Tutorial: Scrappy Pieced Scarf

With the holiday season closing in on us, I thought some more tutorials might be useful to those of you who like to handcraft your gifts.

The first new tutorial I have for you is the basic Scrappy Pieced Scarf. This scarf can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to make it.  This is a great way to use up scraps in your fabric stash, and the instructions can easily be adapted for charm packs, leftover quilt blocks, or fabric strips. In the directions here, I’ll be working with simple, unpieced sections of fabric, but I encourage you to be creative and to experiment. [Read more...]

How-To: Bleach Discharged Velvet Bag, Part 1

Bleach Discharged Velvet

For an easy and effective do-it-yourself vintage technique, there’s nothing quite like bleach-discharged velvet. In addition to removing dye and giving your fabric a lovely, time-worn look, the bleach also changes the texture of the fabric, and it will feel soft and well-loved.  Although you can bleach-discharge any color of velvet, I find that I like the results best when I use black velvet with a high rayon content.  Your finished piece will vary depending on the combination of dyes used by the manufacturer to make it black.  In the example above,  the bleach left behind a beautiful golden color, but it’s possible that your fabric may have a slightly more red or green cast when it is finished.

Before bleach-discharging your velvet, you will need to decide whether or not you want your finished piece to be patterned.  For example, you might want to tightly fold the piece to achieve a linear effect with the bleach, or you may decide to loosely scrunch it, as I did, for a softer, mottled look.  I suggest experimenting with a few smaller pieces to see what you like.  In any case, you shouldn’t expect your pattern to be sharply defined unless you are using a resist to prevent the bleach solution from spreading across the fabric.

For excellent instructions on various ways to bleach-discharge your fabric, go to this article by Lois Ericson, from the pages of Threads magazine.  Lois also tells you where to purchase bleach-neutralizing chemicals, which are an essential ingredient, along with bleach and water.  I highly recommend following Lois’ suggestion to wear gloves.  It’s also best to do this outdoors, if at all possible.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a photo of my finished bag, along with some basic construction information and lessons learned the hard way.

Wristlet Key Fob

Key Fob with Batik Trim

I’ll soon be selling these key fobs in my shop, but if you’re crafty, you can try making one yourself.  Simply use a piece of cotton webbing twice the length of the drop you want, sew on a ribbon or fabric trim, then fold the webbing in half and enclose the raw edges within the hardware. Be sure you place a cloth around the hardware before you pinch it shut with pliers, so as to avoid scratching the finish.  The drop measurement will depend on the size of your hand, but five or six inches is usually sufficient, so cut your webbing 10-12 inches long.

I’ll try to post my favorite handbag and accessory supply sources in a few days, including a source for the hardware you see here.

About the shop – I had planned on having some items available for purchase by May 3rd, but due to an unexpected trip and some unplanned events over the next 2 weeks, I’ve had to push the date back until the 3rd week of May. I’ll fill you in later on what’s going on!

1930s Reproduction Fabrics


Log Cabin Quilt - 1930s Reproduction Fabrics

Several years ago I had a small collection of 1930s reproduction fabrics, and it was then that I made the log-cabin quilt pictured here.  I’m not always interested in traditional fabrics, but I find the 1930s reproductions very appealing.  They have a comforting, soothing effect on me, even the bright and crazy ones, especially when they’ve been used with a traditional pattern. In the quilt above, I used a cotton batting (can’t remember which one), and after some shrinking of the batting in the wash, I can almost convince myself that I have an authentic 1930s quilt.  Almost.

I’ve recently rediscovered 1930s reproductions, and love the prints that fabric designer Darlene Zimmerman has created.  I’ll soon be seeking out some of these prints, possibly for use in some wristlets and tote bags. You can see her designs here, on the Robert Kaufman website, so go over and take a look!

How-To: Easy Fabric Embellishment for Wearable Art or Accessories

Embellished Fabric

Sometimes we are intimidated by what looks like a complex project, and our otherwise beautiful garment, handbag, or accessory is missing that wow factor that makes it extra special.  However, many embellishment techniques are really quite simple. Some may take a bit longer than others, but they aren’t as complex as they may seem.

[Read more...]