Making Fragile Fabrics Tough Enough to Use Everyday

Sturdy–Green–Meaningful is my motto.  I believe in living with my  fabrics.

But vintage textiles are often fragile.  I stabilize them with a strong underlining fabric and rows of machine stitches to marry the two.  This technique (closely spaced parallel rows of stitches) is called CHANNEL STITCHING.  I use it a lot in my work.

Here I’ve Channel stitched mid-century tablecloth pieces to an old cotton towel, and made a neat little bath rug.

More tablecloth and towel remnants become a tropical pick oven mitt set, (available in my ETSY store:

Grandma’ s hankie and a quilt fragments are appliqued and Channel Stitched to heavy cotton canvas for this garden tool belt. (Also in my Etsy store:

Here’s the finished project.  Tough enough for gardening and an occassional wash. 

And for really rugged use–a recycled country ham sack becomes a cloth ham bone for our puppy.   It doesn’t smell like ham to me…but she absolutely adores it.  Here’s how this simple toy came together quickly:

1) Make a  pattern and cut out front and back from the ham sack plus two pieces of sturdy cotton canvas

2) Starting in the center, stitch across the shape in straight lines.  Use your presser foot as a guide.  And because my dog is so tough on toys, I went back and stitched again between and across some lines.

3)  Pin wrong sides together.  Trim.  Then zig-zag 3 times around  using a tight applique stitch  (5 wide, a little less than 1 long on my machine).  Don’t forget to leave an opening for stuffing.

4) Stuff with something your dog won’t eat–I used the tightly woven edge of an old bath towel.  Rope from an old toy would work too.  Close the opening with more stitches and you’re done–A tough toy, that smells delicious.

As with all toys, supervise your dog,  After all, it is their job is take your work apart and see what makes it so appealing.

But I think this toy will take her a while.


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