Tag Archives: embroidery

Fun Sewing-Related Things: Felt Deer Ornament, Maple Leaf Blanket, and Giant Sewing Props

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Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Felt Deer Ornament, Maple Leaf Blanket, and Giant Sewing Props

Hi, everyone! Today I have a few non-clothing sewing items to share with you. I’ve been holding onto them until just the right time, and since I haven’t photographed my most recent garment sewing project, that time is now! Maybe you’ll see something fun you want to try out yourself. ūüôā

Felt Deer Ornament from the Winter Animals Collection by Aimee Ray of little dear

I made this little guy back in January-February (which I only know because I wrote it down!).

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

He’s embroidered and made of felt. His antlers are stiffened with Mod Podge/glue, a great idea included in the pattern. This is the second animal I have made with a pattern from designer Aimee Ray of little dear, and it was so much fun! This one is from her Winter Animals collection.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

Her designs are really cute, and it’s so cool to see them materialize as you follow the directions. I also like that this is a pretty quick project. Even though I made this right after Christmas, I attached a string to make it into an ornament and stashed it with my ornaments for future Christmases. We’ll just say I was planning wayyyy ahead. ūüėČ

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

The last time I made one of Aimee Ray’s patterns (an opossum), I wanted to use the materials I had on hand–in that case, a felted wool shirt. This time, though, I ordered the felt she uses, which is really beautiful rayon/wool felt from Benzie Design, a store that was new to me. It really is different from the felt I used on school projects or other arts and crafts growing up. You certainly don’t need the higher quality felt, but it was nice to try it out, and one sheet will make a lot of these little guys, since you only use a small amount. Aimee Ray’s animals are a great bet if you want to make a fun and fast craft project. I would love to make more sometime–they would be great Christmas gifts!

Maple Leaf Blanket from the North American Leaf Blanket collection by Twig + Tale

I made another leaf blanket! Are you surprised? I love these things!

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

This one was a baby gift for a friend back in the spring because New England=Maple trees! After making it, I looked at it and thought that it seemed pretty impractical as a blanket, but I’m happy to report that my friend said those edges that stick out like peninsulas are actually great for wrapping around a little baby. Hooray! As with all the leaf blankets I have made, this one was a pleasure to make.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Guidelines drawn in with chalk before quilting

I love the greens I used–they are quilting cottons from Pintuck & Purl. I have been tempted to buy more of that bright green to use as a photo backdrop for the blog. I love it!

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Look at that beautiful green!

Also, now I kind of want a Maple Leaf blanket for me. Up to now, I have made the large Elephant Ear, Banana Leaf, Fan Leaf, and two Monstera leaves all from the Tropical Leaf Collection by Twig + Tale, plus this one from the North American Collection and, uncharacteristically, have only kept one Monstera.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

These blankets are graphic in the best sense and more useful than you might think a relatively small blanket would be. We keep our Monstera leaf on our bed and I often use it when just my feet or shoulders get cold.

Giant Sewing Props

This past summer my church asked me to talk to the kids at Vacation Bible School about sewing. That’s right up my alley, so I said yes! I was both really excited and pretty nervous. I’d love to get into teaching more, but since I haven’t done it enough in a sewing context to get into any sort of rhythm, I still get pretty nervous about it. Anyway…to help me demonstrate the basic skills I wanted to talk about, I made some giant sewing props! Since this was during COVID, it was outside and I had a table between me and the kids, so I wanted something large that would be easier to see than a tiny needle and thread.

I came up with the idea to make a giant spool and needle out of cardboard and duct tape and to use a rope as my thread. It worked out pretty well, and was really fun to use.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Me holding the needle for scale

I also put my art skills to work and made some simple illustrations of the two basic stitches I wanted to talk to the kids about.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Whoops! You can see my other illustration in the background.
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

Looks like my college drawing classes are still working their magic! Haha.

It was a lot of fun, and even though I was sweating buckets in the sunshine, we talked sewing, and maybe one or two kids will think sewing is cool.

Coming up…

I’m working away over here on some garments that will transition well from summer to fall. I have already sewn some linen pants, and am working on a shirt. After that, I’ll make a dress I hope to wear to an upcoming wedding. Oh! And I’m knitting a sweater, too. These colorful projects have been really inspiring to work on and I look forward to sharing them with you–hopefully soon!

And last but not least, yesterday was my eight-year blog anniversary! It’s been a fun eight years. Thanks for following along!

Have a great weekend!

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Homemade Christmas Gifts: 2020

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Homemade Christmas Gifts: 2020

Hi! Welcome back! I thought it would be fun to share a couple of the gifts I made for my family this past Christmas. I usually buy whatever gifts I want to buy first, and then with the time I have left, I will sometimes make a few things. This past year I made two rice bags, which are reusable heating pads you can microwave, and an opossum ornament.

When I was in high school or early college, one of my aunts made my siblings and I all rice bags. This might sound like kind of a funny gift, but it’s so very useful. She took cotton muslin and sewed a bag, filled it with dry rice, and sewed it shut. Then she made a little cotton pillowcase for it. You can’t wash the rice bag itself without ruining it, but you can wash the little pillowcase whenever necessary. Just make sure you use cotton fabric or a similar natural fiber that can be microwaved without melting.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

These rice bags, which are about 7″ x 10″ (17.5cm x 25.1cm), can be placed in the microwave and heated for about two minutes. They’ll then stay warm for quite some time, and when they begin to cool, if they are right next to you, will pick up some of your body heat and stay pleasantly warm. They’re great for muscle aches, cold feet, cramps, or hugging if you feel chilly. While they may not be a flashy gift, in our house at least, they are one of the most used. This year I made two. They were very quick and easy to sew.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

One of the other presents I made was this cute little opossum ornament, designed by Aimee Ray.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

I had heard her speak on an episode of the Behind the Seams podcast, and checked out her blog and two Etsy shops, one with paper goods (little dear prints), and one with embroidery and sewing projects (little dear). Everything was fun to look at, but her cute sewn and embroidered animal patterns were my favorite. We have been watching a lot of “Critter Vision” on YouTube during the past nine months and have fallen in love with the opossums that come to the feeders, so when I saw Aimee’s pattern for an opossum as part of her “Pesky but Sweet Animals” collection, I knew my husband needed an opossum ornament.

I started this project kind of late in the game and didn’t have the type of felt used in the sample (or any craft felt, actually), so I dug through my scraps for some felted wool bits and found just enough to make this little critter using parts of a felted shirt, scarf, and blanket. Luckily, I had some embroidery floss and stuffing on hand. It was so much fun to make that I immediately started looking at some of her other patterns. I’m not great at sewing under deadlines, so I opted not to make any more ornaments this year, but recently bought her “3 Panda Bears” and “Winter Animals” patterns to use for a craft day with one of my kids.

After finishing the opossum, I ran a little string through the back and attached a tag so I could add the year and who it was for.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

I was so excited to give this to my husband, and I think he really liked it!

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

The rice bags were also much loved and appreciated, so it was a win all around. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to sew a million things for Christmas, and these were just right–easy, fast, and fun.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I’m really excited about the jacket I have to share with you today.¬† I didn’t sew it‚ÄĒI upcycled it!

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

This wool shirt jacket was waiting for me at the Army Barracks, a military surplus store in Salem, MA.¬† I guessed from the collar that it might have been made in the 1970’s.¬† Do you think I could be right?¬† Clearly it had already been altered‚ÄĒthere were a few patched and darned areas and the hem had been changed, but that didn’t bother me.¬† It gave the shirt an interesting history.¬† Since I love wool, olive green as a neutral, and shirt jackets, I bought it.

After getting it home and washing and drying it, I decided to redo some of the mending.  I covered the original darned area on the sleeve with more darning in a thread color that matched the jacket better.  To do that, I dropped the feed dogs on my machine and used a darning foot and a zigzag stitch.  Then I sewed back and forth in a crazy scribble all over the original darn to cover it up.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

before

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

after

I also redid the area that had been patched on the button band.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I cut a rectangle of a matching cotton twill fabric, folded and pressed under the edges, and sewed it to the back of the hole.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

Then I darned the hole the same way I had on the sleeve.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The next thing the jacket needed was standout details.

I often think about decorating my clothes, but usually talk myself out of it.¬† Not this time, though!¬† This shirt jacket seemed like just the garment to try adding a little fun to.¬† Pink + green, florals + utility, “flair”‚ÄĒI love it!¬† I had a lot of Rifle Paper Co. rayon Les Fleurs bias tape left over from when I made my friend a linen jacket, so that is where I started.¬† It seemed like a good way to highlight the unique back and front lines of the shirt yoke.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

testing ideas

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

Then, I thought maybe a patch would be cool.  I found a great tiger patch at Joann Fabric.  I ironed the patch on and then used advice I had seen from Lauren Taylor (@lladybird) on Instagram, and sewed the edges of the patch with regular thread in my bobbin and clear thread on top using a tiny zig zag stitch.  I LOVED it!  But it needed something more.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I started hunting around for patches, maybe some swallows.¬† Somewhere around this time, I started to see images of embroidered Gucci jackets.¬† Some of them I liked, some I didn’t, but I discovered a few things:¬† the back of the Gucci jackets I liked best had images that related to one another somehow, whether they told a pictorial story or were just grouped in a way that was visually pleasing.¬† I also discovered that you can find a lot of knock-off Gucci patches on the internet if you want to make your own version of a Gucci jacket.

I found a great pair of swallows on Amazon.  Once I put those on the jacket, it felt almost finished.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

I wanted to add some bees, but not the Gucci ones with red and black bodies.  I wanted some with yellow and black bodies that were somewhat realistic looking.  I finally found them from RichLoveFinds on Etsy.  Two went on the back, and one covered the area that had been darned on the sleeve.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The original plan was to cover the patch job on the button band, too, but it made the front visually unbalanced, so I left it as it was.

At this point, it was so close to what I wanted, but something wasn’t quite right.¬† The floral bias tape related well to the jacket, and the patches related well to the jacket, but the bias tape and the patches weren’t meshing together, even though they shared some of the same colors.¬† Then I figured it out!¬† If I could find a thin black trim to sew on the bottom side of the bias tape, it would have the same outline effect that the patches had.¬† I found some that was 1/8″ wide at Joann’s, and sewed it on.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

The ends tended to fray, so I tried to zigzag them, and then applied Fray Check.

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

That was somewhat successful.¬† It wasn’t perfect, but it was close enough for me.¬† NOW it was just right!

Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

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Gucci-esque Embroidered Jacket

 

I have worn this shirt jacket so often since I made it.  It is a great layering piece as the weather cools down.

P.S.¬† If you suspect that all the decorations I added to this jacket cost more than the jacket itself, you would be correct.¬† If you take on your own project like this, you can decide if you want to think about that beforehand or not.¬† ūüėČ

Summer’s Last Garment: Simplicity 1020 Pants

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Fall has officially started (the autumnal equinox was Thursday, September 22), but I still have one more summer garment to share with you.¬† I also have a few other projects I did during the summer, but those are great for any season, so we’ll save them for another time.¬† Today I want to talk about these pants!

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

I really wanted some wide-leg linen pants for summer, and I also wanted to try sewing with linen, something I hadn’t done until I made this Datura blouse (also pictured).¬† When trying to find a pattern for the pants I had in mind, I remembered some scrub pants I owned in college.¬† They had a wide, straight leg and were the ultimate in comfort.¬† Since I hadn’t been able to find a pattern I really liked among the “regular” clothing patterns, I turned to the scrub patterns, and found Simplicity 1020.

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

 

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

I figured I could use that and just leave off a few of the extra pockets, keeping the front and back ones.¬† I found my fabric at Fabric.com–a Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen blend (55% linen, 45% cotton) in blue and a cotton/rayon (50% cotton, 45% rayon, 5% Lycra) knit in Indigo for the top of the pants.¬† Other than that, I just needed elastic and thread, which I had in my stash.

I made a quick muslin out of¬†a sheet since I’ve had to do so many fit adjustments on recent bottoms, but while these could maybe have been tweaked slightly, they were good overall, and I decided to make them without adjustments.¬† This makes me wonder if the Simplicity pants/shorts patterns will fit me better (i.e. with fewer adjustments) than McCall’s and Butterick.¬† I’ll have to explore that as I make more pants.¬† The pants themselves were not too difficult to sew up, although I did prolong the process by finishing all my seams.¬† Finishing seams used to feel like such a chore and while it still does sometimes, I didn’t want thready insides once these pants were finished and went through the wash.¬† I used a turned-and-stitched finish (a.k.a. clean-finish) per the instructions in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

Turned-and-stitched/clean-finished seam allowances

The linen seemed too thick for French seams, although I’m open to hearing about other finishes people have used.¬† I also basically did a double turned hem for all the pockets and then topstitched them on so that I wouldn’t get threads in the pockets, either.¬† Last, but not least, I covered the seam where the main pants fabric joined the knit waist fabric with bias tape.

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

All of that added quite a bit of time, but I was really happy with these when they were finished.¬† I don’t know what has happened to me, but it makes me really happy to see those beautiful insides in a project.¬† I guess I’m “growing up” as a sewist.¬† ūüėČ

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

I think my only question on the whole thing is the hem length.¬† If I had hemmed these at the suggested spot, they would have been long, but probably good with heels.¬† I turned them up one more time so I could wear them with flatter shoes, and I think that is the right length for lower shoes, but sometimes, at some angles, they look a little bit like floods. (Wow.¬† I just used Google Images to look up “flood pants”.¬† It was a little different than I expected, but I think my statement still stands.)¬† I didn’t actually cut my excess off the hems, so if I change my mind later, I can rehem them to be longer.¬† I’m done with them for this year, though.

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

These pants are super comfortable (secret pajamas for the win!) and they wrinkle much, much less than I thought they would–maybe because of the cotton blended in?¬† I think of cotton as pretty wrinkly, but who knows?¬† Maybe because of the midweight?¬† I don’t know.¬† Whatever it is, I’m happy with them.¬† Now it’s on to fall sewing!

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

 

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

 

Simpicity 1020 linen/cotton pants

Recommendations

  • Here’s one more post from Cotton + Steel about the fabric called cotton lawn.¬† Sounds like lawn is a winner for your button up shirt needs.
  • I’m really impressed and intrigued by the embroidery of Tessa Perlow.¬† This article about her has some great pictures so you can get a feel for what she does.¬† I think I’d like to try adding embroidery to some of my garments someday…
  • If you are a garment sewist in fairly close proximity to Exeter, NH, you might enjoy the Pattern Review Meetup happening at Pintuck & Purl this Saturday, September 24 from 2-4pm.
  • Jellyfish or jelly fish?¬† Be careful how you say it!

A Vintage Blanket Becomes a Skirt

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Years ago some amazing sewing ladies who are my mother’s friends, gave me a vintage wool blanket (among other things).¬† They had a business repairing antique quilts, as well as upcycling quilts that couldn’t be repaired and turning them into handmade goods.¬† When they moved on to other things, they gave me some of their fabric and thread.¬† I didn’t sew much at the time, but being a creative person, they thought I might be able to use the things.

One of my favorite items was¬†part of a woolen blanket with two sets of initials on it.¬† It was a winter white with two blue stripes and navy embroidery, and although I didn’t know its story, it seemed special.¬† I put it aside until just the right project presented itself.¬† It finally¬†seemed that¬†I had found the perfect use for it when I saw the Brumby Skirt by Megan Nielsen.¬† I knew it might not work…but I also knew it might.

Brumby Skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen

Brumby Skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen

That idea, that sort of razor’s edge between working or not working is what makes creative endeavors so exciting.¬† I love to try projects where I am more sure of the outcome.¬† I get a lot of satisfaction from them, but it really gets interesting when you ask the question, “Will it work?”¬† I think this is a question that some of the best art and the best fashion have at their heart.¬† Sometimes the outcome is terrible.¬† Sometimes it’s ok.¬† But sometimes it goes beyond what you imagined.

I don’t think this project reached the level of being beyond all I imagined, but the act of walking that line made the project exciting.¬† Could I create a skirt from this blanket?¬† Would it be too thick to sew?¬† Would it lay right?¬† I’ll tell you from the outset that I love this skirt.¬† It’s not perfect.¬† It doesn’t give me an enviable form or lack mistakes.¬† But I still say it works because some of my big goals in sewing¬†are to create clothing that is unique and interesting.¬† (And I get to wear a blanket as a skirt in winter!¬† Always a worthwhile goal!)

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

So, let’s get into some details.¬† The skill that I hoped to learn in this project was how to create a lining, so I bought some Bemberg rayon lining from Joann’s and leaned heavily on the book¬†Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long.

Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Maggie from Pintuck & Purl helped me think through my process for creating the waistband, which included lining it with some fabric from my stash and omitting the interfacing.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

I found a plain navy fabric in my stash for the inside of the pockets.  Since the edge of the blanket was already finished, I decided to omit the hem.  This also saved me fabric, since I had a limited amount of blanket to work with.  In order to do that, I marked the place I would have turned the fabric up to sew the hem and used that as the new bottom line for my skirt.  You can see it faintly below.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Like vintage fabric sometimes does, this blanket¬†had some light stains.¬† I tried using¬†a stain remover¬†to get them out, but it didn’t work, so I did my best to cut around the ones I could.¬† The rest just had to remain.¬† I did run into a little bit of trouble while sewing in the zipper.¬† It wasn’t quite even at the top, but since this is for me, and I get to decide what I will and won’t fix, I just folded the extra over and sewed it down.¬† Problem solved.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

I also decided to do a decorative topstitch above the seam that joins to waistband to the skirt, just to make sure everything was tacked down.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

I wanted this done before winter was over, so I was pretty motivated to get it finished.  The days after I finished it were cold, so I could wear it right away!

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

I really like the skirt.¬† I don’t think it’s going to be the most flattering look, but I just love its interesting uniqueness.¬† My sister says I need a clever response when asked¬†what the initials stand for.¬† Any ideas? ¬†(Keep it clean!)

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

It’s really warm and comfortable and¬†love all the different parts I incorporated–lining, colored pockets, and patterned waistband.¬† I deem it a sewing success.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt made from a vintage blanket

I haven’t yet had a chance to blog a few of my other winter projects, but as far as sewing things goes, this was my last winter make.¬† I’m on to spring sewing.¬† I’ll still post the few made-in-winter projects I haven’t shown you yet, but this is the only garment that will probably be worn exclusively in the winter, so I wanted to blog it before spring came.

Recommendations (Yea!)

  • As I come to love hand-sewing more, I find my interest in embroidery being renewed and growing, too. ¬†In that vein, I’ve found some really fun embroidery artists.¬† An etsy shop I¬†recently discovered¬†is cozyblue handmade.¬† They have embroidery patterns, etc.¬† I’m a fan of the Sea Captain.
  • If you listen to podcasts, I’ve just found a new one that I like:¬† The Seams podcast.¬† It’s about clothing and the stories connected to it.¬†Jacki Lyden¬†does a great job of interviewing a wide variety of people and looking at clothing from many angles.
  • If you like to garden, but sometimes feel nervous because you don’t really know your plants’ intentions, you should watch “Indoor Gardening Tips from a Man Who’s Very Scared of Plants”.¬† Problem:¬† SOLVED!