Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Soutache Swatch

Soutache at Stitches From The Heart Shop
Soutache Swatch. Say that three times, fast! Yesterday at about noon-ish, I received a call from Brandi, Manager of the Stitches From The Heart Yarn Shop in Santa Monica. My office is about 5 minutes from the shop. She breathlessly told me that they'd just received a large donation of soutache. Soutache is trim, used in decorating clothes, pillows, home items, etc. In the late 80's, early 90's, soutache handbags were quite the rage. Carrie Forbes was a major designer of these bags for Saks, Barney's, Neiman's, etc. They cost over $150 and up at the time. I used to crochet a lot of handbags out of soutache and corde'. This practice was resurrected from the 1940's and 50's when crocheted handbags were the rage. I have many old pattern books highlighting these bags.
I rushed over to the shop on my lunch hour and picked out a few different colors of soutache and some rat tail too. Rat tail is also trim with a satin finish. It can be worked up into quite a nice evening bag. Later in the day Brandi called and told me that a customer came into the shop and purchased the rest of the cache.
My Soutache and Rat Tail Choices
I've sold most of the old soutache bags I made years ago. I still have a few that I use once in awhile. I used to purchase soutache at Kagan Trim in Downtown L.A. Kagan Trim moved to the City of Vernon a few years ago, but most of this stash was purchased there in the late 90's...Kagan dates their labels!
Crocheting with soutache can be hard on your hands. It's quite stiff. I thought it might be easier to knit with the soutache, so I did a knit swatch and a crocheted swatch. The knit swatch is springy. The crocheted swatch provides a sturdier fabric. I may combine both techniques for an upcoming handbag.

Knit Swatch - Size 8 Needles

Crocheted Swatch - "G" Hook



At 1:24 PM PST, Blogger Natalie said...

You have got the connections and the soutache to boot! Love the color choices. Can't wait to see what you create.

At 1:37 PM PST, Blogger carlita dee said...

I always forget the name of this stuff -- but I love it!

I remember a gorgeous black soutache bag you showed me.

At 7:12 PM PST, Blogger LizKnits said...

Sounds like you have a find there... those swatches look great. The soutache seems to have great texture.

At 9:27 PM PST, Blogger mehitabel said...

Funny, I was just discussing soutache with a friend on Sunday! I still have several reels of the black corde that were my mom's--she crocheted several bags out of it back in the late 40's/early 50's. Wish I had some of them now!

At 1:30 AM PST, Blogger justclaire said...

What a great purchase! I love your colour choices, especially the green you've used in your crochet swatch. The old patterns are fabulous! I have a pile of old knitting and sewing patterns that my Mother-in-Law gave to me, some of which belonged to her mother, and date back to the 1920s and 30s. I really treasure them but haven't been brave enough to try and knit any of them yet!

At 2:48 AM PST, Blogger ♥ KNITTING ART said...

What a nice page... I liked your projects, hope to come back soon :)
Happy Valentines Day!

At 7:33 AM PST, Blogger Stephknits3 said...

Ooohhh! I'm jealous! It's always fun to play with new stuff! Ellen, do you know my mom, Peggy Baxter? I believe she was up at the store yesterday... You might have seen her? She runs the Long Beach chapter of Stitches from the Heart.

At 8:44 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "rat tail" detail.
I have a spool of red left over from a sewing project, I have made a nice cord from it- I never considered one could knit with it, nor with soutache (I always just thought it was just used as a trim for garments).

At 5:13 PM PDT, Blogger Vision said...

do any of you know of places to get soutache? I am in need of some!

At 5:20 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Hi Vision,
Soutache is a trim. You might find it in industrial fabric shops. There was a place in downtown L.A. called KAGAN TRIM. I don't think they're located there any longer, but you might want to "google" the name.


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