Thimble purse with a twist: 2

The stitching of this thimble purse by Brenda Gervais  itself didn’t take long to do, even though I had added my own design for the reverse side. I expected the assembly to be tricky, however, as this purse is only about two and a half inches wide when it is finished. That might sound strange, as I design much smaller things for doll’s houses for my doll’s house needlepoint kit website – but when I’m designing something from scratch, I know it’s going to work!! With other people’s designs, I have to have faith that it is going to work!!

Thimble 05

This design, fortunately, was easy to put together. I first cut out the stitching of the front and back pieces using the template provided, and two lining pieces from lilac Dupion silk, and marked with a small dot where the first line of stitching up of the seams would end. Then I put a front and lining piece, and a back and lining piece together, and stitched round the top edges to the dots.

Thimble 06

Putting the two stitched pieces front sides facing, and the two lining pieces front sides facing, I stitched by hand (instructions said to use a machine, but I couldn’t be bothered to get mine out and set it up for such a small bit of sewing!) round the lower edges, leaving a gap in the lining pair to allow for turning the piece through.

Thimble 07


Thimble 08

The lining gap sewn up, and the piece turned through, I then had to tackle fixing the stitching to the tiny purse frame. This is a good quality metal frame in a kind of burnished gold, about one and a quarter inches wide, included with the chart pack. I put glue in the groove of the frame, one side at a time, and slid the fabric into the groove, making sure it was straight. I did the back first, in case I made a mess of it! One side of the frame has a kind of loop on it for fixing a strap, so this side has to go to the back of the purse.

Thimble 09

When I had glued the front piece on to the frame as well (which actually was quite easy), I made a cord out of some of the leftover thread. I decided not to use the loop on the frame, as then the purse wouldn’t hang straight when I was wearing it (like the photo on the front of the packet demonstrates), as I’m a bit obsessive about things being symmetrical.  So, to get around that, I decided to fix the cord through the joints of the hinges on either side of the purse.

Thimble 10

So that the cord wouldn’t slip out, I threaded it through two size 6 beads, one on each inside edge of the hinges, so that they acted like washers inside the bag itself. I put fabric glue on the knots to make them secure, then trimmed the cord.

Thimble 11

The purse, when finished, looks like this. At first, when I tried to wear it, I had a slight problem in that the frame is heavier than the fabric part, so as I had attached the cord in the way that I did, it allowed the purse to flip over and hang upside down, so I got around that by finding a moss agate pebble that I like, and keeping that inside the purse to weigh it down a bit!!

I decided not to add buttons along the bottom edge of the purse, like the photo on the front of the chart pack shows, as I felt it is ‘finished’ enough as it is.

Thimble 12

The back of the bag looks like this.  The bag works brilliantly for what I intended it to – I can keep little pieces of paper in it with my wasifas (Islamic mantras) written on them, and wearing the bag close to my heart serves to remind me to think of what the wasifas mean throughout the day.

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So, it’s a very lovely thimble purse which will probably never have a thimble kept in it, but I like it just the same!


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Thimble purse with a twist: 1

I recently saw this sweet little thimble purse chart pack online, and just had to have it! There are several designs in the range by Brenda Gervais, but I like this ‘Home Sweet Home’ on the best. I got my chart pack from the UK website The Patchwork Rabbit for £9, and that included the tiny little purse frame. Here are my fabric and thread choices:

Thimble 01


I decided to use shades of teal and purple for the flowers and vine part of the design rather than the recommended brown shades, as I wear those colours a lot, and brown shades don’t suit me.


Thimble 02

The design itself was very quick and simple to do.  I stitched the design on 40 count linen, over two threads. I left off a couple of the letters from the chart, as I felt they might get ‘lost’ in the seams, so I only stitched what would definitely show.

Then I did my own design for the reverse side of the purse. I decided that I would use this neck purse as a ‘wasifa purse’ – that is, I want to wear it while it contains wasifas, or Islamic mantras, so that I remember to focus on the meanings all day while I am wearing the purse (I am Universal Sufi). So, I designed a simple backstitch alphabet five stitches high, and wrote out the letters that I wanted, and the Sufi flying heart emblem to put above the words:


Thimble 03

The three phrases mean ‘The Purity of God’, ‘All praise be to God’, and  ‘God is greater than all things’.


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Details of the Sufi embroidered boxes

Here are some close-ups of the Sufi embroidered boxes that I’ve been making during the past year (see my previous post for why I’ve been doing this!).

This is my favourite colourway of all the boxes I’ve made, so I’ve assumed other people would agree with me, and made several like this 🙂

The boxes are just right for storing prayer beads in – they measure about two inches by three and a half, by two inches high.

This is an Arabic calligraphy box, showing the phrase ‘Subhan Allah’, which means ‘All glory be to God’.

This one shows the phrase ‘Allaho Akbar’, which means ‘God is greater than all things’. This one was lovely to do, but took ages, as the stitches around the curves had to be placed very carefully, or the design lost the flowing lines. It was done in stem stitch rows, mostly, with one strand of a Stef Francis variegated silk thread. The box measures just over three inches in diameter.

And this one is stitched on duck egg blue Dupion silk, with a pale pink heart and feathers in silver thread, inspired by my friend Lindsay, who just loves all things pink!

This is the whole collection of boxes I’ve stitched:


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