Tag Archives: sewing

A JUST FOR FUN – Halloween Project.

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A JUST FOR FUN – Halloween Project.

I am not a serious quilter, but I do on occasion like to make little quilts for wall decoration.  Being that Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to see what I could make from my left-over fabric scraps.  My goal was to create something interesting using only things that I had on-hand… without making additional purchases!

After sorting through my stash, I came up with this collection of possibilities.fullsizeoutput_ba9

Considering overall design, scale, color, etc., with size of pieces available, I selected the jack-o-latern motif fabric as the center-piece with coordinating strips for the sides to be sewn in a log cabin pattern.

fullsizeoutput_baaAfter assembling the pieces, I hand basted the decorative block to a piece of muslin to give added support for the embellishment to come.

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Then it was into the embroidering hoop for adding decorative features.

fullsizeoutput_bafI began by placing small orange and black beads on the bottom and top sections.  They are a little small and tend to get lost, in the photos I taken, but show quite well when examining the piece in person.

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More beads.IMG_6087

Next I added cross stitches and French knots to the skeleton fabric.

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And lastly, I  finished up with orange and green primitive stitches on the last side piece.

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I added a black border and chalked in guide lines for more primitive stitching to be added.

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Once the decorative block was embellish, I layered it over cotton batting and an orange contrasting fabric.

 

 

All additional stitching, such as the outlining on the jack-o-latern and more French knots were sewn through all layers to secure the sandwiched pieces.

 

 

After all the embellishing, I trimmed the excess fabric away and machine stitched the bias binding, also made from scraps, to the outside edge of the piece.

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The binding was applied to the front and then wrapped around to the back side and hand basted into position for a final stitching down.

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Special attention was paid to the mitered corners to help create nice and neat finished look.

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With matching thread, I used teeny tiny stitches to secure the  binding and corners into position.

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After the binding was completed, I pressed it lightly.  If desired, small plastic rings may be sewn in the top corners for hanging if desired.

This fun little project measures 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ and will be hanging in my work station between now and October 31st.

I hope you like it!

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Projects Revisited

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From Start to Finish

IMG_3443I recently went through a box in my sewing room marked “winter projects.” The box contained the best of the best projects I salvaged during our sizing down move three years ago.  I have always found it difficult to start up work on old projects.  It is usually a lack of interest as whatever it was that got my creative juices flowing has long since dissipated and the prospect of picking up in the middle of an uninteresting project seems like work more than fun.  Fortunately, that was not the case with this piece.  It had been long enough that I had forgotten I had ever started this jacket.  The fact that I still loved the red quilted fabric was good and I still liked the striped douppioni… so far so good.    After studying the pattern and the pieces that were already cut, I decided I definitely needed a third piece to create additional interest.  So off to The Mill End Store I went with swatches in hand.

 It’s really quite remarkable that I was able to find a douppioni print that complemented the stripes so perfectly, but not without considerable effort.  I was in the store for at least two hours searching, searching, and searching again every piece of fabric at least five times.  I was finding nothing suitable and finally decided it was time to surrender.   Resigned to defeat, I headed for the exit pausing only to notice a silk display… and there it was.  It was exactly what I’d been looking for; the colors were right, the scale was right, it was perfection and obviously meant to be.   And so I begin the satisfying endeavor of resurrecting an old project to new life.    More to come…

A Simple Sewing Project

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A Simple Sewing Project

Bringing Beauty Into Your World

Table linens are a simple sewing project that are well worth the effort.  These small pieces of fabric artfully arranged add pop, sizzle, glamour, elegance  and just plain fun to an otherwise ho-hum table.

They are quick and easy to make and the choices are as endless as the selections at the fabric store.  So have fun and be boldly creative!

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Begin by cutting out a large square.  Determine the width of the hem and miter the corners to suit.  My favorite size is 21″ x 21″.  To create the mitered corner remove 3 1/4″.

Turn under 1/4″ all around the perimeter of the square  as shown below.

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Bring folded edges together at mitered edge and stitch a 1/4″ seam.

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Clip threads and trim corner to stitching line to ensure a crisp point.

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Press open and complete on each of the four corners.

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Turn each corner and carefully press hem into place.

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Stitch hem into place.  You may wish to decrease stitch length for added strength at the corner seam lines.  Once stitched, your napkins is completed.

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Blue and White China

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We’ve all had the experience of purchasing a piece of fabric that we absolutely loved and held it back for the perfect project only to later discover that we kept it too long, so long in fact that our fickle affections faded; what was once appealing had grown tiresome and out of favor.  And then… there are other pieces that we hold onto that we never seem to grow tired of.  That is the case with the French Country piece used for the table runner in the background of this photo.  I purchased it at Daisy Kingdom in NW Portland shortly before the company went out of business in 2004.  I loved it then and still adore it.  It reminds me of the patterns you see on the inside lining of old trunks from bygone eras.

Blue and white is another classic color combination that never seems to go out of style; it’s a favorite of mine.  I have four dinner plates of Italian Blue Spode as a base to build upon.  I am slowly collecting additional pieces all in blue and white coordinated patterns for a “shabby chic”table for eight. It’s fun and challenging, because not just any blue and white will due… it’s a balancing act of style, pattern and color all coming together in a unique and pleasing way.   This is my first setting.  The dinner plate is English Spode and the salad plate is by Gibson of Goodwill.  The napkin is made of delicate cotton voile made my moi, of course. 🙂

What do you think?

 

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Happy “Little” Diversions

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Happy “Little” Diversions

I was rifling through some deep sewing storage looking for a specific piece of fabric.  I didn’t find it, but while searching  happened across these “little quilts.”  They were neatly folded and tucked away waiting to be rediscovered.

People who know I work with fabric almost always ask me if I quilt and I always say, “no,”when in fact I do quilt from time to time.   What I mean when I say no, is that I do not quilt as my main creative outlet;  I haven’t spent my lifetime perfecting my quilting skills like the artists whose magnificent creations adorn quilt shops and shows.  Rather, I am a little quilter of small projects…  offering happy little diversions from my more seriously focused fabric pursuits.

Each piece carries with it a memory, like small snapshot in time… oh yes, I remember when I made that…..

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Decorative Accent Towels

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While shopping during the Christmas season, I came across some decorative accent towels that inspired me to try making some of my own. The thing I like most about this type of project is that they are simple to sew and offer a myriad of opportunities to use up scraps of fabric and trim in unlimited creative ways.  They can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them and are easily picked up or set aside to work on later.   I find this a good fit for my creative outlet during this very busy period of my life.

 

 

Dressmaking

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Hedgehogs are In!

Not long ago while on my lunch hour, I stopped in to have a look round the Quilted Forest.  I’ve never been much into quilting, but I do find tremendous inspiration in the beautiful fabrics I see there.  People are so talented and it’s always exciting to see what interesting ideas others come up with.

While shopping I came across a charming collection of fabrics that included an adorable hedgehog.  I was told that hedgehogs are “really in” … something I never would have known, but for being told.  I had to have the hedgehog fabric!  I picked up two additional companion pieces and some jumbo rickrack that seemed to go with it.    I had no particular idea in mind, but thought perhaps it would make a cute little dress… if I could find the right pattern.   Over the next couple of months I did find a suitable pattern and was ready to go once I could find a block of time to work.  With today being a holiday I set out this morning to see what I could come up with and here we have it.

Moda fabric collection

The biggest challenge, was to determine which pieces to use where.  I wanted the hedgehogs to play a prominent role in the design so I used that fabric for the back because it was in one piece and would thereby show off the fabric to full advantage.dress back

Then decisions were made about the piecing across the front.  It’s surprising how placement makes such a difference in the overall look and feel of a garment, but it really does and therefore requires careful consideration.  Being a wrap dress, there are interior ties to help hold the dress in place.  Interior ribbon tiesOnce the dress was finished the rickrack was applied around the bottom.  Overall, I am pleased with the way it turned out.  The scale is a bit large for a child, but with the jumbo rickrack, I think it works.  I like the versatility of the pattern; I can see this with tights and a turtle neck for a Christmas dress or as a warm weather sundress.  Either way it’s adorable.dress completed

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Folk Art Adventure

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What started out as a ‘fun little project’ has turned into a colossus of detail.  I began with a collection of flowers and other elements cut from various fabrics.  I bought a variety of beads and of embroidery floss for embellishment and started in.IMG_9322I have seen many examples of “folk-art” having had the opportunity to visit The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.  I am intrigued by the nature of this category of art with its bright use of color, eclectic and unexpected pairings of materials and designs, and endearing inattentiveness to quality or standard that magically comes together with a kind of flea-market cachet. It is such a departure from my natural bent towards creative order that when I saw a display at a local shop, I thought I’d like to give it a try.

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I’ve discovered that I like the somewhat tattered and unplanned look.  There is a certain creative freedom which develops in the absence of exacting precision; I can use any color thread and don’t worry about evenness of stitches or tidiness of French knots and I can stitch on beads with abandon.  There are no rules, no dictates, just art and that’s fun! IMG_9356

Vintage Illustrations.

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Taking Inspiration from Historic Costume

 

I’ve always had an interest in historic costume; I imagine most of us who sew share this interest, as studying past fashions can provide endless inspiration for contemporary designs.  I recently came across a collection of charming illustrations of British children’s costumes from the 18th and 19th century that I wanted to share with my friends in Sewville.  I adore these and plan to frame a set to hang in my sewing room… they are so sweet.   I’ve put a couple up in my RemnantWorks Etsy shop and will be adding more as I have the time.

 

 

British Children's Costumes Illustrations

 

British Children's Costume Illustrations

 

 

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Sewing With Vintage Patterns

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Sewing With Vintage Patterns

RemnantWorks Vintage Patterns Shop 

I remember when this dress pattern first came out.  I was completely taken with the design; it seemed so fresh and unlike any of the dress styles I was used to seeing.   I made it up, but don’t remember wearing it very much.  My sewing skills were somewhat limited in those early days and the dress probably didn’t turn out to look quite as nice as the picture on the pattern envelope.

Simplicity 5562

Simplicity 5562

Now that I have begun to sell off my old patterns, I find myself struggling with letting go of this one.  Most patterns are very easy to part with once the decision has been made, while others, not so easy.   I found myself thinking about making it up in a contemporary fabric.  I know it would be cute even though I couldn’t possibly fit into it anymore! 🙂