Wednesday, November 30

A Patchwork Purse for a Joy-filled Jen

Among our dozen houseguests last week was my sister-in-law Jen. Every time I am with her, I grow as a person. This time, she showed me how to roll with the punches, how to keep the important things in perspective.

She and my brother had taken my kids and some of their kids to meet another friend at a local zoo. Two hours later, they came back to their van to find the front passenger window smashed and Jen’s purse gone!

Talking to her later, she essentially cut me off when I started to say what a horrible afternoon she must have had. “Oh no! Our time at the zoo was WONDERFUL!” she said with a big smile. Sure, she was upset about the theft, but she didn’t let it color her whole day. What an inspiration!

Anyway, there wasn’t much cash, the credit cards were locked down, and her driver’s license could be replaced. She seemed most bummed about the loss of her cute little purse – just a small little pouch with all sorts of fabrics sewn on with messy zigzag stitches.

And if you read the title, you know where this is going. I couldn’t reverse time to get her old purse back but I could make her a new one.


Jen prefers the patchwork side but it can be turned inside out to reveal a striped corduroy side instead.


For my pattern, I went back to my old stand-by, the Reversi-Purse, since it was just the right size. Til now, I’d only made it for little girls (e.g. here, here, and here with link to pattern pieces), but there’s more than enough room for a few big girl basics – wallet, phone, checkbook.


It was fun picking out the scraps to add – Jen loves daisies, stripes, nature, quirky surprises, and bold colors.


If I’d had just a bit more time, I would’ve loved to embroider an initial somewhere, but I was in a serious time crunch, getting this done before they left town again. So the daisy is the only thing sewn on by hand.


My only question is, why haven’t I made myself something like this yet?!? My purse this size – a burst of color I bought in Costa Rica – died years ago. And I miss it. High time I holed up in my studio for a few hours and pulled out my scrap bag again. For something for me

But first, time to fold another laundry basket full of bedding. And be thankful for Jen and joy-filled example she is to me. (And the eleven other amazing people who filled my home last week!)


  1. I love this purse! Very tempted to give your pattern a go, now!

  2. WOW, this is so gooooood :O)
    Very qute purse.

  3. get out, she *is* inspirational! i'll have to remember this story for when i get all grumpy about stupid things. the bag is very cute! love the patchwork! :) lisa

  4. Knowing what you've sewn in the past, MaryAnne, I think you'd breeze through this. And I am curious if my little notes for each step are understandable to anyone but me... Let me know if you try it. One for you, one for Emma... : )

    Thanks, Anne.

    Yeah, Lisa, Jen is something else! While setting things up for her wedding (wow, 17 years ago!), we'd ask her how she wanted this or that. Her stock answer: "I don't care. I just want to get married." And when the bridesmaids' bouquets were left in the florist's fridge -- an hour away from the ceremony -- did she get upset? Nope, us 'maids ended up each holding what was going to be a pew decoration: one single gerber daisy. NOBODY watching the ceremony knew that wasn't planned because Jen just embraced it and so everyone else did too. So now you have *two* stories... : )



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