Church Banners Again

I don’t like to always make the same things. I like a lot of variety. Most everything I do does involve fabric or stitching, but I don’t like to stick to only one type of fiber work. Cloth dolls will always be my favorite and yet I have to do other things too. My latest project is pretty far from the cloth doll spectrum. I’ve just finished two more church banners. It’s been a while since I’ve made any, so I was glad to have the chance to make more. These were especially fun because they involved new designs.

These banners are large. 42″ x 120″ That’s 10 feet long. I have to make them on my living room floor. Finding a place to take pictures is a challenge, too. It was a breezy day, but the rain did hold off long enough to get some shots in.

??????????Doves of Peace

??????????Grapes and Wheat

??????????The grapes are made of four different purple fabrics, plus two more for the highlights and shadow lines.

These banners were commissioned for the new series of televised masses at to be taped in the fall. Some of my previous banners can be seen on that website featured in some of the masses.

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In Her Hands

It has taken awhile, but I have finished the third felt vessel. It is too late for it to go into the library exhibit. That’s OK. There will be other shows where it will work. In fact the upcoming fiber art show at the Bluebonnet Swamp has the theme of “Metamorphosis.” Since the felt part is an egg shape, it fits.

I had left the bottom of the egg shape round as I was planning to create some kind of base for it. The hard part was deciding how the base should look. So many of my ideas were quickly discarded. Burton then made the wonderful suggestion of hands. I loved it.

??????????I have not only Burton, but my friend Lisa to thank for inspiration. As I was working on the hands, she asked if they would be embroidered like my Little Blue Goat. I hadn’t yet given it any thought, but realized right away that they should indeed be embroidered.

??????????Continuing on with pictures in the round.

??????????The Lotus is a traditional henna design for hands.

??????????It took several tries to get the fingernails just right. They are outlined and then satin stitched with Splendor 12-ply strandable silk. The henna designs are Trebizond silk.

??????????I made the hands just like I do on my dolls, only much bigger. These are slightly larger than life size. They are made of silk dupioni and have a wire armature in each finger.

??????????The secret to its balance is the 1″ nut buried in the wrist of each hand. The wire armature fits inside the hole and the nut is weighty enough to assure that the center of gravity is over the base.

Posted in embroidery, felt | 7 Comments

Sewing Camp Session 3

The last week of Creative Sewing Camp has ended. It went out in a rush and flurry of giggling girls. Two of the girls had began second projects late in the week and I since I wanted to make sure they were far enough along that they could finish at home by themselves, there was little time for pictures. None of the students were excited to have their picture taken anyway, so no pictures of their clothing sewing this week.  So sad. The only picture I do have is a cute one. Lindsey made an adorable robot doll using a pattern from Red Boot Quilt Company. It is Isaac the Robot Softie.

Isaac the RobotLindsey made some color changes to the pattern and adapted her own face and body designs. I love her fabrics. She knew what she wanted to do with the design and went with it. It was totally her idea to stitch the white lines on the black felt for the belly. What a wonderful touch! Pretty clever, Lindsey!

This summer has flown by. With three weeks of sewing camps, I’ve been busier than usual. Add to that rushing to finish the felt vessels in time for the exhibit, preparing for a trip to Indianapolis to teach two doll classes, a visit from Alison, a trip to Houston to visit Matthew, a vacation, and working on two church banners. I’ll be glad to get back to my embroidery, but that won’t be for a while yet. The banners are this week’s project. I’ll be finished by Friday, I hope. I am finished with the turquoise felt vessel that was in my last post. All it lacks now is pictures. As soon as they are ready, I’ll have pictures to share.

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An Abundance of Felt

Another felt vessels is finished. Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures before I sent it off to the library exhibit. Rats. I do have an in-the-work picture and one from the exhibit at the library that I can share. Real pictures will have to wait for its return.

I have entitled it “Abundance.”

??????????I started the embellishment on this side which has the dripping red that I love. This stitching was taking a long time to complete and time was a resource I was running out of. This is all the stitching that the blue part ended up with. I had to turn my attention to the pink rim and the red flare. A bit of pink silk and needle felted yellow wool roving highlighted with rows and rows of running stitch transformed the top of the vessel. The flare has a couched yarn and some pistil stitches and detached chains with a long tails.

image - CopyMy pictures of it in the display case were awful. Martha was with me and, being the total artist that she is, was able to get better shots with her phone than I did with my camera. Mine were full of reflections and distractions. Hers were a good bit better.

There is one more felt vessel that I am working on. It wasn’t finished in time for the exhibit. I’m almost finished with it now and should have pictures to put up soon.

Posted in embroidery, felt | 4 Comments

Sewing Camp Session 2

This was a happy group of sewing girls! We giggled all week long! AND we learned a lot about sewing, too.

The six girls ranged in age from 9 to 17. All were novices at sewing. By the end of the week, they were comfortable with their machines and following seam lines accurately. Look at the big grins and see how much fun sewing can be.

??????????Caroline made pajamas in neon yellow fleece. It’s not the easiest fabric to sew, but she was quite successful. Dani and Alex also made pajamas. Dani didn’t have the shirt available for the picture, so she is modeling only the pants. She and Alex used a soft, warm flannel to perfect their stitching. Holly made a cute skirt with three tiers of ruffles. That’s a lot of gathering and she did an awesome job. The other two girls in this class decided not to have their picture taken.

Posted in clothing | 3 Comments

It’s Sewing Camp Time Again!

As every summer rolls around, I get geared up for my Creative Sewing Camp. This year I added in a special camp for making stuffed animals. When I began teaching the sewing camp back in 2001, we made dolls. In the next years we made fairies, mermaids, hobbits, and dragons. Eventually I switched to clothing classes. But once again we had a class devoted to stuffed animals.

I am a week behind, but here are pictures from last week’s creations.

??????????We began with the small bugs and monsters on the front row. After they mastered straight seams, the students made the owls and raccoon which have curved seams.

??????????On day 3, we made the kitties and the doll. Day 4 and 5 were for making the frogs. Putting in a zipper and the gusset at the base were challenges that my students met with enthusiasm. Didn’t they do a great job? I am so proud of them!

What I found most surprising was how these sewers took to the hand sewing parts of the process. It may be because the hand sewing was mostly embroidery and embellishment and part of the creativity rather than merely functional. Most of them commented that they enjoyed the hand sewing. A lot of sewing does involve at least some hand work. Usually my students don’t like the hand sewing elements of clothing sewing. I wonder how I can change their attitude and bring this enjoyment to my other classes.

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A Gift of Wedding Dresses

My cousin Dianne had an old wedding dress that had belonged to the mother of a friend. She didn’t know what to do with it. She didn’t want to cut it up. She doesn’t make clothing. It wasn’t suitable for quilting. She wanted to give it to me. How could I say no? When the package arrived in the mail, Dianne had put a surprise in with the dress. There was a second wedding dress! Not as fancy as the first perhaps, but so unusual. It stole my heart.

The first dress appears to be from the 50’s. It is in good shape despite the years. There is some discoloration, no spots, and no holes or tears. I, too, will have a hard time deciding how to use it. Any suggestions?

??????????The bride must have been tall. Martha is wearing 6″ platform heels and the dress drags quite a bit on the ground. Martha would love to take off the skirt and wear the top with the peplum over pants. She’s not sure she wants to tackle the job, however, because the neckline is too wide and the resizing would be complicated.

??????????It is made of a very crisp organza, probably cotton. The embroidered lace is exquisite.

??????????The back has the traditional row of buttons and loops.

??????????What is an special touch is the deep point on the peplum.

??????????The second dress is much older than the first dress. We think it is from about 1915. Sadly, it is not in good shape. The silk is torn and shredded in several areas and there are a few large stains. Still, there are large areas of usable fabric and most of the lace is fine. I will have to think hard about what I’ll do with this dress.

This bride must have been about Martha’s height. It is a perfect length although too big otherwise.

??????????The skirt is narrow at the hem making it difficult to walk in. The hem is where the largest tears appear.

??????????Putting it on is rather a puzzle. There are several openings with fabric crossing over and under and around in unusual ways all held together with snaps. None of the openings are in the back. They are under the bodice wraps, at the end of the topmost wrap,  and on the opposite side of the skirt.  The two wrap parts form a pointed drape that goes halfway down the back. They are only partially connected to the bodice. They also wrap around the back of the waist and are sewn together there.

??????????Under the point are two snaps that connect the long, narrow train to the bodice.

??????????It is a regal dress. I must find some special project just for it. Thank you, Dianne!

Posted in clothing | Tagged | 3 Comments