2012 Takes my Blog to Fiberluscious

2012 Takes my Blog to Fiberluscious
Click on the logo to see my newest Blog

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meet Petunia! Plush Tutorial

Muriel Liwet Plush Angel

Here's how to create your own, amazing Plush!

Petunia- My Little Plush Tutorial

Sketch out a pattern.

Start with light pencil marks and allow your lines to be expressive and fun. Once you think you have what you want, use a black marker to define your final pattern lines. Try a few different ideas out.
Be sure to add enough width and height to allow for dimension. I usually add 1/2 to 1 inch around the perimeter. You can also add your seam allowances, but I prefer to add them when I cut my pattern out.
Use colored pencil to audition your fabric choices if you like.
This particular pattern fit on a 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of scrap paper. For larger patterns I do my sketching on news or kraft paper.
If this is your first pattern and you want to see how it will work, create a muslin body from your pattern to work out any design changes you may need to make. Its worth the extra time to create a good, workable shape. It took me a few awkward monsters before I learned what shapes work and what shapes don't.

Create pattern.
Once your pattern is complete, trace each individual piece onto another piece of paper. Add seam allowances to out edges. (See image above.)

Choose your fabrics.

Go through your stash and choose some interesting fabric combinations. The sky is the limit! Cottons with raw edges have a great organic feel.Knits can be soft and cuddly. I've used pleather, lame, decorator fabrics, silk, taffeta, etc... Each has it's own personality. Colors can also have a big impact on your final creation. Blues are soothing, red is passionate, pink is girly, black can be spooky...play! Most creatures take less than a fat quarter. The trims can come out of your scrap basket.

Cut your pattern pieces.
Once you have decided on your sketch and your fabric, its time to cut the pattern pieces from fabric. Cut the main piece first, then the face and other shapes. If you have one shape on top of another, you will need to create those in layers. Each layer needs it's own pattern piece.
Lay them onto your fabric, pin and cut.

Sew each piece onto the main body.
Place pieces onto fabric to audition. I often make changes at this point. I may add or subtract colors, add more layers or remove pieces that aren't working. Keep an open mind. Working with scraps allows you to be playful.
Pin pieces and sew all pieces to front and back. Be sure to choose the right side of the main fabric pieces. Sew each layer separately, then sew layers onto main pieces.
When sewing each piece on, I like to add a decorative effect. I simply sew around each shape at least 3 times. I use wavy and wobbly stitch lines. This step anchors each piece down completely. If you would like to turn edges under, that is up to you, but I like the frayed look of raw edges. You could also use fusable web to attach each piece before you sew them down. Its totally up to you.

Put it all together.
Pin front and back pieces together, right sides together. Sew. Be cure to leave a 2-3 inch opening to allow for turning right side out. When using fragile fabrics, I may stitch a second seam just inside the first seam.

Clip curves and trim.
Clip curves (especially inside curves on legs and then trim seams if desired. Take care not to clip into the seam. I like using a pinking shears to keep fraying down to a minimum.

Turn right side out and stuff.
Be sure to stuff small parts with little pieces of stuffing, and larger pieces with bigger pieces. This keeps your limbs and body firmly packed without lumps or gaps. If your limbs are small, use a long nose pliers, tweezers or hemistat to get enough stuffing into each part. I use polyester fiberfill, but you can use any type of stuffing you have on hand.
Squish each part to be sure you are not leaving any gaps. Take care to add enough stuffing, especially around the joints and the head.
Sometimes I may add some dried beans to the bottom parts to weigh them down. This is optional. Note: if you want your plush to be washable, only use washable filling.

Close opening.
Whip stitch opening closed with matching thread. Use tiny stitches. Catch just a few threads from one side. Cross to the other side and pick up a few threads and pull tightly closed.

Now for the fun part!
Choose buttons and for eyes. Try out other trims. Experiment with a few different looks out before you choose the idea combination. This is where a great stash of buttons and trim pay off. Once you have decided on a final design, stitch your buttons and trims on. If you are making plush for children, especially those under the age of 3, it is better to use safety eyes or to embroider the eyes and other decorative touches. That way they won't come off and become a choking hazard. Safety first!

Add a few final touches.
I added the trim using embroidery thread. I added some decorative stitches as well.

Give your plush a name and you are finished!

Check out my Etsy Shop Fiberluscious and see my other plush characters!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let Play Dress Up!

Marvelous Mummy by Martha

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. I love the whole dress up experience! My kids wore handmade, elaborate costumes until they begged me to stop.Now I have a grandchild to dress up. As an adult, my husband and I love to go out, incognito and have fun and cut loose under a new persona. I think you are never too old to play dress up. So go ahead. Let your imagination go.
I am amazed at how creative some people are. Its less than a week away and I"m still sewing. Here are some fun designs I've discovered and some tutorials on how to get it done

Day of the Dead - Video Tutorial

3 Eyed Monster Tutorial by Fiskars

Angry Bird Family Costume Tutorial

Recycled Monster and other handmade, recycled costume ideas

This Loch Ness Sea Monster tickles me to no end. Ready to purchase at Missnessamonster on Etsy. Mention you found it here and she will give you 10% off your purchase!

Are you more of a Super Hero type? How about a Power Ranger Costume? Check out this tutorial and a few others on E-How.

Game Boy~Girl

The last image is my adorable grand baby in her handmade Kitty costume. (Mc Calls MP444)
This pattern offers an elephant, skunk. lion and monkey. I wanted to make her a kitty so I simply simplified the lion costume. I didn't add the mane or the fringe on the tail. I used swirly pink fur, shabby white fur, scraps of velour and I added a big satin bow. Its a bit big, but it should accommodate warm clothes to be worn underneath. This is Wisconsin after all. Have to keep her toasty!

Now get sewing and be amazing!

Fiberluscious- New Etsy Shop Name

Introducing- Fiberlusciuos. New Name- Same fun fabric items, same great service, same love of fiber.
I think it perfectly reflects my love of fiber, fabric, and all things sewn and embroidered. After getting married this summer, I've been itching to make the change. Finally it's here!
So, the next time you shop with me...you aren't lost.
Welcome to fiberluscious.

Don't forget to use your 20% discount for being a Sew Old So New blog visitor.
Next- change the name of my blog? hmmmm.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stitch Diarys and Journals with TUT

It might be said that I am a few stitches short of a full sampler. Well, not any more. I have a place for all my stitches now!

I like to learn new stitches. I find them in tutorials, so I have one batch of fabric scraps by my computer. I like to stitch when watching TV so I have some fabric scraps by the couch, and I have one in my sewing studio space. When I'm working on a new design, my mind searches for the perfect stitch. I know I've stitched it, I think I might know where, but, hmmmm, where is that darn practice sample?
That is no way to keep the creative juices flowing. Frustration is creative molasses. It is distracting. It keeps me from moving full forward and takes time I should be spending on my project. Maybe it's just me, but I think this is the answer to this ongoing problem for me.

I created a stitch journal.

It comes with 4 blank pages. The pages are simply tied in, so adding more pages in the future is easy. It would also be easy to take the pages out and hoop them, but I think the batting offers plenty of stability to work alone. I am not a hooper, but I know some stitchers are.

On the inside covers I've added some simple features. The front inside has a wool scrap to hold and clean my needles.

The inside back cover has a button to hold bobbins of embroidery thread of floss. You can add as many bobbins in there as you like. It is important for this journal to be ready at a moments notice to start stitching.

I watch a sewing show in the morning and she always features an embroidery master who walks through stitches and their variations. I like to work along with her. Because it's at 5:30 am, I am sure to start my day off creatively.

I created a yellow journal (shown above) and a blue diary (shown below) for my Etsy shop. The covers are already stitched, beaded, ribboned and trimmed so they are ready for gift giving. You know, for the stitcher that has everything ..... she doesn't have one of these.

If you would like to make one of your own, here are the materials needed and directions on how to make one.

Decorative fabric for the cover, Cut or rip 2 pieces- 7 x 10 inches. (This size is up to you. Just be sure to adjust the page size to fit in your cover)
One will be the front outside cover and the other will be the lining of the cover. The inside can be a different fabric or muslin. Your choice.

To create the pages you can use muslin, linen or any other stitching fabric. Cut 4- 6 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches if you want them to fit snuggly inside of the cover. I like them to stick out a bit. I ripped my fabrics so the final product has that shabby "chic" look.
Cotton batting, cut 3 pieces. One the same size as the cover, 2 the same size as the pages.
a scrap piece of woven, felted wool or felt about 3 x 3 inches square.
2 large buttons.
One piece of embroidery fabric for the front cover embellishment. Can be any size as long as it fits on the cover.

1. Complete your cover embellishment design. When doing words, you can stitch over stamped letters, free hand your letters, or write out your words on a word processing document in the exact size as your finished design. (I prefer this method).

2. Construct the cover.
Sew the embellished fabric to the right half side of the right side of your fabric. (When the book is closed, your image will be on the front).
Sew the decorated cover on top of the larger piece of batting and the a lining piece of fabric. You can use muslin or a complimentary fabric.
Pin and sew around the outside edges. I sew a few times in a wiggly stitch for decoration. Sew 2 lines down the middle. This will be your book

3. Construct your pages. These are simply the page fabric on top and under a piece of batting, like a batting sandwich. Pin and stitch around the outside edge. I like to
stitch numerous times in a wiggly line for a decorative effect. Sew one stitch down the middle. This will be the center fold of your pages.

4. Hand stitch the wool scrap to the inside of the front cover. Try not to stitch through the back layer.
If you would rather machine sew, be sure to do so before you construct your cover.

5. Sew in the button to the inside back cover between the fold and the outer edge. Try not to stitch through to the outside layer.

6. Fold the pages in half, one at a time. Lay one page on top of the other.

7. Stitch them into the cover. Begin by marking 2 inches down from the top of the journal and pages and 2 inches from the bottom. (use disappearing ink or a very tiny pencil mark. Using a 7-8inch piece of floss or embroidery thread, tie a knot about 3 inches from the end. Thread your needle. Enter the binding on the outside of the cover. Then catch just a bit of the pages, one at a time. You want small stitches so the pages open fully. Bring the needle back out to the outside of the cover. Tie the thread tightly to hold the pages in. Add beads to the ends if you would like. See the blue journal to see how it should look when you are finished.

8. Add more embellishments or stitches to the cover or pages. Just try not to sew all the way through to the lining.
You are finished! Now give to your favorite stitcher or keep it for yourself.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beautiful Clutches by Debra Jones

Orange Blossom Clutch by Debra Jones

Small Clutch by Debra Jones

I recently joined the Hand Embroidery Network. It is administered by Sarah Whittle, a wonderfully talented textile artists who also has a fantastic blog and website. Whew...that sentence was long! Let me start over. I wanted to share these amazing clutches with you. They were created by Debra Jones. .

These seem to be needle felted, or perhaps nuno felted. At first glance, I thought that perhaps she used a water soluable stabilizer, but I don't see any stitches that would join one fabric to the next. Maybe she stitched with wool and then felted her work. I love all the layers and irregular edges. Regardless, this fabric is a treat for the senses. She notes on her member page that she is self taught and likes to embroider free style and also uses beads. She enjoys adding french knots for texture. I am hoping she will contact me so I can tell you more about her and perhaps share more of her work with us. I really love her colorways. My favorite is the Orange Blossom clutch shown above. Looking at such an innovative technique, executed with such skill and joy makes me feel like a fabric detective. It makes me smile to see so much loveliness in one place.

The Hand Embroidery Network seems to be packed with very talented stitchers, lots of tutorials and free patterns, places for social networking and much more. I have lots to explore as I was just accepted a few days ago. I enjoy learning every day and am so inspired by how one person can take one stitch and create something wholly unique to another person using the exact same stitch. It fascinates me to watch and observe the created process and get to know what lies beyond the fabric.

Art is all about the maker when you think about it. We all have our own way to hold the fabric, stitch a stitch, position each element. These unique actions are our signature. We can't help leaving our mark. That is the beauty of handmade. No machine can leave those intricate nuances of beauty. This is so important for us to remember when we drop a stitch, make a quirkly choice, take a daring risk.... we leave a piece of us in all we do. Perfection is for factories. Go ahead and drive courageously into the unknown. You just never know how beautiful that little chunk of you will be.

Debra- your mark is exceptionally amazing. Thank you for sharing your vision with us!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I dub thee Queen of the Amazing .....You!

Crowns and Tiaras are one of my favorite creations. We are all so totally unique and wonderful. We deserve to be given the royal treatment. When someone else purchases a crown for you, well, that is one of the highest compliments you can receive. I'm surprised at how many crowns I sell in my Etsy shop. It warms my heart to work with those clients. Here are a few that I've sold this year. I have more in my shop, and there are a few currently in the works.

To learn how to create these lovely tiaras and crown, register for the Stitched On-line Video Workshops! I am just one of 20 artists creating a wide variety of stitched creations, using the latest materials and techniques. For $89, you will have access to all 20 workshops, have one-on-one contact with the artists, post your creations and learn a zillion techniques both old and new. click here to go to Alma Stoller's Blog and register there. While you are there, meet one of the most amazing artists and bloggers I've had the pleasure to meet. Her creative energy will inspire you!

I had been working with one of those amazing "queens" when she purchased my Goddess of the Garden Tiara Extraodinaire.

My client is as colorful and fun as the crown she wears. We worked on a matching apron. I enjoy the collaborative process so much! My clients always bring a fresh point of view to my work.

Well, back to the tiaras and crowns....
I hope to have a tutorial up soon on a tiara like this.
I created these as an homage to the quirky traits in all of us. I am both a drama queen and a romantic all in one.

When I first began making tiaras had specific women in mind. These are our "mothers, (see the crown on the top of this post), those lovely givers of all things good and happy, (see the Queen of the Kitchen Crown" and the young women who are just beginning to realize their honored place in our world.

I just couldn't forget the guys. One is for your hot, sexy man, one for the Dad of the Year, and the last was actually designed by a mom I worked with. We made two crowns, one for each of her wonderful boys. Another fun project!

I hope you enjoyed my crowns and tiaras. I found a lovely book which celebrates contemporary crown makers. Its called "Crowns and Tiaras" by Kerri Judd and Danyel Montecinos.
My latest tiara is dedicated to the hopeless romantic in all of us. Its called Once Upon a Time-

I will be adding a quick tutorial on my next tiara. Take a look at my shop to see what I currently have for sale..."Naughty or Nice" and "Countess of Comfort and Joy", both perfect for the holidays. Take one to your next holiday party and let the hostess know that she is really the mostest!