Five New Tool Aprons–One New Market


Just listed 5 new pieces in my Etsy shop. And here they are:

Blue Hankie and Pink Seersucker

Blue Hankie and Pink Seersucker

Best Hankie Find EVER!

Best Hankie Find EVER!

Flowerpot Apron Pocket meets Barkcloth and 60s Print

Flowerpot Apron Pocket meets Barkcloth and 60s Print

Old meets New with Veg in Pink

Old meets New with Veg in Pink

More Barkcloth with Vintage Plant Patches.

More Barkcloth with Vintage Plant Patches.

Blue, Brown, Gold, Orange with Appliqued leaves.

Blue, Brown, Gold, Orange with Appliqued leaves.

What to check these pieces out in person? Come to the newly revamped Apex Farmers Market next Saturday, July 23. It’s Christmas in July–so there should be several craft vendors, along with great fruits, veg, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.

This morning I bought okra, tomatoes, tiny little cukes, eggs and blue berries. Delicious, farm fresh and this up and coming market is right down the street from where I live. Check it out!

No More Crooked Patch Pockets–A Technique Learned from Reclaimed Jeans


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It’s easy to pin patch pockets on straight–but sewing them on straight is another matter. That’s because the machine presser foot PRESSES the fabric in one direction. If you start out on one pocket corner and sew to the other (the way I was taught) you often end up noticeably higher on the second corner.

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Not your fault–but that doesn’t lessen the FRUSTRATION factor.

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So work with pockets a lot. My passion is making heavy duty, vintage fabric tool aprons for women. A reclaimed denim patch pocket is almost always part of the design. After ripping many of these off to straighten them–I stumbled on a better way–change your starting point when sewing on a pocket.

Begin stitching at center bottom and sew toward one corner.

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The seam indentations on jeans make this easy. On regular fabric use your presser foot as a seam guide.

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Sew to the top edge. Pivot and take a few stitched between the seam lines (I like to back stitch here for extra strength). Pivot and sew down (making two rows of stitching).

Repeat at the other corner. Stitch down to the center again and you’re done.

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Works ever time on all fabrics with just 3 pins! Try it. Everyone need an extra pocket.

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And for a closer look at my signature tool aprons, check out my ETSY shop.

New Sewing Studio–Finally Taking Shape


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Pinch me, because after decades of wishing for my own DEDICATED sewing space, the dream is finally coming true.

I’ve always thought garages were wasted on cars. My half is (quickly) becoming a studio.

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My new sewing studio will have lots of natural light and storage on the back–a big laundry sink for fabric dyeing, too.

The elevated floor makes heating and cooling easier. Floor covering will be laminate–which means no more pins in carpets or thread clogged vacuum cleaners. If you sew every day, you need a floor you can sweep.

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Yes, I know I’m incredibly lucky. Most of us carve out sewing spaces in bedrooms, guest rooms and kitchens. I’ve done this all my life.

But if I can think of one thing that made me an avid sewer–it was having the old Singer set up in my childhood bedroom. Bad day at Jr. High? Come home and zig-zag it away.

That’s why I always tell my beginning sewing student to find a place where they can leave their machines at ready. Don’t let setup drain your creative energy away.

So what’s your favorite sewing spot?

2 Favorite Causes Rolled into 1–Kikis Rewind Designs at Raulston Blooms


leaves_atscrapYou only have to look at my rewind designs to know I’m an avid gardener.  Flowers, fruit,  leaves and trees turn up everywhere. background_leaves

And because I’m an avid gardener, I’m a big supporter of  JC Raulson Arboretum in Raleigh.  Their plants and programs have shaped much of my garden and my garden education.

So I’m always happy to show and sale at JCRA.booth_aprons

 

Find me and my super sturdy garden tool aprons, hats and more at Raulston Blooms, a garden festival for all ages.  This Saturday, 9-4 at JCRA on Beryl Road in Raleigh.  See you there!

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Doll Making with the Girls–A Refresher Course in Why I SEW


Some days my love of sewing is a bit overwhelming–all those tangled threads, dropped pins and unfinished projects seem to be going nowhere.   That’s when I call some friends and set up a date for doll making.

Doll making reminds me of how my sewing began (Barbie clothes) and why it continues at such a fever pace.  Think of the adult coloring book craze transferred to fabric.  Sewing is essentially PLAY.

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So here’s to a houseful of girls (ages 10 and up), two sturdy sewing machines,  a well used pattern and a bin of old doll clothes.   What a great way to start a new year of creating with fabric.

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13-year-old Klara made this doll in an afternoon.  Klara’s lady is wearing a very chic ensemble from 1930s doll wardrobe I stumbled on in an antique store.  Fortunately, there were hats in wardrobe.  We didn’t have time to make embroidery floss hair in our first meeting.

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Doll maker Miriam also shopped the 1930s wardrobe.  We used fabric pens to make the doll faces, but embroidery is another option if you have the time.    (Note: Pal Megan took her doll home to hand-stitch the face.  That’s too much sewing for one day, and why she missed the photo shoot.)

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Our pattern came from a tried and true (out for print) book from my collection.  You can find other books and patterns, but I wouldn’t recommend working on a smaller scale.  Smaller patterns would be too hard to turn to the right side–which is time-consuming at best.

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Another thing I like about this book–instructions have you  sew around the doll shape before cutting it out.  I find that much easier than the other way around

Be sure to have chopsticks, dowels and other tools for turning small arms and legs.     And we used floral wire in the necks so heads didn’t flop .  A white pipe cleaner would work here too.

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Here’s my doll, Jessica, made from the same pattern over several days,  several years ago.  Note the embroidered face and stitched yarn hair.

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And speaking of creative play–Klara made this dog pincushion for me in the style of Picasso.    Eat your heart out Pablo.

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What about you?  What sparks your creativity when you need a reboot?

 

 

 

Celebrate your State! Two Vintage Fabric Gifts that Remind of Home


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Don’t you love it when a special textile finally gets a good home–

I’d held on to a vintage map of Virginia tea towel for years, because my sister raised her children there.   Finally this Christmas I decided it needed to become a stocking for my grown niece who lives in DC.

Since the map was laid out horizontally and a stocking is vertical, I decided to cut and quilt my towel.  The red and gray plaid from my stash added a festive tough, but the end result was too fragmented to read.  (Can you say “busy” ) I fixed that by appliquéing a large piece of the towel across the center of the stocking to give the eye a place to read and rest.

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Everything is stitched to heavy canvas using one of my favorite techniques–channel quilting.  I serged the stocking seams, then straight stitched the bottom seam several times–stockings need to be strong.  Be sure to leave extra canvas at the top to form a nice wide cuff.

Oh yea, the big red button is hot-glued.

My other grown niece is setting up housekeeping far from her Mississippi roots, so I decided to send her a favorite Southern cookbook, along with this custom potholder.  2states_2

The fabric was an Etsy find, part of a vintage “Our States Quilt Kit” that was never finished.  I use old towels for padding in the center of the hot pad.  Stripes on the back make great seam lines.  These potholders are fun  and quick to make!

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One more tip:  covering curved edges with bias binding is a lot easier than working with a square.

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What about you?  What special gifts did you make this holiday season?  Please share.

Save the Best for Last–St. Thomas More Holiday Shoppe in Chapel Hill this Weekend.


This is my favorite craft show.  My work usually sells really well here–AND I can turn that money around on the spot and do a lot of my own holiday shopping.   So it’s a twofer.

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House, man and dog are currently covered with threads since I’m sewing  right up until the last minute on new pot holders, purses, and tool aprons to sell.

3 Potholders, a purse and a tool apron in progress--no wonder the house is covered in strings.

3 Potholders, a purse and a tool apron in progress–no wonder the house is covered in strings.

And while I wish I had more garden/craft tool aprons (my top seller and signature item), I’ve been working on a new item–table toppers (runners).

A 50s tablecloth, a drapery sample and an abstract quilt fragment transformed in one of kind table toppers.

A 50s tablecloth, a drapery sample and an abstract quilt fragment transformed in one of kind table toppers.

These ideas have been floating around my head for a log time.  Nice to finally see them all stitched up.   One of the big perks of crafting is you can follow your heart.

Sort of hope I'll end up bringing this one home--

Sort of hope I’ll end up bringing this one home–

If you live locally and like to buy unique, handmade gifts, check out the show Saturday.  And no matter where you live, do seek out gifts made by people who LOVE what they do.  It keeps the good karma going.

 

 

 

Girl Scout Fun All Over Again–What to do with Your Vintage Patches


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Talk about Girl Power!

I remember working hard to earn these badges, then proudly hand-sewing them to the green sash so I could wear it to school.

And it felt good all over again when I pulled my vintage scout patches out of storage and started creating new designs with them a few weeks ago,

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Here are my “Good Scout Wristlets”.  They combine vintage Pendleton Wool (a lucky find in just the right color), reclaimed zippers, brown bark cloth and  scout badges, of course.

A few construction notes:

Yes, I washed the wool.  It was musty  smelling so I threw it in my front loader and dryer.  It didn’t felt.  Not enough water for that.

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I’m using interfacing to give the bag body.  Apply it before the zipper.  I like to hold the interfacing in place with my quilters spray, then catch the interfacing in the seam.  I use applique scissors to trim the excess right down to the stitching.

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And these bags are fully lined.  I apply the lining pieces to the zipper seam before stitching the sides and bottom.  The rest of the process it pretty intuitive.  Just leave an opening  to turn the bag to the right side.   Hand stitch it closed to finish.

No more hiding those childhood accomplishments in the attic!   Old scout patches are COOL and should be used.  How are you using yours?badges4

PS. These Good Scout Wristlets aren’t in my Etsy shop yet.  But I plan to have a few for sale at the Western Wake Farmers Market with this Saturday morning (10/17).  Stop by my tent and check them out.

 

Two Upcycled Sewing Projects Inspire


I get the best ideas at the Scrap Exchange in Durham. Our monthly community meet-ups, 2nd Sunday Sewing, draw  a variety of people with the most interesting projects.

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Here’s an applique coverlet for a little girl’s room.  I love the bright colors, the multiple circles and the way mom is using raw edges in her appliques.

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What a good way to upcycle nursery linens when the child moves to a larger bed. What a great “Just Do It!” style.

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And here’s pal Karen, a Sewing Sunday regular and a very talented mixed media artist, with her altered fabric flag.   Can you tell she volunteers at the Scrap Exchange sorting TRIMS?

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Karen lined  her wall hanging but the back is open in case the mood strikes her to add more embellishments.  (I bet it will.Trim is so tempting and the Scrap has tons!)

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Great use of mixed vintage buttons, too,  don’t you think?

If you’d like to attend 2nd Sunday Sewing, the next meet up is September 13 (2015)  in the Scrap Exchange Design Center from 2-6.   Space is limited, so get there early.   And come prepared to be inspired.  I always am–

New Tool Aprons Online–Finally!


Ok, I could make them faster.  I could hire someone to help with the sewing or use fewer fabrics, fewer rows of stitching.

But then it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to make my super-sturdy, vintage fabric tool aprons.

I love that each one is little fabric puzzle that takes time to solve.   The only downside is I run out of inventory sometimes.

But I’ve just listed 4 new tool aprons on my ETSY site.   And here they are:

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1940s barkcloth with an old apron fragment and blue tulip skirt.   I love blue and brown! (Note: This apron sold within hours of posting.  See what I mean about inventory–)

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NYC designer “Vera” silkscreened textiles that were the all the rage in the 60s and 70s.  And who can resist watermelons in July?

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I love this floral fabric from my best friend’s  great grandma’s very best chair.  The white and yellow pop art daisies are also a nice blast from the past.

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And finally, an old bed cover meets a men’s pink denim shirt.  ( I do love  a man in pink!)

Got a favorite?  I do.  But two more aprons are on the sewing table now.  I always love the one I’m working on at the moment the most!

 

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