Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Place Mat Purses

Now that Christmas is over and all my gifts have been delivered, I can share with you what I made for some of my family members and close friends.

I had seen a place mat purse in a quilt shop and thought I was smart enough to make one without having to buy the pattern.  Instead of spending $14.00 on the pattern, I spent about 8 hours on my first one sewing, ripping out, sewing, ripping out, putting the handles on, taking them off, putting them on, taking them off....until I finally figured it out.  After the blood sweat and tears invested that first one, I decided that spending $14.00 on the pattern may not have been such a bad deal after all.

I found place mats on clearance for $.74 each at Target and a few sets of handles on clearance for $.97 at JoAnns, so a couple of them were pretty economical.  I added contrasting fabric, a magnetic snap, inside pockets, and some type of embellishment to each purse.

I made some red ones too but did not get photos of them.  Each purse I made was unique, but two were sprinkled with a little extra love.

Like this one  I made for my sister.  It may not look like much but it has a lot of meaning.  I used pieces of denim from a pair of my mom's old blue jeans for the contrasting fabric.  My mom has been gone for over four years now.  I did not know what I'd ever use her jeans for, but thought I may incorporate pieces of them into quilts for my kids.  I was so excited when I remembered I had them stored away and thought to use them for my sister's purse.  I can't tell you how many times I choked up and started to cry while making this one.  I felt like mom was standing over my shoulder watching me as I created my masterpiece.  I think she'd approve of my destroying a perfectly good pair of jeans.

Then I took these photos of us as children and printed them onto an iron on transfer.  I'm the big sister (the cute one).

I put it onto a pocket inside the purse.

I used this photo and 'pursonalized' it for her.

It was used for a second pocket in the purse.  She told me she cried when she opened it.  (I was kind of hoping it would have that effect on her.)

This purse was made for my dear friend, Rapunzel, (I call her that because she has a ton of hair.) I decided hers would be 'pursonalized' too.  

I used a collage of pictures taken of us on her 40th birthday.  These four were just a sample of the photo shoot we sat through.  I had her hubby take them for us.  Thank goodness for digital cameras and being able to view them immediately.  I bossed him around by telling him to kindly asked him to zoom in,  zoom out, not to take from that angle, could he take another that didn't make us look fat, and next time try to leave the dog out....We were laughing pretty hard by the time he finally got a good one of us.  Look how red my nose is in the last picture, what you can't see is my watery eyes from laughing so hard I cried.  It was a fun night (and I was glad she was finally as old as me).

Here it is on the pocket inside the purse.  The iron ons did not turn out at vibrant as I'd hoped they'd be, but they were okay and served their pur(se)pose.  I had so much fun making homemade gifts, I think I'd like to do it again.  Do any of you have ideas to share for next Christmas? 


  1. Those are awesome and what a great idea to use your mom's jeans for Staci's! I bet she just loved it...and I can just picture your mom standing over you smiling that awesome smile of hers!

    I can't believe your mom has been gone for over 4 years now, it seems like just yesterday. Want a shocker...my dad has been gone for 23 years now.

  2. I just love my purse - especially the the pictures of us on my 40th! I show everyone who even looks at it and tell them the story of how you made it (google maps and all!) You are such a blessing to me, I cherish your friendship!

    Love, Rapunzel

  3. What beautiful heartfelt gifts! Great job Michelle:)

  4. What a sweet sewing project! I love all your unique creations. (So love that you gave it a go without a pattern, you go girl.)

    I can see why your sister cried, what a beautiful, meaningful gift. I think she ought to hang the purse somewhere special and keep little love notes or such in it. It will be wonderful wall out, and each time she is feeling down she could 'unhang' it and reach in and take out one of her 'special' notes (from you, from friends, from ....) to remind her of those who love her and of how blessed she is. I wouldn't want to wear that pair of jeans out.

    What a generous giving heart you have, your face to face friend Rapunzel is blessed. I wish you lived close to me, so we could have a silly time together too.

    sending my love and a big hug;
    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  5. whoops..."Wall art" not wall out. Sorry, too much "Ethiopia" on my mind.


  6. You are the best friend a girl could ask for...and what a lovely idea!!!

    I LOVE the pursonalized touch...so great.
    Gifts to really REALLY treasure.

    Happy New Year!


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