Closures for felt pouches – the results of all our thinking!!!

Thanks so much Deb, Linda, Elizabeth, Lyn, Mary, Heather, Shirley, Ellen, Irene, Kirsten, Chrissie, Terrie, Carole, Karen, Dawn, Sharon, Juiliane and all my FB friends for enthusiastically entering into the debate after I posed the question about a closure for my little starburst pouch. In the same post I also posed a question about photographing certain colours, again thanks for all the helpful replies! I needed a little time to mull over the closure response and finally I think that I have assessed the answers and can give you my own thoughts on the suggestions offered. Do please bear in mind that I an not an experienced or  happy sewing gal, I really appreciate the beautiful added dimension stitching may lend to felt but in selecting an option for one of my own pouches I want something that is practical, looks good and doesn’t mean I lose pints of sweat (on second thoughts maybe that would be a good idea too!)!!! Here is a recap of the various ideas suggested, hopefully I haven’t left any out! In no particular order …..

  • Velcro – circles or possibly strips.  Since Velcro can be difficult to sew Heather suggested stitching the strip to another piece of felt and then stitching this to the pouch
  • Press studs/poppers
  • Magnetic clasps sewn or punched into the felt, alternatively felted in at the layout stage
  • Felt tie closure
  • Slashed cut and toggle closure
  • Tie and toggle
  • Loop and button, I liked Irene’s idea of using a hair elastic for the loop because I have TONNES of them in my stash!
  • Felt rope combined with a toggle, possibility of adding glass beads to the toggle
  • Grommets
  • Upcycled closure, possibly cut from bicycle tyres (again in my stash!)
  • Braided leather
  • Glass buttons

and finally an idea from Hilary Williams on FB, adding the traditional button and button hole to the pouch under the flap. If I understand this suggestion correctly it would mean sewing the button to the inside back of the pouch and making the slash in the front piece as you would be viewing it when you lift up the flap.

Now for the main potential problems identified …..

  • Velcro is difficult to stitch and can get fuzzed up with felt
  • Magnets may effect the battery life of certain mobile devices (although in my internet research this seems to have been almost eliminated as a problem by now with most makes of device)
  • Press studs or poppers often prove difficult to open and might tear away from the felt

All in all Hilary’s suggestion is probably the best solution for me with the starburst pouch, the stitching on the front flap has compressed the felt so much that it would be pretty difficult to sew any of the other suggested closures onto it and I don’t want to do anything that spoils the starburst effect.  Obviously by using Hilary’s method the actual usable size inside the pouch is reduced slightly but that’s OK, I’m going to try and have a go at it anyway first thing tomorrow morning and I’ll post pictures of the results then!

The rest of today is going to be spent continuing with my studio clear out and reorganisation. I may get to do some felting (as a reward obviously!!!) although I might not have the time, I do intend to put some felting kits together however combining wool, silk and mohair off cuts.  After all my hard work yesterday (updated via FB) I can now actually see my first felting table and walk unimpeded into the room, today I want to clear out and restock one of my supply cupboards as well as try to sort storage for some of my many embellishing fibres. For now I’m going to leave you with a picture of another piece of highly textured felt awaiting stitching, this pouch is felted from a combination of black NZ merino and ruched pieces of floral fabric.

Detail from another wet felted pouch

I love this texture!!!

I know I promised yesterday to blog today about closures and Dawn’s workshops here in Ireland so I must apologise. We’re just confirming a few little details so I will be blogging about it next post and then I didn’t have time to work on my starburst purse today so I’m going to blog about the closure issue later this week too!  If I hadn’t been so excited about the texture on my latest work I probably would have waited to post tomorrow, as it is I had a brainstorm this morning, felted and stiffened approx 30 unusual buttons and then continued into the afternoon and felted two highly textured little pouches and one large wallet, here’s a picture!!!

Gorgeous texture

WOW, thanks!!!

Wow, thanks so much to all of you who took the time to respond via comment, email and on FB to the question I posed about closures for my little felt pouches!  I’ve been totally tied up writing my final assignment for ‘ Train the Trainer’ but that’s been put to bed this afternoon (all be it 36 hours later than I had hoped for), printed, bound and driven to Carlow, whew.  I’m just back now and going to have another read through all the messages, assemble my thoughts and write a proper and hopefully more constructive blog post tomorrow!

Abstract leaves on the back of the starburst pouch

I’ll decide when I have a clearer head exactly which option I’m going to use for my little starburst pouch and then I’ll sew up the sides too, whatever it is I don’t want to spoil the stitching on the back either.  I also want to blog this week about selling online and update you all with really exciting news about Dawn’s visit to Ireland and my own proposed visit in May to U.S., that trip is finally in the planning!!!  Until then I’m switching my brain off, my phone off and I just ‘might’ do a little tumbling or pinning later for fun, not before I’ve relaxed by the stove and poured a glass of wine though!

Question about closure for a felt pouch and rich deep colours are hard to photograph!

Yesterday I forced myself to sit down to stitch and finish 5 of the 6 little felt pouches I felted on Wednesday and Thursday. Making the descision to participate at Borris Farmer’s Market each Friday for the forseeable future in addition to focusing on stocking my Big Cartel shop has meant that I am sticking to my guns and continuing to develop a range of small but colourful felt pouches. As many of you well know by now felting is my big passion, not stitching. I do however appreciate that elective stitching can add another dimension to hand made felt, hence my current discipline in this department!!!

I love this starburst design!

The only reason that I didn’t manage to finish all of the pouches is the fact that I need to figure out a different closure for pouch number 6, the starburst design on the flap really deserves to be shown off and not cut into for a button hole! I’m toying with the idea of velcro but do any of you experienced seamstresses have any suggestions??? All help gratefully recieved!

My other difficulty is capturing the turquoise background of some of the pouches and revealing the richness of the blues and greens in the mohair off cuts when I post pictures of these pieces online. It seems almost impossible for me to share the depth of the colours over the internet but hopefully people will get the jist of the colours and anyone actually buying a pouch online will be plesantly surprised when it arrives in the post!  The image below is a good case in point.  The colours of the mohair piece on the flap of this pouch change subtly from rich green through to a deep blue viewing from left to right but I just can’t seem to capture them accurately. I can get the textured effect of the stitching but not quite the correct colours, never mind, I like this photo anyway and I just love the vintage button closure!

Beautiful marbled effect vintage button

More felt incorporating up-cycled materials

I’ve been continuing to work combing off cuts of silk and mohair into my base wool while felting. My intention today had been to felt all morning and stitch all afternoon but then I realised that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to keep updating my Big Cartel store so that process ate into my time too!!!  Deciding the price for the little embroidered pouches I uploaded was not the easiest, finally I settled on E18 each, only time will tell if this was the correct descision. Anyway, here is a picture of some embellishment laid out prior to felting and hopefully by tomorrow afternoon I’ll have cut, stitched and be able to reveal the finished pieces!

Mohair off cuts and silk scraps laid on top of short fibred merino

Up-cycling mohair off cuts into little felt pouches and hard at work organising my new online presence!

My sister Lizzy requested a little cell phone holder as one of her Christmas presents and since this proved to be a big hit with various members of the family I decided to get in gear and felt some more! Working with woven mohair off cuts from Cushendale Woollen Mill and a few scraps of silk I laid out a simple design on top of two layers of finnish wool (thanks Chrissie!) and created a piece of flat felt. The completed felt was nice but not very exciting and that’s where the fun began, I got out my sewing machine!!!

Free machine embroidered pouch

Selecting just a few embroidery threads with a lovely high sheen I stitched simple shapes in both contrasting and complimentary colours on top of the silk and highlit various squares of the mohair off cuts. As learnt during a workshop with Lisa Klakulak at ‘Felt in Focus’ in Denmark last July, by stitching in a particular way it is possible to raise the surface area of the felt and create added texture and interest. Beautiful buttons picked up with Kirsten Lang in Odense completed the last two pouches and now I have four more pieces of felt completed just waiting for some stitching today. I do love how in places the stitching echos the shapes of my dry stone walls, free form but effective I think!

Finally for today, I am in the process of organising my online presence to work in the most effective manner possible during 2012 and from this time forth. In effect this means that I have joined Pinterest (check it out, it’s addictive!), set up a Tumblr blog (a little like Twitter for bloggers!), am working on my Big Cartel store and will be reactivating my Etsy shop, busy, busy time indeed!!!  Do please follow me on these new sites if you are interested, they will keep you up to date with all my activities in addition to my biggest love which as you already know is felting!!!