Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Boudoir Bra Purses...Va Va Va VOOM!

I love my life...
Finding the most whimsical, eccentric, creative, ludicrous works of art is like mining gold to me. I count them as gems in my arsenal of creative treasures, and lose my breath when I see something I've never thought of before...something that sparks my imagination.

Here's my latest spark...
Boudoir Bra Purses!! 

With a very special bridal shower looming, I thought that a white lace & rhinestone crystals version would be the perfect gift for my dear friend Tina's daughter, Kristi. She is like a niece to me, having watched her grow up since she was 2 years old. I was a bit nervous that it might be so much "out of the norm" that people would think it was weird or crazy...but I loved the idea enough to go for it!

Thinking it would be a perfect "Money Purse" for the special "Money Dance" at the wedding, or maybe just a place to keep her personal things in the dressing room at the wedding site, I thought it was the perfect personal touch that her Auntie "D" could share with her on her monumental day. Even if Kristi only wanted to put potpourri inside of it in a mesh bag to make her room smell sweet, or keep it as "Closet Art" to make her smile, it was the most unusual purse she would ever have, I was sure of that!

I was anxious at the shower, to reveal the surprise gift, and when the time came, the Bra purse was the hit of the party! Guests who had been chattering away, enjoying the party and gift opening, suddenly stopped talking as Kristi lifted the Bra purse from the wrapping, with its rhinestone straps twinkling in the sunlight that cast through the window. Gasps and Ahhs filled the room, with questions and wonderment. 

"Is that a bra?!" someone asked, in excitement. 
"That is incredible!" someone else said. 
"You made it?!" another was impressed. 

Tina stood watching and smiled at me, then came over to give me a hug and a kiss, and to tell me how incredible she thought it was. I started to feel silly that I had worried for nothing. The special gift I made wasn't too "weird" or "crazy" it was perfect, and my best friend & her daughter could feel my love! I felt the glow on my face, not with conceit, but with pride in a job well done. 

It was then that I saw Kristi's older sister Missy, (who got married 9 years ago) with a begging look on her face, "But I don't have one!"   

I had to fight the giggles because I knew I would hear 
something similar to exactly what she said, if I was successful. I had already played the scene over in my mind. It was like an invisible pat on the back and it made me smile wide.

"I didn't make them back then, Missy..." I apologized with a big smile, "Otherwise I would have made you one!" I promised, watching as her eyes got bigger and more pouty. 

"But I don't have one" she pressed with a twinkle in her eye. "James and I will be renewing our vows for our 10th anniversary this year!" she announced. 

Hmm...(wink! wink!)

Missy was the ultimate indicator of my tremendous success! 

And so it is....
The legacy of the Boudoir Bra Purse has been born!

So what do you think, do you want to make your own Bra purse? Maybe stop traffic when you're out about town?
Give that one-of-a-kind Bridal Shower or Birthday Gift?

If you do, I've got you covered! ;)


*NEW* Underwire Padded Bra 
(*firmly padded bras work best to hold shape) 
Please do not consider using your "used" bras...there is just no way to explain how bad of an idea that would be...kinda gross...so go check out Walmart, Target, Kohl's, and other inexpensive lingerie retailers to find affordable bras or score big on the clearance rack like I did last week at Walmart (stocking up!) where I purchased beautiful bras to embellish for under $3.00! 

Walmart.com has regular priced underwire padded bras with beautiful textures & delicate lace & fun patterns for $3.97-$9.97 full price. So there are affordable options to work with. Its all about the embellishments, even a plain bra can be turned into a masterpiece with the right creative touches!

 *Look for bigger cup sizes with firm padding and underwire support (to help hold purse shape) if you prefer greater purse capacity. I used size 42D in this project. Smaller cup sizes will create smaller purse capacity. Tiny bras can create change purses! The number of the bra size doesn't matter because the sides are cut off completely, and that is where the bra number measurement comes from)

Fabri-Tac® clear fabric glue
(or similar strong adhesive for fabric, if you must)
Fabric-Tac® is ridiculously strong and my personal choice!
You can purchase it from Amazon.com: Here

1/2 - 1 yard of Satin fabric or choice of lining fabric
(If you want to create a scrunched/gathered purse interior, as done with my sample you will need approx. 1 yard to make sure you have enough, depending on the look you want to achieve.

Rhinestone Crystal Chain
(enough to trim both of the bra straps)

Approx. 1/4 yard of Fringe 
(to decorate the bottom edge of purse, if desired)

Small silk flowers 
(to hide back strap attachment)

1-yard of white braided trim (1/2" wide, or as desired)
(to attach along the underwire of each bra cup to trim)

**Various Ribbons, Trims, Braids, Lace, Beads, Crystals, Appliqués, and any other beautiful embellishments you can find to enhance your Bra Purse. Use your imagination and go wild! The more eccentric the decorations, the more extraordinary the Bra Purses get!

**Some embellishments are not seen in photos...I forgot to take the final photos before I gifted it...Duh?!! I will ad them to this post as soon as I attend the wedding in 2 weeks and get photos!

Sharp Fabric Scissors

Straight Pins or Corsage Pins 
(to secure pieces in place while glue is drying)

Paper towels
(to help with errant glue on your hands!)

Are you all ready to get started?

Okay, Lets go!!

Cut the bra sides off of (the parts that wrap around your body), leaving a lacey bottom edge if your bra has one, if not, just cut close to the underwire edge, but not too close that you cut off the fabric over the underwire. 

Cut off the bra straps at the back where they connect, as seen in photo above. 

(Above is an example of where to cut the sides off)

(I got so excited making the bra purse that I forgot to take photos of the fringe process on the white one, so here is my purple version!)

Using a straight pin, mark where the center fabric on the bra is so that you know where to stop the glue line for the fringe. If you want less fringe, (or no fringe) adjust your pin placement. I wanted fringe across the entire bottom, so I went from the side edge of the underwire, all the way around to the center where the fabric connected one cup to the other. (see photo above)

Place a generous line of Fabri-Tac® along the underwire edge, from the armpit edge to the center where you placed the pin, just at the place where the center-bra-fabric joins together.

Attach the top edge of the fringe to the glue line (you will notice that the bottom edge of the fringe has temporary stitching that keeps it in place until you gently unravel it, and the top edge has a clean row of loop ends), gluing the top edge of the fringe in place holding in with your fingers to make sure it grabs (being careful because the glue is very sticky!) 

Press the top edge into the glue to hold securely. Press down on any puckered areas to make sure it grabs well and there are no gaps. It holds fairly quickly, so pinning in place shouldn't be necessary but if you want to temporarily stick a few pins in, go ahead and do it!

Allow the glue to dry.

At this point, I like to carefully pull off the bottom guard-stitches from the fringe bottom, because it makes the ends dangle freely and doesn't pull in an unnatural way as it hangs.

Next, add Fabri-Tac® along the top edge of the fringe across to the opposite edge (this is what will glue the purse together)

Being careful to not get glue everywhere, fold the bra cups together with the glue on the underwire edges attaching it securely; Press along the glue edge, making sure the fringe is dangling outside nicely and not caught up inside the glue. 

Using straight pins, secure the connection through the underwire edge and allow to dry.  Remove the pins within a few minutes as the Fabri-Tac® grabs very quickly and sets up before you know it. If you wait too long to remove the pins, it will get difficult and you don't want them glued in there permanently!

The photos above show the shape the bra purse takes when you glue it together, though this photo has no fringe yet as it was taken while it was pinned in place, but not yet glued.

Using a flat ribbon or lace trim (approx. 1/4" wide) with finished edges on both sides, cut a length the same size as the bra straps. (This will be glued on top of the strap to embellish it once the rhinestone chain has been attached)

Place a line of glue along the center length of the ribbon that is the same length as the bra straps.

 Place a length of rhinestone chain on top of the center glue line. Allow to dry. Repeat this process to make one for opposite side.

Pin the cut end of the bra straps to the front edge of the bra, approx. 2" from the center point. (I missed the photo on this step but you can see the placement on the photo below). Glue the strap in place with Fabri-Tac® and allow to dry.

Once the bra straps have been glued in place and dry securely, place a line of Fabri-Tac® down the center of the strap and attach the rhinestone embellished ribbon. 

*You can glue the rhinestone prior to attaching the strap, but I find it easier to do if you add the chain after the strap is already in place, before the glue has completely dried.

 (Straps are glued to the front center, approx. 2" from the center point)

At this point, I used a padded hanger to suspend the bra purse for future drying and embellishment. With the fringe and the straps in place, I didn't want it to get "droopy" by laying flat on a table. Plus it was fun to see it hanging off my armoire when I walked by!

Because Kristi (the bride) has the color Tiffany Blue as a wedding accent color, I decided to add it as a subtle trim on the inside of the bra straps. It doesn't scream color, it just peeks out in a very sweet way without tainting the "bridal white" effect. I found the trim at a 4 cards for $1.00 bin at my favorite local SAS Fabric store here in Phoenix. Its hard to argue with 3 yards for .25 cents!

After gluing the colored trim onto the underside of the bra strap, I pinned the ends in place for a few minutes to secure, since it was thicker trim and had a bit of a mind of its own!

I just love the way the colored trim adds some personality! 
You can see from the photo above, that the purse has a big "dip" area. I will be using gathered satin to make the lining and enhance this area as if it is the back of a luscious bridal gown. 

I had considered doing a "lace-up" look here, but ended up dropping that idea when I saw how beautiful the satin looked on its own. I didn't want to make it gaudy and unappealing, but may try the "lace up" look on one of my next adventures!

*TIP: The size of the bra cups will determine how big this "dip" area is. The smaller the cups, the less of an open area you will have, so take this into consideration with you decide which bra to use. I stand in the bra aisle and fold them and play with them to see what I like best...I'm sure people walking by think I am nuts!

*TIP: The purse straps can also be made into a single strap if you prefer it to hang longer when carried (other than doing the double strap as I have indicated in this project) by glueing the ends together to one another, creating a long hanging strap. Then you would want to hide the joining edge by attaching a lace medallion of some sort, or silk flowers. Use your imagination and have fun!

Using a lacey embroidered trim (approx 1" wide) I created a frilly border on the top edge all around the purse, glueing it on the inside edge, over where the straps are secured.

Purse Lining:

To make the purse lining I first used a piece of satin fabric approx. 12" wide, folded in half, with the raw ends pinned inside itself [prior to folding in half] to hide the raw edges. 

*TIP: You need to make sure that your first lining piece is wide enough [after being folded in half] to cover the expanse of the "dip" area in the back. If its too narrow you won't be able to glue the bottom edge to the lower curve of the "dip" area. This can vary in size depending on the bra cup size, so be mindful!

(example of how wide the first lining piece needs to be in order to cover the "dip" area)

In the photo above you can see the side edges folded under and pinned in place, then the fabric strip folded in half.

Using Fabri-Tac® stick the nose of the glue bottle inside the fabric fold in between the pins and squeeze a teensy-weensy dab of glue, pressing down the fabric to secure it. Just little dabs to keep it in place, not too much!

You can see in the photo above, the glue has secured the fold and the top row has the pins removed to show you its not perfectly done, its going to be mostly hidden...

Begin gluing and pinning the pleated/ruffled edge into the purse to form the lining allowing the first row of lining pleats to stick up over the edge, starting at the top edge, beside the "dip' area, making sure the ruffles are approx. 1" above the top edge, so it hangs over.

Place a generous amount of Fabri-Tac® on one side of the upper edge of the purse beside the "dip" area at the back straps; Attach one side of the lining fabric to the glue, pining it in place to secure. 

Begin forming the lining pleats with your fingers [and pins to help secure] in a random loose manner...no perfect pleats! Since there is no upper edge of the bra to attach to, just pin the pleats in place and hide small dabs of glue to grab to itself in a hidden way and take it across the "dip" and glue to the opposite upper edge near the strap. 

Photo above is taken from the inside view of the purse lining in the area where the "dip" is, with pins to secure until it holds.

There is no perfect way to describe this process, its one of those things you have to play with, to get the full idea. You just want to make sure to cover the "dip" opening, hiding any raw edges from showing on the front side. Anything that seems unsightly on the inside will be covered with subsequent ruffle strips.

Place a line of glue along the lower curve of the "dip" area and use your hands to press the lower edge of the fabric into the glue, trying to maintain a loose gentle ruffled appearance. You don't want any holes, you want a solid connection for the lining.

Though it may look like the lining is attached throughout the purse in the photo above, at this point the first folded strip piece is only attached at the top bra edge on either side of the "dip" area & along the bottom curve.

Next, I added lining strips in ruffled/pleats around the top edge of the rest of the purse, continuing the process as before, but using smaller strips that don't need to cover as much territory.

Place adhesive in the spots you want to secure the fabric as you go. Continue gluing in folded strips with Fabri-Tac® placed in needed areas, creating pleats/ruffles in a random manner that circles the interior of the purse, coiling downward towards the center base. Use straight pins to secure the ruffles in place until they are secure. Be sure to hide any raw edges from the previous row of strips, by glueing on top of the lower edge. 

When you get to the very bottom of the purse lining, if you need to hide any visible raw edges, you can cut a circle of satin fabric (approx 6" in diameter) then gather up with running stitches along the outer edge, pull up to make a gathered circle, and use that to glue to the bottom of the purse for a circular counterpoint that will hide any unsightly leftovers!


To hide the irregular glue line that the pleats formed along the "dip" area, I glued a strip of woven trim and it finished it off perfectly. 

To hide/conceal the bra strap mechanisms that were on the front of my straps, I glued decorative silk flowers on each one, using Fabri-Tac® (I've got to say that stuff glues like a champ!!) Pin the silk flowers in place to keep them from wobbling to the side, but don't wait too long or you'll have a tough time getting the pins out! (Experience is telling you this!!)

I added additional creative "jujje" to the bra purse, embellishing the bra cups with woven braid trim that followed the underwire edge curve from front to back on both sides of the bra. It is subtle when added to the white lace bra, but adds richness to the design. I also glued some beautiful lacey appliqués to random areas on the cups to add delicate details. You could also add tulle gathered flowers, pearls, lace, crystal beads, and anything your heart desires!

Thinking that something was still missing, I decided to add a giant Austrian Crystal Rhinestone to the center (just above the tiny rhinestone detail that the bra already had on it) to make it look like a wedding "Diamond". It was the perfect "cherry on top" to finish the Boudoir Bra Purse off right!!

So what do you think?
Can you live without one of these?
Maybe you have a special Bride you want to surprise?

Have fun and let your imagination go wild!

I will be offering more Free Tutorials to make your own Boudoir Bra Purses in whimsical styles that will make your heart sing, so stay tuned and be sure to subscribe so you don't miss out!

(email subscription form is on the upper--right-side of this page) 
**I respect your privacy and never sell or rent your information!

I would LOVE to hear what you think about this project, so leave a comment below! And be sure to post photos if you make your own Boudoir Bra Purse!!

With Sugarplum Hugs & Crazy Ideas!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Pom Pom Mania & Raggedy Ann!

Here we go again... 
Pom poms have taken over my universe!

I'm sure its because I discovered Clover® pom pom makers! The tool makes it so easy to whip up the pom poms, that my mind has been let loose to create an entire menagerie.

The next edition of Pom Pom Mania introduces my version of Raggedy Ann for your crafting pleasure!

Raggedy Ann is pictured in the photo above with my pom pom Teddybear that you can make also...(Free Teddybear tutorial: Here

Are you ready to get started?

Here's what you need...


Red Heart® yarn
(colors: red, white, flesh, black, sky blue)

Clover® Pom Pom Makers
Sizes:  1-3/8", 2-1/2", 3-3/8"
(link to Amazon.com product list: Here)
Make your own cardboard pom pom maker template: Here

Waxed cord or strong carpet/craft thread 
(to tie pom poms)

*Optional: 8mm-10mm black beads (for eyes)
Felt: black, red 
(for eyes, nose & mouth, if desired)
I chose not to make a face because I liked her this way!

Tacky craft glue (needed only if you decide to use felt shapes for the eyes, nose and mouth)

Good sharp scissors

Are you all set?

Okay, Let's get started!!


Using the Clover® 2-1/2" light green pom pom maker with light pink (flesh choice), wrap the center of one half of the tool GENEROUSLY as pictured above. This will be the "face" area.

With red yarn, wrap on either side of the pink yarn, as in the photo above. This will be the hair that frames her face, so wrap fully.

Wrap the opposite half of the Clover® pom pom tool fully with red. This will be Raggedy Ann's hair so make it a full wrap!

Cut the end loops of the pom pom (through the channel in the pom pom maker), then tie snugly with waxed cord or strong carpet thread (as directed in package instructions) to secure the pom pom.

What a mess!

But not for long...

Trim the light pink yarn into a half round shape for the face, leaving the red yarn pieces long and straggly to look like hair. Trim carefully and thoughtfully, because it won't grow back! 


Wrap one half of the Clover® 3-3/8" pom pom maker with approx. 15-20 wraps of sky blue (I know, it looks lavender in this photo, but I promise you it was blue!)

Then using white yarn, wrap over the blue yarn, covering it completely with a generous layer of white. This will be the "apron" fluff you see in the finished photo.

Next, wrap blue yarn over the white , covering it completely and evenly. (the color looks grey in the photo above, but it is light blue, again...I promise!)

Wrap the opposite side of the pom pom maker entirely in blue yarn, then fold the mechanism into the tool to secure. Cut the loop ends in the tool, (as described in the package directions for your pom pom tool OR in the handmade cardboard template directions) and tie securely with waxed cord or carpet thread. I like to triple knot the pom pom cord to make sure it holds.

Remove the body/dress from the pom pom maker and fluff up by shaking while you hang on tightly to the cord ends. 

Again...what a mess!! 

Time for a haircut...

Trim into a rounded triangle shape (does that make sense?) 
I hope you can see in the photo that it isn't strictly round or oval, it is actually almost a rounded wedge-ish shape to simulate a dress skirt. You want the "apron" white fibers to be long and the blue "dress" fibers to be trimmed uniformly. Go slow and you'll have it in great shape in no time!  


Using the Clover® pink 1-3/8" pom pom maker, wrap a thin even layer of white yarn on one half of the tool. Then wrap a thin layer of red yarn to cover the white. Repeat another row of white yarn to cover the red. Repeat this process on the opposite half of the pom pom maker. This will create a striped pattern for the socks/legs.

Trim the loop ends in the pom pom maker, then tie securely with waxed cord or strong carpet thread.

Remove from pom pom maker and shake out to fluff.
That's a pretty good looking start, don't you think?

Keep making them! 
You'll need 4 in total to make Raggedy Ann's stockings.

Here's the line-up pile after all the pieces have been made, but only the head and dress have been trimmed into shape, so far!

Let's catch up!

To make the "shoes" use the Clover® pink 1-3/8" tool, wrapping approx. 10-15 times with white yarn in the center top (which creates the socks that will blend in with the striped pom pom stockings), then wrap the rest of the tool entirely with black. Wrap the opposite half of the pom pom tool with solid black. Cut the loop ends then tie securely with waxed cord, remove from the pom pom maker, then trim into a round shape. (see photo above)


Using the Clover® pink 1-3/8" pom pom maker, wrap the tool on both halves with blue to match the dress. Cut the ends, tie with waxed cord, and shake to fluff, as you know to do by now! You will need 4 of these in total.


Using the Clover® pink 1-3/8" pom pom maker, wrap half with blue to match the dress. Wrap the other half of the pom pom tool with pink to match the face. Cut the loop ends, tie with faces cord, and shake to fluff, then trim into a round shape. This Annie's hand!

Assembling the Doll:

To join the parts together, I used strong waxed cord instead of yarn (as I used making the teddybear) because I wanted it to be sturdy enough to be played with by a child. 

Starting with your doubled and knotted needle & thread, go through from the top of the doll's head along the line where the face meets the hair (hiding the knot deeply in the middle of the pom pom), bringing the needle out from the bottom of the head at the line between the "chin" and hair. (Okay, I know she doesn't really have a chin, but its the most sensible reference I could muster! lol)

Take the needle & waxed cord into the dress body (separating yarn fibers with your fingers to best avoid snagging and disrupting the fibers) as in the photo above, even with the top edge of the "apron", going through the body bringing the needle out, just to the side of the center bottom (where you will attach the leg-see photo below).

Add the first striped leg pom pom, taking the needle & thread through the center of the pom pom so that the stripes will lay in a pleasing horizontal pattern as you add the next striped pom pom. 

Take the needle through the next striped pom pom, making sure to keep the stripes as level as possible. Remember, its a pom pom, so it has a mind of its own, don't be too fretful if it isn't exact. That is part of the charm!

Next, take the needle through the center of the white "sock" area of the "shoe" pom pom, going straight through to the bottom. Pull snugly to created a solid leg shape. Take the needle back up through the "shoe" and each of the leg pieces, up to the body, pulling snugly again to secure; then go up through the body with the needle to the opposite side of the body where the arm will go.

With the needle exiting at the upper body on the opposite side of the leg you just made, add the two arm pom poms, going directly through the center of each; then go through the blue side of the "hand" pom pom, coming directly out the center of the pink yarn.

Then take the needle back up through the hand and arm pieces, pulling in snugly to create its solid arm shape. 

Next, take the needle through the body directly across to the opposite arm area; attach the arm pom poms and the hand pom pom, just as you did for the opposite side, going down through each one, then coming back up through the center of each, pulling in snugly to form the arm shape. (see photos above)

From the upper arm-pit area, take the needle & waxed cord back down through the body, to the opposite leg area, where you attach each striped pom pom and then the shoe pom pom, just as you did for the opposite leg. 

Go back up through the center of the shoe and then through each of the striped leg pieces, up to the lower body, pulling in snugly to shape the leg into a solid form that you like. Take the needle back up through the body to an arm-pit or other hidden area and knot off the assembly thread, hiding the knot deep inside the yarn fibers. 

*Tip: If you want to add a bit more security to your assembled doll, place a small dab of glue on the knot to make sure it holds!

*Tip: If you find that your "apron" is too thin and straggly or it has "bald spots" you can add more yarn into the area as a hidden fix! 

Double-thread a needle with white yarn (Do not knot the end!) then take the needle into the apron area where you need more substance, going through and out of another area of the apron where you need additional fibers. Leave long ends that match the established "apron" area, trimming as necessary to match the ends. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary to get the look you want. I did this to get the full apron look I wanted!

Hello Beautiful!!

Here she is in All-American Pastime Glory...

Raggedy Ann will steal your heart with a face or not, its up to you! I like this "anonymous" version...she can be played with and imagined to have any kind of facial expression this way. And she is more safe for young children to play with.

If you want to add a classic Raggedy Ann face, I won't judge you!

 Just find an image of her face (in a book or on the internet) that you bond with, and cut out felt shapes to glue in place for her eyes, nose and mouth. Or you can tack/sew 8mm-10mm black bead eyes in place if you prefer. 

There is no wrong way to do this...its your creation, so do it your way! Whatever makes you happy, makes me happy too!!

I hope you enjoyed this adventure in Pom Pom Mania!
Please let me know what you think, and what you're working on, I'd love to hear about it!

With Sugarplum Hugs!