Category Archives: sewing
Here I am making another attempt at the Alabama Stitch project skirt. I have made one in plain oatmeal coloured jersey…but the waistline was a little big, I know that is a good thing !!! but to unpick all that hand stitching and re-do each seam, six in total seemed (pardon the pun!) daunting.
I had another skirt cut and ready to sew, this time I thought I would do the leaves stencil from the aforementioned book. No problem, I used my sewing machine to baste each seam plus the waistline to prevent bagging or stretching while working on the appliqué stencil work. Each panel was laid out to start the stencil, I then realized I had stitched each panel (gore) to the backing fabric. So I decided to draw around the leaf stencil with a Sharpie pen.
At some point along the way I made a decision to appliqué all the leaves. I started out with the creamy coloured fabric on the grey, but I wasn’t sure I really liked it. So I had some cream fabric that I had done some practice stencils on and so I cut out the shapes from this and placed them on the drawn leaves to see if that made it better or worse. I liked it and so began the process you see now.
My creamy fabric has been painted on with a mix of green and cream fabric paint and I used real ferns from the garden to get some leafy designs. I just painted onto the backside of the fern with a sponge and then lay it onto the cream fabric and pressed down gently. Pull off the fern and you have a very delicate imprint of the ferns leaves. Remember to heat set your painted fabric BEFORE cutting out you pieces. I cut my appliqué leaves out of this fabric, some have more defined leaf designs than others, I just went with what I liked the look of at the time!
As usual I cannot follow the basic design….my mind goes off at a tangent…I believe that is called being creative !!!
If you like let me know what you are working on that gives you pleasure, happy summer sewing to you 🙂
Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.
The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)
I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.
As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!
I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.
I have been feeling the urge to Spring clean lately…how about you ? I know this is the sort of thing one expects at this time of year but I am a great saver of things, hoarder! …we don’t use that word in our home. All my “saves” have wonderful plans, right! So I knew I was having a moment when I found myself checking out my fabric stash, I was just looking for the ” just right fabric” you know the one your sure you have somewhere if only you could find it !
Then my daughter and some of her friends came over for a night of …just chillin’. They started to look at the fabric stash as well and started to put different colour combinations together. I said please go ahead and have fun, well they had loads of fun and started to make piles of their favourite colour mixes. I was thrilled with all the choices they had made for me, sometimes I find a new set of eyes can produce wonderful and exciting results. They all enjoyed themselves and left with their personal choices listed on paper with small snippets of each fabric choice taped in order of preference.
Consequently I have been busy making many variations of my small string quilted purses. Each one a designer original.
As you can tell by the pictures they really are unique and fun. When I made each of these purses I cut small strips of cotton fabrics in varying widths and stitched them at an angle onto a base fabric. After this I made up the purse shape as I do with my other designs. How do you like the colour combinations? please leave us a comment we would love to hear from you. Maybe you have been stash busting too!
Here is the project I am working on for this Earth Day Challenge, so far so good but I am not sure about the tie! I read an article in the latest Threads Magazine about using old ties for bias binding. I found this lovely greenish one at the local thrift shop. ( See in the previous post pics) I noticed it is made of silk so I am not sure how I will incorporate it into my design ….I am thinking over the exposed seams. Hope you are able to make something too.
So here is the plan, take three items of clothing and use all of them or parts of them to re-create a new item. This is my challenge, would you like to join me ?
For example: take an old wool sweater ( no surprise there! ) one used cotton T- shirt and one no longer “cool” tie. Now get creative and see what you can come up with. Some ideas to get you started might include, hats, scarves, mittens, pillows, toys, games, bags, purses, slippers etc.
A few titles of books that may help spark your creativity:
Sewing Green and Warm Fuzzies both by Betz White
Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt By Megan Nicolay
The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-kind C… by Crispina ffrench
Heartfelt: 25 Projects for Stitched and Felted Accessories By
If you would like to participate just send me a note and if we have enough people we can set up a flickr page for all to see!
See if you can get it done by April 22nd Earth Day.
Good Luck and have FUN 🙂
I basically draw out a shape on paper that I think will work for a felted purse, I sometimes cut out a cardboard copy of this if I think I will make more than one.
Then you need to find a sweater of your choice from the thrift store…go for 100% wool whenever possible they felt up a lot better than other types. Take this cool find to your washing machine and do all the things you have been told not to do to wash your wool sweater! Hot water, lots of soap and agitate! when you have done this rinse out the soap using cold water, spin and place in the drier…this should now be a few sizes smaller ! and felted. Once your sweater is felted you can cut open the seams, now you have your working fabric. Your decision as to where to place your pattern happens now. Choose a part of the design you like and see how it will look folded or turned the other way. When you are happy with your choice, cut out and hand sew the side seams. I use strong buttonhole thread which comes in a mass of different colours.
I use an easy envelope style flap on the front of the purse. This design lends it’s self to a few variations, make a point like a regular envelope, angle up to the left or right side and round out the point as seen in the pictures. I sew on a large snap closure making sure to sew a small piece of felt underneath each part of the snap. This gives stability to the closure. Decorate the top if desired, I used a knitted, crochet and felted flower with two wool leaves. You could use recycled buttons, embroidery, loops, lace or whatever comes to mind. Let your creative juices flow.
If you are unable to find a wool sweater try making a swatch from your many scrap pieces of yarn. The multi coloured purse with the gold coloured flower was actually a test swatch that I made to see if I could knit with two yarns. I knitted in a round and found that the join looked kind of nasty so I decided to felt it. After this I cut it open were the join was and TA DA! a lovely working fabric to design with. If you need to flatten it out, just use an iron on hot and steam for a few seconds.
I love the versatility of this project. I am sure that I will be making more. I hope you will give this a try and if it helps.. you are making an eco friendly project by saving sweaters from the land fill.
Thank you for your support this year and continue to keep being creative whatever you enjoy doing.Wishing you all a very healthy, creative and peaceful year for 2011.
Today was a day not unlike any other. I had plans to work on my pouches and purses, as I told my SIL in the UK that I would. Believe me, I have to get busy but the sun was shining and I thought I would take advantage of the good light and take some photographs.
I have recently purchased some beautiful silk ribbons from a company called Treenway Silks here in B.C. The colours are divine. I would have liked to have had one of every colour but alas I must be careful with the budget. I took some great pictures and then one thing lead to another and I was photographing all kinds of different things that just happen to be on my table to-day. I really did tidy up last week but it certainly doesn’t look that way around here.
Yes, I was completely side tracked and looked longingly into the garden and not much actual work was being done. I daresay a lot was going on in my creative mind but the needle was not in my hand being busy so I gave myself a little talking to; you know the one “Get on, must do more work” etc, etc!
It must have worked because I have completed my felted fish purse now and have to say I had lots of fun making it. I even love how the shape of the pouch, when opened, is fish-like. The zipper pull looks like a tail fin – not planned, just a happy accident.