Thursday, September 29, 2005

Dishtowel Apron

Here's my submission for this month's Tie One On Challenge--making an apron from a dishtowel.

This started out as one large, plain white, flour sack towel. And I do mean large--I first considered making a maxi-length apron (cool idea). But I ended up turning one edge down to form a casing, and the opposing edge up to form pockets. I embroidered three onions (see inspiration below), and added two red bias tapes--a dark splatter design tape for the ties (long enough to tie to the front), and an Italian restaurant-feel with a red check for the top edge of the pockets. I considered tape around the outer edge too, but just wanted simple and plain. I am really pleased with how this turned out. It's so useable!

Please keep in mind that I do not embroider, so all you needlework enthusiasts, please don't wrinkle your noses. I just wanted to try something new. I don't have a clue how to embroider, I just looked at a how-to book and guessed. The backside was finished also, so I guess I did okay. There are french knots, couching, and a basic back stitch. Is that what redwork is, or should I have used a different stitch? Anway, I like how fresh this looks, so that's cool.

Onion on center pocket includes couching

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Japanese Inspiration

And here's my inspiration--a Japanese craft book, of course

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Childhood Purse Project (at least I was sewing)

Ha! I was going through my stash, looking for vintage stuff that I might be able to post to the Vintage Fabric group on Flickr. I came across this unfinished bag. I'm pretty sure I started this in 6th grade, and I hand-stitched it. I may have continued to work on it in Junior High, I can't remember. I obviously didn't know how to match seams then ;).
Oh well.
Dig the "Barbie" fabric in the center. All these fabrics hold significance for me, because they are all items my mom or I sewed into clothing. That dreaded blue flowered polyester I made an Easter dress with. The stripes and polka dots were pants. I was ahead of my time with the recycling jeans idea. I got stumped on how ot sew the sides together, so it was never completed. Posted by Picasa

Here's the back side. Two knits--a flower power and Clean Air! So 70's! Posted by Picasa

Delightful Thrift Find

I found this funky curtain panel at a thrift store today for $2. I think it might make a really fun bag. It's 35" X 42", so that's large enough to work with. It's heavy--almost like a tapa cloth. I have sooo many cool fabrics to work with right now. So many projects to finish....and Christmas is right around the corner. Posted by Picasa

There are a few kids on this piece--they're about 8'' tall each. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 24, 2005

One of a Kind Objects of Desire

I had an amazing afternoon. I hope I can capture the magic for you. The day started off with being able to sleep in until nine. That in itself was awesome. I am house-sitting in a beautiful home that would feel like a vacation were it not for the fact that I rarely have time alone here. There are gardeners, a pool guy, a dog walker, and a maid who comes to the house three times per week for almost eight hours each day. The dogs wake me up between 5:30 and 6:30 wanting breakfast, then the maid arrives around 7:00am. For this night owl, uh, that is hell. Anyway, after more than two weeks I have grown to enjoy the maid's company, and have gotten much-needed practice with my rusty Spanish. More on her later. The point is that I finally had an opportunity today to be alone, to relax, to read, to let my mind wander.

Anyway, I met a friend for coffee, we went to a park and walked her two dogs, and then she took me to a shop she had just discovered, called Embellishments.

 Posted by Picasa
There is some sort of unique energy at this place. I haven't felt this kind of spark in a long time. They feature products made by local artists, including felted bags with sparkly yarn, patchwork bags with luscious fabrics, bags with velvet roses or velvet ruffles, specialty spools of ribbons from Italy...I bought this painted magnet.

It's hand-painted on flexible magnetic material. It's large: 4" by 5.5" not including the beaded fringe. Posted by Picasa
I have a soft spot for images of redheads ;-). Literature describing the store says it is located in "Leucadia'a Beachside Bohemia...for those who love beautiful and unusual things".

But check out this bag!!!!

Bag made from magazine pages Posted by Picasa
This is what you are given if you purchase a small item there. I mean, are you capturing this? I think actually gasped when I saw this--seriously, it almost knocked me off my feet. The owner takes beautiful pages from magazines and somehow glues them together so they're tight and strong and will secure your purchase. Wow. Several hundred times over, wow. What an inventive and beautiful form of recycling.

My friend had to get home, so I continued cruising Coast Highway 101, browsing cute little beach shops. It was one of those days filled with memorable moments, the type of moments that make up the finer days of our lives. Quality moments, frozen in time: driving 101 with postcard perfect coastal surf to my side, continually hitting 'replay' on Cruz by Christina Aguilera and singing with it at the top of my lungs. Now I feel relaxed, calm,.....alive.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sharing Past Projects

I thought it might be fun to share pics of some of the things I have made in the past. I have lots more pics to share, but here are a few...

This is a baby quilt I made for a friend who had a jack-in-the-box theme going. I can't remember what year this was (at least 10 years ago) and we're no longer friends, so I can't even go off the girl's age now. Anyway, it was my own pattern idea (and way more difficult than it would appear--lots of intersections to match up). This was my first experience with stenciling. I used a crayon-type paint, and I think it turned out rather well. Posted by Picasa

The other side of the quilt features a large clown (same as on the stencil) that is overstuffed. There is ribbon detail, a stuffed balloon shape, and prairie points...all in primary colors. Posted by Picasa

Sharing More Past Projects

This is a poor photo, but hopefully you can get the idea. It is being suspended from a roof, hence the curves in it and the cord hanging down. Anyway, this was a gift for then-boyfriend Brent, I think sometime in the late 80's. It was one of my first quilts, and I used a lot of flannel (the pale yellow, white, and the black) and found it raveled too much. I machine stitched the blocks, then tied it. It was a huge thing--a king size. He ended up later getting married, and his wife wouldn't let him use it. Who knows where it is now. Pattern from Eleanor Burns' Amish Quilt Book. Posted by Picasa

I embellished with thin satin ribbons--see the red and the yellow ribbons? I thought it added a nice detail, and a softness.I put something like 90 hours into this labor of love. All the fabrics were hand-picked with purpose. Posted by Picasa

I made this sometime in the early '90's for my then-boyfriend, Mark. It was as close as I could get to Raiders colors (black and silver). It's another Amish pattern from the quilt book by Eleanor Burns, which I recommend highly. I utilized the left over strips I had for that inner border. The fabrics are all cottons, and the quilt is machine stitched, then tied. This quilt also has random embellishment with ribbon. The funny story with this quilt is that Mark was sleeping with it one night when a needle punctured his stomach. I had evidently missed it in the lining. Oops, lol. That's my old cat, Pewuess (a weird version of Puss). He lived to be 16, and I still miss that pretty, soft fur and how much he loved me. Posted by Picasa

Christmas stocking of wood-themed fabrics for my then-boyfriend, Greg, who is a contractor (carpenter/framer, with a business name that means "wood" in another language). As you can tell, most of my projects tend to be gifts for other people. Anyway, this was made in 2003. The heel and toe is a fabric that simulates red floorboards, the band is oak floorboards, one side is light pine-like woodgrain, and the side in view is a darker woodgrain, all quite realistic looking. I embroidered french knots around the heel and toe to simulate nail heads. Hanging from the side are tool-shaped charms (hammer, saw, jingle bells, and I can't remember what else). Oh! And the lining is a fabric with all sorts of power tools. I filled the stocking with candies and small gifts. I hope he still uses it. That's the crap thing of giving people stuff--sometimes they don't appreciate it. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 19, 2005

Vintage Mending Booklet

Making and Mending Booklet

I love these old homemaker booklets. This one is from the UK, about mending worn items, or utilizing the good parts of the fabric and making them into something else useable so there is no waste. Old tabelcloths to tea towels, bath towels to bath mats, etc. The booklet is not dated, but discusses "wartime clothing" so must be 1940's or older. Booklet is in wonderful shape, and has ideas that are considered "reconstructed" today.

Knickers from a Tee

Reconstructed PJs

Repairing Knickers
Repairing underwear?

Refronting Your Husband's Shirt

Wartime Dressmaking


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bags, Bags...Yummy Bags!

My God, just for the cover alone....aren't you drooling? The wonderful thing about Japanese crafts is the beauty of their simplicity.  Posted by Picasa

And interesting fabric combinations. Posted by Picasa

Unusual Details

Interesting shirred-like or crumpled effect. I have seen this with paper, but not often with fabric. The more I look at it, the more I like it. Posted by Picasa

This bizarre effect is achieved by stitching around a ring (see lower right corner of diagram). Posted by Picasa

And here's a smocked element, and perhaps a bleached fabric design. Very elegant. Posted by Picasa