Crochet Opera Bag

L’elisir D’Amour Opera Bag

by Ann Reillet, c. 2018

Opera Bag by Ann Reillet

Inspiration 

Giuseppe_Frezzolini_in_Donizetti's_L'elisir_d'amoreDonizetti’s two-act opera comedy L’elisir D’Amour premiered at the Teatro della Canobbiana in Milan, Italy on May 12, 1832. It tells the story of Nemorino who is in love with Adina, but thinks her indifferent to his innocent, rustic ways. To win her heart, Nemorina uses all his money to buy a love potion from the quack Dr. Dulcamara who sells him nothing more than a pitiful red wine; poor Nemorino. Alas when he sees Adina weeping and discovers she has purchased his military papers to keep him safe, he realizes that she has fallen in love with him. Of course, he attributes her change of heart to Dr. Dulcamara’s Love Potion!

At this time, my favorite song of the opera begins. It’s Una furtiva lagrima, a romanza from Act 2, Scene 8. It’s sung by Nemorino as he rejoices upon discovering the love potion’s success. I think the best rendition of this song is by Andrew Bocelli and I find it interesting that in the English translation, it sounds poetic:

             Una furtiva lagrima                                                      A furtive tear
negli occhi suoi spuntò:                                          in her eyes appeared

skel key

Inspiration is all around us. We just need to feel it. As I began this Opera Bag project, I thought first to chose an opera then draw upon its theme. I also played the opera on YouTube as I looked at potion bottles, hearts and filigree work; finally opting for the scroll design on the bow of an antique skeleton key so reminiscent of a heart shaped bottle. As I crocheted, I began to see a face smiling back at me; what a fun project.

Material

  • Mercerized Cotton Thread, Size 20
  • Boye Steel Crochet Hook, Size 10 (1.30mm)
  • Scissors, Needle (for sewing and weaving in tails)
  • Pattern Drawing, Styrofoam, Sewing Pins
  • Lining Fabric, Closure Snap, Strap Rings

Pattern Drawing

Opera Bag Design by AR white background

Element 1: Center Scroll

Crochet a Romanian Point Lace Cord approx. 13″ or 12 1/2″ inches and stretch the later. Leave long tails at each end to sew or use sewing thread.

Print the pattern drawing: Sized 5 7/8″ from center top line to bottom circle. Pin the pattern on styrofoam and pin the scroll in place.

Element 2: Small Bottom Buttonies

ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook to form ring, ch 1

1st Rnd: 8 sc in ring, join with sl st to beg sc,

2nd Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in same, 2 dc in each remaining st (=16), join with sl st in 3rd ch of beg dc

3rd Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same, popcorn the stitches, ch 2, *4dc-popcorn, ch 2 *Repeat for each remaining st (=16 popcorns), join with sl st in beg ch2sp. End. Break thread long. Wait to weave in tails so they may be used for sewing/assembling the piece. Pin on pattern.

Element 3: Small Top Buttonies

ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook to form ring, ch 1

1st Rnd: 8 sc in ring, join with sl st to beg sc,

2nd Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), dc in same, 2 dc in each remaining st (=16), join with sl st in 3rd ch of beg dc

3rd Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same, popcorn the stitches, ch 2, *5dc-popcorn, ch 2 *Repeat for each remaining st (=16 popcorns), join with sl st in beg ch2sp, ch 1

4th Rnd: in each ch2 sp work: [sc, sc, ch1], join with sl st in beg sc. End. Break thread long. Wait to weave in tails so they may be used for sewing/assembling the piece. Pin on pattern.

Element 4: Medallion

ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook to form ring, ch 1

1st Rnd: 8 sc in ring, join with sl st to beg sc,

2nd Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), 2 dc in each remaining st (=15), join with sl st in 3rd ch of beg dc

3rd Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), 3 dc in same, popcorn the stitches, ch 2, *5dc-popcorn, ch 2 *Repeat for each remaining st (=15 popcorns), join with sl st in beg ch2sp, ch 1

4th Rnd: in each ch sp alternate 2 sc in ch2sp, then 3 sc in next ch2sp, join with sl st in back loop of beg sc.

5th Rnd: ch 3 (counts as dc), working in back loops only, *dc in each of the next 4 sts, then 2 dc in 5th st,  *Repeat around, join with sl st in 3rd ch of beg dc, ch 1

6th Rnd: sc in joining st, tr in front loop of sc made in rnd4, sc in next 2 sts, sk 1 front loop, tr in next front loop, 2 or 3 sc on dc made in rnd5, sk 1 front loop, tr in next front loop and continue around, join with sl st in beg sc

7th Rnd: sl st up to beg tr, ch3, 4dc in same, popcorn the sts, ch 2, dc betw popcorns, *5dc-popcorn on next tr, ch 2, dc betw popcorns, *Repeat around. Join with sl st in beg ch2sp

8th Rnd: in each ch sp work: 3 sc, *sc in dc, sk popcorn, 3 sc in next ch2sp, *Repeat around. Join with sl st. End. Break thread long. Pin on pattern.

Element 5: Side Vines

Cut a wing span of thread. Fold in half 2x. Note that one end is solid, the other contains the cut ends. Set aside.

ch 100, pick up cord, sc over solid end, sc in 2nd ch from hook and over all 4 strands, continue sc’ing in each remaining ch and over all 4-strands to end, at end cut excess padding strands, add 2 extra in last ch. End. Break thread. Stretch by pulling gently on both ends at the same time, lay on pattern, pinning in place.

Element 6: Dangles

ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook to form ring, ch 1, in the ring work:[hdc-6sc-hdc-dc], join with sl st in beg hdc, ch 10, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each remaining ch, join with sl st in dc, sc in each remaining st on ring, join with a sl st across. End. Break thread long. Pin on pattern.

Element 7: Top Line

ch 32, hdc in back single loop of 3rd ch from hook and in each remaining ch, at end of row, crab-stitch back to beg hdc, at end, ch2-rotate, sc along the bottom. End. Break thread long. Pin on pattern.

Remainder Worked Freeform

Partial Assembly

With everything pinned in place, sort the tails and begin to sew/attach each element to its neighbor, using the tails and/or sewing thread of similar color. The goal being: 1. To clean up all the tails and 2. To be able to lift the outline/perimeter off as one motif.

Netting

Place the motifs face down on cloth. Temporarily tack/sew in place on cloth using a contrasting color thread. Fill the open space with netting of choice.

Side Seam

Rather than just whipstitch the back and front together, add a seam consisting of a narrow strip of crochet and sew one side of the strip to each panel.

Straps

Once the purse is assembled, crochet straps to desired length in a pattern of choice, situate and sew/affix to purse.

Double Lining

Trace the outline of the purse onto lining fabrics, sew fronts facing and turn out the outer lining, but leave the inner lining fronts together, place liners in bag, hand-sew just under the crab-stitch.

Finishing

To finish, add a closure/fastener and any dangles, tassels or beading.

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Printer Friendly Pattern

Opera Bag by Ann Reillet 2018

Post Script: Working the opera bag took nearly all month. Putting aside crochet projects, I was able to complete several small sewing projects: nappy covers and bonnets. If you enjoy sewing or have a little one to make things for, I highly recommend these projects (links below). Also, if you’re interested, Angela Clayton (historical costume tailor extraordinaire) is sewing through the decades on YouTube.

LINKS:

http://www.madeeveryday.com/2015/05/tutorial-new-improved-the-perfect-diaper-nappy-cover.html/

 

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