Sorry I haven’t written much in the past week, it’s been a kinda weird time around here. My nephew has cancer, he’s home on hospice, the end is very near, and he’s only 37. It’s just so hard to believe.
In amidst the sadness there have been several happy little things. Like the UPS truck pulling into my driveway in the afternoon. I knew my entire Amazon order had come, so didn’t know what this delivery was about.
Good news? Bad news? Uh-oh.
It was this, my prize from May Arts ribbon for being a runner up in the February challenge.
Whoo-hoo, 32 yards of white silk ribbon, just waiting to be dyed, inked or otherwise colored into whatever shade I need. Awesomeness!
Then there was this.
Why did this make me happy?
Well, you see, I decided to join the 1912 Sewing Project, a group dedicated to sewing the patterns from the 1912 year of La Mode Illustree, in conjunction with the anniversary of the Titanic.
This is the first pattern I received.
Isn’t that pretty? I was happy to get it, and excited to get started, but bummed to discover I needed nearly six yards of fabric. This is for something I don’t need and probably won’t wear. It’s just a challenge, and something interesting to try. I can’t really afford to be buying that much material for this kind of thing, ya know?
So anyhow, back to this.
A couple of weeks ago a lady at church asked me if I’d like an old wedding gown for the fabric. She said it was stained and torn in places, but I could possibly use the fabric for linings and such. Me, turn down fabric? Nuh-uh.
I then proceeded to completely forget about it until my husband plunked two largish boxes in my sewing room last Sunday.
In fact, I had so completely forgotten about it that that very day I’d written “check fabric stash for fabric and lace for 1912 slip” on my beginning of the week list.
I hadn’t even gotten started on that list and there it was, yards and yards of fabric, and lace, all perfect for the project.
I felt so incredibly blessed.
But the biggest happy thing so far this week, is the littlest of all. Or, perhaps, the other way ’round.
These earrings, which hubby got me for our first anniversary (nearly 24 years ago), have been missing for several months. I was heartbroken, had given them up for good, and was just thankful that among all the new jewelry I’m constantly buying and/or making he’d likely never notice their absence.
Yesterday I pulled out a bracelet I hadn’t worn in a long time, and there they were, clinging to it. You should have seen my smile.
It could have lit up a room. 🙂
It’s definitely the little things in life that can make us the most happy.
My desk shows me just finishing up a cute little holder for a notepad and pen, with a pocket for storing receipts or whatever. (Click on any of the photos to see a larger image.)
You might not be able to see it, but there is a brand new 1/8″ hole on the edge of my cutting mat. Why? I was using my Crop-A-Dile to punch a hole for the eyelet and managed to catch my cutting mat with the lower section of the tool. I couldn’t have done that if I’d tried! At least it’s on the very edge of the mat. ===sigh===
Since the Club Scrap directions are for kits they send out, the videos often don’t give dimensions. Here are the dimension I used for my project. It perfectly fits one of those little notepads.
front paper (the yellow print in mine) – 4.5″ x 10.5″ back, spine and left front paper (pink in mine) – 10″ x 10.5″ inside paper (will not cover entire left side) – 8.25″ x 10″ cardboard for front and back covers (cut 2) – 5.5″ x 8.5″ cardboard for spine 0.75″ x 8.5″ notebook pocket – 8″ h x 7.375″ (3/8″) w left pocket – 6.25″ w x 8.25″ h (In the video, Tricia has you score 2″ up for a 2″ deep pocket, which I thought was skimpy, so my measurements allow for a 3″ deep pocket.) pencil holder 4″ h x 2.5″ w
Much of the past holiday weekend was dedicated to making this.
(Click on any of the photos to see a larger image.)
“What is it?” you may ask. Well, let me ‘splain.
In the interest of being efficient while sewing, I made the observation that I always hold my scissors or snips in my right hand and thus thread tails and fabric trimmings end up in my left hand. The usual practice is to then reach across my body to drop them into the serger’s thread catcher, way to my right. This, of course, is silly and wasteful of time, energy and effort. (And who has extra time and energy these days? Not me.)
I decided to find a container for trimmings that would live to the left of my sewing machine. This Costco-sized cottage cheese bucket has been doing the job perfectly for some time now.
But it’s not very attractive, is it? It was crying out to be altered.
Most of you know I’ve been working through Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas. I’m up to day 11, but I’ll skip that for now, as the plans for day 11 require supplies I’m still waiting for.
To make your own, use a waterproof ink such as Jet Black Archival Ink and stamp a piece of tissue paper all over with a large stamp such as Hero Art’s Music Background cling stamp, then rub Antique Linen distress ink (or color of your choice) over everything.
Letters cut with the Vintage Market Sizzlits Decorative Strip Die out of paper from the Crowded Attic Paper Stash. I really liked Tim’s idea for cutting out cardstock backed foil tape, but didn’t think metallic letters would look right on this project. I did LOVE his tip for cutting the same letters out of a darker color and placing them offset behind your title to really make it pop.
The letters read, “Give Thanks In Everything,” which is from I Thessalonians 5:18 and had been a theme of mine lately. The interesting thing about this being on a round container is that you can start at any word and not lose the meaning. (Try it!) Note that you will sound like Yoda if you start with “Thanks.” (“Thanks in everything give, hmmmmm……”)
Most of you know I’ve been working my way through Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas techniques from last year. (Btw, did you see his announcement? I am so excited! This seems like a much, much better way.)
Anyhow, I’m up to Day 10, you may have seen me in the midst of working it here.
(Click on any of the pics for a larger image.)
These little 4 inch canvases have been hanging around for a long time. My first thought was to make a standing display, like the “Journey” piece Tim made in The Journey Continues. You can see it here, on the cover of the DVD.
But then I decided I wanted to use the dress form from the Sizzix Alterations Sewing Room Die, and so it had to go vertically, rather than horizontally. A hanging piece would be better, anyhow, since I’m limited on horizontal space.
I loosely followed the directions on the DVD for coloring the canvases, but used Matte Multi Medium instead of beeswax. Lots of distress ink, some paint splattering and bits of pattern tissue are layered on there.
The final layer on the canvases, which isn’t very obvious in the photos, was to stamp on them with the script stamp from Tim’s Urban Grunge stamp set with Coffee Archival Ink. I had at first tried to stamp with a wood block stamp, but it wouldn’t reach the center of the canvas which dips in slightly. The unmounted stamp worked perfectly. It stuck to my fingers just enough for me to position it and get a good impression.
He has a way cool technique on the DVD for painting the large wooden letters.
It involves base coating the letter with black paint, putting on blobs of petroleum jelly, then adding a thick layer of paint over everything. Once the paint is dry, you can rub off the areas that are over the petroleum jelly, leaving a peeled, weathered paint look.
You probably don’t remember, but I had the fabric and pattern for this sweater on my desk way back in early October.
What a saga it has been. After cutting out the pattern I went to sew it on my serger only to find one of the thread guides was broken. The serger was in need of a tune-up anyways, so I brought it to the repair shop and asked about getting a part.
It took them many phone calls and several weeks to figure out that the machine was too old and they couldn’t get a part. ====sigh====
They didn’t think the part could be repaired. =====double sigh=====
Then my husband suggested I ask his brother, who can weld just about anything, to give it a try. I did so.
It took him practically no time at all. So much for the part not being repairable. Grrr….
This was now shortly before Christmas, and I’d spent the money set aside for a tune-up. Time to save up, again. ===sigh===
Finally, a couple weeks ago I was able to bring the machine in to get the timing set up with the newly repaired part, and a tune-up.
I am very happy to report Ms. Serger is now home and running beautifully. Together she and I whipped out this sweater in about three hours.
Now, what else can I serge?
Here’s the pattern front…
…and my pattern review.
Pattern Description: Very loose fitting jackets have stitched or serged seam and hem options. Included are Nancy Zieman’s time saving tips.
Pattern Sizing: XS-XXL Many other reviewers mentioned that this pattern runs quite large (it does say “very loose fitting” in the pattern description) so I made it two sizes smaller than my measurements called for.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yup, exactly. I made view D, with the asymmetrical hem and sewn-on ties.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Very, very easy. I liked how they were broken up into doable steps, and even had approximate times each step would take.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the asymmetrical hem and the option to have it with or without the ties. I think I’d prefer to have a belt tie, though, rather than sewn on, so I could choose from day to day whether to wear it belted or not.
Fabric Used: A Hatchi Slub Sweater Knit from Fabric.com. This fabric is quite stretchy, so I’m sure that’s why going down two sizes worked out fine.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After making it I didn’t like the way the ties pulled the side seams so far to the front. I pinned out enough excess in the back to make the side seams fall at the sides and found I needed to take up 7 inches.
I fiddled with some clear elastic and decided that 5 inches would stretch just right to 12 inches, thus gathering in 7 inches. If you do this, you’ll want to mark your elastic (I used a Sharpie) at the beginning, end and mid point (0, 2.5 and 5 inches in my case.) Mark a straight line across the inside back of the garment, marking the beginning, end and mid point as well (12 inches long in my case, centered, of course.) Also, cut the elastic with an extra 2 inches at the beginning and an extra 1 inch at the end. These will be handles for you to hold on to while stretching as you sew.
I just zig-zagged the elastic in place, setting the stitch length to zero for a few stitches at the beginning and again at the end.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! It’s very comfortable to wear and great for layering.
Conclusion: I used my serger for all of the seams, and double-needle topstitching for the hems. This made it a very quick project.
Happy Wednesday, all! Today finds me working on a set of cards a friend asked me to make for her.
I tell ya, I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t immerse myself into something creative. It’s so therapeutic during rough times. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to make crafty stuff!
So, without further ado, here is today’s desk.
(Click on the photo for a larger version. The little square with an arrow will make it go even bigger.)
Lots of inky happiness, a few gems, some bits of ribbon. The usual suspects.
Oh, but speaking of ribbon, I won one of the runner up prizes for the May Arts ribbon Vintage Valentine challenge! 🙂 Many thanks to those who voted for my project.
This is what I made. (You can go here to find my tutorial on how to make your own.)
I’m really happy with my little pillow, and I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of the spool of ribbon they’re sending as a prize. (I choose 1.25″ wide white silk ribbon, as I can color it to go with any project.)
You can go here to see all the winners, or here to see all the entries.
If you have a few minutes to spare, you can go here to check out the workdesks of other creative people from all over. Why do we do this? Cuz Julia says, and it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!
Several years ago somebody gave me a purple boiled wool coat. Of course I loved the fabric and the color, but never really cared for the style or the fit. It was a bit big on me and I found the built in scarf annoying. I tried to pull it out of the closet at least once a winter to wear to church, though. 🙂
Fast forward a few years and I’ve dropped 60 lbs. This is how the coat fits now.
Well, that’s how it USED to fit a few weeks ago.
Until I got this pattern…
…and made it fit a little better. Like this:
Or this, if you prefer it buttoned up.
Rather an improvement, eh?
Here’s my review of the pattern and a few details on how I did it.
Pattern Description: Princess seam women’s coat in two lengths, two piece sleeve, choose of two collar styles, patch pockets or inseam front pockets.
Pattern Sizing: Per usual, I made one size less than my measurements called for. In this case I might have gone for the actual size based on my measurements. However, I’m in the process of losing weight, so it’s all good. 🙂 Right now I can only wear a single layer underneath. When I reach my weight goal, I should be able to wear a sweater under it, too.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Everything was good except the directions for the collar seemed odd to me. I just did it the way I usually put in a collar.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the princess seams and the simple lines. I wouldn’t have minded if the pattern was a little more fitted in the waist and less boxy.
Also, the pockets are rather skimpy. I realize there’s only so much room between the princess seam and the front facing, but another inch or so would have been great. In the photo you can see that’s as deep as my hands would go into the pockets.
I haven’t worked with a Burda pattern before and found their markings a little confusing. I’m used to the diamond shapes for marking notches, not just a single line, so I missed several of those while marking.
Fabric Used: I cut this coat out of a boiled wool coat I had that was way too big.
The way I did this was to remove the two patch pockets, then take the coat apart into two fronts, a back, two sleeves and the scarf/collar thing. I tried to keep the linings, facings and other details intact. I then laid out the patterns on their corresponding pieces. This way I was able to reuse the buttonholes and front facings from the original coat.
I left all the bottom hems alone until it was all done, then trued them up to the longest length I could get. I laid out the sleeve hem (with lining attached) right on the hemline on the pattern. Voila, didn’t have to make a sleeve hem.
My original coat was not princess seamed, so I’m fortunate it was so huge to begin with. Otherwise I would not have had enough fabric.
I also had to piece in a bit of the scarf to make the ridiculously short sleeves long enough for me.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Lengthened the sleeves. Ignored all but the top buttonhole placement, and only put on three buttons to correspond with the original coat. (I never button the lower ones on a long coat anyhow.)
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably only need one coat like this, but liked the pattern and would recommend it to someone with some sewing experience.
May Arts is a ribbon company with a very nice selection of lovely ribbons. They also have a great design team and a blog full of wonderful ideas.
A few weeks back they posted a challenge and I decided to enter. They would send out several ribbons to use and asked us to create a project with all of them and the theme “Sentimental Journey – Vintage Valentine.”
I immediately had an idea and decided to enter. Of course, my project looks nothing like my original idea, but that’s ok, I just needed a place to start. 🙂 This is what I came up with, and I’d like to show you how to make your own.
(Click on any of the photos to see a larger image. Click on the square with an arrow to go even bigger.)
Isn’t it sweet?
I love doing silk ribbon embroidery because it looks so complicated but is really very simple. In fact I’ve got a video for you to prove how easy the stitches are.
Actually, it’s two videos. Bonus! 🙂
Here are the materials you will need to make your own pillow:
1 yard fabric for pillow front, back and ruffles (I used Silkessence, a lining fabric from Joann’s. It’s a light ecru/cream color and has a nice crinkled texture.)
11″ square lightweight to medium fusible interfacing
4mm silk ribbons in green, yellow, pink and peach (or colors of your choice)
embroidery floss in a green and off-white of your choice (I used DMC 522 and 712)
2 yards 1.25″-1.5″ wide pink silk ribbon
10″ square pillow form
These four ribbons are the ones May Arts sent me to work with. Their item number is after the name in parenthesis.
2 yards 3/8″ white scalloped edge lace (390-38-09)
2 yards pink faux suede with ruffle edge (NV17)
2.5 yards 1/4″ taupe silk (SK35)
2 yards 1.5″ solid crinkle in white (EA01)
To get started, thoroughly wet the 3/8″ white lace and wring out. Place in a small bowl with 1/4 cup coffee (hot or cold, it doesn’t matter) and let soak overnight.
I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that for the first step!
Making the white ruched flowers:
(Also shown on the video.)
Cut your 2 yards of white 1.5″ solid crinkle ribbon into three 24″ lengths.
Use a water erase marker to mark one long edge of each piece at 2″ intervals. Mark the opposite long edge also at 2″ intervals, but offset 1″ from the marks on the other side. (The marks, if connected, would make a zigzag pattern.)
Take one length of ribbon and pin the ends together.
Either by machine or by hand, sew a narrow seam. I chose to do it by hand because I figured it would take about the same amount of time as fighting with my machine while it tried to eat this delicate ribbon.
(I know the ends aren’t sewn together in this photo. I forgot to do it first on this one. )
Thread a needle (sharp, not blunt, please) with about a yard of thread to match the ribbon. Anchor the thread end by doing a few figure 8’s over a pin.
Stitching from a mark on one side to the next mark on the opposite, make a medium length running stitch. (My stitches here are about 1/4″ long.) Your stitching line will zigzag back and forth across the ribbon.
Once you’ve stitched around the entire ribbon, carefully pull to gather your sewing thread until your ribbon looks like this. (Isn’t that cool?) Tie off your threads, but leave this space in the center (enough to fit a finger into.) If you gather too tightly, it will be hard to form your flowers.
Later we will be flattening out this ribbon circle to make our flowers, but for now, repeat the stitching and gathering with the other two ribbon pieces and set aside.
Preparing the pillow top.
From the main fabric for the pillow (the Silkessence, in my case) cut a 10.5″ strip across the width of the fabric.
From this 10.5″ strip cut one 10.5″ square and two 8.5″ x 10.5″ rectangles.
Often, I have found that fusible interfacing shrinks when I iron it onto the back of my fabric, crinkling and distorting it. To keep that from happening, place your fusible interfacing square, fusible side up, on your ironing board. Set your iron to steam and get it as hot as it will go.
Holding the iron 1″-2″ above the interfacing, steam it thoroughly. You may even be able to observe it shrinking.
Allow the interfacing to cool, cut into a 10.5 square and fuse to the back of your 10.5″ fabric square.
Now we’re going to mark our fabric square by folding and pressing. I forgot to take pictures doing this with the fabric, so I’ll show you on a piece of paper.
First, fold your fabric in half diagonally. Press this fold.
Now, fold again, the two folds should be parallel and the point should meet the first fold.
Make one more parallel fold.
Open it out, and fold again on the diagonal, but in the opposite direction.
Again, make the second fold parallel to the first. And fold once more parallel to these folds.
You fabric should look like this.
Here I’ve drawn on my piece of paper to show you the ribbon placement.
Place four pieces of pink ribbon along the inner lines. They should make a 3.5″ square in the center of the pillow. Place a piece of your coffee-dyed, rinsed, dried and ironed lace along the outside of each pink ribbon. Place four more pieces of pink ribbon along outer lines, and four more pieces of lace inside those.
Arrange the ribbons and lace until they are pleasing to you. Pin in place.
My four smaller rectangles measure 1 3/4″ x 3.5″.
(I apologize that I was having so much fun sewing I forgot to take pics of this process.
Use a decorative stitch on your machine and matching thread to sew down the pink ribbons. Use matching thread and a straight stitch to sew the long straight side of the lace.
Time for some ribbon embroidery!
Choose a needle that has a sharp point and a largish eye. Thread a 4mm ribbon through it.
Poke the needle tip into the ribbon tail, about 1/4″ from the very end.
Slide the ribbon tail all the way to the eye of the needle…
…and pull right over the eye back onto the length of ribbon.
Hold the long end of the ribbon and pull on the needle. The ribbon end will slide right up to the eye and lock itself there.
There are two wonderful things about this technique, a) the ribbon never slides out of the needle, and b) you can use just about every inch of your precious silk ribbon.
(If you didn’t get this from the photos, I do show it on the video.)
Now it’s time to pin your ruched flowers to the center of the pillow. Here I have two already done and am working on the third.
The petals on one side of your gathered piece will fan out to make the flower. The petals on the other side will be squished into the center. (See the video.) Just flatten it out and you’ll see how it works. (This is why we didn’t gather the flower center tight. )
Start tacking down the flower center by making a ring of French or Colonial knots. (See the video for how to make Colonial knots.)
Then fill in the center with more knots.
Here’s the pink flower completed. I made lazy daisy stitch leaves with green ribbon. (Also on the video.)
Next, use a water erase marker to draw an “S” scroll in each of the four rectangles. Add another scroll to the end of each and backstitch these lines with green embroidery floss. (Yup, it’s on the video.)
Add a spiderweb rose (on the video, too!) to the center using 1/4″ taupe silk ribbon. I used 1/2 yard for each rose. Stitch green leaves with lazy daisy stitch.
Make off white colonial knots about 1/4″ apart along all sides of green backstitched scroll.
I also added a few knots with the taupe ribbon to the center square, just to tie it all together.
The pillow top is complete!
Let’s make the ruffle.
From your remaining fabric cut two 5″ strips and two 4″ strips. I like to cut off the selvedges first.
Sew the two 5″ strips together along one short side, press this seam open. Press this strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Repeat for 4″ strips.
Lay your folded 5″ strip down and place the 1.25″ to 1.5″ wide pink silk ribbon on top of it, a scant 1/4″ from the fold.
Open out your fabric strip and pin the ribbon on the side farthest from the fold. Stitch along this edge with a straight stitch. Don’t be too fussy about this stitching, it will not show. What’s more important is to keep the ribbon edge a consistent distance from the fold.
Refold the 5″ strip and lay out, ribbon side up. Lay 4″ fold strip on top, raw edges meeting. There should be just a bit of the pink ribbon showing between the two fabric strips.
Trim all three pieces to the same lengths. It’s likely your ribbon will be just a bit shorter than the fabrics.
Sew the remaining ends of the ribbon/5″ strip together to make a loop. Be careful not to twist. Repeat for the 4″ strip.
Press the seams open and repress the folds, if necessary. Layer these pieces together as before, with the 4″ strip on top and about 1/4″ of the pink ribbon showing.
If your fabric is ravely and you have a serger, this is a good time to use it. Or just zigzag the raw edges. (Wish my serger hadn’t been in the shop when I made this.)
Run a gathering stitch (by hand or machine) a scant 1/2″ from the raw edges and gather to fit your pillow front.
Pin the ruffle onto the pillow front, leaving a little extra gathering in each corner. The pink silk ribbon side should be against the right side of the pillow top.
Pin the gather corners out of the way of the seamline and baste with a scant 1/2″ seam.
Remove all pins and check to see that everything is as it should be. The major problems you’ll find are not enough fullness in the corners, so your ruffles will cup, and ruffles stitched into the seam.
Once you are satisfied, repin the ruffle corners out of the way.
Time to add the back pieces and you’re done!
For the pillow backs, press under one 10.5″ side of each 10.5″ x 8.5″ rectangle 1/4″, then press under 1/4″ again. Stitch along the inner fold to finish the edge.
Lay one of these rectangles over your pillow front, right sides together. The edge you just finished should be towards the center of the pillow.
Lay the other 8.5″ x 10.5″ rectangle onto the pillow front, meeting the remaining raw edges. The finished edges should overlap a bit. This is where you will insert your pillow form later.
Stitch with a 1/2″ seam. Remove all pins, turn right side out and check to see all is as it should be.
Turn inside out again and trim the corners close to, but not through the stitching.
Here’s the finished ruffle. Insert your pillow form and enjoy!
Today’s mess is brought to you via inspiration from Tim’s 12 Tags of Christmas – Day 10.
(You can click on the photo to see it larger… if you dare.)
Those of you who have been following my blog know I am determined to work through the techniques from all 12 of Tim’s Tags from last year. Well, I’m nearly there! (When I think of the folks who managed to finish them all in the month of December, I’m astounded. )
This project is kind of a new thing for me, it’s a canvas wall art piece. It will hang in my sewing room when complete, so the theme word is “Create” and the focal point is the dress from die cut.
There’s a lot of creative freedom in a piece like this: it doesn’t have to fit into a scrapbook page protector, it doesn’t have to be mailable like a card, it doesn’t have to fit properly, the way a garment does. You can put anything and everything you want pretty much anywhere you want. I have been, and will continue to do so until I say it’s done. 🙂
I’ll give details and supplies when it is done, but for now, I gotta head out!
Happy Woyww, ya’ll.
P.S. If you’ve stumbled across this post and are wondering what in the world WOYWW is, wonder no more! It’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all spend way too much time in a blog hop, checking out the desks of other crafty, creative people from around the world. It’s way fun!
The butterflies are done by covering cardstock with text paper. (I used sheets from a dictionary I got for 5o¢ at Job Lot.) Make sure all the edges are glued down well, but don’t get adhesive on the paper.
Once the rock candy paint is dry, punch or die cut shapes of your choice.
I have to admit, I thought my sheet as a whole was quite ugly, but once I started punching out individual butterflies with the Martha Stewart Classic Butterfly Punch I was amazed at how lovely they looked.
I like making “Thinking of You” cards because I can customize them for any occasion by adding a sentiment on the inside. The top card has already been sent off as a birthday card, but it could just as easily have been for sympathy, get well or thank you.