Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vintage Inspiration

Over the holiday while the kiddos discovered toys from my childhood, I discovered toys from the previous generation.  These doll clothes of my mother's from the late forties and early fifties have my creative gears turning.  {I'd like these in a size 3T and 5, please!}

First off, I've decided I need to learn to crochet and knit, stat.

And I'm thinking some things never go out of style.

I cannot imagine anything better than blue velvet capes.

I'm pretty sure I see farm girls in my future.

Glass buttons and lace leave me giddy.

And last but not least, I think you will agree that someone needs to recreate this fabric print, pronto.

So much fun, no?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Designer Fabric Pillows On the Cheap

I walked into my mom's living room this week after a few months absence and found the most gorgeous new pillows. I asked her about them and she confirmed my suspicions that she is the thriftiest sewer I've ever met.

Can you guess how much she spent on fabric for each pillow?

Two dollars. That's right, she spent $2 a pillow.  What's her secret for avoiding the $30+/yard price tag of home decor fabrics?  Did she buy during a big sale or purchase remnants on the cheap?  Nope.  She found discontinued samples of home decor fabrics at Joann's.  At a dollar per sample, she had just enough in each sample to make one side of a throw pillow (about 16" size) without having to waste the extra fabric should would have had to purchase if she were using by-the-yard fabric.

They work perfectly for a couch, but you could definitely do something similar for a bed or in a different shape such as a circle.  And off course, no one has to know you spent next to nothing, now do they?

(Oops, yes, I realize now that damask is sideways.)

What an excellent way to save big bucks without sacrificing style.  And I love that she mixed up her patterns and colors.  Bravo Mom.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mother Knows!

I received a birthday package in the mail from my mom:

"I thought of you when I saw these."  She wrote.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

needle and thREAD

I'm linking up to needle and thREAD today for the first time in ages!

needle and thREAD

Working on doll accessories at my place (for my new Etsy shop).  The latest is a colorful backpack.  Might I say how much I adore gloriously bright fabrics???

I'm not sure what I did to create this pattern, but it worked!  Isn't that the fun of sewing from scratch...going where ever the fabric takes you.

This is what would fill up a doll backpack in my house.  Not girly stuff, no, no.  Legos.

And a probably a Flash.  Marbles too.  My girls can't get enough of itty bitty things.

As for the reading, I'm finishing up Steven Pressfield's The War on Art still.  I'm filtering it through my Catholic worldview and finding a lot to chew on.  It's a book I wish I had read during my college years.  Definitely a book to have on your shelf, IMHO.

Thanks for stopping by!  Head over to Elizabeth Foss's place for more needle and thREAD.  You're sure to find sewing inspiration there...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Working With Border Prints

Lately, I've had this burning desire to design a red dress for myself, but since sewing clothing is temporarily off of my docket, the next best thing I can think of doing is stopping in here and talking about fabric and making clothes.  Would that be fun?

Today the subject of border prints is on my mind.  For a bit of background, here are examples of different types of prints and then an example of a border print.  There are directional prints that have an obvious "up" side:

There are two-way directional prints that generally have a motif arranged facing up and facing down so that you can cut them out in two directions. Like this:

There are tossed prints that look the same from any direction.  Like this:

(Well maybe I could have found more clear illustration of a tossed print, but aren't these Anna Maria Horner butterflies gorgeous?)

And then, as you can imagine, there are border prints that change designs from one side of the fabric to the other, such as this fun one:

Border prints are great because they pack such a big punch.  People sometimes think border prints must be cut out with the border near the hem.  Doing so is a great way to display the print and can look fabulous.  (Vintage clothes are chuck full of border print inspiration!)

But border prints can be used in other ways as well.  They can be laid out upside-down.


They can even be used vertically, like in this Mad Men blouse.

General garment construction rules considered (grain, for example), I don't think there is a wrong way to cut out a border print as long as the design is interesting.  I made a dress a couple of years ago and I'd love to experiment again.

The fabric I used for my dress was a relatively subtle border print on a sheer silk.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the fabric before it was cut, but the border was not very wide.   I decided to create an ombre effect.

Above the empire waist, I cut the fabric "right-side up" and on the skirt I cut the fabric "up-side down."

I could have arranged the fabric in any number of ways, but this way happened to feel *right* to me.

There was actually a small section at the very bottom of the border that was mostly red and had a geometric look to it from a distance.  I cut that part off and didn't even use it.  I wanted a composition that didn't stop the eye.

By the way, this is the pattern I used.

This dress was for a family wedding quite a while back and I haven't worn it since!  Such a shame.  I'd post a picture of how it looked on me, but all of my pictures are like this.

The dress is lovely, can't you tell?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Find Me On Etsy!

Oh goodness.  I am so excited to share the great news!  I've been working away in secret for several months now and am finally able to announce that I've opened an Etsy shop called Sparrow & Twig!

Here is a little sneak peak into my shop:

I think you may remember that fabric up on the right.

I'm focusing my shop on the doll you've seen here before, and pulling out all of the stops.

I plan to add new items weekly -- doll purses and capes and hats and mittens and other tiny treasures.

Just for fun, I'm offering felt cookie kits too!

One of the amazing things about this process of creating for my shop has been all of the ideas that have come swirling inside of my brain.  The more I immerse myself and dedicate myself to "my" style of sewing, the broader my creative vision has become.  It's as though I'm looking through a microscope and finding a million beautiful details to explore.

Please do stop by my new place by clicking here: Sparrow & Twig.  I'm having a shop warming party and you are invited!

And stop by again soon because I have quite a few fabrics that will be making an appearance over there. Like this sweetness:

*happy sigh*