Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday Sale

First Annual Ryokusuido
Holiday Show and Sale 2009

Please come to our Holiday Show of Japanese
Antiques, Kimono, and Obi, featuring wood fired
tea utensils by Richard Brandt, and Handbags and
Fashions by SweetPersimmon at

Nishiura Ryokusuido
Japanese Arts and Antiques
3826 NE Glisan, Portland, OR 97232

(503) 236-8005 or (503) 262-8369

Friday Dec. 11 7-9 pm
Saturday and Sunday
Dec. 12-13 12-5 pm

Please join us Friday evening for drink and refreshment
Tea will be served in a traditional tea ceremony room
on Saturday and Sunday

Friday, November 27, 2009

Baby bag repair

I have been meaning to post this, as the purple baby bag I made last month came back.  It seems that an overzealous brother-in-law thought the front pockets were one big pocket with velcro and ripped it open, only to find out that they were sewed shut and he tore a hole in the body of bag.

Yep, it looks pretty ugly, huh?   I put off this repair for a week, because I had no idea how to go about fixing this.   First thing I did was take out the stitching that divided the pocket.  I figured if he thought it was one big pocket, other people would too.

Investigating the damage, he tore through the outer fabric and the fusible interface but because the fleece was not attached to the fabric, it didn't get ripped, but now I couldn't just go through the lining to repair it because the fleece is stitched to the outer fabric all the way around.  I didn't want to completely deconstruct the bag to make this repair.  What to do, what to do?   Well I took a piece of medium fusible interfacing and positioned it under the rip with the fusible stuff facing the wrong side of the outer fabric and carefully pulled the fabric together. Then I ironed (pressed) the outer fabric until the rip was fused back together.  Great, but still it LOOKED like a repair.  So I took a piece of scrap fabric and fused ultra hold no sew bond, the kind you use for applique,  and then cut with a rotary blade a nice rectangular piece and fused that to the top of the outer fabric.  Because the pattern is small and irregular, the fused piece sort of disappears.

So what do you think?  In most light from average distance, you can hardly tell that it is repaired.  Up close, however, you can see the patch.  I wanted to make sure the pocket was not floppy so I undid the lining about 2 inches and put a magentic snap inside the bag, and one on the front of  the pocket.  Now when someone rips it open the snap will come loose, but you can still put your hand in either side of the front pocket while it is still snapped to get things out quickly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mini Twist Clutch

I found a fabulous new pattern for a twisted clutch from Constructivsm.  I made the first one in a red and black brocaded silk with a dark green silk lining and it really turned out well.  Here is a photo

Here is what the interior looks like:

I really liked how easy this went together and how professional it looked so I made another one out of some bamboo linen blend that I had.  Boo!  It was not very successful. It was a soft drapey fabric so I fused interfacing to it. The linen wrinkled so badly as I was sewing it, then when I turned it, it was a mess!  I tried to press the wrinkles out after I finished it, but then the glue from the interfacing bled through and made dots on the outside of the fabric.  And yes the fabric got shiny and still it looks wrinkled.  No wonder I don't WEAR linen. Well here's the photo. 

The red one will be in the shop after tomorrow, but you won't see the linen one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I sold my first bag on Etsy

I am so excited. I just sold my first bag on Etsy. You can go to my Etsy store, or buy from my Artfire store at the right.

It was this cute little gecko on buff leather with green cotton lining.

Also I have updated the SweetPersimmon logo. Here it is. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More on Artfire

So, I am hoping that I can sell a few more handbags this holiday season, and I have a few more on Artifire. You can purchase these bags by clicking on the right panel. If you hit reload, a different set of bags will come up or you can just go to my shop:

Here are the latest: Tote Bags! Both a combination of leather and upholstery material. Very sturdy if you have to haul around a lot of stuff.
This one is called Hatsu kari, flying geese and is upholstery sample fabric and leather with a poly cotton lining. Inside is a zippered divider pocket. Bonus matching pouch included for $45.

The kawa kamo river duck tote is sturdy canvas with upholstery lining. A patch pocket both inside and outside and a secure zipper pocket inside. Nylon webbing handles. $40.00.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Leather Purses

Well, I have taken the plunge and designed a bag with leather and antique kimono obi. It really turned out well for my first self designed bag. Here is the first one I made, and I called the Red Ginkgo Hobo bag:

You can see the inside lining is where it got its name:
My friend said that I needed to put more bling on it and I resisted at first because I am not into all the stuff -- buckles, and hardware and jewels and embellishments on things. I like it to be simple outside and really have all the surprise and wow factor inside the bag. But I did figure out a way to put something on it to satisfy those who want a little bling by using these crystal rivets to attach the handle. Understated and a little more classy, I think.

At first I put the silver koi zipper pull, but it didn't feel substantial enough so I began haunting Michael's and JoAnn's bead shop. Here is the zipper pull I came up with.
I think it turned out very well, don't you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Handbags on Artfire

I have put up a few new bags on Artfire and they will be up on Etsy soon. You can buy these bags from either site or from the site as I will be putting them up there later this week.

First we have a black and white sweetie purse:
It is 100% cotton, made from two fat quarters. I love the sophistication of the black and white and I since I had enough fabric, I embellished it with a piece down the center flap. Here is a close up of the body:

It's not a big bag for those of you who don't like carrying a bunch of stuff. I can comfortably fit my wallet, cell phone, keys, and pen and small notepad, and kleenx in this bag. Size: 10 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches tall by 2 inches deep . Here's a closer up of the flap detail and the two silver rings.
The strap is black and white on the outside and white and black on the inside just like the bag. Here's a photo of the inside. It has a contrasting pocket to keep your cell phone handy. Isn't it cute?

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have always loved leather. I love the smell of it, the texture and when I got a sewing machine that could sew leather, I was very happy. This machine is powerful. It goes fast and can sew through anything. I have scraps from a leather upholstery shop and have been experimenting with sewing on it. I also tried to sew on my regular Viking home machine and it does okay as long as there are one or two layers of thin leather. The big industrial machine goes through 4 -5 even 6 layers (and fingers too, if I'm not careful).

So I started sewing with small projects like these unlined gadget bags that are perfect for ipods with cords, chargers etc:

And then I tried some applique for these small zippered bags. I also lined these bags with cotton. and added a strap to make it a wristlet.

I will be putting up these goodies for sale on Artfire. You can click on the shop at the right to purchase any of these as I post them.

Next: A little more sophistication in leather.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New (to me) sewing machine

I have been experimenting with sewing leather. I didn't think that my machine could handle sewing leather, but with a Teflon foot, leather needles, sewing very slowly, and paying attention, I can sew lightweight leather on my current sewing machine. In fact, it is very like sewing heavy fabric like denim. However, if I have to sew through more than two layers, my poor machine will not do it. It doesn't seem to have the punching strength to go through that much tough leather.

So in July, I purchased a used industrial Pfaff sewing machine. The sewing machine mechanic said that it was previously used to sew leather on shoes at Nike. Anyway it is equipped with a roller foot, and he set it up so that it uses regular household current and has an adjustable speed knob. It certainly goes fast enough for me even on it's slowest speed. It is kind of scary how fast and powerful it is and I need much more practice on it before I can feel comfortable sewing on it. However, I haven't found any amount of leather that this machine cannot sew. (Well, it is limited by how much I can fit under the presser foot).
I have been practicing and making some things using both this new machine and the regular sewing machine. But I had to get a supply of industrial needles, different bobbins and some heavy duty nylon thread to work with the leather. I will be posting some of my efforts here in the next couple of days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Baby Diaper Bag

I am not particularly interested in sewing kid stuff, baby stuff or new mom stuff, but recently (like 3 days ago, a close near relative had her first baby and I promised to make a diaper bag for her. I have become more confident in my sewing skills so I told her that she could help design it, by picking out her fabric and telling me what size, number of pockets, etc.

Last Friday we met at JoAnn's and she chose the fabric. I had a sketch pad drew something as she was talking to me about what she wanted. Here is what I came up with at the store:

So when I got home with the thread, fabric and zippers, I went into a minor panic, because sewing skills are not the same as pattern drafting skills. How the heck was I going to make a pattern so I could sew a bag that looked vaguely like the drawing that Amber had seen? So then I came up with this:

Which is just a more detailed description of the sketch, and then I realized that I still needed a few pieces to make the adjustable strap. After that I came up with this:

And this is just trying to figure out what all the pieces I needed to make the bag including interfacing for the bag, lining and pockets. That piece of paper turned into this, so I had all of my pattern pieces before cutting the fabric.

I then had a minor panic because I realized that I needed to embroider some dragonflies on the pockets and I had no dragonfly patterns for the machine embroidery I planned to do. So I searched for some dragonfly patterns that were not too expensive and not too cartoony because Amber is not really a cutesy, cartoony kind of gal. I found some, and I just figured that I could choose whatever color I wanted in the pattern rather than following what the pattern told me to do. (Amber asked for green and white dragonflies). So that is the first thing I did was embroider them on the pockets:
The next thing that I had to think about was the double zipper for the top. I had never done one of these, but just figured that I would put one zipper in and then treat that whole piece like just another piece of fabric. Here is the top zippers with zipper pull:

And then I did the side pockets. The biggest challenge here was where to locate them on the gusset so they appeared in the right place once the bag was constructed. I sewed the front and back to the gusset, and then made the strap. I sewed the strap to one side and then the loop with the short strap to the other side:

After that I put the pockets in the lining and sewed the gusset to the lining front and back.

Then I put the inside out bag in the lining and stitched around the top with the top zipper panel (with the double zippers) sandwiched in between the lining and the outer bag. Going around the corners was the tough part. Then I turned the bag inside out, put the stiffer in the bottom through the hole I left in the lining and stitched the lining closed. The lining was kind of floppy inside, so I tacked the bottom corners down inside the bag.

And yes, finished product looks somewhat like the original sketch I made. I do hope Lilian Orianna and Amber like the bag I made for them.
If anyone wants a copy of this pattern, I am willing to send it to you. I don't know if I will have time write up any instructions, but i you are a bag maker, you can pretty much figure out how to do it. Let me know. I can recreate the order in which I did it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

JASO Craft Booth

I just spent two days at the Japanese American Society of Oregon Craft fair in Beaverton Oregon.

I sold a few more bags like this one:
And this one:

This one sold, and I didn't even put it online yet.

And this one is one of my favorites, also not online yet. It was the first bag I designed without following someone else's pattern. I really like how the flap turned out. It was a reverse applique of dark blue suede in an asymmetrical shape. On top of the suede were three graduated fabric covered buttons. I will just have to make another one.

Here's a close up of the interior:

And close up of the flap detail. I hope you like it