Posts Tagged ‘Fabric’

I love necklaces.  I could live without earrings, I usually forget to wear the rings I own, and I have yet to find a bracelet that sits nicely on my small wrists, but an outfit seems incomplete without a necklace.

And I own many of them.

For the longest time they were folded, rolled, and stacked several necklaces deep in one of four little jewellery boxes that I own.  It kept them out of sight, but often made it impossible to grab the right one in a hurry.  What I really needed was a hanging necklace organizer.

And so I made myself one.  Gathering inspiration from here, here and here, I headed to the thrift store and found a framed print that would work perfectly. 

I removed the glass and since the print was glued to sturdy cardboard, decided to reuse it as the backing for the organizer.

I covered the entire thing in Mod Podge and stuck down the fabric.

I then folded in the corners, using a little of the Mod Podge to make them stick, and then folded down the sides over the back, to keep the fabric in place.


After putting it back into the frame, I was ready to add hangers. 

To create the hangers, I hot-glued small plain buttons to the surface, and then covered them with larger, prettier, buttons from my stash.  (Due to the shallowness of the frame, I couldn’t use nails or push pins without having them poke too far through, but I think the buttons were a fun solution!)

Then I hung it on the wall and filled it with necklaces!  Isn’t it pretty?

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This weekend I had the opportunity to stretch my sewing muscles, while at the same time doing some very necessary planning for my business.

The past seven weeks I have been involved in the Right Brain Business Plan Course and have loved this unconventional, visual, and creative way of diving into business planning.  (Check out the website if you’d  like to know more.)

After spending weeks in working through the steps of business planning, the final step is to bring everything together in a format that resonates with you.  (and artistic entrepreneurs have done everything from accordion books to mobiles to altered books.)  And just in case you  are wondering….no, this is not the type of plan you take with you to the bank! (although that is covered in the course as well.)

I had completely planned to put everything into a scrapbook-type format, and even bought a blank book to house it all, but at the last minute I changed my mind.

I am a sewer, after all.

So I started planning a book made out of fabric, instead of paper, that would incorporate all the elements in a way true to my business.   I discovered this page for inspiration and then I just let the rest develop out of my own imagination! 

Using felt for a base, I put to use my rusty embroidery and hand-sewing skills, and incorporated recycled fabric pieces, quilt cast-offs, and buttons and ribbon from my stash.

I love that feeling of trying something for the first time, that stretching and growing that happens when your brain has to solve new problems and think about materials in different ways.

All of the business elements are tied in or placed in pockets, so that they can be changed and updated as my business grows.

I think this is the perfect housing for my business plan, as well as a fun new way to experiment with sewing and fabrics.  I can definitely see myself making  fabric books or journals again!

How do you like to challenge yourself?  What new skill are you learning, or wishing you could learn?

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Let’s Go Fly A Kite….

I’ve made it through another week of the sewing challenge!   And I was the winner this week, too! 🙂  This was one of the hardest weeks yet as other commitments kept me out of the sewing room, but I still managed to use 10 yards of fabric! (Were you able to guess which projects were mine?  Or perhaps you just recognize my deck and kitchen floor, which always seem to be the backdrop for my sewing photos! ) 🙂

First up for a kite-flying theme – a kite, of course!  I used this tutorial with a few modifications.  The red and yellow quilt squares were found in my grandmother’s scrap bin (which is now my scrap bin), and were leftovers from a quilt she made for one of my cousins.   I used scraps from other projects to fill in the gaps and I love how bright and colourful it is.  In keeping with the colourful theme I sewed together all of my bias-binding scraps to bind the outside.  The kite is strengthened with wood dowel and I tied some grosgrain ribbon on the end. 

I’m not sure how well it will fly – but it’s pretty to look at!

Next came this “springy” fleece vest.  The idea came from “Sew What! Fleece” but I learned from my last attempt at vest-making and added a much deeper neck-curve at the front, curves on the sides, added a proper hood, and lined the whole thing.   The hood lining is the only thing I saved from the failed project I mentioned last week (a beautiful Ottobre coat that ended up a size too small…) and I love the blue and green together.   This vest reminds me  just how far I have come as a seamstress – I lined it, added lined pockets, changed the hood, and put in a zipper without a pattern or instructions.  The mere idea would have freaked me out only a short year ago. 

And finally, I created a kite-inspired picnic quilt!  This started as a completely different kind of quilt altogether, but it just wasn’t working the way I though it should, so at the last minute (6 hours before I had to submit my photos!) I scrapped it and started all over again.  The quilt is backed with a heavy wool fabric, which gives it a beautiful weight that I think will be perfect for laying on the ground.  The quilt is a good size (60 x 72) which leaves lots of room for the picnic basket, cooler, and stretching out with a good book.  The kite is appliqued, the skite tring is hand-embroidered, and the quilt is tied together (which I don’t normally do, but I thought it was fitting for a picnic quilt.)  I am really happy with the way it turned out and can’t wait for the warm weather to come so we can test it out!  Not bad for an evening’s work…. 🙂

So now it is on to week 5.  This week is a pattern show down.  All the contestants have been given a copy of the same pattern and we have a week to make it our own.  Time to put all my new sewing skills to the test!   Thanks for all of your votes and support!

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Fabric Challenge Week Two

I’ve always been a little competitive (some might say more than a little) and that side of me is certainly in full bloom right now as I work through this fabric challenge. 

With the theme of “Extra Ordinary” I set myself the goal of aiming to use up the most fabric this week.  And…..

I did it!  16 and 3/4 of  a yard in one week. 

The best part is the new skills I am learning as I challenge myself to try new things, as well as a sewing to-do list that is getting shorter, and an overwhelming fabric stash that is starting to get smaller.  One of my overflowing boxes is only half full now, woohoo!

I took the theme “Extra Ordinary” and made some very ordinary items (with extraordinary touches here and there!)  Here is what I made this week:

I recovered my ironing board!  So no more pictures of a stained an ugly blue cover! 🙂  I also took pictures so I could write a tutorial for this.  Everyone deserves a designer ironing board!

A tablecloth for the picnic table. 

I love, love, love, the bright yellow fabric for a summer cloth, but it wasn’t quite long enough so I sewed the bright pink on either end.  Now it’s ready for lunch and dinner al fresco once the weather warms up.

I then made a tablecloth and some new placemats for the kitchen.  We have a clear glass table and I am loving the tablecloth as a way to keep the fingerprints from accumulating! 🙂

One Yard Wonders became my inspiration for using up some single yards of fabric with these two office organizers and a car trash bag.  The funny-looking thing on the left is a firewood tote, from this tutorial.

Here is the wood tote with the dowel handles installed. 

The inside is made from pieces of old jeans.

I discovered recently how to use the lettering function on my grandmother’s old sewing machine.   This came in very handy for the labels on the organizer pockets.  Love it!

Finally, I took some blue shirt fabrics and turned them into a circle skirt.  This was my first ever circle skirt, and I based it loosely on an idea from this post.  I made my own bias tape for the bottom (and to think I used to think making bias tape was hard!) and I love the way the dark blue sets off the lighter blue fabrics. 

This skirt is so fun to twirl in! 

On to week three!  This week the theme is “Puddle Jumping.”  With all the rain we’ve been having, I think it will be a good fit! 🙂  I’m off to sew!

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Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments about my shop.  I feel blessed to know you all, even if it is only through the words we type on our screens.  Yesterday I even made my first sale!! 🙂  The shop has already opened some creative doors for me and started some projects that I am really excited about.  I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

I have also been squeezing in some time to work on a few more clothing items for myself.  I got really brave and attempted another Ottobre pattern in a knit.  This is the Lana dress from the Autumn/Winter 2010 issue, paired with a store-bought shirt.

Once again I found the extra work in the Ottobre patterns to be worth the effort.  I did have to look up an online tutorial for pintucks, and had the extra hurdle that none of my marking pens would write on this dark, stretchy fabric (I used pins to mark the tucks) but I am really pleased with how this turned out. 

I have also fallen in love with cotton voile.  I have been eyeing Anna Maria Horner’s voile fabrics for a while, but found them to be cost prohibitive until Sew, Mama, Sew had a big sale before Christmas.  I bought 1/2 yard of “Maybe Sixpense” from Anna Maria’s Innocent Crush line and made a scarf by folding the fabric in half and stitching around the edges (easy peasy).  I love this  fabric!  It is so soft and silky, and I think it is the perfect complement to this dress. 

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Looking back, Looking ahead

Sew, Mama, Sew is encouraging people to reflect on this past sewing year and to make some predictions for 2011.  I thought it would be fun to participate, and who knows, maybe a few of my predictions will prove to be true!

The Year in Sewing

Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?   Bags, and lots of them!  We also saw designers experimenting with different fabric types (voile, lawn, velveteen) and an increase in the availability of organic cottons. 

What were some of your favorite things?   The availability of the PDF pattern!  I love the convenience of being able to download a pattern right away and also enjoy supporting independent sewers and pattern designers. 

What was your very favorite fabric collection or print?   All of Anna Maria Horner’s “Innocent Crush” line, and also “Honey Bush Blue” which is part of the Tea Garden line by Dena Fishbein for Free Spirit. 

What was the best thing you made in 2010? Hard choice, but I think it was my Ruby Lou Doll.  She is the first doll I have ever made and I hope to make more!

What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?  All of Elizabeth Harman’s quilts, she amazes me! 

What do you think 2011 has in store?  I think the PDF pattern industry will continue to grow and we will also see more designers printing on a wider range of fabric types.  I also think more and more people will take up sewing –  I have had 3 of my friends express an interest in learning to sew in the last two weeks!

What’s on your sewing agenda for 2011? What are you excited about? What would you like to learn more about?  I really want to learn more about clothing construction and pattern design and make more of my own clothes.  I am also excited about more and more people becoming interested in recycling and upcycling textiles and hope that this continues to grow.  I also want to expand my quilting skills and grow a sewing-based business.  It’s going to be a busy year! 

What about you, my readers?  What are your plans and goals for 2011?

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I like to keep a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge for recording grocery items we need to buy.  This makes it easy to write down what we need, as we run out of it.  Otherwise I am bound to forget on grocery day just what it is we ran out of during the week. 

Unfortunately, I do not have much luck with magnetic pads.  In many cases the magnets stick to the fridge, but the paper doesn’t, pulling right off the magnetic back, so I have a whole collection of pads of paper and their corresponding magnetic backs, but still nothing on my fridge. 

This past year the problem was temporarily solved with a snowman paper pad I was given at Christmas that stuck perfectly.   The only downside to this was that Hubby, who does most of the grocery shopping, did not like walking through the store in mid-summer with a large piece of red-hatted snowman paper.  Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t about to give up a pad that worked so he suffered through (dear man.)

But I used the last snowman today.  😦

I also make more than one list as there are several places that we shop for food so I am constantly adding new pieces of paper to the fridge with the plain black magnets torn from the back of our useless paper pads.  Functional, but not pretty.

Looking at the pile of magnets and un-sticky paper pads this morning gave me an idea.  I set about reusing the magnets to make labelled paper holders for the fridge.  Check it out!

Now I have a list for everything, and no more papers falling off the fridge!

Here’s how I made them.

I began by tearing the cardboard backs from the useless pads of paper off of the magnets.

I then raided the scrap bin for fabric that coordinated with the kitchen.  This would also be a good project for scrapbook paper scraps, but I thought of the fabric first.

I then found some Mod Podge, a foam brush, a piece of fun foam leftover from a school project (although this would also be a good project for reusing cardboard), and a glue gun. 

The foam pieces were cut so they were just a little bigger than the biggest magnet.  Even though the magnets differed in size, I wanted the finished magnets to all be the same. 

I then cut the fabric scraps to be a bit bigger than the foam pieces. 

I used the Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the foam, wrapping it like a present to keep the corners neat. 

I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back of the magnet, covering the folded edges of the fabric.  (Handy Hint: make sure you glue the magnet magnetic-side up, instead of upside-down like I did….)

While the magnets were drying, I went down to the computer and printed off the names of the different lists in a pretty font.  If I had return-address sized labels I think they would have fit perfectly, but since I didn’t I used the shipping labels I already had and just cut them apart. 

I then stuck the labels to the front of the magnets and put them on the fridge. An easy way to use what I already had and be a little more organized.

And Hubby will be happy that he doesn’t have to take a snowman to the grocery store anymore!  🙂

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My mother’s house is full of boxes of things that were removed from my grandmother’s house after she passed away.  It has been a slow and sad process to go through them all and decide what to keep and what to pass on to someone else. 

Among many of the very ordinary things of daily living there have been a few priceless treasures.

Like my great-grandmother’s recipes. 

As we went through more boxes this summer, a few more of these treasures have found their way into my home. 

Vintage linens.  I think these pillow cases are destined for a quilt. 

A doll pattern.  Ordered from the newspaper in 1948!

A pretty little apron.

I was really excited to find this one – a clothes pin apron! 

But the biggest treasure is definitely this:

A quilt from my great-grandmother’s house.  It is worn, stained, and has a few holes, but I love it anyway. 

Thinking of Gran today, with love.

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More Secret Sewing

More secret quilting going on here.  I’m actually working on two pattern tests this week – yikes!  Good thing I like to be busy!  Because it’s secret sewing I can’t show it to you yet (and I can’t wait to show off my free-motion quilting, I think I am finally getting the hang of it!) I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of the fabrics:

I fell in love with the beach print fabric when I was on Prince Edward Island last summer.  I don’t usually impulse buy fabrics (with Gran’s fabric taking up every bit of space in my sewing room I have no room for more fabric that I don’t yet have a plan for) but I fell in love with this one and couldn’t leave it behind. 

I love to walk barefoot on the beach, I think it might be one of my favourite things in the world.  There’s just nothing like the feeling of sand underneath my feet to make me smile. 

So you see…I really couldn’t leave that piece of fabric behind now could I?  And doesn’t it feel like a hot day on the beach with all of those other bright-coloured fabrics next to it?

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When my grandmother passed away, she left me all of her fabric.  She actually started giving it to me several years ago, boxes of it, every time I came for a visit.  And each time I left with a box my grandfather would say “surely you could take a little more?”

And now that I have her stash, and my stash (minimal though that is), I really have more fabric than I know what to do with.  And I didn’t even take all of it.  Maybe half….she had a lot! 

I can’t lay a baby quilt on the floor of my sewing room anymore.  Too many boxes.  And I try not to think about the boxes and bags piled in the basement.  But since they block the way to the washing machine, I know I am going to have to deal with them.  Soon.

Thus begins project number two – to find uses for my grandmother’s fabric.  For someone who likes to sew, it sounds easy.  I have no problem with the cottons – quilts, here I come!  But the others…..the others I picked out because I liked them for one reason or another, but I am not exactly sure what my grandmother was thinking when she bought them – except that it was a long time ago and styles were different then.  Here is a sampling:

This is a beautiful thick wool.     But what does one make with beautiful thick wool in these particular colours?

These flowers are so sunny and cute.  But poly-cotton.  Hmmm….

This one reminds me a bit of stained glass.  But it is thick and stiff…

Ok, I really love this one.  I love the wildness of it.  I love the bright colours.  And it’s shiny.  100% polyester.   I love that my grandmother was the kind of woman who bought fabrics in wild patterns and bright colours.  I really want to know what she was planning to make out of this!   I probably would have worn this as a teenager but my style is a little more subdued now (which is probably a good thing as I can imagine the impression I would make if I wore something made out of this fabric to work….I would definitely get some comments from my students).  I can’t help thinking it would make a great lining for….well…something.

I love this one too.  But it’s a strange fabric.  Nylon maybe?

Yeehaw!  Who doesn’t like hot pink bandana fabric?!  This one had a big chunk cut out of it, I wonder what she used it for?

And this is not even the tip of the iceberg.  So it looks like I will be spending the next year cooking my great-grandmother’s food and sewing with my grandmother’s fabric.  Nostalgic, yes, but I guess that’s just the kind of girl I am.

  I expect I will be working on this project for the next few years…or more.  I don’t have to use every last scrap, mind you, just have to get it down to a size that will fit in the sewing room.  If I made it through 5 or 6 of the boxes, that might just do it!  (Like I said, this is going to take awhile…)   If you have any suggestions for things to make with these fabrics, let me know!

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