Brick Stitch Purse

I have a small confession to make. I sort of knew that I wasn’t going to enjoy this project very much. Maybe I tainted my response by negative prejudice: I’ve never much enjoyed counted work, or charts either, for that matter. It’s a strange combination of things being too simple – the chart/counting takes all the creativity out of things – and too complicated at the same time – because although I am quite capable of sewing and watching tv, I can’t count threads and watch tv. Counting =maths. Maths=my brain hurts.

Anyway, back to somewhere vaguely near the point. I wanted an example of brick stitch for my embroidery display, so I had to knuckle down and get on with it. I suppose I could have just chickened out and bought something, after all, Kay rouse often sells some lovely examples of this technique for an absolute pittance (well, fifty quid, which is far less than the work is worth), but then it wouldn’t have been really mine. Ok, so if I’d bought one it probably would have had fewer mistakes, but dammit, they’re my mistakes, mine, I tell you, all mine!

Also, a bought one would have been done in stranded cotton, not silk. I used silk floss from the Mulberry dyer – wattle, two different logwoods and some cochineal, if you’re interested. I think silk makes a huge difference to the look of the finsihed piece, its noticeably different to the cotton that’s commonly used, and far far yummier looking.

My biggest mistake was charging ahead and making my own chart. Not that my home made chart wasn’t perfectly adequate, cos I closely studied the pictures of the originals and drew my chart with felt tip pens (I’m sophisticated that way – I hardly ever go over the lines). But making a chart took time and once I’d one it I belatedly realised there are perfectly good ones to download from the net. Doh!

 Once I finished the embroidery part I got distracted and left it screwed up in a box for a year. I’m very bad at finishing things once I’ve finished them, if you see what I mean.

I sewed the two bit’s together and then overcast the edges to make them sit nicely

As I sewed the purse together I added in the three tassels along the bottom, which were sewn into the seam. I did consider tassels up the side as well, but it’s quite a small purse so it seemed like overkill. However, I like the tassels to sit nicely with any braid I’m using, so I passed the braidthrough the tassel loops before sewing.

You can see here that it’s sort of attached but not attached. The braid colour doesn’t match brilliantly, but I decided to use what I had in the house rather than buying anything new as this project wasn’t exactly top priority.

One book I’ve never bought is “Take V Bowes Departed”. Not that I have a problem with Elizabeth, cos she’s lovely, but mainly because I genuinely cannot understand written instructions. Seriously, give me basic beginners instructions for tablet weave and they might as well be in Aramaic for all the use they are to me, but I can tablet weave. It’s just that I can’t tell left from right, never could. But show me something and I’m away.

Everyone kept insisting that fingerloop braiding was easy though, so I found a youtube tutorial.

Ok, so it is easy. But in all honesty I didn’t enjoy it at all. It hurt my fingers for a start. This may well end up being my one and only effort in the fingerloop braiding department. Anything that hurts and makes me grumpy isn’t worth the bother, life’s too short.

The stuff I used here is silk. The drawstrings were done with one strand and the edging with two, cos I got bored.

One thing I’ve been trying to work out for some time is how to do a turk’s head knot at the head of a tassel. This is my best effort so far. I think I might be googling wrong because I never seem to get anywhere looking on the net, so if anyone could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated?

I made the lining and the drawstring channel from a leftover bit from my Tudor stash frock, as the colour toned in very nicely.

I actually wasn’t liking this purse much until I sewed on the final bit of braid where the lining and embroidery meet – that somehow pulled the whole thing together for me.

Depressingly, at some point there are a couple of other counted work projects I’ll need to do *grizzle*

I was going to treat you to a gratuitous branny pic, but Mr Hobbes, Gareths not very bright bengal and Branny’s best mate, was looking very cute…

~ by opusanglicanum on July 6, 2011.

13 Responses to “Brick Stitch Purse”

  1. I LOVE you! I am the same way. I haven’t been able to do any fabric work for about 10 years, and I found things that I had packed away years before that because I got tired of looking at them. Now I am going to make something different out of them. Thanks so much for this post, I needed to laugh today (heading out to the Dr) and I adore this little purse!

  2. Beautiful work, as always!

  3. I love that like me, you finds written instructions difficult to understand, I have to ‘see’ and be shown.

  4. I love that like me, you find written instructions difficult to understand, I have to ‘see’ and be shown.

  5. What a beautiful little purse! I think we all have projects that we start, but end up not enjoying, so they get left aside until we are determined to finish them and get them out of the way.

    I’m the same when anything involves numbers/maths…!!!

  6. absolutely lovely!
    I’ve just stitched the same pattern
    but yours is so authentic!

  7. We sound a lot alike! Counted work = not fun but maths (ruins the Zen of embroidery) and diagrams are the thing to learn a stitch (or a video).

    My links for Turks Head Knots :
    (refers to a couple of other tutes)

    Also see the animation at

    Stuffing a Turk’s Head to make it bigger :

    Attaching a Tassel to a Drawstring :

    Finishing a Turk’s Head Knot :;topic=737.0

    Hope these are useful 🙂

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