Needle Arts

Something Blue Pouch

something blue

This little whimsical lace and blue-cream fabric pouch started out from some leftover fabric remnants. I’m always on the lookout for small projects that I can make from leftover remnants of fabrics that I’ve saved from my numerous craft projects. I’m a sucker when it comes to fabrics and could never pass up a beautiful piece of fabric I really like, no matter how small. The bad part is that I could never throw away small leftover pieces of fabric. A few years back, I painted a tree of life for my niece’s wedding and it got me thinking about giving her a small handmade token of some kind, since we don’t have any heirloom piece in our family.

One of the traditions that came to mind was “something borrowed, something blue”. This is a tradition that dates back to the Victorian era, and each word in the famous poem really has a warm and touching meaning. So I decided to make her something blue, and not the more traditional things like jewelry, a hanky or a piece of clothing. I decided to make her this small simple keepsake and a bit of an abstract pouch (pictured above) that could be used to insert the traditional silver sixpence coin or any small silver piece, her favorite fragrance flower pedals or even potpourri. The pretty blue and cream floral print fabric is from a vintage fabric I reclaimed from an old dress.

I loved the floral print of this blue and cream colored dress, and carefully cut the dress into 4″ x 4″ squares, being careful to cut around the flower clusters in the fabric’s pattern. I folded the square in half, sewed the edges together to form a small pouch, cut a blue heart shape from a reclaimed pair of blue jeans, another (slightly larger) heart shape from a cream colored textured cotton fabric, and cut a small white piece of lace on which to rest the blue denim heart. Once I sewed and tacked these pieces together, I took a small cream colored fresh water pearl (leftover from another craft project) and sewed it in the center of the denim heart, again sewing through all the fabric layers to keep everything together.

Although I used small beautiful remnant fabrics and the pearl for this project, a special and meaningful gift can be created from any kind fabrics or even reclaimed pieces of clothing you love.

Beading A Deep Pink Blouse

Sometimes we have clothing items that we’ve outgrown or have fallen out of love with or maybe it’s just lacking a little pizazz! Whatever the reason, I’ve found that what always works for me is to take out all of my colorful beads and set them out on a piece of fabric on the dinning room table. I then study all of the beautiful colors of the sparkling beads next to that article of clothing and it’s easy to imagine them already sewn on and make the final decision. The beads I used on this embroidered deep pink blouse are not necessarily the most traditionally used style of beads, but rather what I thought would give the blouse an accent and subtle sparkle without taking away the focus from the beautiful embroidery on this blouse. After I sewed the crystal beads on the blouse, I realized I had leftover quite a few deep pink crystal beads and decided to make a set of matching earrings.

A very long time ago, I had dabbled in making earrings because I couldn’t find the style of drop pearl earrings to match my wedding dress. I had bought earring findings–packets of head pins, eye pins, jump rings, earring hooks, faux pearls and jewelry pliers to make my drop pearl earrings. I was very happy with the outcome of my loop pearl earrings and saved all of the leftover pieces. I dug around and found the small box containing those findings that I needed to make matching earrings for this deep pink blouse.

Giving used clothing a beaded look could be very rewarding and depending on the size of the beads, not too tedious. You can use larger special types of beads as an accent on the blouse especially if the article of clothing already has beautiful embroidery or an interesting pattern. Beading can be used as an accent rather than the focus of any piece. So don’t be afraid to try out new projects with items of clothing that could use Just a little of your creative touch. Thank You for your visit!

Reclaimed Fabric Appliques

One of the fastest and easiest ways to give a plain piece of clothing a new look is the use of fabric appliques. I’ve been collecting appliques for decades. I’ve bought appliques now and then at good clearance sales, and have even reclaimed some from sweaters, jackets and dresses I’ve bought at garage sales or vintage shops. I tend to buy black appliques more than any other color, but I do have several appliques in white and beige.

Occasionally, I’ve come across an unusual collar, like the large black beaded collar piece pictured here. This beaded collar is from a sweater I bought at a vintage shop. I sewed the beaded collar piece onto a black blouse I have and wear it with a black/brown print jacket. Appliques are very easy to sew and tack onto any piece of clothing. You can use a matching color thread and depending on the thickness of the fabric, use a heavy duty thread for heavy fabrics (like denim), or a lighter thread for delicate fabrics (like silk). Another great advantage of enhancing any article of clothing with an applique is that it’s not permanent, so if you should ever find a more beautiful applique, you can always remove it and sew on the new one in its place.

Sometimes you may come across a damaged dress or blouse that is very ornate with beautiful features, but it’s bottom edge is ripped or mangled. Well you can still reclaim the dress or what have you by cutting out the ornate applique features and using those cut pieces as appliques on your own article of clothing. Appliques are easy to sew onto any blouse, sweater, dress, jacket or even a purse because they are already affixed to a sturdy mesh backing. Most appliques are so beautiful that you can also use them in an art project. So the uses for these appliques are limited only to your imagination.

Reclaimed Wood Abstract Doll

I’ve always wanted to try making an abstract doll of some kind, but had no idea where to even start. Four months ago, I experimented and drew a simple shape on a piece of scrap wood I found in our basement and asked my husband to cut out the drawn shape. Although the shape was simple, it was also a bit crude as the shape had a round head (no neck), a squarish torso and a bell shaped skirt bottom for the lower body. The doll measures 17 inches tall (including the base on which she is perched) and 11-1/2 inches wide (at its widest point of the wood skirt/body).

I thought I’d make the doll’s arms with wire and envisioned bending her wired arms, attaching a small bouquet of flowers to her hands and her (wire arms) holding them up near her face as if to smell them. That’s when I thought of painting her face with closed eyes as if she was taking in the fragrance of the flowers. I did paint the doll’s face with her eyes closed, but the plan to use wire arms did not work out, so I ended up leaving the doll’s face painted with her eyes closed.

I wanted to make some kind of outfit for the doll using as much of my reclaimed fabrics as possible. Looking through my old fabrics, I found a very pretty light pink (polyester) fabric that was perfect because I had so much of this fabric that if I made any mistakes on any part of the outfit, I could start all over again without worries of running out of fabric.

I held the fabric up to the doll’s waist, pinned the fabric a half inch longer for the hem allowance at both ends, cut the fabric and held the fabric against the doll, roughly gathering it to get an idea of how full/wide to make the full length skirt. I tripled the width and then cut the fabric. I made a simple running stitch hem at the waistline and ran a bigger basting stitch at the top edge of the waistline so I could pull the fabric, gathering it at the waist. The skirt began to fully gather and take a beautiful shape. Once the fabric was more or less evenly gathered around the waist, I knotted the thread to hold that tension. For a closure at the waist I sewed a very small snap (base), then sewed the other snap (top half) to the other end at the waist. I left a two inch opening at the waist below the snap closure, hand sewed a quarter inch hem straight down to seal both open fabric panels at the back of the skirt and then sewed them together to complete the skirt. I ironed the entire skirt and surprisingly the fabric turned out very nice and full ,considering I did not use a petticoat underneath.

Because the skirt was so plain, I decided to crochet a pretty beige trim about an inch from the bottom edge of the skirt and continued crocheting all the way around. I used a 00 size crochet needle and crocheted the trim with three double-crochet stitches. I pinned the crochet trim to the skirt as I continued to crochet the trim all the way around the base of the skirt. I removed one pin at a time and hand sewed the trim to the skirt with matching beige thread.

I ended up making the doll arms from two square pieces I cut from my old black sweatshirt. I rolled up the squares, pulling on the stretchy fabric and hand sewing them into a rough arm shape. Since the doll had no shoulders, I hot glued (and tacked down) each of the arms to an approximate place where they looked best on either side of doll’s torso. I made the little hands from polymer clay and pierced a hole in the top part of the clay wrists before baking them so that I could later sew (attach) them onto the (sweatshirt) arms.

The jacket was made from two squares of the same pink fabric. I measured the two squares by eye, cut and then sewed them together, cutting the front square down the middle so the jacket would be open in front. I left two holes on either side near the top of the squares so I could sew on sleeves. The sleeves were also squarish in shape and very loosely made so that I could put the doll arms into the sleeves. I later crocheted the shawl around the doll to make it look like she had shoulders and to cover the loose fitting clothes.

For the doll hair, I used a roll of brown woolly trim that I found in my yarn box. I cut six 4″ long pieces, and with needle and matching brown thread loosely sewed the six pieces together to form a head cover that resembled hair. The furry wool is so wild, it really looked like hair, and I painted the doll’s wood head in a matching brown color so you can’t really notice the open spaces throughout the sewed hair piece.

The Accessories
The hat is made from a scrap piece of thick interfacing leftover from a purse project. I had several jar lids, and placed them on the doll’s head to find the right hat width for the doll’s head. With a pencil, I traced around the lid onto the interfacing, cut the round shape and then by eye, another round hole in the center to rest on the doll’s head. For the crown, I cut a rectangular strip of interfacing and hot glued it from one edge of the center hole to the other edge of the hole. I covered the entire hat with the same pink fabric, and hot glued it to the interfacing. I also crocheted a trim for the hat (sewed it onto the hat) and embellished the hat with a little rosette (from the same pink fabric) and hot glued the rosette to the center front of the hat.

The little purse measures 1-3/4″ wide by 2″ long and is made of the same pink fabric folded into a little rectangle and then hand sewn to shape. I also cut and sewed a small narrow piece of the same pink fabric for a tiny purse strap. Later, I also crocheted a matching trim near the top of the purse and added a tiny rosette.

The parasol measures 7″ long by 2″ wide and is made from plastic skewers that I had saved from a gift fruit arrangement. I used one skewer as the main center post, tightly wrapped a rubberband (wound around many times) near the skewer bottom end, took six more skewers and tucked them into one strand of the wound rubber band, spacing them evenly around the main center skewer. I was surprised that this worked and the six skewers remained in place evenly around the center skewer. Using wire cutters, I trimmed the six skewers shorter than the main center skewer. I then measured and wrapped the same pink fabric around the length of the skewers and added four inches to the total fabric width. I then hot glued the bottom (folded) edge of the pink fabric to the skewers one at a time making sure to pull extra fabric in between the skewers so it would mimic the look of a semi-folded umbrella. I repeated the same process to the top end of the parasol.

To make the parasol handle, I used three plastic hook-shaped pieces (saved from the top of three packets of socks) and hot glued them together. I also hot glued the main skewer to the hook handle. I later wrapped the handle with the crochet thread to make it look like one uniform piece and repeated that process around the bottom end of the parasol.

Making this doll was a very challenging experience, but very rewarding upon completing all of the accessories. And the most fun part of making this doll was that there were no rules because this was an abstract doll that I made from scrap wood and leftover reclaimed materials.

White Crocheted Pearl Purse

Just when I thought I couldn’t find any other type of fiber thread to crochet with, I found this Twisted Mason’s String Line in many colors at our local home improvement store. One of the pros I liked about this nylon string is that it’s very strong and lends itself to making very strong crochet pieces such as purses and straps. Other great qualities about this string is that it’s so soft to the touch and crocheting with it creates a great thick texture and an incredible satin sheen. It’s also waterproof.

Although the string is very thick and beautiful, it does have one drawback, the cut end of the string easily unravels. Before starting this project, I used my hot glue gun to dab a very small dot of hot glue onto the loose ends, and used a toothpick to push the loose ends together. Once the glued tip is dry, you can begin to crochet.

Because the string is so thick, I used a size N crochet needle. I crocheted 28 single chains, single crocheted the next row, and double crocheted the next ten rows. At this point I experimented by folding the purse in half vertically (against the direction of the crocheted rows). I loved the way the weave looked vertically when I held it in my hand like a clutch purse. This part is great, because at an early point you can decide how big you want your purse. I decided at this point that I wanted my purse a little bigger, so I crocheted several more rows and stopped at 14 (double crocheted) rows. I then single crocheted one more row before finishing. I knotted and hot glued the cut end (and after it dried) tucked the end within the stitches.

Next I wanted to line the inside of the purse, so I measured the purse. When folded, the purse measures five inches long and eight inches wide. I had a pretty white (polyester blend) fabric left over from another project which I used to line the purse. I hand sewed the fabric to the inside of the purse (making sure to stop within 1/4 inch from the edges). I folded the purse in half and using a smaller crochet needle weaved a ten inch long (same) string through the purse edge stitches to seal each side of the purse (making sure to hot glue the cut ends). For the purse closure on the inside top center, I decided to cut and sew on two small white Velcro pieces.

Some of the embellishments used in this project are from leftover miscellaneous broken pieces and even thrift store finds that I keep in a box for projects such as this one. I thought some of these pieces might look pretty on the purse. In a few of the featured pictures you can see where I’ve tried comparing different pieces to embellish the purse. I also had a long strand of wired pearls that I thought would make a great purse handle. I tripled and twisted the wired pearl strand into a handle shape that gave me that unique look for the purse and actually complimented the beautiful thick weave of the purse.

I enjoyed making this purse very much, and had even more fun embellishing it. The sky is the limit for creating and embellishing a small purse. The white string I used for this purse was beautiful, but the string also comes in different colors so I can’t wait to try my next purse in a beautiful bright color, which I will definitely post here. I also imagine using a bright print fabric to line the inside of my next purse along with some beautiful colorful beads for the handle and outside embellishments.


Follow Us