Sometimes I think I should have named this venture Cotton and Linen and Silk since silk is also one of my favourite fabrics. Perhaps even my most favourite although I do not sew with it very often. It’s not really a practical fabric for every day use but that’s what makes it so special when you do use it. Like in today’s project.

My sister celebrated her birthday yesterday and I made her a special gift of a Bohemian Silk Bag. There is some background that you should know about this bag. Some of the silk fabric I used was a multi-coloured dupioni silk remnant from a prom dress of my sisters from many moons ago. I found the piece in my Mother’s stash several years ago and scooped it up knowing that I would someday find a special use for it. The other thing you should know is that we have some Scottish blood in us. We grew up to the sound of the bagpipes and to this day whenever I hear the pipes it brings a tear to my eye in memory of my father, an accomplished piper. For this reason, I chose a “plaid” effect for my pattern.

My inspiration for the bag was born from the book ‘Silk Unraveled’ by Lorna Moffatt. In it, Lorna elaborates on her use of torn silk strips which she transforms into all manner of imaginitive creations. To take a piece of precious dupioni silk and literally rip it into strips takes great courage. Lorna has perfected her courageous craft.

From the bundle of silk you see above I have ripped my pieces in preparation for the bag. At this stage, I only knew that I wanted to make a bag. I had no idea what would emerge as a final ‘pattern’.

I chose a gold dupioni silk as the background to the strips. The gold pieces and the lining are cut approximately 8 ” by 10″. I then began experimenting with the pieces until the ‘plaid’ emerged as the favoured pattern. I also chose to put one horizontal strip along the back near the bottom to add interest.

Pin the strips in place and sew. Fold down and press a 1/2″ on the top of the front and back Pin the zipper between the top and the bottom at the top where you have folded the fabric. Sew the zipper in place.  With right sides together sew the front to the back along the sides and the bottom. Turn the bag right side out through the open zipper. The bag is shown with the zipper in and as yet unlined.

The next step is to sew the lining together front and back right sides together leaving the top open with a 1/2″ turned under at the top similar to the bag. Insert the lining into the bag wrong sides together and hand sew the lining to the top edge on the inside of the bag close to the zipper opening.

I chose a burgundy cording to use for the strap and wanted to add some beads to the bottom of each side of the cord for effect.

The beads are attached to the ends of the knotted cord and hand sewn to the sides of the bag.

And the final product!

I’m happy to say that my sister was pleased with her gift.