I’ve been published!

Lesley Riley has just put out her new book titled Inspirational Quotes Illustrated and I’m in it! Actually my doll was in the last year’s Quotes Illustrated, too. This is a new edition with more art works than the first book. We weren’t supposed to share pictures of our accepted art until the book was first published. Somehow I never got around to posting pictures of my doll. So here she is. I call her Deep in the Garden of my Heart.

??????????Her quote is from Helen Keller. “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

??????????She has a heart on her chest that is a marbled silk fabric. I’ve been holding onto this piece for a long time and am glad to have a good opportunity to use part of it.


Posted in cloth doll, embroidery, felt, spirit figure | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

New Life for an Old Jacket

Deep in the back of my closet was an 1980s relic. An old jacket that hadn’t been worn in many, many years. The problem with it was a noisy lining. Imagine the crisp, crunching of a nylon windbreaker. The nylon lining had gotten stiffer and more uncomfortable with time and I quit wearing the jacket. It was too cute to get rid of, so I kept it. Looking at it now with fresh eyes, I decide it was time to find a fix and wear that jacket again. All it needed was a new lining.

I had some large scraps of very lightweight silk from one of my past grab-bag purchases at the quilt festival in Houston. There were three pieces of the same print. The print is so large scale, yet it works fine in my lining. There was just enough to make the whole lining.

??????????Ripping out the old lining was pretty easy and, when taken apart, made a good pattern for the new lining. I was able to sew it up without any problems. I used a variation of the “bagging method” which involves machine sewing the lining in place all around and also at the sleeve hems. You end up with an opening in the lining side seam through which it all gets turned. Threads magazine has a decent tutorial here. My variation was because the facing on this jacket was already attached to the outer part and the bagging method specifies stitching it to the lining. Instead, I sewed the lining upper edge to the facing, stopping a couple of inches before the bottom hem. The lower edges are then stitched together. The openings at the bottom corners can be handsewn afterwards as is the side seam that was kept open for turning.

Isn’t it funny how some of the fabric pattern matches up? It is purely by accident. There was no extra fabric for any matching of lines. I kept the content/cleaning instruction tag in place in the side seam. It may come in handy later.

??????????I can’t wait to wear this.

??????????Notice the scarf buckle? It is an old bakelite buckle that I had in my stash. It was given to me by a friend. It’s kind of chunky, but I like it.


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Work Pants

When school began in August, I decided to make some cute yet comfy pants to wear to work. As a pediatric therapist, I spend a good bit of time moving around and even sitting on the floor with the children. I want to look nice, but I can’t be constricted. What I need is some yoga pants that look professional, nothing too tight, and definitely with pockets. The best way to get what I want is to sew it myself. Usually. JoAnn’s has a nice, heavy poly/Lycra knit in a bottom weight. They call it jeggings fabric. I’m not sure why; it isn’t jeans fabric in any form. I bought some and made these pants. It sewed up beautifully. In fact, I loved it so much, I went back and bought more in gray.

I don’t ever wear these with the top tucked in. I just wanted to show the waistband and pocket detailing. The pants have a curved waistband with 1″ wide elastic, no zipper.


The gray pants are cute too. Both are exactly the same and perfect for work.


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White Embroidered Peasant Blouse

Last year I made a peasant blouse, here, that quickly became one of my favorite things to wear. It was made of a printed cotton lawn that was lightweight and cool with just enough body. It seemed like a good idea to use that same pattern to make another blouse. On a trip to Houston, I bought a length of embroidered cotton batiste. Instead of the usual floral pattern, this one has circles. As much as I love the fabric, I didn’t consider how itchy it would be. The fabric is rather sheer, however it is stiff and scratchy. It doesn’t fold or flow gracefully. I’ve been washing it in every load of whites in my laundry trying to soften it up. It hasn’t yet worked. I do wear it and I’m still hopeful that it will age well.


I also made it tunic length. Not sure I like that either. In the spring when I get it out again to wear, I may cut it shorter.

The fabric didn’t photograph well, but you can see the embroidery pattern somewhat.

??????????It has a modern feel that I really like. If only I had paid more attention to the scratchy nature of the stitching. The stitching is quite dense and all that thread really added stiffness and a scratchy texture to the fabric.

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Baby Clothes

What an exciting two weeks I’ve just had! I’ve been holding onto the good news and now it has finally come. My new grandchild! Yes, I am a new grandmother! My daughter and her husband have a baby boy! Can you tell how thrilled I am? He was born on October 22, 2014. I flew up to stay with them to help out for a little while. They have settled in nicely and now I’m back home again.

Like any good sewing grandma, I was making baby clothes before his birth. Not knowing if he were to be a boy or girl, I stuck to the basics. That’s all he needs anyhow, right? The problem is that everything I made for him is too large. At 7 lbs 10 oz, he isn’t that tiny. So why are newborn patterns so huge? At least he can grow into them.

First on the request list from the new parents was a cat suit. It is a jacket and pants set made from Simplicity 1566 in XS, 7-13 lbs, 1-3 months. This thing is HUGE. I did adapt the hood to add the cat ears.


Isn’t he adorable? He was born two weeks ahead of schedule and was here in time for Halloween.

These sleep sacks are from an online freebie from Running with Scissors. I really like the pattern. The crossover neck is very convenient for easy dressing and the elastic bottom makes nighttime changes easy too. Fold over cuffs keep the baby from scratching himself with his little flailing arms. I did make a slight change. I didn’t bind the neck; I turned it under and finished it with a scallop stitch. I also used a finished edge binding on the sleeves rather than a raw edge. These sleep sacks were not hard to make and don’t require much fabric. The problem, as above, is that they are really big. The pattern does say newborn to 6 months. I’d say more towards the 6 month end.

??????????With a little left over fabric from the sleep sacks, I made a pair of pants (the green ones on the left) with a free pattern from Pieces by Polly. This is a really simple pair of pants that, while also too large for this newborn, will be great for him to wear later. The gray pants on the right are from Craftsy. They have a bum panel in the back that can be a different fabric. Both of these patterns are marked for newborns; both are much larger than the store-bought newborn pants. I plan to make more of both of these, however I’ll be cutting the patterns down before I do.





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Stitching Fishes

I’ve started again with the stitching on Swimming With the Stingrays. It is good to finally be back with the simple stitching again. I have ripped out the offending parts of the fish in my last post. He hasn’t been reworked yet; I’ve been finishing a couple of other fish. I want to see what looks good on other fish and get something I do like accomplished first. Actually, one is a fish and the other is a lobster. There is another fish half-way done not included here. He will get his photo shoot later when he is complete.

This fish has a lovely row of orange dots down his back. Isn’t it nice how that worked out? Makes me wonder if I did that on purpose. I don’t really remember. I stitched a row of fly stitch in green to connect the dots and created a spine accent. The fish also has a row of fly stitch on the top edge creating a long dorsal fin. They are touching side by side instead of end to end. Buttonhole stitch in two sizes encase the other edges. The eye is a tiny black button, topped with a green bead and a tiny yellow bead stitched in black thread.


Lobsters are pretty common sights when snorkeling in the Caribbean, but you have to look hard to see them. This one has antennae done up in Spanish knotted feather stitch. It’s not a stitch that I’ll use often. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever used it. It’s kind of fun to try new stitches and this one is OK. I’m sure I’ll have to refer back to my book if I ever use it again. It makes a dense, wide line that is conveniently narrow at the start. It could be useful in other places as well.

??????????His eyes are faceted black beads. Beads seem to be working out well for the eyes. Perhaps that is what my other fish could use too. When I get back to him, I’ll experiment with different bead eyes.



Posted in applique, beading, embroidery | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Disappointments in Stitching

I am at a loss for words. Is that why I’ve been silent since August? As the days and weeks have piled up, it has been harder and harder for me to write. Yet here I sit at the computer with the keyboard under my fingers, willing my hands to speak for me. Words don’t come easily for me.  My hands have always done my speaking when the words don’t come. I rely on the things I make with my hands to tell my stories. What have I been making since August? Not too much really. Some of it interesting. Some of it disappointing. None of it very note worthy. I’ve found myself spending more time thinking than doing. I’ve done a little cleaning and weeding out of accumulation in my house and closets. I felt like my big picture had clouded over and I must clear and clean to find my way again. Neither my physical nor mental housekeeping is finished, yet I have begun creating again. And I’ll begin again sharing my stitching trials, tribulations,  and adventures.

I’ll start my catching up with one of my disappointments, the embroidery that I call Swimming With the Stingrays. I last stitched on it during our vacation in the Smoky Mountains at the end of July. It has been moving slowly and I’m not sure that I like where it is going. Some of the stitching is destined to be undone. I just haven’t brought myself to rip it out yet. I tell myself that I’m still deciding, but, like a band aid that needs to come off, I should rip it off and be done with it. I have decided to abandon the idea that the finished embroidery will be a sampler of stitches from Sue Spargo’s book. It’s not working out as I thought it would. I want the freedom to choose any stitch, not merely the next stitch in that chapter.

Most disappointing and annoying of all is that I’ve forgotten which stitches are which! What good is a sampler with unknown stitches? Burton’s swim trunks here are stitched in a knotted stitch of some sort.

??????????These are two other knotted stitches. I can identify the pink and green. It is corded coral stitch.

??????????Yet another knotted stitch on Alison’s swim suit.

??????????And a fifth knotted stitch on Matt’s pants, which is strange because I only have 4 knotted stitches marked in the book as having been stitched.

??????????This fish has fins of rosette chain combined with a little backstitch and a few straight stitches. This one I like a lot. Yeah!

??????????And for the biggest disappointment: this next fish is just plain ugly.

??????????I like the green spine. The rest is questionable. I sort of like the yellow, but not with the rest. The blue and red have to go. The yellow? I’m not sure yet. What do you think?

Posted in applique, embroidery | 6 Comments