Mermaid Bag Etui by Betsy Morgan

1st July 2022

If anyone has a child or grandchild, they will probably be aware of how popular mermaids have become in recent years. Mermaids feature in colouring books, on T-shirts and as soft toys, and we’ve even seen real mermaids appear at children’s parties!

Mermaids, however, have been around far longer than our little ones could have imagined. In fact, the first stories of mermaids are from Assyria in around 1000 BCE. These mysterious creatures have consistently appeared in folklore all around the world, including in Europe, Asia and Africa. Traditionally, the mermaid had the body of a woman and the tail of a fish, and they have been associated with everything from floods, shipwrecks and drownings through to bestowing gifts and falling in love with humans

Early sightings of mermaids, such as those reported by Christopher Columbus, were likely sightings of manatees, however actual ‘sightings’ continue to be reported to this day.

Like other fantasy creatures, there is always a little window of hope that perhaps they might be real – held wide open by countless children all around the world.

Betsy Morgan has honoured this beautiful and enigmatic creature in Mermaid Bag Etui from Willing Hands 2. She’s chosen a nautical theme for the project, starting out with a selection of blue and white linens. 

The motifs on the main bag all fit with the theme, with ocean creatures such as crabs and fish; shells; sea birds; and ships filling one of the sampler bands that surrounds the bag.

Using Bargello stitch, she has created another band to represent the waves with birds soaring over them. She’s then added quotes from Shakespeare and Milton that refer to the mermaids and their mysterious song.

Whenever we see one of Betsy’s pieces, we are always looking for the clever details in the construction, and this project does not disappoint. The bag is designed to fit into a container that is created specifically for scrap threads or ‘orts’. When fitted into the container, the band of waves on the bag laps along the top of it in harmonious perfection. Then the whole piece is studded with ocean-themed charms.

Just as mermaids are said to be elusive, Betsy has cleverly hidden the mermaid in this project.

It is only when you remove the bag and look inside the container that you will see the stitched mermaid on the base. This design is then mirrored in miniature on the scissor fob.

After you have finished the Mermaid Bag Etui, you may discover that a little girl will find it difficult to resist! But we know the love of mermaids is not something exclusive to children. This project allows you to embrace that inner child and give into the excitement and mystery that these gorgeous, historic and mystical creatures continue to invite.

Make Your Own Mermaid Bag Etui

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Mermaid Bag Etui by Betsy Morgan is a linen bag etui with enchanting mermaids and sea-themed spot motifs.

Printed Books

Willing Hands 2

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Mermaid Bag Etui includes everything* you need to re-create this enchanting linen bag: fabrics (unprinted), interfacings, interlining, buttons, mermaid charm, sand dollar charm, scallop shell charm, seed pearl, coral, sewing threads, embroidery threads, and needles.


Mermaid Bag Etui – WH2 Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.

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