fish who keeps on swimming

The fish who keeps on swimming…

I have a super-sweet friend named Linda who lives close by. She asked me months ago if I could make her a custom purse – something relatively small but with a long strap to wear across the body, that she could use for concerts during the summer.


After going through my extensive collection of materials, we decided on a cute sarong that I’ve had for years and worn maybe once. The pattern was a fun black, yellow, orange and purplish blue, with big turtles in it and the plan was to use one of the turtles on the front of the bag.

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And then we both forgot about the project for a few weeks. :)


When she contacted me again, I pulled out the sarong and just decided that – because she really wanted something with a fish on it – I’d work out some fishy ideas instead of using the turtle. Back to square one!


I started by searching for basic fish shapes, with the idea of putting together something out of small scraps. After browsing the internet for a bit, I decided on hand drawing the outline – a curvy, girly fish in just the right size that would be relatively simple to cut and applique.


Linda loves bright colors so I had to find something that stood out but worked as “fish” materials.  And I just happened to have some blues and watery-looking prints for the fish to swim on. Here’s where I started with the design:


Button eye and button bubbles – all from my vintage stash! And since I had just received my latest batch of sparkly iron-on “bling,” I offered to use one of my small 311 logos on the bag.


We both agreed that it added a lot to the design, so I hopped on the machine and got to work.


I’ve never actually done any real applique designs before this so I was a little nervous but it was surprisingly easy and turned out great! Definitely took more time but I think it was worth the extra effort.

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My hubby had given up on this pair of jeans quite some time ago and since I needed a long strip of material for the strap anyway, I thought denim would work nicely for the sides, bottom, back, and lining of the purse too. Waste not!


And because nobody wants to see the boring stuff (plus, I forgot to photograph each step!) here is the final purse:

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It’s got an adjustable strap so Linda can wear it over a sweatshirt or jacket. Hey, it gets sort of cool in Florida in the winter! And that big button that is used to close the purse is actually made of real shell. So perfect :)


I’m thrilled that she loves it!

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