It’s here! It’s here! The Observer collection by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics has finally made it way to shops and I’m so happy to show you my projects on the #OBSERVERfabrictour. In true fashion, April does not disappoint. These designs come from her own eyes and what she has seen both physically and mentally. My favorite print is Aerial View…mainly because it was inspired by Columbus, OH (where we both live) and just shows how little we are in such a big world…
I was very fortunate to play with the early strike-offs for this line, and you can view my other projects in this previous post.
I’m kicking the tour off with these fabulous oversized Envelope Clutches. Ever since I had swatches of these fabrics in my studio, I was trying to think of what I wanted to make as a personal project. These curry and sulfur colors mixed with sand and copper play SO well with the indigos, grey-blues and navy. I fell head-over-heels with this palette and have plans for a dress in Overshot Gold. With that in mind, I thought a trendy Envelope Clutch would be perfect in the Shard colorway.
As a modern quilter, I continually try to show the rest of the world that patchwork and sewing are still “cool.” Sound familiar, friends??? I thought combining the sophistication of (faux) leather with a simple block would be the perfect marriage of current Boho-Gypsy love and traditional quilting.
This was initially going to be a one-off creation just for myself, but the sneak peeks on Instagram created such positive feedback, that I knew I HAD to write a pattern for all of you. EDIT: Tutorial can now be found HERE.
Working with the envelope design, I used a simple half log-cabin pattern to work with the flap’s 90 degree angle. I used a 2.5″ fussy-cut square from the Homespun Praxis and used various 5″ (or longer) x 1.5″ strips to make a 28″ panel. The panel was then trimmed to 5.5″ wide.
The pieced panel was then sewn onto a coordinating AGF Solid Smooth Denim with right sides together. They were turned out and pressed. The results are clean even edges which are then top-stitched down onto the (faux) leather. I used Gütermann upholstery thread which provides a nice raised look and slides well through the leather. Washi tape was used as the quilting guidelines since pen and chalk can smear. I followed the lines of the piecing to create additional texture and add more design detail onto the clutch.
This Envelope Clutch, although oversized to carry a lot of stuff, still needs the basic features of any bag. The lining is made out of Treadle Tradition with a generous sized pocket using a 9″ metal zipper from Zip It Zippers. Metal zippers add that extra professional look I just love.
On the opposite side of the lining, I added simple slip pockets. These are unlined, using leftover leather so there is no fraying. They were sewn down with unfinished edges. I just made sure one pocket was the proper size for my cell-phone…priorities, right? ;)
Metal snaps were added and now I’m ready to hit the town with my chic boho clutch!
Sewing through faux leather can be a challenge on many domestic machines. So I wanted to come up with a similar style Envelope Clutch which is MUCH easier to sew. This design is shown in Speck Stardust and utilizes some fusible fleece with just a single panel of raw-edge faux leather. I love how this print color reminds me of a perfectly worn pair of jeans and the leather match my favorite fall booties.
I wasn’t able to find upholstery thread to match this vinyl, so I used Gütermann Sew-All polyester. This slides through the faux leather really well and still provides a great look and quilting texture. I changed up this quilting design to make some fun cross-hatching. ‘Slow and steady with the walking foot kept the lines straight and even.
With this version, I added a wrist strap using hardware from Emmaline Bags and scraps of both the (faux) leather and Speck Stardust. Using half fabric and half leather is easier to work with rather than trying to sew through multiple layers of leather.
The D-ring was added to the front of the clutch rather than sewn into the side. This provides the option to be hidden. It also doubles as a spot to hook your keys. The lining was made from Indigo Shadow Solid Smooth denim and I created the same zipper pocket one side and two slip pockets on the other.
Ironically, this design also fits my laptop. So with the fusible fleece, this Envelope Clutch can be used as a laptop cover. The pockets are great for cords and small headphones.
I know I’ll be rocking this clutch out on the town with the girls though….
What’s on your project list with Observer?
Make sure to stop by April’s blog to get the up-to-date schedule with 6 weeks full of dreamy inspiration. The line-up of bloggers is quite impressive ;) If you need even more ideas, head to Art Gallery Fabric’s Observer Lookbook….you might even recognize someone’s name in there ;)
#ObserverFabrics #ObserverFabricTour #ArtGalleryFabrics #WeAreFabrics