Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Tattoo Haversack



The idea for this project came from a trip to Stone Mountain in Berkeley, as well as my history in and around tattoo shops. I found this wonderful cotton print made to look like old Sailor Jerry-esque tattoos, and knew I had to have it. Of course it isn't very period for the SCA, but it's just a haversack (a Viking messenger bag/ purse) and I wanted to show off my skills!


Stone Mountain has really fun prints

I decided to run with it and drew up a design for some applique to decorate the front-

a Valkyrie with roses and a banner that says "BOOYAKA" (a war cry for my group of friends) in runes. I did the entire applique piece in stem stitch, with 50/50 wool and silk embroidery floss, on a tan colored wool.

Translating shading skills into embroidery is a little difficult, and now that it's all done I wish I had shaded the wing on her helm a little differently. Other than that I'm incredibly happy with the outcome! This was my first heavily embroidered piece! I wish I had kept track of how many hours I spent on this, but I'll estimate that it was somewhere around 80.

Once I had that finished it was time for the actual haversack. The lining, as I said earlier, is cotton print, and the outer sack is wool I had left over from a coat I made. It's really nice coating wool, and very soft. The basic seams up the sides of both wool and cotton were machine sewn, but all the decoration and the sewing of lining to shell is hand done. This was done with 100% silk floss, using running, blanket, and Vandyke stitches.
Vandyke and running stitch along the side seams
To attach the applique, I cut it out, leaving half an inch around the whole design. I tucked the extra wool under the applique and sewed it to the center of the bag using a simple whip stitch, except around the roses. I sewed around the outline of each rose, leaving a small bit open, and stuffed the inside with cotton balls, creating little pincushions! This is really helpful for SCA events, since we usually find ourselves sewing out in nature where a needle can get lost in the blink of an eye. Once the applique was secured I finished up the blanket stitch around the top, closing the lining and finishing the bag!



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