Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning to Sew Lasts a Lifetime

Sewing is a foundation for many crafts. I've been sewing for more than fifty years, and like to teach and write about sewing and crafts.  Many people who sew do not realize that the fabric much be cut with the grain to hang properly. Preparing the fabric is not difficult, but is important to being a good seamstress. Wash the fabric and dry it like you will be drying it after the item is completed. Wash zippers and seam tape, too. This will avoid shrinkage at stitching lines.

Using a pattern is another important step in sewing, and sometimes it is not as easy as we might think. Most name brand patterns have detailed instructions for layout of the pattern to be sure you are cutting with the grain, and also for getting the most out of your fabric.

There are also a few good books on sewing. I learned to sew with the Singer book and 4-H projects, but there are also some new books on sewing that are good guides for learning techniques, and for use with any sewing machine. I have the Reader's Digest book and like it, but I bought it later, long after I learned to sew.

See you soon with more needlework crafts and stitching fun.



We have about 1500 sewing patterns that are vintage and collectible, but uncut and unused that are great to use for sewing projects, and much less expensive than new patterns today. I must confess that I am frugal beyond words, but refuse to buy a cut pattern, since they may be missing parts.

I finally set up a page to divide out the different groups of sewing patterns we have available for sale and thought I would share it with you. These are patterns you can buy from a marketplace website I sell on.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sew a Chicken Potholder Fun Free Crafts Pattern


Make a chicken potholder or oven mitt for a fun crafts project. Recycle some fabric or scraps and smile as you do it, then put the completed project to use in the kitchen. This spring chicken is also a good usable gift for a friend, and easy enough to make several in an afternoon.

The chicken has an eight-inch circle quilted base and it takes two of the chicken shape and one red felt scrap to make the top part.

This crafts pattern comes from some of these I made years ago, and I do not know where I got the original idea.

See you again soon with more needlework crafts sewing and stitching fun.


Needlework Crafts Sewing and Stitching Fun

Monday, February 15, 2010

Framing Needle Art Pictures and Needlework Crafts for Future Beauty


Crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery and needlepoint are often fabric pictures to be framed, and as an avid garage sale runner, I see all kinds of framing and damage to needle art pieces that are not very old. With all the work that goes into needle arts, framing should not take a minor role, but should enhance the beauty of the piece as well as protect it for years to come.

Most needlework needs to be blocked before framing, and glass on a frame should not touch the needle art. How to avoid the glass touching? Leave off the glass or use a mat or shadowbox frame.

We hope you frame your work to be your legacy long after you are gone.

There are books written on this subject, but we have tried to condense some instructions in just a few words. Here is one of the books I have seen on this subject:


See you soon!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Identify Antique and Vintage Quilts Quilting Crafts

Can you Identify Antique and Vintage Quilts?

Can you tell new from old quilts? Quilting has been a frugal living project for women, primarily, for at least the past 200 years, and occasionally we see an old quilt on the market or at an antiques show.  Many of the quilts we see are NOT OLD, although the seller claims they are.  This usually occurs because the seller has not studied the quilt to determine the age.  There are some interesting ways to tell the difference in an old quilt and a new one.

One of the most common ways to tell old quilting is from the fabrics, since we did not have polyester blends until the 1960s.  Most of the quilts made in the first half of the Twentieth Century were made of cotton, many of feed sack prints or chintz flower prints. The colors of fabrics available for a quilt also tell the historical setting. 

Another way to tell an old quilt is to hold it to the light. If you see bumps or dark spots, check to see if these are cotton seeds. Old cotton batting was not smooth like we use today.

I grew up in West Virginia, the home of the Mountain Artisans, and grew up with quilts and quilting.  This is a fascinating fabric art form with a long history.  Hope you find it interesting, too.

See you soon, with a quilt block in my hand.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quilting Techniques are Different from Sewing. Did you Know?

Quilting crafts use a different set of rules from standard sewing, but many who do not quilt often or have not read the quilting books do not know the differences.  If you want to try your luck at quilting, you might want to be forewarned.

One of the major differences is in pressing seams.  Quilting seams are not pressed open like they are in sewing.  Pressing seams open will allow the batting to slip through the stitches, so quilters know to press the seams to the darker fabric side.

The rotary cutter is a great invention for quilters, and it can have some practical purpose for anyone who sews.  Most people who sew do not use a rotary cutter, because it is commonly known as a quilting tool.  If you sew a lot, a rotary cutter and mat will become tools for sewing, not just quilting.

If you want to learn to quilt and you already sew, just a few techniques will make a difference in your skill level.

With the weather looking like real winter, it is a great time to sew or quilt.  Even without electricity, you can still sew by hand and do needlework crafts.  

See you soon with more fun crafts. 


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Make Ribbon Embroidery Pleated Flowers Crafts

crafts blog silk ribbon

Ribbon embroidery flowers are great for crafts fun, but they are also attractive for package wrapping or making an embroidered picture.  We have written about silk ribbon embroidery in previous blogs, but this is a flower that we have not given directions for making.  It has some versatility because it does not have to be made of silk ribbon, and it can be made in different sizes, depending on the length of ribbon used.

The flower in the picture is about an inch in diameter not counting the leaves, and it takes about sixteen inches of 3/8 inch polyester ribbon. Pleat the entire ribbon with inverted pleats stitched in place. Then stitch as you wind the pleated ribbon with a circular motion. Add a green leaf to the back and tack into place.

We hope January went well for you, and that February gets a little warmer than it started out.  We are starting to work on income taxes, since we are DIY people and do our own. 

See you again soon!