One of my beloved friends–I think of her as family of choice, really–had a birthday recently. I love to celebrate birthdays, but to be honest, I prefer to give gifts as they come gleefully to hand or come into existence and not save them up for a specific day. Perhaps I am just impulsive, or perhaps I don’t have enough gift ideas! Anyway, near enough to the big day I came to understand that she didn’t have a sewing bag… even though she is such a wonderful stitcher and mender, and even though she is currently spending many hours on public transport where stitching might be a good thing to be carrying. I started out with making a bag.
The main panel is a superb quality linen which was once part of a pair of suit pants. At a guess, they had their heyday in the early 1980s. I have saved the jacket, but the pants were past use as a garment and long since met the dye pot, bundled with E Scoparia leaves. My favourite combination, pretty much. The chocolate brown ramie and linen sections were also op shop garment finds, and there is a leaf printed silk noil lining. Naturally, I acquired some pretty pins and suchlike… And then made a needlecase.
These prints are pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) leaves on a strip of old woolen blanket, stitched with silk thread dyed in Austral indigo (Indigofera Australis)–but only just! The thread colour seemed perfect for the job to me, being just to the blue side of grey. Those pohutakawa leaves have the glorious feature of giving two completely different coloured eco-prints, one on each side of the leaf.
Long ago, another friend gifted me a pile of small leather samples, perhaps from an upholsterer–each one labelled with the name of the colour. This one met its destiny as a scabbard of the most basic kind, intended to stop these scissors finding their way out through the bag. In the end, this gift extended the birthday season by some days… the anniversary of my friend coming into the world came and passed–and a bit later, along came this belated present.