Stephanie’s Coat Repair

However much we love our pets, there’s no getting around the fact that they sometimes cause us grief. My cat Venus has a reputation among my friends as being a bit on the crazy side. She is also capable of clawing and chewing mishaps. She does love the wool that I use in my work. Many a doll has she attacked for their hair! So I was not surprised to see the damage to this coat that belonged to Stephanie’s sister. Her dog had gnawed away at the cuff and done damage that made the coat unwearable. She gave the coat to Stephanie and Stephanie asked me if I thought I could fix it.

DSCN2240I am not an expert at repairs, but I’m always up for a challenge. This coat is an Oscar de la Renta and worth the salvage attempt. It is a very heavy, plush wool fabric that doesn’t ravel much. A deep, double kick pleat in the back provided a place to harvest fabric for a patch: see the whitish round area. That’s what I cut away. Conveniently that part of the pleats could be hand stitched together to totally enclose the hole and hide all evidence of the missing fabric.

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To start, I inserted the patch behind the missing spot. I then sewed the patch in place along the front of the cuff. I left the lining side open to make the embroidery easier. That allowed me to leave my knots on the inside of the cuff. Once the repairs to the embroidery were done, I stitched the remainder of the patch to the lining side of the cuff. All done. The thick fabric blended the seam line pretty well, much better than I had expected. With the embroidery to help camouflage the join, it looks pretty good. Honesty compels me to say that the photo hides the stitches better than seeing it in person. But still not bad for a rescue job.

DSCN2447It is a gorgeous coat, but obviously not intended for me.

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Update on Diane the Bride

After seeing the photo of Diane and Russel on their wedding day, I realized there were two things missing on her bride doll. A brief shopping trip later to Hobby Lobby and Diane the Bride now has a cameo pin and wedding ring.

DSCN2484Just like the original.

IMG_1726The wedding ring is made from a ring bridal favor. I bought a bag of 75! They were really inexpensive, but goodness, what will I do with 74 1/2 fake rings?

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Diane the Bride

A generous gift deserves a heartfelt thank you. A dear friend of mine offered her wedding dress to my daughter Martha. She knows that Martha loves to wear vintage and retro clothing. She knows that Martha designs and sews what she wears. She correctly guessed that Martha would want the dress. To put it mildly, Martha was ecstatic.

Diane was married in 1976. She described the dress as a little bit hippy, with a Victorian romantic swish to it. She rather imagined that Martha might alter, restyle, and dye it. As it turns out, Martha loved it just the way it is. The only changes she made were to the hem length and sleeve length. Martha is 5′ 2″ and Diane is 5′ 8″! Even the size was perfect! Martha has a new blog for herself and her second post was about the dress remake. Read about it here to see pictures.

The dress had three gathered tiers for the skirt. Martha removed the bottom tier and gave it back to me. I also got a portion of the lining and a couple of 9″ bits of lace from the cuffs. From these pieces I fashioned a tiny replica of Diane the Bride as a way to say thank you.

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I had some white lace in my stash that I tea dyed to match. The lace on the collar and cuffs are from the actual dress.

DSCN2475Diane wore a halo of pink roses.

DSCN2477This Diane has appliqued hair.

DSCN2471Skinny strapped sandals adorn her little feet just like the real Diane wore.

IMG_1726Diane sent me this picture showing how she has her new doll displayed next to her wedding picture.

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Back to Doll Making

Can you believe it’s been 18 months since I’ve last made a doll? I’ve had so much fun in the last year with embroidery and felt, but lately I’ve been itching to create a doll. It’s been in the back of my mind. Plotting and planning what she would look like. Would she be like a play doll or a collector’s doll? Would she have joints or be in a fixed pose? Well I’d been thinking long enough and it was time to make a doll.

I have one started. Her body is complete now, but she has no clothes. So be prepared for some nakedness.

DSCN2428She has enough joints to allow sitting comfortably.

And an appliqued face:

DSCN2433The whites of her eyes measure 1/4″ across. That’s some tiny little applique pieces! I love the look of the applique. It’s a lot of work though. Next time I’ll experiment with a painted face which will be much quicker and easier. This doll needed a folk-like look and the applique is perfect for that.

This little lovey is going to be a surprise for a friend, so I can’t say anything more about her future just yet. Stay tuned!

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Third Time’s the Charm

Sometimes things just don’t click. You work and work and it still isn’t right. You may change and add and adapt to make it better, but the darn thing is like an adolescent going through puberty. It has all these parts that don’t fit together quite right and it hasn’t a good grasp of its own identity. That’s when it’s time to start over. Twice, I started over. It all began with a felted bowl in hot pink and purple. It was round, not too big, with a rather small opening. I liked it. How about a nest of fabric cording to rest it in? Sounded good. I didn’t like it after all.

silk covered cordingSorry, I don’t have pictures of the felt at this stage.

Save the cording for something else. Try another idea. My pink bowl reminded me of an onion. How about making some wool roots and a silk sprout to grow out the top? Sounded good. Not so good.

felt onion sproutLets see, there is so much wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start. First, my lovely roots looked silly spread out on the bottom. To have them pointing down like roots would have required the onion to be on its side and that made the sprout look silly. As if the sprout didn’t look silly enough on its own. The sprout looked more like a corn stalk than anything else. The proportion was off, so I refelted and shrank the pink bowl. Didn’t help much. Time for another fresh start.

The bowl had a round bottom that I didn’t want to flatten. That meant it needed a base. Playing around with the pottery jars on my worktable, I flipped one over and decided that it was a good size for a base. After a few measurements and adjustments and a trial run in paper, it was time to try again. I set aside the roots and took apart the sprout. I could reuse some of the silk on this thing somewhere. I had put a bit of work into the lower layer and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

sari silk fabricIt was made with sari silk ribbon in gorgeous shades of green. Rather than iron the ribbon flat, I stitched them onto a piece of dupioni with all their wrinkles and charm. All that shimmer and shine called out to be repurposed around more cording.

challis baseI had some square mirrors that were perfect for this. They make a good contrast to the round shisha mirrors on the top rim.

Drink and Be Merry

Confession time, I didn’t stitch the felt balls. They were purchased already decorated. I bought them years ago at the quilt festival and have been waiting for the right project to use them. They are so quirky that they have been hard to place.

Be MerryI have titled this one “Drink and Be Merry.”

From the (third) beginning, I could tell that this time it was going to work out. Everything fell into place and I was finished within a week. I’m glad all my projects aren’t this finicky. I would never get anything done.

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Super Size Those Church Banners Please

Banners fit for a beautiful large church need to be super-sized. For a sense of the scale, notice the organ between the banner on the left and the rightmost red column.

church in purple

Actually, the banners have been photoshopped into place. The church is in New York and I won’t be traveling up to see them hanging. They were delivered last week and will be hanging for Ash Wednesday through Lent at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

Up to now, the largest banner that I had made was 11 ft long. These are 16 feet! At 65″ across, they are as wide as I am tall. By the square footage, these are 2.5 times larger than the next largest. That’s a lot of fabric; a lot of weight to handle. Lucky for me, I was able to get Martha to join in on the process. We turned out to be a great mother/daughter team. We made two sets, one purple one gold.

This is what the purple set look like:

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Father Beck also wanted a set of neutral/gold for feast days. It’s not too easy to see in the photos, but many of the fabrics are shiny brocade and metallic fabrics. They really shine and catch the light.

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I love the starburst pattern.

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And the shine.

IMG_1564We were able to take pictures at a local store, Co-op Bookstore close to the LSU campus. They have a balcony in the store that was the perfect height for these banners. Thank you, Co-op for letting us use your space!

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Thanks to Martha, too. She was the official photographer for this job.

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Harmony

This post is a little late. I finished up this felt sculpture long before Christmas and am only just now getting around to posting pictures. We have a new computer and it has taken me a while to get comfortable with how it handles photos. I now know how to add a watermark. Slowly, slowly I am learning new things.

I have decided to name this piece Harmony.

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You’ve seen the orange vessel part from way back in August. That’s when I started this piece. The green felt on the right is a felt that I made at a workday with the Contemporary Fiber Artist. I’ve been saving it for a couple of years and am thrilled to find a good use for it. It was made with three layers of wool: green, blue, and red. I love how all these colors work so well with the yellow/orange/pink.

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DSCN1839I added some extra color with a bit of needle felting. Magenta in the flower and pink and green on the leaf curl.

DSCN1846I’ve got another felt sculpture in the works that I’m going to finish up in time to enter it, along with Harmony and In Her Handsin the 20 x 20 x 20 Compact Art show at the LSU Union Gallery. The deadline is February 6, so I will have to get busy!

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