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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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.

 

 

 

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!

 

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


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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.

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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.

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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!

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Remake Dated Counted Cross Stitch with Reverse Applique


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Back in the 80s, “country” style counted cross stitch on linen was all the rage.

I completed 5 projects before tiring of counting  threads.  (Can you say “tedious”?)

Before long,  I had also tried of those limited pallet  “country” looking pieces.  Most ended up in a box under the bed.

Here’s how I decided to remake a pair of them, by literally  breaking out of the frame.

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  • Pin needlework face down on an interesting piece of fabric.  Working from the back, sew around the piece.
  • Carefully separate the two layers, cut the top layer and trim (I use applique scissors) to the stitching.

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  • Working from the front, zig-zag around the raw edge TWICE.

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  • Next, the fun starts.  Embellish your fabric “frame” to your heart’s content.  First, I sewed rows around the needle work, using my presser foot as a guide.  Then I  cut it out.   I appliqued and channel quilted my piece onto a second fabric–cool tulips.  Next, I added vintage rick-rack and 70 trim.  Words are ok, too.  I like to use stencils and fabric pins.  (The jury is still out on adding words to this piece.)
  •  I bound the piece with bias strips of vintage mattress ticking.   It still looked a little too 80s country, so I zig-zaged some torn strips of metallic drapery material around the edge.
  • Finally,  I went crazy with plain old jute twine, zig-zaging it around the needlework and looping it at the top for my stick hanger.

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And here’s the final result, reclaimed cross stitch hung on our living room wall–

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This technique would also work for any old unfinished or damaged embroidery or needle point.  Any other ideas for  reframing with reverse applique?

 

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?

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

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And here’s another recent chenille project.

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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?

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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.

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

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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.)

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

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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.

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And here’s the final result!

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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 www.massageandbirth.com

And for more information about my tool aprons and other reclaimed fabric creations, check out my Etsy shop: www.kikisrewinddesigns.etsy.com

 

Buy my Designs at the Western Wake Farmers Market this Weekend–Take My Class at the Scrap


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Why is my dining room/sewing table in such a crazy state?

Because I’m getting ready for a super busy sewing weekend.

On Saturday (11/1)  I’m selling my Rewind Designs at my favorite local farmers market WWFM  in Cary, (NC), and on Sunday (11/2),  I’m teaching a Practical Sewing Workshop at the Scrap Exchange in Durham;

The craft market  a rain or shine event–looks like rain or at least cloudy and cool weather, but there are some bright spots:

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I finished the 3 clutch purses in 40s and 50s fabrics that I was working on last week. I’m very  pleased with the results.

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And I’m working on some favorite little pieces for the sale:  quilted pot holders and pet place mats.

Plus–I’ll have more than a dozen of my signature super-sturdy garden/craft tool aprons.   They are my top sellers.

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The sewing pile for Sunday’s class is not nearly as creative, but just as important, maybe even more so since it’s promoting sustainability.

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I have jeans to hem, shirts and pants to alter, and my favorite garden shorts to patch.  Note to self:  never put metal bolts in your pants pocket.  Use a super sturdy tool apron instead.

 

 

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