A Humpback Whale finds his old and new home

I got this inflatable Humpback whale from my friend Marisa Newman who is the general manager of Air New Zealand here in Rarotonga. Her daughter Gracie used to be my apprentice, sometimes when she had time during school holidays she came over to my shop and learned how to cut and weave plastic. Now unfortunately their time here in Raro is coming to an end and they have to relocate to Wellington. Marisa gave me Gracie’s pool toy to create a lasting memory of Rarotonga – even more special is the fact that Gracie got this inflatable from our “Whale Lady” Nan Hauser.

And here the journey starts. i want you to follow the whale on his journey to a new self. You will be with me the whole time until its finished, so watch this space.

at the end of his lifetime he came to me.This is how it looked once at my home. So the first thing is always to think about what i am going to make out of it. This wasn’t too hard as Marisa wanted a Nikao Street bag and a Tote Bag for Gracie.


Once i cut the first pieces out i started to get an idea on how the bag is going to look like. The most difficult one is always choosing the front side of the bag. The next photos shows the pieces i need to assemble the bag. Plastic sewing is very very difficult. But i found some techniques which make the work on it a bit easier. Not everything works but as more bag i make the more i learn.

This whale bag is going to be an important piece for Gracie and Marissa so i have to get it right.

2nd part of the blog: 25.11.20

One of the hardest parts of sewing this bag together is the recessed zipper as i am not able to press any of the seams. In the beginning i had a slight problem with the front side of the bag. I tried to be very careful always with choosing the right part, but as i can’t do this from the inner side of the plastic i have actually to mark the right side of it, and this time i had to use red so i could see where the lines are. Pretty sure with the choice in the first place i didn’t realized that the back side of the bag didn’t fit anymore so i had to move my template a bit.

With the result that i had a red line on my front panel. 🙁 I tried to remove it but with no luck i had to cut the second side of the whale to use for the front panel. This little bag is making my live a bit difficult as its so important to me that they will love their bags.

After this i had no problems and the bag progressed nicely.

I was finishing the lining when i realized that i had twisted the zipper panel, witch means i had to open the all the stitches i already made for the lining,


i had to reopen the lining part of the bag An hour later this was fixed too. Now i can hope that everything will go according to plan. In the meantime our lovely little cat “Kater” thought its really lovely to use the outer part of the bag as his new sleeping place. I really don’t know how to get him to not sit everywhere where he should not sit :-).


The first bag is finished: the photo shows the front and the back side, inside we have pockets and a recessed zipper.

I am sure the new home for this old whale is perfect:

Part Three of this blog post: 01.12.2020

The next one is going to be a tote bag for Gracie:

The bottom part and Hand straps are made out of cut offs from TAV.

The lining is made out of an old boat cover.

The interior lining is made of shade sale material from our local upholsterer.

i made these kind of tote bags before and found out that it is much nicer if you combine plastic and fabric together. It gives a nice feel.

last step before the bag is finished is the assembling and turning inside out.

And the final result:

But we still had leftover plastic so i decided to make some more bags :-). Watch this space

Part three of the journey 05.12.20:

The other two bags i made to see how much you get out of this little creature, where:

a wrist bag, which is a great little bag for the evening or even for the day, fits perfectly your phone, small coin purse and some more with a comfortable small wrist band,

for the lining i choose, white TAV cut offs and finished it with a black zipper.

the other one is a Box bag which is perfect for storage, very soft. It can be used as a travel bag for your toiletries or anything you like to store away.

after that i still had some left overs so i decided to play around a bit and made a quilted tote bag.

I wanted to use different colors so i mixed it with the turtle i got from my friend Julie from the flying turtle cafe.

As this was pretty hard work after the first side i really thought – nah thats enough i decided to change this bag up a little bit and make a different sided bag out of it.


last part of the journey of this beautiful little whale: 07.12.20: He finally arrived home i made a small little lunchbag in addition (marisa wanted something out of the tail of the whale) and a small book sign.

and that is the end of my first blog. I hope you enjoyed it. ka kite ra


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