Friday, December 18, 2015

Free Embroidery Patterns + Inspiration

Here are the embroidery patterns that I created to go on my ren faire boots. Feel free to use them on any of your personal projects. Selling anything made from them would probably be a copyright headache since they come from combining other people's images so please don't do that. lol.

Flying Deer

Celtic knotwork Stags

Here are the Christmas Ornaments that I used as my guide for the stags.

And this is the eagle photo  I used to put wings on the first deer.
This isn't the exact image I used, but it's very similar for the knot beneath the deer.

Project Photos: Suede Boots

This pair of suede boots was one of the major projects that made up my renaissance faire outfit. It was my first time making shoes of any kind, but they still turned out fabulous and warm! I had a lot of inspiration that went into the final design and I put it all together in a pinterest board that is still growing. 

The main sources that influenced the final design:

This pattern was the initial pair of boots that I was going to make, but I have very short legs and wide width feet. That would have basically meant distorting the pattern and doing a load of trial and error to get them to fit, but the simple turnshoe and tongue style were something I did want to incorporate in my finished shoe.

So I looked around online to see how to make a boot that actually fit an individual person's foot. This tape mold method was the way that sounded the best to me to get a custom fit while still hanging on to the style of the first boot pattern I liked.

And I picked up a few pointers on how to do the tongue and laces a little better here. It is a tutorial for doing doll shoes, but it's the same basic idea just scaled way down.

I loved the idea of embroidering my boots, and after I picked out the black suede for the exterior, the gold on black combo took root. I had seen a medieval French tapestry that had a winged deer, and it led me off in that direction.

The deer that I came up with are actually a combination of a Christmas ornament and a photo of an eagle:

And the deer on the tongue is a combination of the other deer and a pretty celtic knot. I can't seem to find the image I used on that one, but I think it was off a Google search instead of Pinterest like the others.

Stabilizing the suede, and transferring the pattern were the biggest hurdles to get through on the embroidery. What worked best for me was putting scotch tape on the underside of the suede to keep it from stretching and distorting as I sewed with it. when taking the tape off, it did take a bit of material with it, but since the back would be covered on the inside of the boot, that wasn't a big deal. The pattern started out on translucent tissue paper that was held on by the embroidery hoop, but I ended up having to cover that in the clear tape as well to prevent it from ripping. Again, I don't know that this is the optimal way to accomplish the job, but it worked for me. 

The inside of the boot is lined with a spotted fur that is glued on with a strong rubber cement and the tongue has a small panel of a faux leather glued over the back of the goldwork.

The decorative panels in the back were actually sewn in place like the rounded heel enforcement in the doll shoe tutorial. I just lengthened mine and gave them a decorative point. These were actually done from samples so one was brown and the other was black. They were spray painted to match, and I sprayed the store bought soles that I had cut down to fit my shoes while I was at it.

The spray paint didn't really live throughout the weekend. Walking around outside for about 8 hours both days wore all the black off of the soles, and left the brown was peeking out from the bottom of the heel on the one panel. The brown wore off due to the fact that my foot rides too far back in the shoe (due to my hand sewing on a modern sole to a turnshoe; next time I would go with a heavy leather sole when turning). But overall the shoes are still doing well after that harsh treatment. In the photo below, you can see the white bit of the sole.

Since the faire, the shoes got an upgrade to gold and black laces :D

Due to the huge number of lacing holes and the height of the boot, it took a pair of laces for each boot. I had to cut off the gold aglet on one end and sew them under the base of the tongue, so they are permanently a part of my boots. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Project Photos: Unicorn Needlebook

This is a rather large needlebook made to accommodate my new leather needles as well as my smaller hand sewing needles. It was a quick project cutting out 2 rectangles of fabric and 3 layers of batting measuring 3 3/4 inch by 5 1/4 inch. I added a long length of lace that was about a foot long so that the needle case would be wrapped a couple of times to keep it closed. Everything was stacked together and pinned. The fabrics should have the printed sides together, and the batting layers set under that. The ribbon was wound up and placed between the fabric pieces with a little tail sticking out from the bundle. Then it was as simple as sewing around the perimeter leaving a gap and turning through that hole. I ladder stitched the hole closed and had a neat little place to store my needles :)

The outside features one of the unicorns on my Sweet Prizes fabric.

The inside uses my Endless Flowers & Butterflies fabric.

The book closed with the lace wrapped around it.

And another view of the completed needle case.
*Just a note on the photos: The colors aren't true to life; my camera has an automatic white balance that gets really confused when I photograph bright swathes of color.*

Contest Entry: Confetti Swept Stripe

New Year Traditions

From fireworks to special songs, everyone has a tradition to help ring in the New Year! Here in the Southeast, it's considered good luck to have black-eyed peas with collard greens, corn bread, and Hoppin' John for a meal on New Year's Day. Show us what kind of New Year traditions you celebrate in this week's Design Challenge!  Please note that design previews will be sized on a fat quarter size (21" x 18"). Deadline for entry is Tuesday, December 15th, 2015. Voting will open Thursday, December 17th, 2015 and stay open for two weeks instead of one (we're skipping a contest in observance of Christmas).

Confetti Swept Stripe

Confetti Swept Stripe

Confetti Swept Stripe

Confetti Swept Stripe

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Project Photos: Cantaloupe Vineyard Quilt Part 1

A new project that I have been designing like crazy for is my Cantaloupe Vineyard cheater quilt. When finished it should be a little under 6' long, and a little over 5' 3" wide. Now obviously it's not quite as big of an undertaking as a true patchwork quilt, but it is a large enough project that it's getting spread out over a couple of months.

This is an approximation of what the finished quilt should look like:

Of course things change from the concept to the execution, and even that has changed over time.

This quilt started out as a 1 Yard Cantaloupe Quilt Block that I had designed to show off the Cantaloupe Vineyard fabrics side by side.There wasn't much of a plan when I ordered the yard from Spoonflower and got a cheap yard of teal cotton elsewhere to back it. After simply layering it with batting , sewing around the edges, and turning it right side out, it was quilted. At first I thought it would be finished and that I would take a few photos of my little project before moving on. 

This is the original quilt block, and in the background is my store bought comforter that the quilt is meant to match.
Here you can see the teal backing
The quilting shows up more dramatically on this side.
Then spoonflower had one of their weekly contests with a theme of family portraits, and I immediately wanted to do something with my cats on it. Putting them on the quilt I had just made seemed like a perfect idea, but the medallion made it awkward to put them anywhere but dead center. So I made a different, less centered quilt pattern as a backdrop, and I loved it. A lot.  

I cut it before taking photos.
A close up of Regelwyn and Richard. If you look around them you can see little shadows!

Adding it to the existing quilt block became my new plan. This meant cutting the new yardage in half and placing those on either side of the medallion making a 6' length. Cutting it evenly in half as seen in the overall plan above was changed once I got the actual fabric in my hands. The shadows around the cats, giving it that trompe l'oeil effect of the almost life size cats sinking into the quilt, would have been cut off a bit by dividing it squarely in the middle. So the separation was moved further up to where it made a cleaner line along the tops and middles of a row of diamond blocks.

Cantaloupe Quilt Frame

This 6' fits perfectly along my queen size mattress, however the width is a little awkward. (Spoonflower's basic cotton has a 42" width) So the border along the sides was my solution. This also takes a single yard, except the yard is divided into 4 panels. Two vertically on each side gives the quilt an added 21" making the ensemble fit almost perfectly on my bed. 



Rough fitting of the whole quilt.
Anyway the plan is to sew together and quilt the new panels the same way as the center panel before hand sewing everything together. I have yet to buy the backing and batting for the newer pieces, and will probably start the extensive work after the holidays. Hopefully there will be more photos of the actual creation process in the next instillation of this series :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Contest Entry: Knitted Paradise

Stockings, scarves, and socks. Nothing says 'I love you' like something stitched from the heart. Create a knitting-inspired design just in time for the cozy holiday season. Please note that design previews will be sized on a fat quarter size (21" x 18"). Deadline for entry is Tuesday, December 8th, 2015. Voting will open Thursday, December 10th, 2015.

Knitted Paradise

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Italian Renaissance Dress

So it has been rather quiet of late on this blog, but not because I haven't been sewing, crafting, and designing. Actually I have been doing too much to have time to share. November 21st and 22nd my friends and I attended a renaissance faire in Louisiana, and I made a dress and boots for me as well as a jacket for my friend. Hopefully, there will be a post for each one starting with the dress :)

So I basically went all out when designing this outfit. The base fabric is a wine colored broadcloth, and the underskirt is a navy satin. The undersleeves are organza with the gauntlets made of the same material as the dress. It is embellished with four separate gold colored brocade trims, gold stitching, and glass pearls. The woven trim on the edge of the overskirt is gold tone with pearls. The gauntlets are held in place with brass lion head buttons, and the lacing rings are fancy brass leaves. There is also a matching snood with some more of those glass pearls on it. I also wore the white underdress that you can see poking out behind the collar which I purchased here.

The over gown is made with Simplicity 8735 pattern. It needed some work in the bodice, and by some I mean that I changed almost everything. The pointed waistline was dropped to create a straight line across the front, and the darts in the front were eliminated as well.

 I created a new neckline as well as a new pattern for the satin modesty panel that has the stag trim. Along the bottom of the bodice is another trim featuring peacocks. Under that you can see the pearl/gold trim all the way down the front.

The zipper up the back had to go, so handsewn eyelets and leaf shaped lacing rings alternated down the back. The lacing rings actually started life as half of a toggle clasp, so I had to buy 10 sets just to make the five leafy pairs. They look awful on the hanger, but sit nicely when the dress is actually being worn.

The outer sleeves are my favorite part. They're held on by these lion buttons that conveniently sold by the dozen. Each gauntlet has 3 buttons across the top that attach using a suede cord looped at one end.

Above you can see the suede cord is sewn onto the top gauntlet along the bottom edge. The cord that attaches the upper gauntlets to the dress is sewn between where the bodice and the undersleeves meet at the shoulder.

The top pair of gauntlets took forever to do, but it was totally worth it. They started out with the same wine brocade as everything else. The gold stitching had to be added one line at a time using my sewing machine, and the pearls were sewn on completely by hand as were all the buttons.

The bottom sleeve set has golden embroidery at the top and bottom and it uses the same golden stag trim as the modesty panel as well as a navy ribbon with gold flourishes.

Here is a look at the organza undersleeves. The fabric is actually quite sheer, Simplicity added some serious volume in their pattern which took almost a full yard for each sleeve. I did trim them back to fit my petite arms, and I modified the end by adding a satin cuff in place of the elastic ruffled ending that was in the original.

For the underskirt, I pretty much followed the pattern, only I added a large border with peacocks just along the front panel. You can tell that it's vintage, but the age really adds to the beauty.

Of course you can't have a renaissance dress and not have a head covering of some sort. I went with a snood that sits farther back on the head. To make it sit firmly, I made the band as close to my 22" head as I could, and made a loop at the bottom with a large pearl acting like a button to hold it in place.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Contest Entry: Santa & His Reindeer Holiday Bag

Holiday gift bag

Solve the annual holiday quandary of finding the perfect gift bag! Get ahead of the game by designing your own to give to your loved ones! Create a cut and sew design for your ideal holiday gift bag, including original artwork, sewing pattern, instructions– and don't forget the drawstring! Please note that previews will be sized on a larger fat quarter size (27" x 18") to accommodate big gifts like holiday wine and spirits! Deadline for entry is Tuesday, December 1st, 2015. Voting will open Thursday, December 3rd, 2015.

Santa & His Reindeer Holiday Bag

 This is my entry for the Holiday Gift Bag contest. It makes an easy to assemble unlined bag, and you can add whatever closure you like: zipper, drawstring, magnetic clasps, et cetera.

For the simplest construction: Leave the white unprinted borders around the edges as these will provide the seam allowance. With the fabric face down, turn down the top edge towards you until you can see the printed area and sew in place leaving enough room to pass a drawstring through. Thread whatever type of cord you wish through the channel you just created. Fold the fat quarter in half with the right sides together and sew along the side and bottom being sure not to sew over the opening for the drawstring. Trim off any excess fabric around the edges leaving about a quarter of an inch from the seams. Turn right side out and enjoy your holiday bag!

For a more squared off bottom, sew across the tips of the bottom corners before turning the bag right side out. :)

Santa & His Reindeer Holiday Bag