Refresh Your Sewing Style with Wabi-Sabi Sewing

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Bring a new element of enjoyment to your stitching with Wabi-Sabi Sewing, a new book by quilt and fabric designer Karen Lewis. In this collection, Karen draws on the principles of the Japanese aesthetic philosophy ‘wabi-sabi’ and celebrates the beauty of imperfection.

Try this free pattern for a foldover purse with sashiko-style stitching by Karen to get a flavor of wabi-sabi style – it’s perfect for carrying your latest EPP project for sewing on the go or as a unique clutch bag for your essentials. You can make this purse any size you like, as long as the outer and lining fabrics are the same dimensions. Change the length of the tie and you’re good to go!

Foldover Purse from <em>Wabi Sabi Sewing</em>

Foldover Purse from Wabi-Sabi Sewing

FINISHED SIZE: 5½in x 8in


• Fat-eighth of denim outer fabric
• Fat-eighth of cotton lining fabric
• 3in x 8in of lightweight fusible interfacing
• 36in of ribbon for the tie
• 1⁄4in eyelet
• Embroidery thread


Cut out as follows:
• One 8½in x 16in rectangle of outer fabric
• Two 8½in squares of lining fabric

Making Up

1. With wrong sides facing fold the outer fabric in half to make an 8 1⁄2in x 8in rectangle. Trace the sashiko stitch panel onto the lightweight fusible interfacing, you can find the template for this in the pattern download here. Position the interfacing ½in from the top raw edge of the outer fabric.

Foldover purse diagram from Wabi Sabi Sewing

2. Iron the interfacing in place and stitch the sashiko style design through the interfacing and fabric, working horizontally across the marked lines. When you have finished remove the interfacing and stitch the vertical lines.

3. Open the folded outer fabric and fold in half again, this time with right sides facing. Sew the two 8in sides and turn the right way around.

4. Make the lining by folding the lining fabric and sewing around three sides leaving a gap for turning.

5. With right sides facing put the purse outer inside the lining. Sew around the raw edges at the top and pull the bag outer through the gap in the lining. Finish by folding the raw edges of the lining inwards and sew the gap closed.

6. To attach the eyelet mark ½in down from the top center on the back of the purse and fix the eyelet here.

7. Fold the top 2½in of the purse to the back and mark the midpoint. Align the tie vertically across the back of the purse and attach it to the point you’ve just marked with a few hand stitches.

8. Pull the upper part of the tie over the purse and thread it through the eyelet

8. Pull the upper part of the tie over the purse and thread it through the eyelet.

There are 20 more wabi-sabi inspired sewing projects ranging from bed quilts and throws to simple pot holders and ideas for mending your favorite jeans in Wabi-Sabi Sewing. Get your copy today!

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