Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Customise to your hearts content

What can you make out of a plain white canvas bag?

One of these >>>>>>>>

First of all I unpicked all the seams and removed the handles.

I used some pink fabric for the lining, and covering the handles.

Then I cut five holes into one side of the bag.

Then cut five circles with holes in, bigger than the holes in the bag, from coloured fabric.

I machine stitched the inner seam and pushed it through the hole to the outside, stuffed some foam into it to make it padded, and hand stitched it in place with coloured embroidery thread.

So I had five holes, what to put in them. My first thought was worms would be nice, but how could I fix them into the hole. The creatures would have to have a body, so I drew a round blob on a piece of tracing paper, and added the legs, using this to trace the design onto fabric. Stretchy fabric is best so I used a couple of old teeshirts and shorts. Stitched the two sides together and turned it inside out. Then stuffed the body.

I wanted the creatures to appear to be crawling out of the holes, so I stitched them onto a pink circle, matching the lining, this was then stitched to the inside of the hole. The eyes and mouth are cut out of vinyl.

Here we have a fully functional fun bag. The back is left plain with my name embroidered on it. Now I have two bags ready for the exhibition at the Arts Centre, which is due to start on January 22nd.

I didn't know how this was going to end up, when I started it. Somebody mentioned that you don't want a bag with holes in, and I thought, why not. I have been trying to think of a name for the leggy creatures, the only one I can come up with is Zooobies, from Zoobland. Don't ask me why. Any other ideas?
I quite enjoyed doing this, and having a deadline encouraged me to think long and hard about how best to approach it. Do they want a usable bag, or a work of art. The brochure says we can customise to our hearts content. I took this to mean, do what you like with it. I shall be interested to see what the other artists have made of their bags.


  1. hee hee, this is inspired, I love it!
    Yes zoobies, it suits them perfectly. I look forward to seeing the other artists ideas.
    Happy new Year Ilona.

  2. This is really very clever. I love it!! :-)

  3. I love it , well done i look forward to seeing it at the exhibition :)

  4. I'm in love with that bag! Name your price :O)

  5. Fantastic Ilona and very neatly put together. I am babysitting a few kids who would love to have those little animals (hectapussies?)in their toy collection. The kids say call them Fred, Joe, Bob, Harry and Squidge. So, let's stick to Zoobies! :0)

  6. Hi Ilona! Sorry I got the term 'hectapussies' wrong, I think it should be 'hexapussies'

  7. this is a great bag! i love it!

  8. Love it♥ I've said it before, you are so talented and gifted:) Linda xxx

  9. Wow, this is so cool, you have a great sense of colour, all your bags are brilliant, i am so jealous!! you have really inspired me Ilona, to start doing some crafty things again after a long while being uninspired. I am only motivated by need, not want, when I make something it has to be somthing i needed and have a function, and also by waste materials, so your blog has been right up my street. thank you for sharing it all with us. :o)


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.