern in my head before I could draw it out and all, but once I knew what I wanted, it was no problem putting it down on paper.

I fell in love with the fabric as soon as I saw it. To me, it looked like what a vintage fabric would look like before the aging process. So after I had all my pieces cut out, I wanted to tone it down a bit--just so it wasn't stark white. I thought tea dyeing it would be perfect! All you need to tea dye is:

-A HUGE bowl
-Lots of tea bags (I used chamomile tea--it gave it a nice golden tone)
-A big pot of boiling water
-towels to lay your fabric out on

All I did was boil a ton of water, then I poured it into the big bowl. I put almost all of the tea bags into the water---put more or less in depending on how dark you want it, and then let them soak for a while...until you like the color. I bet if you used black tea, it would turn your fabric much darker. I liked the golden tone the chamomile tea gave me. It would be fun to try different kinds of tea to see the resulting colors. Once the water was the color I liked, I squeezed the water out of the tea bags and took them out. Then I put my fabric in the water. I would be careful about how many pieces of fabric you put in--if you over-crowd them, the color won't be even. I did a test run first, I took a scrap and let it soak to see if I liked the color, then I did the rest. I also stirred the fabric around every once in a while so that the color would take evenly. I ended up letting it soak overnight, and I really liked my end result.

Here is a picture of the inside pocket I did--I needed some help with this, so I read this great tutorial here at Sew, Mama, Sew--it was really helpful and the pictures were great to help along the way.

You can see that I also did a magnetic clasp. I even put a hook thing on the inside--I'm not sure what it's called---and I'll eventually make some kind of zippered pouch to attach to it.

If you're wondering where I got the hardware...I went to the Thrift Store downtown and I found an old purse for $2, then I just cut all the clasps and hooks off. I couldn't find any of this type of hardware in the stores here, and I bet even if I did, it would have been a lot more expensive...and this hardware is REALLY nice and sturdy. I would definitely recommend reusing old purse hardware for a project like this.

So I wore this purse for the first time yesterday...and I LOVED IT! It was really comfy because the strap is nice and wide, and I could hardly feel it on my shoulder. I love the size...and I love how it is soft and slouchy....I think I might even make another one...


  1. WOW! This bag is so great! You're like me, I love making my own patterns. I can't believe much work you put into this with the tea dying and all! Definitely worth the effort though. It's absolutely beautiful!

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