Category Archives: Embroidery

A Look Back and Make Nine 2019

First a look back at 2018:

I completed 5 items from my 2018 Make Nine List: summer pants, raglan tee, embroidered kitchen towels, refashion from stash (3 refashions), and Christmas sewing.

Embroidered blouse, crochet yoke tee, basket quilt with (previously) embroidered center, and collared button shirt were not finished (or started).  Will anything carry over?  Let’s see.

The Make Nine Challenge was started by Lucky Lucille, and the photo collages are popular on Instagram.

Last year my make nine was just nine hand written notes. This year I am being less vague, and I’m showing either the pattern or fabric I will be using.

2019 Make Nine

  1. Embroidered Blouse – Using the Folkwear pattern “Old Mexico Dress”, the yoke will be hand embroidered.
  2. Crochet yoke tee – with the pictured crochet thread.
  3. Itch to Stitch Mountain View Pull on Jeans –  for comfort and because they have real pockets.  I was planning on using a stretch denim I already had but didn’t have enough fabric.
  4. Maria Denmark Day to Night Drape Top –  I don’t have the fabric yet.
  5. Autumn Twilight Cross Stitch Picture – I have never stitched a full size picture for framing before and I like this flying geese scene.  This is a kit with 16 count aida.  It will be challenging, but it’s doable.
  6. Hand knit accessory –   a scarf knitted with the pictured navy and gray yarn.
  7. Stretch Denim Shorts – this is the fabric I wanted to make the pants with.  I might use the same pattern for the shorts.
  8. Knit Fabric Dress – I could use a basic dress, and notice I have never liked wearing traditional dresses with zippers.  I’m not sure if I will use a pattern, or just make an elongated tee.
  9. Spring Jacket – McCalls 7333 –  I am planning to use a linen blend fabric I already have.

The list contains a variety of most everything I know how to do: sewing, freehand embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, and crochet.  So much creativity – at least in my mind and on paper, ha!

I have actually started 3 of these projects already!  I love making lists, do you?

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Retro Syle Embroidered Kitchen Towels

Last year I bought a set of pretty yellow gingham towels that came with embroidery transfers, and then lost the transfers.  I probably threw them out by mistake.

This summer I decided on motifs, and used a few different techniques to transfer the designs to the towels.

For towel #1 I used the booklet Aunt Martha’s Embroidery Patterns The Four Seasons. I chose a summer and a spring design and transferred them to the same towel 3 inches from the bottom. I will use the towels folded in half with one of the designs showing at a time.

Using embroidery transfers with an iron was quick and easy, and the designs came out clear and dark.

I embroidered using stem stitch, with some french knots and a lazy daisy.

I love the ease of iron-on transfers, but the available designs are limited.  What if you have a drawing you want to use instead?  How do you transfer the drawing to the towel?

I decided on a farmhouse chicken and egg theme for towel #2.

I used a Dritz iron-on transfer pencil and traced my design onto another piece of paper. The design will be reversed when transferred, so I traced the design backwards. I found this method difficult : I had to press hard with the pencil while trying to trace accurately.  I also had to hold them up against the window to see the lines through the paper. The transfer came out too light on the towel, and areas were not clear.

I used a fine point .25 mm black Pigma micron pen to go over areas of the design, and traced the second motif directly on the towel with this pen.  The micron ink is permanent and water proof so mistakes can’t be washed out.  Proceed carefully on your fabric!

The hardest one to embroider was the Fresh Eggs design because of the small details and human hands and face.

This was the first time I embroidered kitchen towels! They’re so cheery and homey on the yellow checked background.   Which is your favorite design?

 

Quick Summer Projects

The days and nights have been hot, and I lack the will to  concentrate!  But I did finish a few satisfying little projects.

First I had to deal with my squeaking machine.  My basic mechanical  Brother machine is not supposed to need oil. The only cleaning instructions in my manual are about removing the needle plate.  This was intimidating for me, but I put on my big girl pants and forged ahead.  I’ve sewn with this machine for 6 years, and have never done any maintenance.

Dirty!

In machines that take oil, there is an round opening in the middle of the bobbin race.

No more squeak!  And I managed to put all the pieces back together.

 

1) I had a few mock-ups of star quilt blocks in different sizes.

 I made two of them into potholders by using two to three layers of batting, putting wrong sides together and sewing, leaving a side partially open for turning.  Then I sewed around the perimeter, tucking the seam allowances in the open portion under, and inserting a handmade ribbon.  I put on the walking foot to quilt along the star lines.  

 

2) What is more appropriate as a sewing project for the dog days of summer than a dog accessory?

A while back, I sewed a traditional triangle bandana, and used my rolled hem foot for the first time.

First I read tutorials and practiced.  It took a lot of concentration and effort to keep the fabric feeding into the curl correctly. I think I would rather sew a hand rolled hem on this type of small item because sewing the two bias sides was a struggle.  The rolled hem foot would be a great time saver for long, straight sewing.

Several months back, I also sewed a few of the little reversible triangle bandanas with a top channel opening that slide onto the collar.

I’m especially happy with the latest bandana I tried: two reversible bib-like pieces that are finished on top with bias tape that extends to form ties. The name is hand embroidered with satin stitch.

My model was available to work for the price of a few treats.  Those eyes!

 

3) Three years ago I posted about trying sashiko embroidery for the first time, and stitched three pieces.  My idea for the piece stitched on cream satin was to make an envelope pouch, with the embroidered side folding over the pocket.  I’ve finally done just that, combining the embroidery with natural colored linen and an off white cotton lining.  I used bias binding on the pocket.  The rest of the raw edges are enclosed.  I hand stitched the opening closed that I used for turning the pouch right side out.

The pouch reminds me of the type of project found in a zakka sewing book.  I like it for its simplicity, combining beauty with utility.

These three projects have something in common:  they had been partially worked on or cut out but not completed.

I have also been embroidering, which I enjoy in the summer because a hot iron isn’t needed, and for its portability.

Does your making/sewing/crafting change or slow down in the summer?

A Look Back and On To 2018

As I was thinking about what projects I wanted to work on in 2018, I made a collage from 2017:

A few haven’t been finished, and a few are unblogged.

Lucky Lucille hosts the make nine challenge on Instagram and has very helpful questions to consider when choosing your projects. I’ve seen a lot of make nine collages for 2018, but my list is a little different.  It’s more general and individualized, so no photos.

For quite some time, I’ve had in my mind a desire to make two hybrid projects, blending sewing with embroidery, and with crochet.   These are hard to get started on, because some planning, experimentation,  and decision making are needed first.  Summer sewing is always in my queque, throw in some embroidery, and a few little projects, and that’s it.

I’ve never made a proper button-down shirt with a collar with a collar stand, so I might attempt one to expand my sewing skills, even if it’s a sleeveless shirt.

  1. embroidered blouse
  2. crochet yoke tee
  3. summer pants
  4. raglan tee
  5. embroidered kitchen towels
  6. basket quilt from previously embroidered square
  7. refashion (I know, so vague)
  8. button shirt, maybe with collar
  9. Christmas sewing

So, you might see these projects completed and blogged this year….or maybe not.

Do you make these kind of lists?

 

Vintage Embroidered Pillowcases

I bought a set of pillowcases for $1 each at the thrift store.  They aren’t quite plain; they are stamped with a sweet design of a girl in a heart of flowers.

One of the reasons I think the pillowcases are vintage is that the fabric looks old and  feels like 100% cotton.  The pillowcases don’t have any tags, and the inside seams look different from modern cases.  The style of the design also looks like it’s from the 1950s or 60s.

What floss colors would you use?  I got out all my variegated pinks for the flowers.

I put tissue paper between the hoop halves to protect the fabric, and then tore it away from the center.

I embroidered back stitches, lazy daisies, and french knots.

I decided on a single ply black thread for the outline of her skin.  While I was stitching her, I thought she looked like a lamb with hooves.

I had a little bit of what knitters call second sock syndrome after finishing the first.  I changed the color of her dress for the second one.

 

Tastes have changed since these were sold. Do these pretty ladies have a place in the modern world?  I admit that I folded the pillowcases and stored them away after finishing them.

Would they still be considered vintage even though they’re newly embroidered?

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2017 Calendar Towel Tote Bag

Previously, I made a few aprons from vintage calendar towels.  2017 begins with a new calendar towel, made into a simple tote bag.  I modeled it after a non-bulky bag that can be rolled up to fit inside the outside pocket of my purse.

2017 Calendar Towel and Fabric

I added some fabric, and sewed the straps under the top fold of the bag.  The tote could use some interfacing at the top and in the straps, but I couldn’t find any at home so I skipped it.  I’ll use the bag for less heavy items.

Sewing Strap to Tote

Calendar Towel Tote Bag sunflowers

2017 Calendar Tote

In 2017, I plan to work on sewing clothes, some quick refashions, quilting (including a big project), and embroidery.  I miss having something on the needles to pick up during this very rainy, stormy winter we’re having in southern California this year so maybe I will throw in a little knitting as well.

I  always think of organizing at the beginning of a new year.  One thing I’m doing is tracking my sewing spending using the “My Binder” app.

My sewing machine feet have a new home thanks to finding this neat little double-sided container for $3 at the drug store.  What luck; they’re a perfect fit!

Sewing Machine Foot Organizer

Sewing Machine Foot Organizer Side B

I don’t think I did any cross stitch last year.  Well, at least not until the 31st of December.  I spent the last day of 2016 and the first day of 2017 stitching this little gnome that I made into an ornament.

Gnome Cross Stitch

I changed the colors, lengthened his hat, added a felt bottom and a gold bead on top.

Gnome Ornament in Nest

I like him hanging around – he makes me smile.

Happy sewing and crafting in the New Year!

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Crazy Quilt Coverlet

It’s not a quilt, and it’s not exactly crazy, but I did find a use for this beautiful fabric, thrifted for $1, from my stash.  The fabric is textured with surface stitching like a quilt, but is not pieced.

Crazy Quilt Fabric (800x600)

I paired it with every last bit of a pale green fabric I had, and a cotton eyelet trim that had been given to me.  I used french seams throughout so all of the raw edges are enclosed.

Spring Coverlet on Line

Folded Coverlet

Coverlet on bed

coverlet on bed2

It’s so feminine and fresh for spring and summer.  I love it!

I also finished the flower basket embroidery on my muslin cloth.  This was also an item from the thrift store.  Instead of matching colors from my existing floss, I bought DMC #8 perle cotton after I looked closely and realized it was used in the one stitched corner. Perle cotton is a lustrous, twisted non-divisible thread. It was worth the extra expense because it’s so beautiful, and a joy to work with.

DMC perle cotton #8

I put tissue paper over the fabric, snapped on the top hoop, and then tore back the tissue paper to protect the fabric from the hoop.

tissue paper with hoop

I used a running stitch, satin stitch, and many lazy daisy stitches. So many petals and yet the flowers didn’t come alive until the french knots were added.

flowers with french knots

french knot detail

Unlike the rest of the stitches, I need to sit at a table to form the french knots.  I made 3 twists around the needle.  I brushed up on tips on this stitch because they can be tricky.  In the past, I’ve had french knots go through the fabric or be loose and sloppy.  These look good!

working on french knots

I embroidered the three unstitched corners.  My work is on the left and the original completed flower basket is on the right.  I did a good job matching threads, although the brown and light lavender are a shade different.

2 stitchers comparison

I’ll put it away for now, with plans to add to it later.  I want to get back to my summer clothes sewing.

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