Fabric folder.

Fabric folder.

I needed something to keep my various sample pieces in one place, and that I would know without much head scratching or searching around for any particular piece of work. Of course, I would need to not misplace this folder too!

I had a fabric tote bag that had become a little frayed at the edges of the straps; the pieces of tweed used to make the bag were fine, with no damage or fraying. The bag just needed a wash.

The bag had been a Christmas present to me from my daughter several years ago, and I used it daily. I am not a ‘bag’ person, that is, having a bag for every and any social occasion, or day of the week for that matter. This bag was made at Garvald Textiles, this is a textile studio offering creative opportunities for adults with various learning disabilities, and the studio sells many of the items made by the artists there. My daughter worked for this registered charity in Edinburgh when she lived there some years ago, and much of her present buying that year was made from this source. Leonor may be aware of them, I think she lives in Edinburgh? Photo of the label attached, and remaining leftover bag pieces.

I have made another bag for myself from scrap pieces of tweed fabric bought when I visited Harris in the Western Isles.


To make the folder, I cut the body of the bag into smaller pieces and the stitched them onto a shaped piece of spare calico. I was hoping that I would have enough squares, but I did use another spare piece of tweed to complement the colours. I used my sewing machine to zig zag each piece together onto the calico. The size I was aiming for was an open A4 folder.


For the inside I choose to use up many small pieces of fabric, and to quilt them on to another piece of calico using a ‘crazy’ quilting theme, and also using hand stitching/embroidery. I embellished some pieces with embroidery, a piece of lace, a crinoline lady, and a couple of heart shaped pieces of fabric. I had 2 vintage hankies, and these I folded into ‘butterfly’ shapes and stitched them down

Both the inside and outside were completed separately, and then stitched together, inside out, before turning the right way out and securing the opening. I did think of adding some bias binding to the outside edge, but in the end I just stitched all around the edge with a blanket stitch.

I added a few felted leaves to the front of the folder, I had made these ?last year, and I think they complete the folder front very nicely. I added 2 pieces of ribbon to use for closure, but I will review this in time for my next post, and I will add some ‘pages’ to my folder to attach my work to.

I am very happy with this piece. I have reused some items, and other pieces I used were already in my fabric scrap box.


17 thoughts on “Fabric folder.

  1. What a lovely way to recycle that tweed bag and make it in to something you will get lots of use out of! I like what you’ve done with the inside too, but what happened to those elephants? I would definitely have included those.

    1. Thank you Karen. I have put aside the elephants for the next time. I’m glad that you like it.

  2. Yes, bring back the elephants! What a clever, beautiful way to recycle these fabrics Marie and you must get lovely memories from looking at all those pieces. We’d love to see another post about this folder when it’s finished with its pages 🙂

  3. What an interesting exercise Marie. I love those tweed pieces and they do look good laid out like that. As do the various bits and pieces you’re using for the inside. I love the hankies – I collect vintage handkerchieves – at the moment they are stuck in a box, some of them much too fragile to use, but you’ve given me ideas for some of the others. Looking forward to your next episode.
    I found Garvaid Textiles (thanks Mr Google) and it seems that they have 2 workshops now, one at Orwell Arts in Edinburgh and the other at Mayfield House. They have an online shop too: https://www.garvaldmakers.com/textiles. I’ve just spent half an hour browsing their website and am amazed at the work in different techniques their artists are producing, not just textiles. Wonderful stuff.

    1. Thank you Ann. I have quite a few old hankies too! I did add some to a quilt some years ago, and it looked really lovely. I’m glad that you found Garvald Textiles, they do make some lovely things.

  4. I love it, Marie! What a great use of fabric scraps, they look wonderful together. I like both sides, and can’t decide which one I’d use for the outside or the inside, they’re both interesting.

    As for Garvald Textiles, I’d never heard of them – now I do, thanks to you! So much to know about my lovely city 🙂

  5. Your cover turned out marvelously! I think the patchwork of tweeds is perfect for the wear and tear that a folder gets with use. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I can only echo everyone’s comments….the folder is looking fab. So pleased the elephants are safe for future use.

    Great idea to reuse hardwearing fabric for the outside of your folder, keeping the delicate surprise for the inside….does this mean all your samples are A5 or less in size?

    Thanks for the heads up re Garvald textiles….I’ll visit next time I’m in Edinburgh.
    Looking forward to your next instalment.

    1. Thank you Antje,
      Some things that are samples were large, and I have repurposed them, but I have some smaller pieces too that I keep forgetting where they are. The folder was a bright idea a few weeks ago! I will keep my felt pieces in there and some stitching pieces too, and I will add some stitching to the extra ‘pages’ also.

  7. Great reuse of textiles. the folder is a great idea. What sort of sample will you keep in there? I’m thinking it might be a bit small? I am sure I have a table cloth with that embroidered lady on it. She was very popular at one time.

    1. Thank you Ann. I think there must have been a tablecloth at one time? My piece is from a little tray cloth – so much table and tray decor around and all in charity shops, or in someone’s drawer. Too sad.

  8. Like Antje, everything that has been said so far is definitely true Marie. Great and functional piece of recycling and repurposing. I am also getting a masculine/feminine vibe from this; the hard wearing nature of the fabrics on the outside with the soft inner lining. On top of everything else it is a great statement!

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