I spent yesterday making this toiletry bag for my brother, who’s birthday is tomorrow. I’ve been wanting to try some reverse applique with knits every since I first saw the Alabama Stitch Book, and it seemed like a great technique to try for a guy’s gift. I used the ideas from this book for inspiration, but I didn’t use the exact same techniques as outlined in the book.
To begin with, I layered some white bottomweight fabric, green knit, and black knit. I used a 12″ x 20″ piece of each, and serged the edges to hold everything together.
I then found the sections of the panel that would become each of the sides (based on this tutorial and the size I wanted the bag to end up). In the photo below, I marked the center of the panel and then measured 2.5″ out on each side. That 5″ section will be the bottom of the bag.
On the sections that would become the long sides of the bag, I traced a few hexagons with chalk. I also pin basted around the hexagons to help stabilize everything as I hand embroidered. I intentionally drew one of the hexagons so that it would wrap around the bottom of the bag a bit.
Once my patterns were marked and basted, I hand embroidered each hexagon using a backstitch with white #5 perle cotton. When the embroidery was complete, I cut away the layers of knit to expose the other fabrics. On 2 hexagons I only cut away the top black knit to expose the green. For each of the other two I exposed the white bottom layer – one has a green border and the other was done by cutting away the black and green together so that only a bit of the green peeks through.
After my panel was complete I used the tutorial link above to finish off the bag. Initially I wasn’t going to line the bag, but I didn’t want the embroidery stitches exposed for fear that they would wear. I added some white kona for lining, and it seemed to work well. For this bag and other small projects I think I will stick with just 1 layer of knit to reduce bulk. But I really do love the effect of having the 2 colors of knit and the variety of ways to cut away the layers.
I hope he loves it. Next I’d like to try this technique on a bag for myself. I’ve got the fabric ready to go, but I haven’t quite decided on a bag pattern or an embroidery pattern yet.