Granny Squares, Crochet Flowers, and Purses

I’ve been having a lot of fun with granny squares and crochet flowers. I also decided to experiment with making purses with some garment leather I have on hand. Why not combine the two?

I decided to start with a small purse that would serve as a “sampler” of the different techniques I have planned for later purse projects. I cut a couple simple rectangles, and used a piece from the edge of the hide for the fringe to give it an interesting uneven bottom edge.

Cutting purse pieces

I like tacking leather pieces together with rubber cement to make them easier to stitch. I didn’t have any leather rubber cement, so I tried some Elmer’s Craft Bond Rubber Cement, which seems to work just fine for this lightweight garment leather. Rubber cement doesn’t create a permanent bond, but simply makes the glued areas sticky. This allows me to pick up and move things if I need to. It also remains soft and pliable, so the leather feels natural where it’s been glued.

Rubber cement

Sewing was a challenge, and my seams don’t look fantastic. A lot of this is just needing to get all the tensions right, but I may need to invest in a walking foot for my machine.

Sewing the purse

Voila! The purse body is stitched and ready to flip right-side out.

Sewing the purse

Here’s an African Flower motif transformed into a square for the purse flap. I crocheted this with Lion Brand Bonbons, a cotton fingering weight yarn that makes nice, sharp designs.

Purse Flap

Ready to join the flap to the purse body.

Purse and Flap

After experimenting with different ways to crochet onto leather, I opted to use the same shell edging on the leather as I did on the flap, crocheting the shells and picots into small punched holes along the edge of the leather.

Crochet Edging

Done with the edging. Time to add the flap. I also added eyelets for attaching the strap (when I figure out how I want to make a strap). I used Dritz eyelets (104) and eyelet tool, which were pretty easy to use.

Crochet Edging

All done! Well, mostly. I still have to figure out how to add a strap to it. Chain? Ribbon? Crochet? Macramé? I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Crochet Purse

On a related note, I’m working on a shield/mandala design. Here’s the base for the first run. I think I increased too many stitches on the last row, so I’m blocking it in hopes of having a fairly flat piece continue work on. The next steps involve doing some surface crochet and embroidery to form the focal point of the design. When I’m finished developing the design, I’ll post a pattern for you to try.

Mandala/Shield Base

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