I’m not sure why I really wanted to make this but I got it in my head that I wanted to sew iced Vovo’s. For those of you outside of Australia, an Iced Vovo is a biscuit/cookie with a distinct look, two rows of pale pink fondant frosting with a raspberry jam/jelly strip in the middle and a dusting of coconut. The Vovo has been in vogue since 1906 and still on supermarket shelves. I’m pretty sure they were the fanciest biscuit going for many years. My Gran used to whip them out at her more fancy tea parties. I kind of obsessed on the idea of a creative Vovo project for a bit and then I decided that I should make some oversized Vovo’s from felt.I will admit that I bought several packs of Iced Vovo’s for ‘research’ but I kept eating them and having to buy more. I think should buy shares in Arnotts.
I stumbled across a bulk lot of vintage bamboo bag handles and suddenly it was clear – a Vovo tote! I have a long running obsession with bamboo handles on bags! I have always loved that Nanna Chic of them. I’ve had loads of everyday hand bags with that kind of handle, going right back to high school. They just have a certain vibe I love so much and I prefer a bag that I can hold in my hand or put in the crook of my arm. And I do love a food based accessory, in fact I recently made a bunch of fruit and dessert earrings for Indie Love Magazine. I even have a lamington brooch from Erstwilder. And I may be planning a donut print half circle skirt…
I asked Mr Ask to whizz me up a Vovo template, he gave me two styles to choose from but I went with the ‘flat’ version and decided to make three Vovo’s. I used the outer line to cut out the brown felt, the next line to cut out one large piece of pale pink felt and the inner most lines to cut the raspberry felt. I stacked the three felt layers and pinned them as a temporary hold.
I started sewing the Vovo’s at my Sewing Group (which is in a fabric store, Tricia’s) and initially thought I’d use embroidery floss to represent the coconut. As it happened, the brown felt was a really stiff craft felt and I couldn’t find a needle that had a big enough eye for six strands of floss, that was sharp enough to easily pierce the felt. Back to the drawing board (or sewing group) for ideas. Whilst Tricia had stick beads, she didn’t have white. In the end I settled on silver. I am actually glad I did, it adds a certain glamour! Just as we were packing up for the day, my Mum found some interesting burgundy ric rac with these little tufts of beige. She brought it in, thinking it might add some interest to the raspberry jam, a ripple effect. We all agreed it was perfect!
Anyway, I started sewing on the stick bead ‘coconut’ to join the layers together. I used regular sewing thread and a needle that would fit thought the beads. While I was going for a random sort of look, I tried not to go off the pale pink and into the brown too much, as I knew it would make trouble when I came to machine the Vovo’s onto the tote. I did make sure that a few stitches went through the raspberry pink, just to hold it on. I ended up finishing this hand sewing in bed on a tray with my kitty supervisor, Jean-Luc, keeping quality control.
Despite the furry interruption, I finished the Vovo’s quite quickly.They looked great but I’m glad that mum found the ‘raspberry ripple’ trim because it does add some dimension and interest. Even thought the original biscuit doesn’t have a ripple, I am taking delicious and artistic liberties. So I did end up adding the rick rack by machine and I hit the ends with fray check because it was very fray prone!
The fabric choice for this tote was so hard! Nothing worked the way I wanted it to. I had this aqua fabric with pink cherry blossom but Mr Ask said it looked like maxi pads on a tampon box. Sigh! Tight seersucker stripes were too busy, grey too bland, black too stark, spots too spotty. Argh! In the end I took Mr Asks advice (rare for a sewing project/fabric choice) and went with boring old calico, to let the Vovo’s shine! I had been holding on to this fork and spoon fabric for a while and it was the perfect lining choice.
I’m not going to go into a full tutorial for the tote, I’ll probably post one later. I have some vintage bark cloth that is begging to be a tote! I’ll run you through this quickly. From each fabric (lining and calico) I cut a 50cm square and cut away a 5cm square from each of the bottom corners. I also made a small snip 15cm down from the top on each piece.
I cut out a 22cm x 14 cm piece of each fabric, to make a pocket. I stitched on my label and then sewed the pocket together and added it to the lining, just below the snip. I didn’t want the pocket (and what I put in it) to put too much weight at the top of the bag and risk losing something because it flicked out. I stitched a line to divide the pocket into two sections. Perfect for my vape and phone. Secure but accessible.
I aligned the Vovo’s on the outer fabric and machine stitched them down with a zipper foot and the best thread match I had. I sewed carefully and slowly, making sure I didn’t snag any beads. I stitched up the rest of the tote and lining and put them together. It was hard to see what it was like until I added the handles, so I did and….it kind of fell flat.
Somehow, it just didn’t look like the idea I had in my head. Once the Vovo’s were on but before it was all sewn, I’d had some reservations. Mr Ask was helpful and found the font used on the Vovo packet, in case it was needed. I made it up and decided it did need something. Heat transfer vinyl to the rescue! I bought some pink glitter transfer from my usual place and Mr Ask cut out the words ‘Iced, iced Vovo’ and the tag line ‘Sweet and interesting’. I thought a few spots/bubbles would round it all out. We played with the placement a bit and then ironed it on and yes! The heat transfer is so glittery and beautiful in person, the photos don’t do justice!
OMG! How cutes! It actually is everything I ever wanted it to be, even if it was difficult to bring my creative vision to life. It absolutely rocks with my basic black and these cute as a button, actual vintage shoes! I’ll be the cutest shopper at the farmers market or in the mall or cruising through the city. In the end, this is a win for me and indeed, a win for Iced Vovo’s everywhere. This might be one the most patriotic things I’ve ever made! This and my jam and cream lamingtons. Because if we Australians are good at anything, it’s delicious sweet things. Like the good old Caramel Koala and South Australian made Fruchocs and Beerenberg preserves. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Sew, sew, sew! If you are tempted to make a little food tote, I’d love to see xxxx