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!

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


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,


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.


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.


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.


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:


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–)


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


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.


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!


What’s on my Sewing Table–How to Work with Old Cloth Sacks


Vintage advertising like this old Purina feed sack is hotter than ever.

But I have always loved using old cloth bags and their random words and phrases in my sewing.    In fact, one of my first hippie stitching projects back in the 70s was turning a cotton bank sack into a purse.

I’m still doing much of the same–only this time round, I’m stitiching my cloth sacks into sturdy garden/craft tool aprons.  They’re my signature design at Kiki’s Rewind Designs.


Bags like these wonderful sugar sacks from the 1940s were made of thin, inexpensive cotton at a time when resources were scarce.  Stabilizing the fragile fabric is critical.  I use a technique called channel quilting, anchoring the old cloth to sturdy canvas with rows of  parallel stitching.  My presser foot is the seam guide.


Below is another sack used in a tool apron that I just listed on my Etsy site.    The Crusader grass seed bag costs a scant $2 at the Scrap Exchange in Durham (NC).   That’s another good thing about old fabric sacks–they’re a lot of cool ones around!


On my Sewing Table Today–Vintage Fabric Hats

The February weather outside IS frightful.

No snow! That's sleet and ice in my back garden.

No snow! That’s sleet and ice in my back garden.

But inside, it’s full-blown spring and summer since my latest sewing project is spread all over the house.

Spring green homespun checks and a vintage floral Irish tablecloth

Spring green homespun checks and a vintage floral Irish tablecloth

I love making these little unlined fabric hats.  They’re light, washable,  simple to sew and a good home for  lots of old tablecloth (and other) cottons from my stash.

Plus my dermatologist is always telling me to cover that big cow lick on the back of my head.

My pattern came from an old hat that belonged to my dear friend Megan’s mom.  Sorry, there are no “before” photos since we had to take the original hat apart apart to figure it out.

Most hats are super simple--this one has only 5 pieces

Most hats are super simple–this one has only 5 pieces

There was no interfacing in the original and I’m putting none in my hats.  Instead, I’m adding rows of stitching to give  the brim body.

Note the rows of stitching.  It's a technique that I use in most of my Rewind Designs.

Note the rows of stitching. It’s a technique that I use in most of my Rewind Designs.

The lack of interfacing also makes the hat more breathable–which will be a big asset when the weather FINALLY warms up.   (It is supposed to be warm here in NC!)

Still trying to pick a favorite–with more on the cutting table.  What do you think?

the first hat went to pal Megan, who donated the original.  Thanks girl!

the first hat went to pal Megan, who donated the original. Thanks girl!

This vintage floral and denim will probably end up in my Esty shop.

This vintage floral and denim will probably end up in my Esty shop.

Blue flowers for the garden. Hurry spring!

Blue flowers for the garden. Hurry spring!


How (and why) to Make your own Chenille

I love combining and altering fabrics–and turning them into chenille is one of the techniques I use.

Let’s take this large monochromatic cotton floral print in the upper part of the photo below.   It was just a little to perfect for me, so I decided to distress it by making chenille.

Chenille Irises "Before".  I used the reverse side of the second fabric for my under layer so the wavy blue threads  would show through.

Chenille Irises “Before”. I used the reverse side of the second fabric for my under layer so the wavy blue threads would show through.

First I sandwiched  the print to a backing fabric that I wanted to show through.  I used  parallel rows of stitching with my presser foot as a guide.  (This is a great way to practice straight sewing.)

Chenille Irises in progress.  Washing will fray them (and create strings to clip)

Chenille Irises in progress. Washing will fray them (and create strings to clip)

Next, (carefully) cut down the middle of each row.  Small scissors work fine for me, but if you plan to use this technique a lot, you may want to invest in a  chenille cutter.  Here’s a link for info about this speedy little tool.

After I wash and dry my piece, it has a nice fluffy texture and depth.  Cool, don’t you think?


Here’s a closer look.  Can you see the wavy blue underneath?



And here’s another recent chenille project.


I needed a yellow-orange “fur” for this appliqued cat portrait.  Instead of shopping all over town or the web, I went to the thrift store.  A silky orange print blouse, stitched over a yellow sweater and chenilled fit the bill perfectly.  The fraying gives my portrait depth and interest, too.

I can see this technique used to create fabric  oceans, waves of grass, even clouds.

Any other ideas?  How would you use homemade chenille?


Tool Aprons for Women who Work HARD

One of the best parts of making and selling my super-sturdy, upcycled tool aprons is that it puts me in contact with other hard-working women on a mission.


In the last few years, I’ve made aprons for gardeners, teachers, painters, knitters, seamstresses, decorators, and midwives.


And then there was Vibrantkate, the English Girl Guides camp counselor, who needed one for tent building.  Kate, who became a mom this year, told me she now uses her apron for pegging the wash while holding  baby Tom.  (I bet he’ll have a fun childhood.)


And  last week,  I  completed a project for Donna  a local practitioner of massage techniques that  help women with birth, pelvic and digestive problems.


Donna needed a special pocket for her massage oils.  She loaned me a bottle and I went to work on her apron modification, making an elastic topped canvas pocket which I sewed inside one of the larger pockets.


And here’s the final result!


Success!  Another hard-working woman working in one of my tool aprons.    It makes me proud

If you want to know more about  Donna’s practice Seven Generations Massage and Birth in Cary NC,  go to

And for more information about my tool aprons and other reclaimed fabric creations, check out my Etsy shop:


Upcycling Fabrics–How I Work

I am always amazed by the mess I make when I design my upcycled garden tool aprons.    I may start out with a few neat piles from my vintage fabric collection, but I always end up composing on a tiny workspace, surrounded by towering textile piles.  work

As much as I hate cleaning up the mess, I think working this way is a good thing–

A sense of play makes designing more enjoyable, and I think the happiness of process shows in the work.

I design by color (of course) but consciously build each piece from different eras.  Contrast is my friend.  Ditto serendipity. I like to trust the moment.

Once I pull fabrics together, I cut or tear and place the pieces on canvas using this quilter’s spray.  It’s acid-free, temporary, and won’t gum your needle.  I also use some anchor pins. work_2

Design takes time.  I never try to produce too many pieces at once.  This session yielded 7 designs.  Here’s a finished look at the first 5 which I’m in process of listing in my ETSY shop now.   Do you have a favorite????

bluebotaincail_1The blue botanical fabric was salvaged from my friend Laura’s breakfast nook.  It took a lot of washing to get the paste off.

browndasy_ecuA 70s bedspread, unfinished cross stitch table cloth and feed sack remnant from the 40s.

brown_bluewideUnfinished dress, circa 1960s, old apron and vintage rick-rack.

pinkshirt_wideMy favorite of this groups has a granny hankie, and a band from a men’s pink denim shirt (complete with buttons)


But I love this vintage drapery fabric and wonderful mattress ticking too!

Why ETSY is my Source for Hard to Find Sewing Machine Parts

bernina_partI’m a happy ETSY seller and have been for years

But when I needed a zipper foot for the vintage Bernina 830 Record I’ve been rehabbing, I never thought of shopping ETSY. It’s always been a craft site in my mind.

Silly me.

So I went to the local Bernina dealer, thinking I could just pick up a zipper foot in the shop.

Common part, means easy purchase right?  Not right.

Next I went on-line and got very confused.  They don’t make that part anymore.  I wasn’t sure what I needed.

Frustrated with Google searching, I went back to the dealer route.

The second dealer I tried  offer to order a compatible  foot for $40. OK, Bernina machines are made in Switzerland, but that’s about 4 times what a zipper foot should cost.

Finally, a comment by of my sewing students sparked the ETSY search.

I typed  “bernina 007 zipper foot” in the ETSY search box, and like magic one appeared.   Price $10 (plus 2.95 shipping).

The order was placed on Thursday from  a crafter called Toggle Toes.   My zipper foot arrived on Monday in NC. And life is good. Very good.

Thanks Etsy.  You rock!!

4 Ways to add Words to your Textile Projects and Art Quilts

I love adding words to my designs.

Maybe it’s my background as a video producer and editor, or maybe it’s the resonance words give my projects–at any rate, it’s become part of my style.nesting_tight

Lately, I’ve been working on a pack of “titled” pillows using my new favorite way to add words–stamps and fabric markers.

Here’s a pillow cover titled “Nesting” that  I’m about to list in my Etsy store.nesting_wide

I used rubber alphabet stamps and an ink pad for the rough outline of my letters, then filled in with a brown fabric marker.

Love the look–

Here it is again on my” Dive In” pillow top in progress.divein_1

And here’s another technique I’ve used for words on pillow:  Computer generated type, printed to an iron-on fabric transfer sheet.apple_wide

Easy  to read, but not really distressed enough for me.  I actually tackled this text with a  nail file to take some of the shine off the transfer.apples_tight

Method number 3 is printing with  a fine tip,  permanent marker.  I especially like the way this text looks on sheer fabric.   You need a lot of it to make the printing look like more than an accident.  In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.garden_journal1

Finally, “found words” are my go-to method of titling.  I cut letters and words from tee shirts and other reclaimed sources, then applique them to my work.gardenmor_1

I do love the serendipity of this method.   Often, I just plunge my hand into  my stash  bin labeled “words” and see what combos come out.

So how do you add resonance to your projects?

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