Pants and Shorts

I’ve been on a sewing binge again. This time for clothing.

Life comes in spurts and it’s no wonder to me that my creative urges also come in spurts. Sometimes I coast along and sometimes I find myself all aflutter with new projects or rather new energy for old projects. When the weather changed for spring, I broke out my fabric stash and went on a sewing frenzy. So far I’ve made pants, shorts, culottes, a top, and a skirt. When I get busy, I get crazy. There is more cut out and ready to sew both for me and for my grandson Michael.

First up is pair a stretch teal skinny jeans! I love colored denim.

DSCN2570These pants were made back in March. It’s just taken me a while to get the pictures. Unlike the photos of my embroidery, I have to have a helper for the clothing shots.

DSCN2568My own tag! Free-motion embroidery

DSCN2584And some shorts in white twill. I need more shorts for the summer. All my old ones are getting ratty. These are a basic white that will go with almost everything.

And so the sewing frenzy continues. I won’t rest until I’ve depleted my stack. or until the end of the month, whichever comes first.

Do you go through spurts of creativity? Or do you follow a steady course of keeping to a schedule?

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Snorkels and Masks

So far, all the swimmers in Swimming with the Stingrays have been faceless. Their blank heads have been taunting me from the beginning. As a doll maker, I should be able to draw the faces. It’s just that I didn’t want faces. They need to wear masks and snorkels. Not quite sure how I was going to create those masks and snorkels, I’ve skipped over that part. Until now. The time has come for the swimmers to get their faces. Well not really faces, just the masks and snorkels.

I played around with several different fabrics from clear vinyl to organza to white satin. The white satin won. I didn’t like the see-through look and went with the opaque mask. I stretched the satin in a hoop and did machine, free motion embroidery to draw the masks and snorkels. So far, they are the only machine stitching in this embroidery. Because the satin is polyester, I used a woodburning tool to cut them out and seal the edges at the same time.





BurtonDSCN2612and me.

For now, I think the swimmers are complete.

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Embroidered Stingrays

Our stingray adventure took place at Stingray City off Grand Cayman island twelve years ago. This snorkeling expedition was the highlight of our cruise.  The water was crystal clear. The weather was warm and not too hot. The snorkeling was good. The stingrays were plentiful. They were very tame and swam without fear among the many people swimming in the area. We were allowed to feed them and also to hold them in a certain way.  You had to stand up with your arms outstretched and stay quietly still with the stingray resting on your arms. It was quite exciting and over all too soon.

There are three embroidered stingrays swimming in our little corner of the Caribbean Sea. I had gotten carried away with the embellishing on the fish and the turtle. Surely the stingrays need lots of bling, too. But no, they are content with something a bit simpler.

DSCN2601This one has a fancy stitch for his central spine. It is the Spanish knotted feather stitch. This is a repeat of the stitch used on the lobster’s antennae. See my lobster here. I’ve used a simple variation of the blanket stitch around the perimeter of the stingray. It is the closed blanket stitch. It forms nice little triangles in a row. And then there is the most versatile running stitch for texture and two little beads for eyes.

DSCN2602The pink stingray has a spine of loop stitch, a border of herringbone, and two rows of running stitch.

DSCN2603Another variation of the blanket stitch, long and short blanket, makes this stingray a little different from the others. He has thorn stitch for his spine. The thorns are stitched over a fly stitch with a very long tail.

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An Embroidered Turtle

Sea turtles are majestic creatures of the oceans. Sighting one from a boat is exciting. Spotting one swimming above you when you are snorkeling is a treasured moment. They glide through the water will little apparent effort. They look as if they are flying overhead like slow, graceful birds. We were fortunate to see one on this adventure.

Another animal in my growing embroidery Swimming with the Stingrays: It’s a sea turtle!

DSCN2488He is all stitched up and as happy to join the fun as we were to see him.

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One Fish Two Fish

Two more fish swimming in my sea.

One in pink.

DSCN1863 And one in purple.

DSCN2486I like the French knots on this one. The magenta stitching around his fins is called Italian border stitch. It’s basically a fly stitch with a French knot for a tail. These guys are turning out to be quite embellished. If I’m not careful, they will steal the show from the poor stingrays.

I’ve just finished the turtle and beginning work on the stingrays. I am excited to see all the progress. The water creatures are looking good! More pictures soon to come!

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Back to Embroidery

Begun many months ago, my Swimming with the Stingrays is back on my sewing table. I hadn’t intended to embroider right now, yet there it is. After last month’s doll, Diane the Bride, I had wanted to make another one. This one was to wear a dress honoring another old wedding dress that had been gifted to me. I drew up another pattern and stitched it together.  Alas, she will have to wait. I am not pleased with her body. And if her body isn’t right, then the doll will fail. She will have to wait while I reconsider what to do.

So now I’ve picked up embroidery again, I am loving it.

Last fall I had a major disappointment with one of the stitched fish on my Swimming with the Stingrays. It was time to take that fish and rework the embroidery. The only stitching that I kept was the green backbone. I chose some different threads this time. A big part of what I didn’t like on the original was the primary colors I had use for the stitching. I also went with more basic stitches with nothing fancier that pistil stitch. It seemed that going back to basics would be a good change.

DSCN1862Now I’m already onto the last fish and looking forward to the turtle and stingrays!

How do you go about making a fresh start with a lagging project?

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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.


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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