Category Archives: Books

Thoughts on First Year of Blogging

Tumbling Leaves Wall QuiltWhen I published my first post last year on October 28, 2012, I just jumped in and posted about a project I had finished.  I had started to concentrate on learning to sew after mostly knitting for several years, and wanted to track my progress.

First I decided which platform to use.  Some of the blogs I regularly read are on WordPress.com, and one of the reasons I decided to use WordPress is because it’s easy  to leave a comment on a WordPress blog.  You don’t have to sign in with a Google, Facebook, or other identity, just a name and e-mail.  Then I had to pick a name for the blog – should I try and come up with a name that is clever or unique?  After some Google searches to find out which names were taken, I chose “Stitch It Again”. The common aspect of knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and sewing is that they all have stitches, and the “again” refers both to coming back to these crafts and also to my habit of redoing what I am working on until it meets with my satisfaction.

Next I created my header using Mosaic Maker on Flickr Toys to show what projects had led me to the present day.  Some of my favorite themes are fall themes and the two projects I am showcasing from my header both feature a leaf motif.Wool Embroidery on Linen

The wool embroidery is from a project on the cover of “Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts – Woolly Embroidery”.  I made it as a wall hanging instead of a pillow.Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts - Woolly Embroidery

The fall themed wall quilt pictured at the beginning of this post is a project I made from “Fat-Quarter Quilting : 21 Terrific 16′ x 20″ Projects” by Lori Smith.  It’s called “Tumbling Leaves” and is hand quilted.Fat Quarter Quilting by Lori Smith

My biggest challenge continues to be taking acceptable photographs.  My photos are plagued by bad lighting, reflections, and blurriness. It is especially hard taking photos of myself with a tripod and timer.  After a year, I finally realized I should be giving my photos a title after seeing readers were viewing “Samsung Camera Pictures” on my blog.  Oops!  I’m still trying to figure out how large my photographs should be, how to have better post titles, and all the technical stuff.

I have enjoyed sharing my creative outlet.  Writing this blog has added to my life, and I am delighted if any reader has found useful information or entertainment on these pages.  A heartfelt thank you to all who have taken the time to leave words of encouragement or advice, or who stop by to read from time to time.

Do you have any blogging tips, blunders, or learning experiences to share?

Crafting with Flea Market Fabrics

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That’s the name of a book I love that I bought in a used book store.  It’s by Deborah Harding and was published by Reader’s Digest in 1998.  Flea market is the term that is used, but this applies to fabrics bought at estate sales (a great source), yard sales, thrift stores, and even items stored in your own linen closet or garage.

I was reminded of this book after browsing in antique shops.  If you have these items, what do you do with them?  A lot of times, they’re just stored away and not enjoyed.  Some things, like an antique quilt, you wouldn’t want to cut up,  but what about partially stained linens or part of a tattered quilt?  What if a beautifully embroidered dresser scarf you have is just not your style?  The book has ideas of ways to adapt these items for everyday use instead of just saving them.

The chapters of the book contain projects for embroidered linens, chenille, quilts, lace trims, handkerchiefs, kitchen linens, and doilies.

Some visual glimpses:

A dresser scarf used as a door window covering…

Embroidered Dresser Scarf Used as Door Window Covering

pillowcase dolls….

Pillowcase Dolls

cats with handkerchief dresses…

Vintage Handkerchiefs as Cat Dresses

a Christmas handkerchief used as a focal point in a quilt wall hanging…

Christmas handkerchief used as center for quilt wall hanging

embroidered towels as pillow covers…

Embroidered Towels Made Into Pillow CoversTURES

days of the week embroidered towels made into a coverlet…

Tea Towels Made Into Bedspread

and an embroidered tea towel made into a tea or toaster cozy.

Vintage Tea Towel Made into Tea Cozy

Look at all the beautiful things vintage kitchen linens were made into in this photo: curtains, placemats, chair seats, and napkins.  So charming!

Vintage Kitchen Linens Remade

Besides the projects, the book has interesting information about the history of and collecting the subject item of each chapter.

One project I found on Pinterest from Karoline of Cherished*Vintage uses vintage tablecloths and embroidered pillowcases to make wire coat hanger slipcovers.  So pretty!

The always creative refashion blogger, Beth, of The Renegade Seamstress, made a gorgeous dress out of a vintage Vera tablecloth.  How stunning!

What is your view on these vintage fabrics: store away, use, or repurpose? Do you have a project you have made with pieces of a quilt, tablecloth,  or other vintage item?

Book Learning

I’m constantly adding links to my pinterest board titled Sewing Knowledge.  When I need help with a technique, I  look at 2 or 3 different entries because there are different ways of doing things.  I like online learning because it’s so instant – just search and there are plenty of photos, instructions, and even videos to help me figure it out.

Sometimes I get old school and open a  book. My main reference books are: The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing published 1976 and the Singer Sewing Book revised edition published in 1972.

I also like the two softcover reference books given to me from my stepmother’s garage. Simplicity Sewing Book, published in 1962, gives you some basic information, then it takes you through the sewing of seven basic garments, and finishes with more technical information by category.  The Complete Family Sewing Book, published in 1972, was a bargain sold at the discounted price of $1.59 at Pic ‘n’ Save and features hip drawings and over 400 pages of useful fashion and sewing information.

When I was at the library recently I checked out a technique book I found,  “Power Sewing Step-By-Step” by Sandra Betzina.  Sandra has written many books, designs Today’s Fit patterns for Vogue, and teaches classes on Craftsy.

One part of her master construction methods of interest to me is the segment on flattering grainline choices for skirts.  Sandra says the best skirt for all figures has the grainline centered in the middle of each skirt panel.

When the skirt’s grainline is parallel to the center front the fullness hangs at the sides with a flat center front and center back.  It makes your hips look fuller.  If the grainline is parallel to the side seam, the fullness is over the stomach and backside which adds width to these areas.  When each skirt panel is cut with a centered grainline the fullness is evenly distributed.  Her instructions for centering the grainline on “cut on fold” pattern pieces tell you to add seam allowance and cut two pieces instead.  Hmm, I don’t think I’d want to do that.  I’d rather find a flattering silhouette by choice of skirt type: for example, the shape of an A-line skirt gives me a better line than full gathers.

As a beginner, reading too much on techniques is confusing me; I have a tendency to get bogged down in details and over think everything.  I ‘m also really bad at understanding a technique from just reading the instructions; I have to be actually following along trying to do it myself in a garment I’m working on, for it to make sense.

I enjoy browsing through sewing books, but there is no replacing your own hands on experience, keeping it simple, and learning as you go.  Do you have favorite reference books or do you search online?

Apples Inspired by Kajsa

I have read and enjoyed the blog written by Kajsa Wikman of Finland , so when I saw her book “Scandinavian Stitches” in the library I checked it out.

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It features cheerful little projects with with a whimsical appeal.  I love two of the motifs she uses in her books: leaves and apples.

Inspired by her “Sweet and Sour Apple Coasters”, I looked through my fabric for bits of red and green material.   Kajsa’s method of applique uses paper backed fusible web, and machine stitching an outline on the shape in a straight line with black thread.  I’ve done traditional applique with turned edges which is hand sewn with invisible, tiny stitches.  The end result is beautiful but it is slow going.  I’ve also seen applique machine stitched on the raw edges with a close zig-zag stitch.

I like handwork but I decided to try Kajsa’s method and use my machine to make a folk art look to my apples.

Paper backed fusible web is easy to use.  I used a brand called Heat N Bond Lite. First you press the fusible web with the paper side up on the wrong side of the fabric.  You draw your applique pieces backwards and cut them out on the lines since the edges won’t be turned under.  Then you peel off the paper, place them on your background fabric, and press to fuse.  You press down with a dry iron in one place for 6 seconds  similar to bonding an iron-on patch.

I wanted to make a mug rug and two coasters.  As most everybody knows, a mug rug is shaped like a rectangle and it large enough to hold a cup and a snack.  For the coasters I used the sew and turn right side out method as shown in the book; for the mug rug I preferred to use binding.

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The apples look plain and uninteresting without any stitching.  I notice that fused applique looks flatter and less three dimensional than turned applique.

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Looking better! I’ve only sewed straight lines before so it was hard for me to stitch the circle shapes, but the object was not to be perfect so I left my shaky lines.  The stems are machine sewn with a wide, close zig-zag.  I used the same fabric for both the strips in my mug rug and the apples in the coasters.  Then I gathered my backing fabric and my batting.  I used cotton batting for the coasters and Thermolam Plus, a polyester, for the mug rug.

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After quilting the outlines, I wasn’t sure what additional quilting to make.  I was using a regular foot and not a quilting foot and I don’t think my vine lines with leaves came out too well, but decided to leave them.  I used bias tape for the binding because I didn’t have any black fabric on hand.

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I inserted twill tape for hanging before stitching the sides of the coasters.  My apples are more rustic Americana apples than Scandinavian.

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Thanks  to Kajsa for a fun project.  I think I will make her Tomte (elves with a long red cap) when it gets closer to Christmas.