I feel like I’ve been recovering from the Art Fair for a long time! But really, I’m sure the recovery didn’t take that long; after recovered I was just enjoying doing other projects. That is: not sewing!

But I’m gearing up again for a busy fall and finishing up a few outstanding projects.  The first was replacing a coat lining. It was a wool coat with one of those pathetic satin-type linings that wear out and shred to pieces – you know, the standard lining in coats these days? I carefully removed the whole lining and took mental notes on how the lining had been put together and put into the coat. I ironed out the pieces, pinned them to the new fabric, and cut out new pieces.



Here’s a close-up where you can see the shredded arm pit region:


I have to admit I’m always surprised when these things turn out. I actually know what I’m doing!! Or at least, I was lucky? Anyway, I got the lining sewed back in, the sleeves were long enough, and it turned out pretty nice.




Yes, I even sewed the care instructions back in right where they had been.  =)


Next projects? Replacing a coat zipper (doesn’t seem like a fun photo essay though) and making some new cushions for a pair of chairs.  The foam is cut out and the top and bottom of each cushion is cut out, with cording sewed on.  I’m just waiting for zippers so I can finish these up. I liked how they’re looking so far.




Just so you know, I did NOT plan for the cording and cushion patterns to match up perfectly… it just sort of happened that way. =)

After this I’ve got a lot of sheep tea cozies to make. Those fuzzy tea warmers are needed everywhere!

Mark your calendars for my upcoming shows this fall/winter and I’ll give more details later:

  • November 9-10, Craftastic in south Minneapolis
  • November 17, Green Gifts Fair in south Minneapolis at the Midtown Global Exchange
  • December 15, Women’s Art Festival in south Minneapolis at the YWCA

Yep, I prefer shows that are no more than 10 or 15 blocks from my house.  It narrows the options, but there are some good ones even in that area. Alright – back to sewing!


Fun with recycling, part 2

There is a scene in the movie Never Been Kissed that has always haunted me a bit. Drew Barrymore’s character is having a relaxing evening at home, alone, working on some needlepoint. She is making a cute little pillow. She finishes the pillow and takes it to a bedroom where she sets it on the bed and admires it with love. Then you realize there are a LOT of other cute little pillows! This woman obviously has no life. On the one hand I think, “What a loser!” and on the other hand I think, “Hey, I resemble that!” It wasn’t too many years ago you could find me curled up in my one-room basement apartment, watching endless re-runs of Stargate and quilting till I had no feeling left in my fingers. Talk about nerdy. =) (Hey – I wasn’t always an urban homesteader!)

Anyway, I’ve been making some pillows and I always think of that movie and hope I’m not that bad.

I couldn’t be, because these are cool pillows! I had a bunch of leftover men’s ties from a tie skirt project and – in another flash of inspiration – realized these could make cool pillows. I was looking at the skinny part of the tie and realized here was all this fabric already in perfect 2” strips. So I made some pillows in the Log Cabin Style.

The first step is to pick a few ties. For a traditional Log Cabin you want one value for one side and a different value for the other side – light and dark, or just two distinct colors. And I pick a tie end for the center that is different from the rest of the ties.

I use a zig-zag stitch to topstitch all the ties together. Yep, the whole tie with the stuffing inside and all. It gives it a nice puffy feel at the end.

Each piece is just a little longer than it needs to be (and I cut as I go). This is because silk is shifty and sometimes you’ll find it’s a bit shorter than you remember!

I don’t sew down the tie tip, so when you get this part hold that tip up.

and then…


…keep going!

At some point this might happen – the tie suddenly gets thicker! This is usually where I stop. But you can go ahead and sew it on; the extra bit can be trimmed off later (unless you want a really wacky shape to your pillow, which is fine).


Here are some others I made:

Even after all those, there are still lots of beautiful silk scraps to use, in which case you can try the crazy quilt method.

You just cut out random shapes (often triangular) and sew them down on a square of fabric.




The cool thing about silk is that it can be forced into some curves that are too difficult with cotton.

Done! (The curve in the blue tie in the upper left was a little too extreme and left a couple puckers. Oh well.)

Here’s another one:

I should note that most of these aren’t actually made into pillows yet – they’re just the tops.

All of these will be heading to Kansas City with me (along with the bags) and if there are any left, they’ll be up on Etsy!