Watermelons seem to big this year I have seen them on everything. In the latest issue of One Thimble Magazine (Issue 13) there is an adorable pattern called Kawaii Felt Purses with one of the versions is a watermelon, I decided to make it but put my own twist on it. The original pattern is made from felt but I didn’t have enough wool felt to make 3 bags so I decided to use fabric. The easy way would be to use red and green fabrics from my stash. Pattern Review are having another challenge that I am interested in and it is to create your own fabrics – take plain fabric and change it using any technique you want to make your own fabric and use it in an item/s so I decided I would make watermelon bags.
I started off with about 2m or so of plain unbleached calico. Previously when I’ve painted pieces with liquid radiance I started out with a rectangle almost A4 sheet of fabric and cut out my pattern pieces once the fabric had been painted and ironed. This time I cut out all my pieces first. I did have to adjust my pattern pieces from the original pattern. I needed to added extra seam allowances, draw out an oval instead of a semi circle for the fleshy part and also make a lining for the inside of the bag.
I used liquid radiance to paint up the fabric. For the red fleshy part I used red with splashes of pink. I painted the entire circle in the colour. I decided to experiment to see how the fabric would look if it was folded when dry. The end result was the fabric that was folded underneath turned out a lighter colour. The half that was exposed to light remained the bright colour that I painted it.
I looked at the my liquid radiance colour chart and made up a green that I thought was the colour of the outside skin. I mostly used the colour I made up but I did add splashes of blue and yellow to the pieces. Where the pieces look particularly dark I used more blue in those areas.
I had to paint the green fabrics in 2 stages as I ran out of space. There are only so many boards I can fit on my ensuite floor.
When I was doing the second lot I did make the mistake of grabbing the wrong bottle of yellow. For 2 pieces I accidentally used my yellow concentrate and not my diluted colour. No harm done the fabrics are just a little bit lighter but I did waste precious drops of colour. You can use the concentrates on their own without dilution but it is more economical to use them diluted. Lesson learnt check you have the right bottles before you start.
To construct the bags I made up all the fronts. I used the finished edge applique method. In this applique method you take your fabric and sew it right sides together before clipping your seams and making a slit in the bag to turn it right sides out. I marked on my fabric which was the back side that I was cutting as I was scared I slit the wrong side. This form of applique gives you a really neat edge and almost a 3D feel as you have another of layer of fabric behind it.
To applique the semi circles on to the bag fronts I used a satin stitch. I wanted to create the white layer you see on watermelons so I used white thread. I set my zig zag stitch to the widest I could which was 7. I set the stitch length down to 0.5 My first one was perfect.
The next 2 I had trouble starting, I couldn’t get over the initial seam that was in the corner of the semi circle. I ended up having to use stabilizer underneath, start a little bit in from the edge and change my settings so my width was 6 and my length was 1.0. Once I got stared I was able to increase my width and decrease my length.
To make the pips I did French knots in a pearl thread. The pearl thread is thicker. I marked out spots with a black frixon pen then did my stitches adding a few extra here and there.
When I painted the handle fabrics I pleated the fabric so when it was dry it formed stripes. With liquid radiance anything exposed to air when drying is brighter than areas that are not so that is how you can create stripes or on the fleshy fronts the darker and lighter shades of pink. I formed the handle straps by folding each one in half sewing right sides together before turning out and top stitching along each edge
The construction of this bag was pretty standard there was a lining, an outer bag and the handle. I did trim away some of the top of the fleshy party of the watermelon front to reduce bulk in the seam. Normally when I made tote bags in this method I leave my turning gap at the bottom but due the curve shape I had to move my turning gap space to top of the bag on the back.
As a final touch I put on a KAM snap to close the bag.
So these will be Christmas gifts for my nieces but I think I am more excited about them then they will be. These turned out cute!
It was a fun personal challenge to see if I could take pattern designed to made in felt and change it around so I could make it from a woven. Thinking about all the steps I needed to change to make it work was a good way to stop and think about the basic fundamentals of sewing. Painting the individual pattern pieces for the first time was a lot of fun as I had to really plan in it in my head of how I wanted the end items to look. The machine and hand embroidery decoration needed thought and planning, I Goggled watermelon images as research over where to place my pips. These are one of the best things I have ever made.