"The Porteuse"

Travel Companion


The Porteuse is a nifty sewing bag to hold your sewing tools or the Travel Companions. It takes a piece of cloth 14 inches by 14 inches in any color you like with matching #8 perle cotton. I used Lilac Belfast for this project, but any other color will work as well. By the way, Belfast is the same as saying 32 count linen.

I made the Buttonhole hem two inches below the top edge and across the width of the fabric.

Each line on this graph represents a fabric thread.

Buttonhole Hem

I stitched the Buttohole Hem twelve and one half inches across the width of the fabric and left three quarter inch selvage edges on both sides of the fabric. I made the Buttonhole hem work out in such a way that the bottom of the Buttonhole curve of the last Buttonhole curve touched the bottom of the curve of the first Buttonhole curve. Essentially, you stop on a bottom point at both ends of the line of Buttonhole stitches. Then you either skip a space for the selvege or leave a space and that depends on whether you are starting the hem or ending the hem line of Buttonhole stitches.

I then cut away the fabric from the perle edge of the Buttonhole stitches, and that perle edge faced the top edge of the fabric so that would be the top edge of the porteuse. Please click on this link, Assembly, for more on cutting and finishing. I made Buttonhole Circles across the fabric one and one half inches below the hem for the ribbon insertion row. That would mean the top edges of the Buttonhole Circles were one and one half inches below the bottom most edge of the hem.

Each line on this graph represents a fabric thread

Buttonhole Circles

To make the Buttonhole Circles bring the threaded needle up at 1 and take it down at A and leave a small loose loop, come up at 1 again inside the loop, tighten the loop taking out the slack but not drawing open any holes other than the one at A. Then take the threaded needle down at A again forming another small loose loop, bring the threaded needle up at the next space, in this instance 2, through the loop and then take the slack out of the loop,

Continue the stitches by taking the threaded needle up in the next space as shown on the diagram and repeat the step above. You can use an awl or mellore to open the hole at A before you work the stitches, this makes them uniform in appearance. You need to make large enough holes to pass the ribbon through, so consider using a pencil for an awl.

For the ribbon insertion row, I did a Buttonhole Circle and then skipped eight threads before I did the next One, so each Buttonhole Circle and space is sixteen threads wide. You will have to get out pencil and paper to figure the number for your row because the fabric you decide to use may vary from what I used. What I did was take the fabric thread count and multiplied it by the number of inches my fabric was in width less the two selvage edges, then divided that number by sixteen. If you have fabric threads left over space them evenly among the sixteen count circle and space sections, or you might want to skip a couple of threads on the first edge of this row for the selvege so you can sew the seam, that is if you start your row with a Buttonhole Circle and not a space.

To continue, I folded the fabric in half lengthwise and centered a Spider Spoke Flower on the left side of the fabric two and one half inches below the Buttonhole Circles. Click here for the instructions on the Spider Spoke Flower with petals for more on cutting and finishing.

You could also place the reindeer chart here or the Heart band across the bag. Click on the names to be taken to these projects.

Spider Spoke Flower with Petals

Two inches below the Spider Spoke flower I placed Felicia's Heart.

Felicia's Heart

Each grid on this chart represents a Cross Stitch over two fabric threads.

Use one strand of thread for the cross stitches and use a single floss thread the color of the fabric to stitch on the beads. I prefer to Cross Stitch on my beads.
Caron's Waterlilies Olive (bluish green)
Caron's Waterlilies Olive (yellowish green)
Caron's Hyacinth (lavendar)
Caron's Waterlilies Mulberry
Mill Hill beads 40123 (pearl) pink flower centers
Mill Hill Bead 42010 (dark purple)
For the Olive knot the end of the thread that is called for by the symbol.

Whenever I use these wonderful overdyed threads I take the time to look at the skein and the strands and cut them so that each strand has some of each color called for on the chart. So that means, I need a couple of strands of Caron's Olive so that I have a yellowish green part on one end and a bluish green part on the other end.

I used a French Seam to close the sides of the bag and the bottom of the bag and then wove a wired edge 7/8 inch wide ribbon twenty four inches long in and out of the Buttonhole Circles.

Before closing the bottom of the bag you may want to adjust the length of the material, my bag finished at ten and one quarter inches or about 11 inches before I sewed the bottom French Seam. You will have to use away knots to start this seam and then end the tails carefully inside this seam so it does not show at the top of the Porteuse.

To make the bottom of the Porteuse flatten the bag, then pinch up the bottom of the Porteuse. This will create a flat fold with the seam in the middle and points on either side of the bag. My thumb and forefinger are pinching the seam in the photo above.

Sew a seam across the point on both sides (do not remove any threads here), sew each of these seams about one and one half inches down from the point, straight across the fold and perpendicular to the point. You can see the point in the photo above, it is above where I am pinching the seam.

I straightened that point on both sides so there was a good three-cornered shape. Then I had a nice line to follow along the bottom of the triangle to do the following steps.

I did not sew through the bottom seam of the bag, instead I slipped the threaded needle through a stitch of that seam to the other side of the bottom seam so that the bag's bottom seam remained free.

By doing this the seam would not be grabbing the bag and pulling it or the weight of the contents, scissors, awl, etc would not be pulling that seam about. That is why the bag is able to sit up as pictured, because that bottom seam is free allowing the bag's bottom to settle into a rectanglular shape. I was the kid in back of the cafeteria pulling everything apart to see how it was made. Turn the Porteuse back right side out and enjoy using it! © 2002, Linda Fontenot, www.AmericanFolkArts.com