Vogue V8869 Men's Fedora
What thoughts come to mind for Father's Day gift giving? Do you send or give only cards? Perhaps you shop for the perfect gift and still come away with less than what you wished to give him. Want to know a secret? Men adore handmade gifts from the heart.
Ask a few male friends or family members and they will most likely tell you given the choice heartfelt and handmade trumps store bought signs and mugs that read, "Greatest Dad". Maybe your little ones want to give that sign or mug to send the message they love their Dad and, they still can with a handmade gift from the heart.
A great example is the Men's Fedora Hat by Vogue (left). Toss out the thoughts that you could never sew this hat pattern! With only three pieces, lining and interfacing this is one gift idea to make in a few short hours. My husband gave me a great idea for the fabric with the suggestion of wool shirts and coats from the thrift store! Is there an old coat, tweed jacket, or wool shirt (make sure it's not in use anymore!) that could use new life? Upcycle into this amazingly easy to sew Fedora for Father's Day.
| |From Your Hands and Heart . . .Bring his new Fedora together with a hand knit tie! Knit ties seem to never go out of fashion and many men like to wear them for the versatility provided. I made the Black Wool Knit Tie (Right) based on a favorite tie of my husband. It takes minimal yarn and is perfect for learning decrease and increase in knitting. Knit Picks offers a free pattern or Custom Order a Knit Tie from Day Dreams. | |
| Click for pattern page |
A clever idea is the useful tool belt or apron.
Patterns are not actually a necessity to make a tool belt/apron, but they are handy for beginners in upcycle sewing. An old pair of jeans or two, a little time and you have a terrific gift that will keep giving!* Place your Special Gift Orders Today!
| MacGyverisms - Book Planters |
For the Dad who loves his gardening, this is a great gift idea that your little ones can help make!
Planters can be found in just about any form. Step out of the box and into the creative lanes. Look around your garage, basement, thrift shops and backyard for unique planter ideas. It's upcycling at it's finest!
Grampa deserves time too!
Personally, I am a huge fan of the gift of time. Hold off on the "Honey Do" list for a day and let Dad and his little ones choose how they spend the day together.
The internet holds thousands of craft ideas for making gifts, including the page at Red Ted Art
. With more than 40 links to handmade gift tutorials,
there is bound to be something you and the kids can create for Dad that is sure to fill his heart with love and pride.
Dads adore handmade from the heart; they're kind of cool like that. As you plan, search and create the gift for the perfect man in your life, I wish each of you success, joy and inspiration today and always!
We've all been there; well most people have. The unwanted extra weight seems to appear at the worst times: special dates, weddings, class reunions, dating, job interviews. My experience has been these unwanted pounds show up when you have planned the perfect outfit for the special occasion and...
... it doesn't fit. Not even close, so now what do you do?
A skilled seamstress or tailor begins to think of where to alter the apparel and give it a little lift and possibly, new life with a slight redesign. Someone not so experienced may hit the panic button.
Crash dieting won't get you anywhere, and in fact the weight tends to stay and/or increase. There are several options to solve this painful dilemma:
Redesigning is not for everyone; however, if you have the time, patience and the heart to take apart your favorite special outfit this is a good time to learn and understand garment construction. Below are a few tips and basic steps in reconstruction.
- Sketch your idea of reconstruction before you disassemble your garment.
- Dress forms are vital to a seamstress to assure proper fit and help tremendously with bringing your sketches to life.
- Beginning at seam joints to take apart your garment makes the job easier.
- Never "jab" the seam ripper. Instead, pluck a few threads at a time or gently glide through a stich at a time in the seam.
- Pin, Pin, Pin. They are easier to pull out than taking out mistakes in seams.
- Using your dress form helps visualize how your finished piece will look.
Panels added to the sides to increase the size of the bodice to a vest that fits. This is fabric from the removed sleeves.
Original bodice was joined to points at the shoulders with elastic, then draped into v-shaped long sleeves.
4 Basic Steps to Extreme Reconstruction
1. Make sure you understand where your garment is too tight and make your plans for redesign accordingly. Many formal garments will have enough seam allowance to let out the seams, but if the garment doesn't fit at all, adding in fabric or redesign will be the route taken (see #4).
2. Make a sketch of what your redesign will look like. Consider factors such as will you need extra fabric, hooks, embellishments, elastic, etc.? Is this a realistic design for you?
3. Search patterns for a basic variation of your design. For example, recently I redesigned a renaissance styled bodice (w/matching skirt) with four different types of fabric and patterns in the original bodice and skirt. A favorite vest pattern I have served as the 'guide' for the reconstruction of the bodice into the vest shown left and below.
I chose to turn the sleeves into the top and shoulders of the vest, keeping the body of the bodice intact. Side pieces were added in to make the vest into it's new size.
Finished vest from bodice. The only actual redesign was turning sleeves into shoulders and back of the vest.
4. Take it apart only where needed and start your reconstruction.
A few fun ideas for increasing sizes are:
- Add in side panels. Make them not so obvious by adding in fabric that contrasts or of a different texture.
- Take out sleeves and turn into a vest.
- Take out elastic in the waist and gain an additional 3"-4".
- Add in a top panel all around to the top of a skirt, with gathers below (2 - 3 paneled skirt).
- Open front of dress into a scoop line or v-neck; add in false front.
- Add color blocks in different shapes (Diagonals work best).
- Make backs of dresses into lace up style bodice.
Remember, don't panic, don't limit your ideas to reconstruction and remember to email or call me with your questions about reconstruction. Wishing you unlimited success and inspiration, today and always,
This was a challenge.
In all my years of sewing and DIY projects, I imagine I have enough experience to qualify as a professional "Handy Woman". I adore sewing; however, while alterations are good work with terrific outcomes there is a strong sense of satisfaction and pride from DIY or sewing repairs. Recently, I received a fun compliment when a loyal customer stated,"You are so talented you could make #@#$% look good!"
If I would have taken pictures over the past 30 odd years of all the last minute repairs of melted lace and beads on wedding gowns, torn suits, zippers, torn or shredded upholstery, broken and/or burned furniture, and recently a bathtub (the rust and lyme were so thick it took more than 20 hours of chipping and scrubbing to clean) there would be enough to publish a coffee table best seller! Extreme Repairs include that mess of fabric pictured above. The hood was burned in a welding accident. Metal pieces were melted into parts of the fabric and the poly fibers melted so much it turned to a plastic like material. Ahh yes, well...repairs that are extreme in nature seem to be how I roll!
Challenge: "See what you can do?"
The young man handed me his coat with the, "I can't believe I did this."
sort of look and asked me, "See what you can do with this?"
He bought it recently and was shocked at how fast the fabric melted (Good word of caution there - check the fabrics in your child's coats). First step:
Cut away burned areas and see what's left. I carefully seam ripped the hood off, having to actually cut away some. Once the hood was off, it looked quite repairable.
Second Step: Hood or Collar? I decided on collar since the owner told me he burned the second hooded jacket that same day. Ouch!
Starting to shape up, isn't it?
Cut 3" on the fold for the collar and matched the trapezoid for the burned panel.
I found suitable sport fleece in dark brown to make a collar. Measuring inside and outside the jacket from point to point of neckline, I cut the fabric for the repair. There was another issue; the trapezoid shaped panel (Grey) would need more than patching. It could not be removed as it had melted to the lining, fusing it like plastic in some places. I cut out a soft sport fleece (so not to irritate his neck area) to cover the burned canvas area shown.
Third Step: Home free at this point! The longest part, honestly, was picking out the burned fabric, pieces of metal and preparing the coat to receive a new collar. Once that was finished, attaching the collar was a cakewalk.
Following are a few more shots of the steps I took with some things you may want to watch out for if you have a repair such as this.
That's about it! It's how I roll on a day to day basis around here. There is always a new project waiting on the side lines for those days when I am not crocheting, designing, sewing, etc. Future challeges? Bring 'em on!
Wishing you all success and inspiration today and always,
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“I got work to get out. How can I get it out with somebody poppin' up behind my back all the time? Poppin' here, poppin' there, poppin' out to get a drink o' water, then poppin out to…what'da ya think I’m running here, a coffee clutch?” (Frank Faylen as Joe Gurt)
Betty Hutton in the "Perils of Pauline" . The Sewing Machine (1947) Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser.
What a fun tune, but I don't imagine those of us working from home are singing and dancing our way around our "offices". Do you find you can relate to both characters in the movie clip? The boss ranting he's got work to get out and it's impossible with all the interruptions, and the seamstress with her comical lamenting over a lack of social life. To be fair, these days those of us who work from are not working in sweatshops, nor do we have someone glaring at us if we do decide to break into a song and dance (sometimes you just have to!). What we do have is a unique issue that surfaces with careers at home: Remaining on task without guilt. Your work does count and it's important! Stop feeling guilty because you work from home.
If I could make a movie of a day in my chosen career as a Seamstress, it would play like this:
2.5 Hours of Bliss
5:30 a.m. my husband wakes me, greets me with a cup of coffee and kisses and we begin our day. Between waking up and about 8:00 a.m. there are no interuptions from text messages, phone calls and the like. It's time to read about the world outside of mine. It's 2 1/2 hours of peaceful time to prepare for my day. So far, so good...
Plans for Today?
8:00 a.m. and I let the dog out then, back in. I'm moving into the mode of planning my day while taking care of my morning tasks (dishes, bed made, etc.). My phone signals me when the first emails begin to arrive, and shortly after, a text or call. "It could be a sale or custom order, I should answer that. Oh, here's another one I need to read, better answer that. Oh shoot, just minimize the screen. I could spend hours answering these." I attempt to get back on task and the phone rings again, this time one of the kids. I have to get that one. It could be important.
With the phone to my ear, I wander into my work room and survey the tasks in front of me (Multi-tasking is second nature). A gown to finish letting out, coat that needs a zipper, then there is the quilt to continue working on. I wander back out and back in again getting things ready to work. I remind myself I still need to pull all the products and materials for the gallery in a few weeks. The call ends and I feel a little anxiety building. Just as I sit to begin the task in front of me, my phone rings again. This one I have to answer.
As I listen on the phone my eyes wander to the growing stack of personal projects.
Sigh. I'll get to them eventually. Right? I have to get busy, time to wrap up this call.
It's Mid Morning and while on the phone with several more calls (How can I not answer them? They could be important), the dog has gone back out and in, played a few minutes with her, finished at least one sewing task and invoiced it, started another task, prepared an item for mailing and brought in the mail. I've answered a dozen or more emails, started and changed over a load of laundry, and a loaf of bread in the bread maker. It's 10:00 a.m. Where has my morning gone? I've accomplished a few things, but not what I planned. I open the door to let guilt creep in.
A Mid Day Call from my husband during his lunch signals to me yet again, my day is half done (by his clock). I'm frustrated at this point and complain to my husband, followed with an apology for my manners; this isn't his problem. It's my guilt over the privilege to work from home. Knowing how my days usually go, it's time to get busy. Feeling frustrated with myself, I pour a cup of coffee and head to the work room.
Wait, why should I feel guilty? What I do is serious work. It's not glamorous days of sipping coffee while pinning photos, chats online or sunny day shopping trips to dozens of fabric stores. A quick review of all I have accmoplished in 4 short hours reveals I have run a home, paid attention to my family and business all at the same time. Not too shabby.
I have quite a few hours left in the day yet. There is time yet to pull this zipper out to prep for replacement and work a little more on other business tasks on my list. I have this! What was I worried about? Time to snicker at myself and kick it in gear.
Leave Guilt Alone
Try this: when you take a break in your day, make a written or mental note of everything - each - and - every-thing you have completed. Include your shower and dressing in that list (You would get dressed for a job in an office, right?). Make an approximate total of the hours it has been since you woke up. I am willing to bet at least half of your day was spent on your work or attending to other important details of your home/family life.
Moving Past the Guilt
Multi-tasking is a friend and so is being organized in a way that works for YOU. Feeling guilt is not going to finish the to-do list (When are they finished anyway?). Relaxing my mind reduces the anxiety brought by the unnecessary, self-induced guilt. Next, set a goal for the day with the objectives to get to that goal. When I cross that off my mental or written list, the feeling is 100% satisfaction.
6:00 p.m. and while there is no dinner even thought of, my husband comes home and I begin the second half of my day. With greetings exchanged, the gratuitous pat on the dog's head, we begin conversation over events of the day while my hands are busy working on the next crochet project. The evening moves on, life has not stopped because I did not finish a task on my to-do list.
I'll do better tomorrow (Enter Guilt from left stage...).
Wishing each of you success and inspiration for your career at home,
Have you ever worn a favorite pair of jeans or shirt to the point of thread bare? Trying to replace that item is next to impossible. If only you could recreate the same pair of jeans or that shirt.
There is always a doll whose clothes were lost long ago in the depths of a toy box. This sweet doll will be going to a new little girl and needs a new set of clothes. Buying new Barbie like clothes is expensive. They are so tiny, how do they cost so much? If only you could recreate those same expensive doll clothes.
You can remake your favorite garment or those sweet doll clothes, home accents and more. Don't worry! It really is much easier than it looks.
There are two approaches in reconstruction of garments. Some prefer the popular approach of pinning & tracing the garment in tact ( You can search online for great tutorials under *reconstruct garment*), while others prefer a different and more time consuming method of completely dismantling the garment.
I prefer to dismantle completely, or "deconstruction". Why? I get a better fit and can redesign any part I want to as I go. You will need a few items:
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Seam Ripper - I advise a quality seam ripper with a longer handle and shorter tip. My favorite is a soft grip long handle (easier on my wrists).
A pair of small Stork Snips or sewing scissors are handy as well.
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Easy to come by as this can be butcher paper, wrapping paper, newspaper, any kind of paper you can write on.
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Dress Form & Measurements are vital. Not so much the dress form, but the measurements, yes. If you are only remaking the garment with new fabric most likely you won't need to worry too much over measurements. If, however, you are remaking a pair of shorts that are too small, you will need your measurements to adjust the pattern you make to a new size.
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Fabric to remake the garment - Matching the fabric is not too difficult and you may be able to guess fairly close as to the orginal fabric, or pick a new one that is suitable. Another method is take a piece of the garment with you (after you have taken it apart) to the fabric store.
| || |Notions - Pins, needles, thread to match, buttons, zippers, etc. Save as much of the notions from the garment as is possible!
Will you need interfacing? Jean snaps? Assess and list all your notions needed on your notes or new pattern.
A tape measure and marking pen or chalk will be handy.
Unsure of sewing in a zipper? See Sewing 101 for a quick guide.
Take a Deep Breath because you will start by making your first cuts in the seams. Where you begin will be determined by the garment itself (i.e., Jeans begin at the waistband) A few words of caution here: Never "push" through the seam. Yes, it's a seam ripper, but gently use the blade to cut the threads just a few at a time. The correct method is to pull stitches out one at a time using the point of the tool; however, when taking apart a garment for a pattern, you can open the seams and begin cutting stitches as in the picture below.
While you take apart your garment, pay attention to how it is constructed. It is advisable to write out (some draw) how each piece was sewn together (i.e, Flet Felled Seams, Rolled Hems, facings in tops, Sets in Sleeves, Darts, etc). I mark the pieces as I go, for example, Sleeve, Facing, Waist Band, etc. In essence, you are creating your own "view" of a pattern to keep.
Tip: Now is a good time to begin thinking of additions or changes to your garment. Did you want a pocket on that shirt? Perhaps the sleeves weree just a little too long or short. Write those down too.
Once your garment is taken apart you should have all the main pieces necessary to do one of two things: Trace the pieces directly onto the new fabric for your garment, creating matching points, etc. Or, you can trace it onto paper (recommended). Tracing to paper will allow the freedom to increase or decrease in size as you need. With your pattern traced and cut out you can also work with it on your dress or body form (should you have one).
Make sure you mark where buttons are placed, hem lines, and allow 1/4" - 5/8" seam allowances. Also, on your paper pattern you have the ability to place notes to yourself about placement, changes in size, etc.
Pattern Tracing Paper - http://www.centerforpatterndesign.com/products/pattern-tracing-paper
You have conquered the hardest part - deconstruction. The sewing is the fun part! Go back to your notes and see what you wanted to change while you are reconstructing your favorite garment. Make it yours! Be sure to refer back to your notes and pattern during reconstruction. Remember, that's why you wrote it all down!
The Finishing Touches
Are you excited? This is in essence, the beginning designer in you. Pants, Shirts, Dresses, Jackets, all have their own steps to construction; however, it's the additions or changes you make during and after that will make this your own! A giant plus to deconstruction or making doll clothes is you learn how clothes are designed. Be creative, free and let your imagination roam while you reconstruct or design your new garment.
I wish you success and inspiration in making your new garment!
National Craft Month escaped me until I spotted a sale ad. I made a note to use that as a blog theme, but what to write that has or has not already been written? I'll let that topic brew for a bit while I work on this other project (cue idea bulb)... brew?
Where's a Dimmer Switch when you need one? It's no secret among family and friends I am not the only artisan in the house; my husband is an artisan with home brews. My respect for his skills are born not only of the end results, but also from having recently proclaimed, "I can make a brew and you can help me." He makes it look so easy - if you can cook you can make home brew. Right? Ummmm, no. My efforts would have been a topic for "Craft Fail" had it not been for his love of home brewing and of me (of course!).
Home Brew labels are my department. This was our Python Pale Ale.
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I never said all my ideas are good. My husband found a recipe for a Cranberry Wit and after he read the ingredients to me I proclaimed, "I'll make that one, how hard can it be?".
He buys some ingredients, and some we have fresh on hand. He boils, stirs, uhhh, adds stuff...oh, I'll just follow the recipe.
"Ooookaaaay, if you want to make a brew, I'll help where you need me."
Following a home brew recipe is like handing a pattern to my husband with no directions to sew. That is not exaggerating. The recipe I had to work from was a list of ingredients, many of which had to be substituted to change over from an all grain brew to the extract option, and the following for instructions:
Substitute flaked wheat and Belgian Pilsner malt with 1 lb. (0.45 kg) pale malt, 1 lb. (0.45 kg) wheat malt, 1 lb. (0.45 kg) wheat dried malt extract and 4 lb. 2 oz. (1.9 kg) wheat liquid malt extract. Steep crushed grains in 3 qts. (2.8 L) of water at 150 °F (66 °C) for 45 minutes. Combine “grain tea,” dried malt extract and water to make 3.0 gallons (11 L) of wort. Boil 60 minutes. Add hops and spices at times indicated in the all-grain recipe. (Bring wort to boil for 20 minutes then add sterling and golding hops. Two minutes later add a tea bag of biter orange, cinnamon, coriander, grains of paradise.)
Add liquid malt extract for final 15 minutes of boil. Cool to 70 °F (21 °C), transfer to fermenter and top up to 5 gallons (19 L). Pitch yeast. Ferment at 70 °F (21 °C).
The ingredients and equipment are ready in the kitchen. I stood looking at all the items wondering what to do first, while my husband is busy mixing this, stirring that, preparing the yeast (he keeps yeast growing at all times) and doing something with the malt powder. I was still trying to figure out how to make a "tea bag" to put the required ingredients in, let alone reading the instructions for the twentieth time. FYI, a tea bag is not required as it will all be caught in the strainer when it's poured in the carboy for primary fermentation.
I decide to dive in and get started by picking a corner out of the way. As I watched his movements it occured to me he really is an artist with this. Then I thought, I have NO idea what I am or should be doing. The following occured over the first 30 minutes:
It really is as pretty as this. One of our Hop Vines,
Me: "So, what should I be doing about now?"
Husband: "Well, right now we're just going to bring the temp in the water to a set point, then we'll add the grains."
I'm watching a pot waiting for it to boil.
Me: "What do you do while you wait for the water to boil?"
Husband: "I usually prepare the yeast, malt, sock the grains, and stuff."
The water is finally to temp and the grains are gently set into the water in a gauze sock. I take to my corner again and watch as he gently stirs the "grain tea". With precision steps he continues mixing, swishing, checking, and finally stops and leans against the counter.
Me: "What do you do while the wort is boiling? Do you have to stay here and watch it?"
Husband: "Normally, yes."
Me: "You mean you just stand here?"
Husband: "Yes, and drink beer." (Now I understand the "brew parties" in garages)
My mind is not setting with this notion of just watching something boil, stirring now and then. Especially not for 60 minutes. He leaves me to watch the wort and it begins to boil over, as I'm hollering for him to come help. Nice mess that leaves by the way.
Me: "Can I tell you something?"
Husband (Grinning): "Sure."
Me: "This is NOT for me. There is too much waiting. Will you be upset if I ask you to finish this?"
Husband: "Only if you agree to the next time you get the idea to brew your own I can remind you of this."
Me: "Trust me, this is not for me. Helping is one thing. The waiting around is another. I have to be doing something."
Husband: "I know, Patience."
He's left happy and in his element of brewing up a wonderful batch of Cranberry Wit. I'm left sulking and wondering what was so hard about all of that? I can read and comprehend, follow instructions and I'm a terrific cook. It was the standing, watching and waiting that turned my creative side off.
Why was the idea of brewing difficult for me? With a bit of reflection the answer arrived. My hands and mind are always busy with sewing, stitching, crochet, cooking, writing, etc. There is no waiting and watching with any of these.
With brewing, once the ingredients and equipment are set up and in motion it's something like combine, stir, wait, drink, think, repeat. I know more goes into it but to make my point I'm keeping it simple.
| |Home Brewing Is an Art.
Home brews take time, passion and patience. Way more patience than what I am capable of. There is a degree of patience with sewing, crochet and writing, but not the kind that is required for brewing. It's the same kind of patience applied to cooking a fabulous meal and presenting it with pride. Personally, I am quite proud of my husband's home brews. He has presented many bottles, labeled with care in and placed in carefully selected cartons to our family and friends - each received with compliments to the brewer.
As you celebrate, write, create and make noise about March being National Craft Month, keep in mind that art comes in all forms, including culinary arts. Oh, for those of you who are home brewers, here is the Cranberry Wit recipe found on Brew Your Own online magazine.
I promise honey, I won't ask to brew again. I'll taste test and assist and keep you company now and then in the kitchen when you are brewing.
With that, I wish each of you inspiration and success in your next batch of home brew and other projects you set out to do. Cheers!
I've been a little nervous about this post. It reminds me of my very first post on February 06, 2012. I'm as nervous about showing the new designs as I was the day of my first launch. This is, essentially, my first presentation of several designs at once. Anxiety perhaps? Maybe, but more along those lines of how an artist feels presenting his or her precious paintings or hand thrown pottery. I'm stalling with each word I type.
While I worked at cleaning up the pictures taken of my daughter (Thank you dear daughter for modeling for me!) wearing the pieces I created something struck me. Her birthday is in August; Peridot is her birthstone color. She has the perfect skin and hair color to wear Peridot. Then it hit me that I had focused on Peridot as a featured color in the new designs. It couldn't be more fitting of an introduction to Pretty in Peridot.
Crocheted Spring Hat, with a cloche appearance.
My favorite features of the designs would be colors first, then the cotton. The pieces are light, easy to move in, and feel soft against the skin. Each piece can be dressed up or down with light wraps, scarves or hooded wraps. The crocheted hemp beach sandals complete a more casual look for lunch at the shore, or dress the entire ensemble up with a pair of your favorite Espadrilles.
You may have seen the poster and my shouting out to the world about the RAW Omaha Gallery.
This entire line and a few other pieces will be available for purchase or custom orders during the RAW Omaha presentation on April 10, 2013.
Patterns for all items will be made available to the public during the showcase in Omaha and shortly after on the website. Wishing you all great success and inspiration, today and always,
Not counting today, there are 5 days left until the Spring Feature from Day Dreams Custom Sewing & Handmade Gifts!
I've been working hard on new designs, and still have patterns to write, but it will be 5 days - okay, with large amount of coffee it will be 5 days. So....excited!
Wishing you success and inspiration, today and always,
All new apparel with coordinating accessories, home decor and special gifts!
"Fabric and yarn are my canvas, threads are my paint and notions are the tools I use to create works of art." S. Marchman-Day
As more people upcycle and think of the impact their purchases make on the environment, sewing, knitting and crocheting have increased in popularity with a deeper interest in learning the skill sets of these arts.
When working with serious projects, upcycling or repurposing, each requires a basic knowledge or an understanding of the differences between all the fabulous colors of yarn, wool, fabrics and threads available. If you want your project to stand above the rest, make sure you know how to find information about your materials.
What’s All the Fuss?
Those of us with some fiber art experience have an embedded picture in our memory of a failed project made with the wrong yarn, thread or fabric. It’s a good lesson actually; one that I recommend everyone working with fiber arts experience just once. When you do, you will understand why.
There is a good reason for manufacturer or distributor labels on your fabric, yarn and threads. It’s the same reason all items are labeled – to tell you what you’re buying and how to use it. If you purchase the wrong yarn or wool, you could be in for that failed project mentioned earlier. Take a look at the labels or “wraps” on a few yarns and the information each provides. Most show how to wash, what the weight is, the fiber content and how many yards or ounces you are purchasing. Some show dye lots to try and match materials when you need more.
Tip: If the label is missing and you are unsure of the content of the yarn, try this: Take two ends of the fiber and fray them slightly. Wet the ends and try to rub them together. If they felt together, you have wool. If not, it’s most likely an acrylic or blend of acrylic and other fiber.
Sewing thread has specific labels as well. On the top, have you ever noticed it says, “All Purpose” or “Quilting”? Threads are marked specifically for different projects. Quilting thread is thicker, just as button twine is. All purpose thread is fine, thin and made of cotton or polyester/cotton blends. Threads are also sold in silk and clear vinyl.
Click pic for PDF
Here is a neat little download - a Thread Advisor from Coats & Clark
Tip: If the label is missing from the top, bottom or both, try the burn test. Over a sink or outside, hold the thread in tweezers or hemostats. Light an end. If it melts you have polyester. If it turns to ash, it’s cotton. Some say they can tell by feel, but I’ve found better luck w/the burn test.
| |Regarding fabrics,
one piece can provide a good amount of information, as demonstrated by this post from * iKnitQuiltSew, “What Can A Piece of Fabric Tell You?”
In her post she shares an easy way to learn about fabric by the “label” on the selvage.
Tip: If you have purchased lengths or scraps from a thrift store or yard sale and the selvage is missing (usally the case) you will quickly see if it’s cotton or a blend of cotton and some other fabric by the feel and most times, weight. Polyester (or knit) will have a defined give or stretch to the fabric and there are some that have distinct characteristics such as tulle, chenille, wool, silk, and satin.
You may not have the specific information as to the percentages of blends in your fabrics, but you should have a good idea of what the fabric is and if it will suit your purpose. If you are unsure, ask someone to help you. Many are quite willing to share their knowledge of sewing skills!
To help take some of the mystery out of your fiber(s), why not make and carry your own book of swatches when you are shopping. No need for your swatch book to be large – an address book will work (Yes, they still make those!). Tape or glue swatches of a variety of fabrics, yarns, wools and threads in your book and label with the information you feel is important to you and the projects you frequently make. For example, if you quilt, what is the style, size and type of quilting thread you normally use? For knit or crochet, what is the weight you normally use to make the hot selling baby layette set? You get the idea.
Don’t let yourself be intimidated with all the information placed on the wraps and tags of fabrics, threads, yarns and wool. It’s easy to be confused and when that happens, consult your swatch book, pattern or ask someone in the store. Or, you could always throw caution to the wind and like me on occasion, get daring and purchase that beautiful piece of fabric or hank of yarn (or wool?) knowing there will be a use for it soon!
Wishing you great success and inspiration with your fiber arts today and always,
Those of us living in geographical areas with defined seasonal changes understand how color can be transformative, but have we really considered the impact of color? I watch the calendar and the weather for a week at a time, waiting for the days to warm. Then I remember I can color away my fever by changes in the colors around me.
Before you leave the post asking, "What does that have to do with me? You promised tutorials in ... " . Hang in there with me, you will find out.
The topic of color, trends and change is helping me move successfully through this time of year without going absolutely batty; though more important, it is intended to help readers arrive at the threshold of spring with renewed spirit and outlook in areas a person wishes to apply change.
"Color is tranformative. It can change a view from bleak to prosperous; in feel and appearance."
SMarchman-Day, Color Fever
Have you considered how color is transformative? Think about the color grey. The color evokes several images: luxury and wealth or poverty and despair. Now think of the color white. I imagine weddings, ceremonies, babies, or the word "clean" all come to mind. Now, think of your favorite color. What does it feel like? Warm and happy? Successful and prosperous? I can't imagine anyone would choose a favorite color to lead them to feeling bleak or despair (not even those who like Goth, as the dark colors make them happy).
Color In The Small Spaces First
Stand in front of your closet or dresser, and take a long hard look at the colors. Chances are they are dark colors, suitable for winter. If you are one of the people who already change your wardrobe between seasons, yay for you! But, I'm going to tell you to take that practice up a notch and add color changes to your ritual.
I know you're not made of money (even if you are this is good stuff!) and cannot afford to buy new clothes every season. You CAN afford the tips shared below to transform your closet from bleak to prosperous:
- Dye clothing with quality dyes
- Upcycle clothing
- Accessorize with colorful classics (scarves, shoes, bold statement pieces)
- Use a fabric whitener to bring whites back to whites
- Have a Clothing Swap Party - Trade off with friends and family in a house party. Donate the remainder to thrift shops or charity.
- Dare to mix and match prints (Trust me, it works!)
| |Next, Color In the Big Spaces
Changing color in your home decor DOES NOT have to be expensive! Remember I mentioned in a post several weeks back about the trends for this season (The Second Golden Rule)
that adding a splash or pop of color can be all a room (and your mood) needs? Let's call this coloring in the big spaces, or "Spring Cleaning". Try these ideas to help color away the blues:
- Deep clean - Wash or dry clean curtains, pillows and anything else that is fabric. Every day use can leave fabrics discolored, yellowed, dusty, etc. Hint: Use a little lavender in the wash water if you wash pillows and curtains.
- No curtains and only blinds? Wash your blinds (the shower works great for this task!) and then hang new handmade color block banners across them. Any shape can be made from your scrap stash; the more colors, the better! Use hemp twine or stitch to t-yarn when you string your treasures.
- Re-cover pillows in color blocks, add shapes with bright prints or add texture and visual appeal with crocheted flowers or doilies.
- Make new throw rugs from old t-shirts or sweaters (Click HERE for How-To, Pioneer Rag Rug)
- Upcycle your bath towels into new kitchen towels.
- Wash those old knick knacks that are hidden and bring them forward! Chances are you have a few retro pieces in the old gold and green. Work them in your decor as conversaton and/or show pieces!
- Make new chair covers or pads with bright color blocks. Don't be afraid of yellows, reds, and oranges. They make a room pop in the right amounts.
- Browse the blanket section in thrift shops. You will find amazing works of art in crocheted or knitted throws that hold fabulous colors! Granny squares, yes! Flower motifs, yes!
I think you get the idea with the tips above. Just keep in mind that color transformation does not have to cost a fortune to make you feel good or prosperous and it's your wardrobe and home decor. What ever colors motivate and inspire you, celebrate with them while you color the blues away.
Wishing you much success and inspiration today and always,