This very special Christmas gift was from my long time friend, Susan Craver. She knows how true this statement is for me; it is for her too.
It is seldom either of us is not actively engaged in some kind of stuff 'make-age'. I think that should be a word.
This is the stuff I made (for me) during my holiday vacation...
This year I'm finding it more difficult to stay on task. My studio is embarrassingly piled up from task-hopping; Greg has called it the Kudzu Empire. There are scattered Kudzu Empire colonies as well. When it gets this way I find myself hoping I don't meet with an unfortunate accident that necessitates someone coming in and seeing it like this!
Getting the room in order was my to-do list topper for the day; however, I got distracted.
- I removed the lower part of the top and shortened the upper part about 1.5 inches.
- I measured the width of the bottom edge and used the same measurement to cut a horizontal slit across the center of the tablecloth.
- The two pieces were then stitched together and the seam zig-zagged to finish.
- I used the leftover bottom section of the linen top to make a pocket to sew on the tunic front.
My plan to happy-up the gray for this year had me rummaging through almost forgotten silk fabric scraps.
- I cut strips of the Asian print with a rotary cutter and stitched them to the front edges with variegated thread.
- I chose to leave the print fabric edges rough, except for the two pieces used in the closure.
- A vintage mother of pearl buckle seemed a good replacement for three eliminated buttons and button holes.
- Searching my treasure jars, I found mother of pearl buttons and disks to sew to the neckline. Done!
Next, was alteration of a consignment store dress purchased in 2010 for a whopping $4.00.
The print was reminiscent of 1940's bark cloth. It also reminded me of the vintage fabric I used to make a valance for the home I owned during the 90s.
That's probably why I was initially drawn to the dress; and black, red, green, and white is a favorite color scheme of mine.
The rhinestone strawberry pin I have on the pearls was also a gift from Susan.
It didn't even fit! It just happened to be red and had potential.
I wonder how many things I've brought home simply because they were red!
- I wanted the coat's new structure to be asymmetrical and sleeveless. I marked changes with tailor's chalk on the inside, and used a rotary cutter to alter the length and shape of the neckline and hemline.
- The original closure was a sash that tied in front at the waist. I came across two metal rings in one of my jars; they caused a re-route in my re-design concept ('recalculating... recalculating').
- The rings would be used with the sash to close the front.
- I pulled out some metal pieces compatible with the rings, determined placement, and sewed them to the neckline flap.
- A metal leaf and buds seemed good choices to use on the sash that I moved from waist level to midriff.
- I punched holes in the leaf to sew it to the sash end and to attach three dangling buds with waxed linen; it helps balance the two large pieces on the flap.
- A few small beads at the end help lighten the visual weight of the dangle.
You just never know what may prove to be useful at a later time. That's why I hang on to miscellaneous items like bags filled with thread and yarn remnants! They've been rescued from the dryer, unraveled projects, etc. I decided I might like to add some on the coat with free-motion machine embroidery.
Oooh!! I like this!!
- After pinning threads to the coat, I chose a spool of variegated thread to use.
- I did a test run on a coat scrap removed while altering the hemline.
- Using the darning foot and feed dogs dropped, I did free-motion embroidery all over the threads to secure.
- I altered the shoulder and back seams for fit, trimmed the arm holes to reshape, and did two rows of topstitching along the arm holes, neckline, and hemline.
- A mis-cut on the sash (uh oh) made piecing necessary; more embroidery covered it up (sometimes mistakes can be a good thing!).
- I punched holes in two additional metal leaves and stitched them on top of the sash embroidery.
- Another section of free-motion embroidery over threads was done to the right of the center back.
- To complete the resizing, I had to sew darts at the bust, which looked out of place with the coat's princess line.
- Once I sewed the darts, I hid the seams with more free-motion embroidery over threads.
I love the ethnic look of my finished project... I had to wear it as soon as it was done!!!
- I treated the stains with Clorox 2, hand washed it in cold water with Johnson's Baby Shampoo, and hung to dry.
- I pressed it, pinned it inside the area bordered by flat felled seams (turning under the edges to fit), and pressed again.
- I flipped it over and cut off the excess, leaving about 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around.
- I re-pinned it to the back.
- Some of the excess looked like it may work on the front pocket, so I cut a piece to fit, pressed the edges under, and pinned it on too.
*Shidong is a Miao minority village in Guizhou Province, China. It is known for its festivals and folk art, including the beautiful embroidery and unique silver jewelry and headpieces worn by the woman and girls. Visiting three minority villages in Guizhou Province was one of my favorite trips during the time we lived in China.
- Using heavy red button thread and a ladder stitch, I sewed the pieces to the vest front and back.
- On the vest back, I did an extra line of stitching along the bird's neck and back to prevent the applique from sagging.
- I ripped out all the flat felled seam stitching (not fun AT all) and trimmed the seams.
- I had some denim pieces I could use to make bias tape... too much effort involved! I looked for seam binding.
- I had blue, but not the right shade... also red, white, pink, silver, and black; I opted for red.
- I had heavy topstitching thread, in the same color already on the jacket.
There was a large enough embroidery scrap left over to also help fill the empty front of this black bag.
It's only been about a week since I removed two badly worn embroidered pieces I had sewn on the front of it about 12 years ago. It's the same bag that's on my shoulder in the 2006 jean jacket photo above. Now it's ready for another 12 years!
So, I have five fun 'new' garments, and all were completed without any additional supplies needing to be purchased.
And with the exception of the first one, there seems to be a common thread... red!
I'm going to clean up now, and clear room for making more stuff!