Sunday, December 10, 2017

Open weave vest tutorial Part 1

I made this vest in the late 90s. I didn't really know what I was doing and there was no such thing as wash-away stabilizer, so there was a lot of paper picking to be done when it was finished. I still love it and wear it often, but was feeling like it was time to make another one. 

Find a print you like and make a whole lot of strips. 

I cut my strips (not on the bias!) in 2" widths, sewed them together, pressed the seams open, and then pressed the whole thing while folding it in half. I'd love to tell you exactly how long your roll of sewn strips needs to be, but I can't. I eyeballed it. The good news is if you don't have enough, you can make more. 

Ignore that shoe in the corner. You can see the fold here. 

Now, open the folded strip and fold the edges toward the center. You don't need to press at this point, but you can if you like.

Fold the two new edges to meet each other and stitch down the edge, finger folding as you go.

This is a little better view of the stitching the folded edges together. 

When you're done, roll up your now very long strip of stitched fabric and set it aside. 

You will need a vest pattern with no darts and no closure. You may be able to use frog closures or something unique, but there will be no way to put buttonholes in the front of the vest. I like this one: 
I did round off the edges at the bottom; it will make bias application later much easier. 

Part 2 coming soon!







Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Stockings - You can make them too!

I'm working on a couple of Christmas stockings and remembered I have a tutorial so you can make them too. I've refined my method over the years (the tutorial was written in 2002!), but the concepts and processes are the same. I have names to put on these and then backs, but I do like the clean strip quilting on the fronts. 

If you want to make a Christmas stocking, click here for the directions. They're super easy and a great starter project. There are no rules. Do what you can do and make it your own. 

If you have questions, ask them in the comments section and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. 

Have fun and I'd love to see your own results. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Crafty and not sewing stuff

You may have heard about rock painting. You paint a rock, label it on the bottom, and "hide" it in your town or somewhere else. When someone finds it, they post on the Facebook page (in this case Williamsburg VA Rocks!) that it was found. If you find one, you can keep it or rehide it. It's just a fun hide-and-seek thing to do. This is my first one. It's going out into the world today. 

I've been working on this whacky peg rack and this is how it started - painted black and then stripes taped and painted white. 

I'm almost done with it. I got the pegs themselves painted and the oogly eyes started around the edges. I have one side edge to finish placing the eyes, and this, too, will be sent out into the world for sale on Etsy.

Lastly, I've seen doll part drying racks online for anywhere from $9 to $25. I showed one to my husband and he got to work. A few pencils and a chopstick, a cast off piece of lumber, and a drill bit, and I have my own doll part drying rack. Now I have somewhere to place doll arms and legs when I paint them! It's like another set of hands.

That's it from the wacky world of crafting. I'm never sure what I'm going to do next. Peter Max tote bags one day and rock painting the next. Semi-retirement is suiting me very nicely. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

You can never have enough!

Tote bags, that is.

I got to sewing again this morning and listed these two bags on Etsy. Do I rule or what?
This one, I made a while ago. It has a yellow lining and pocket. It's bigger than most that I make, measuring 17W x 14H. Not sure why I made it that big!



This is the one I made today. It's more like it - 15W x 14H. I had to piece the back, but I like the way the designs lined up! 
I used a swirly blue for the lining on this one and a Peter Max remnant to make the pocket.

For a day that started out with no electricity, RIP squirrel that landed on the transformer, it is turning out to be a pretty good one!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Something different - Peg racks anyone? Creepy stuff!

Over the years, I've collected a lot of stuff to make other stuff. I do have some stuff! One of the projects I've been mulling and collecting for is peg racks. The idea is to use doll parts creatively and see what happens! I'll put them up for sale on Etsy if they work out. Here are the two I'm working on now:

I didn't get a picture of this one from the front, but you get the idea. A $2.25 peg rack featuring a teddy bear head. But oh no, that's now how it will end up.

First step is to take the ears off and pull the pegs out. I won't be using them. Two more pegs to pull out and a little sanding, and I'm ready to turn this teddy bear into something creepy and functional.


This little shelf with 2 pegs started out as finished wood with a heart painted on it. I had another idea. I sanded and then painted the whole thing black , then tried to figure out how to do white strips on the flat piece on the back. After consulting a couple of art type people, I went with taping the whole thing off and spray painting the white stripes. Individual striping wasn't working like I wanted.

I really like the way the stripes came out. They're rough around the edges and remind me of BeetleJuice.

I don't want to give away what comes next, but it will tie the whole thing together. I painted the pegs black and will re-insert them when I'm done.

I have 100 ideas for my altered dolls and peg racks. I had the unfortunate luck to lose half of my work, so I have more time than ever to work on the crafty goodies. I'll definitely post more pictures of my creepy crafts along with my sewing.

Don't worry, I have 20 sewing projects to do too! I was able to rescue the fabric that I had used for the Williamsburg Players production of Dandelion Wine. I now have some black and some Halloween polka dot fabric to play with! I opened a new Etsy shop (link is on the side menu) and need to make some stuff to fill it up. I feel a set of placemats coming on!

Keep sewing. It's getting cold out there and more time to tend to our arts is the indoor gift that keeps on giving.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A peek into the sewing room

It's been a while since we recarpeted, repainted, and organized the sewing room. I'm so glad to have taken the time to do this. My bins all match, I have a bookcase that doesn't show in the picture, and the desk is a great place to work on the laptop when I don't have it on my lap. The view is glorious. As I mentioned to someone today, my sanity is in that sewing room. The last thing to do is to change the light fixture; we'll get there!

Where the magic happens. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Updating this and that

I updated the gallery of stuff I've made over the years. The link is to the right or you can click on the link here. Some of it may look familiar as I've been posting progress photos of items like Anna's and Alicia's quilts. The recent placemats photo uploaded are made with machine applique and strip quilting. You can find the placemat strip quilting tutorial in our links too.

Sometimes, I look back and go, "did I really make that?" Yup, I did.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hashtag Sewing

Good morning Twitter. Let's see what you have for us today! #Sewing
I agree with @lady_worm. Sometimes, we gotta keep that stuff to ourselves :)

@dotcomwoman offers a free pattern for a cool rag quilt. It couldn't be any easier to make from what I can tell. 

Speaking of free patterns, this is one for doll pants for your 16"-17" dolls. Love me a free pattern. Thanks to @chellywood1

Another quote I can relate to. @bellacraftsp has obviously done some real sewing. This is why my seam ripper is my most valuable sewing tool.

Fun tweets from sewing land. Share your own if you like :)




Friday, October 6, 2017

Hashtag Sewing 10/06/17

More from my favorite hashtag! #Sewing

@SewSarahSmith snitched this really cool cutter set from her husband. I have an Exacto knife that I use when making light switch covers. This kit, though, has a couple of handy blades that could be used for button holes. You can never have enough blades, right? 

 I'm loving @quiltingprofits daily quotes. It makes me feel better about my "creative mess."

Broken needles! Argh. I buy sewing machine needles in bulk for this very reason. Thanks for reminding me, @TheHomebirds, that I probably need more.


The sewing box that @VintiqueTree posted is exactly like the first one I ever had. I still have it, but the legs are gone. Alas, it's well loved. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Egypt Play

I collected and made various props for The Egypt Play this summer. Included in stuff to make was a mummy. My good old children's clothing model (and my dog), pool noodles, and duct tape got me started.
An old mattress pad and more duct tape started the body formation. There are pillows in the body form and in the head. 
Lots of wrapping and a spray of tea and coffee for aging, and my buddy was done. I used 2 bottles of Elmer's glue too!

Crishawn and Rose had to have a picture with the mummy. Funny, I never named it. 
No mummy is complete without its mummified cat! You can see the cat on the stage in the picture below, just barely.  
This is the view of the stage when the "boat" was not yet a boat and the marketplace was set up. 
We needed puppets that depicted 20 Egyptian slave women. I chose to do them with batting, fabric, felt bodies, and gold bias binding. On the other side are the same women without their garb. Weathered hemp was used to hang them on a black rod. This is one of 3 rows of puppets on the rod that was finally used. 
I had to make a travel guide based on one from the 1880s, and this is now it started. Glue and clothes pins. Bottle 3 of Elmer's glue was opened for this one. 

There was more involved in the play than this (the Nile was represented by yards and yards of light blue sheer fabric), but this is pretty much the stuff that I made. I was on stage for this one dressed in black with a scarf around my head. You wouldn't have known it was me if I didn't tell you ahead of time. 

Theater!



Hashtag Sewing

Twitter sometimes costs me money, like today! #Sewing


I love this quote. I have it on my license plate holder. Thanks to @QuiltingProfits for posting it and reminding me! 

This pattern got me. I saw it and had to have it. Dang you, Twitter! Stop showing me things I want. 

That's it from the tweety box today!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hashtag Sewing

From time to time, I like to explore Twitter's #Sewing. I thought I'd share with you a few interesting finds:

@QuiltingProfits says it best. Sewing is definitely cheaper than therapy. It's my Zen even!

@MySewingBoxUK is having a 12 weeks of Stitchmas and I thought some of these projects were cute!

Lastly, @Haiti323Project is promoting their sewing classes. I love the intent look on the men's faces. 

Twitter can be fun sometimes! Check out #sewing or stop by here. You never know when I'm going to find interesting tweets to share.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Let there be music, or at least curtains for a musical classroom!

My friend, Jason, teaches music at a local elementary school. He texted me one day to ask if I could help make some curtains for his classroom. I asked him to take some pictures and show me what he needed.
These poor doors have had paper covering the windows for some years. Noooo, this will not do. 
This window by the front door had a black, blah, too long curtain and again, this just will not do.
Jason's first job was to buy some fabric. He also had some of this fabric in his stash and thankfully, with the bought fabric and the found fabric, it was just enough. And the print certainly goes with the theme of the room. Oops, pay no attention to the wayward thread on the fabric when I took the picture. 
Oh, "if you have any fabric left over, can you make a cover for my microwave?" Of course I can. This was made with some black fabric Jason had given me with strips of the music fabric that I had left over. It's kind of a wonky fit, but it looks good on the shelf! 
No more brown paper! 
The small panels turned out pretty much as I had hoped. They look much nicer than the brown paper. 
First fitting of the new curtain on one rod. Looks pretty good!  
Jason got his two rods and here's the final look of the insert curtain.  
Amazing things happen here - and the curtains look pretty amazing and on point. 
Another look from outside the classroom.

I hope Jason and his students can enjoy the look of the curtains for years to come. This was a simple, but satisfying project. I always like giving back to the schools. As a fun aside, I put the rod pocket on the wrong ends of the curtain by the door the first time and had to put new rod pockets on. For color and fun, I used a variegated rainbow color thread for accent and decorations on all the pieces. That also helped tie together the microwave cover with the curtains since I had to incorporate some black fabric. 

What's next?