Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ethnic Cushion Covers with Yi People Motifs

I had shared a post on ethnic cushion covers in December 2010. The article has the highest readership among all the sewing posts and second most read post in my blog. In fact, the readership is up to ten times more than my other posts on sewing. I guess many people are interested with ethnic designed cushion covers. Riding on this popularity, I decided to share with you another one of my new creation.

Covers with  appliqué  of the Yi motif

A mirror effect appliqué for the set of cushion cover

These two sets of striking colored cushion covers were designed for a workshop with an NGO in China whom I visited last year. I have used these motifs for my "Hand Sewn Journal" which I shared in a post last September 2011. The motifs on these cushion covers are adapted from the art and craft work by the Yi people. They are one of the 55 minority people groups in mainland China.

Motifs of the Yi People 

Covers designed with  appliqué  and running stitches of the Yi motif 
I asked help from a lady working in my friend's workshop to sew the black piping on the cushion. I had experience of doing a terrible job on piping; I take the opportunity for a tutorial. Another lady at the workshop gave me tips on sewing the borders of the blue cushions shown above. As a result, I did a good job on these cushion covers . 

Love this home decor weight blue Indian cotton
The button is embroidered with the Yi motif
These two sets of cushions now sit prettily in my living room.

New! Click here for tutorial & template for the red with black piping cushion cover.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Metal Frame Purse

My first metal frame purse

I love metal frame coin purse for its kissing lock closure. I would love it even more if it is made with my favorite ethnic fabric. From my stash of exotic collection of ethnic textiles in my treasure drawer, I picked this embroidery on a round material done by the Dong minority people in Guizhou Province of China for this project. This is one of my projects for a workshop to design handmade crafts with the Yi minority people in China last year.

I used home decor fabric for the purse because heavy weigh fabric would hold the purse firm and also to create a more expensive finishing. The fabric came from a friend who runs curtain and upholstery business. He was very generous to allow me to pick some remnants material from his workshop when he heard that it was for a voluntary project with the minority people in China.

A side and bottom panel to create volume for the purse

Both front & back sides have the same embroidery work 

My Little Jaipur is hibernating, but I am not.
The interior has a compartment for mobile phone.
The textured green home décor fabric creates a strong contrast
to the embroidery on a red fabric.

Metal frame with kissing lock
I went around the city and finally found the metal frame in a sewing and festive decoration supplies shop in China Town, located right next to the Purple Cane Tea House in Kuala Lumpur. Choices were, of course, limited and the prices were expensive. I bought two with each cost RM14 (about 4 USD). I was told that it is made in Korea and the quality is comparison with Chinese products. Later I found an online shop operated from MalaysiaMayMayShop who offers better deal and choices. There are some Chinese dealers online who could offer an unbelievable price as low as RM0.25 (0.08USD) each when you purchased above 100 pieces. I could get a delivery address in China but to ship them to Malaysia is a problem. Additionally, I am most concern the quality and condition of the goods.

Since this was the biggest sew-in frame that I could find, I made the bottom of the purse bigger and added the side/bottom panel for volume as I wanted it to be a sling bag instead of coin purse. The metal chain can be easily obtained from jewelry supplies shop in China Town, Kuala Lumpur. I couldn't find a frame with loops to attach the chain to, so I made the loops on the purse.

I learned the basic guide of making a metal frame purse from a sewing book but modified the purse to my own design. Once you know the basic rules, you can create many different shapes. As for now, this might be the first of its kind of metal frame sling bag/purse with ethnic embroidery.

Click here to check out on my friend's blog - Meiteddybear for more coin purses. The coin purse shown below was made by her and if you wish to purchase any coin purse from her, provide the code " Yann's Journal CP" to enjoy 10% off.

Front view
Back view

For tutorial, click " I like orange too" blog , the blogger sells this type of metal frame on her etsy shop.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New background for Yann's Journal

I got bored with the old red background. After played around with the layout and template of blogger, finally I figured out how to upload a background. I had also change the new font for blog title about a week ago.

The backgound new is a batik work with a little embroidery from the Gejia Miao from Guizhou Province in China.

Enjoy the new look!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Makeover of Vintage design suitcases

This pale green suitcase - large size;  Ivory suitcase - small size.

I found this charming vintage design mini suitcase at Romantika at Wangsa Walk Mall one Thursday afternoon. I do find surprises at this shop some times. The company carries a wide range of vintage country style home decorative products. Many of their products are being produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. thus the company can offers an affordable retail prices.

I was delighted to carry the suitcase home together with 3 other vintage design photo frames. It comes with 3 sizes of  large for RM39, medium for RM35 and small for RM29. A GREAT DEAL! There were couple of designs available for these mini suitcases with French vintage theme. All of them were in linen and ivory shades as base color except the one that I bought. You may try to get it from other Romantika's outlets if you like this pale green suitcase. 

Large size suitcase with romantic print 

Medium size suitcase with French vintage print 

Few days later, I visited another outlet of Romantika at Wangsa Maju which is just next to Wangsa Walk Mall and I bought another two more suitcases. I had to sneak them into my house to avoid any unnecessary attention from my husband. He is a great husband, it was just my own guilt for spending again.

The brown PVC bands on the bag were actually glued around the border of the case instead of what it appeared to be stitched on. It is not strong and can easily be detached from the bag. The handle is screwed onto the bag with tiny screws. It is not advice to fill the suitcase with heavy load. The finishing of the suitcase is not great but it was a good deal for the price I paid.

The medium size suitcase sits perfectly in the large size one;
the small size suitcase would sit perfectly in the medium one.

The internal was just plain black with no compartment. I had an idea to make it look better and more useful. I laid pretty fabrics on the inner cover and base and stitched two pocket compartments on the inner cover. This is certainly useful as storage for my scrapbooking and crafting items.  I love that I can now conveniently carry them anywhere I go. I craft whenever I am waiting for my girls for their classes, when I am visiting my in-laws, when I am traveling  back to my hometown, and even when I was at the clinic. Perhaps I can plan a scrapbooking trip with my good friend,Lee Ing, in the future.

First makeover completed

For those of you who couldn't travel without a makeup case. These suitcases could be a good alternative choice as compared to the more commonly seen cosmetic case with monograms. Let's design it with some pocket compartments, sew a few loops to hold brushes and combs in the inner cover and even an attached mirror.  You can make dividers inside the suitcase to organize your cosmetics.

Second makeover for medium size suitcase

With some effort, the suitcase being transformed into a makeup bag.

Having a sewing suitcase is definitely a must for me. I had already started carrying it around.

Here is the third makeover for a large size suitcase

I love personalize my things - It is my LV, Prada....

Upcycled the elastic band from my daughter's old pant onto this suitcase
The elastic band prevent the materials from dropping out
Screwed on the elastic band & a bead as button

For parents, wouldn't your kids look lovely to carry these little suitcases as their lunch or crafts boxes? For people who travel with their pills, this can be your medicine box. There are many more ways to use it for storage. If nothing else, it is simply a beautiful display item.

The next time you bumped into a mother with her two girls carrying the same little suitcases - it is very likely that I am the mother:)

Click here for tutorial ( Yup,Just got them readied today on 20 March 2012).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Join me on Linky Followers

Google suspends Google Friend Connect today on March 1st to all non blogger blog. There is also a strong rumor that they will also cancel GFC for Blogger in the near future.

I have added Linky button on my blog page on the top right corner. Based on the stat on my blog, I know there are many regular readers that had not join to follow me. I had love to see those who enjoy my blog to join me here and my non Blogger followers to continue following. Your support would be great encouragement for me to continue to share my experience and creativity.

For bloggers, you can go to the above web address to add a Linky Follower button to your sidebar!