Last Post #MMM-Me Made May 2017! Slow Stitching…


Wow this month of making sure did fly by! I thought I’d end my participation in the annual, global Me-Made-May sewing challenge with a post on a hand stitching project. Last month hubs and I took a road trip down to Philadelphia. Whenever we have extended drives, I love to have a lap-sized sewing project to work on. I had purchased this cotton/linen blend poets style night shirt and have been looking for just the right motif to do a little appliqué stitching on it. My inspiration came from the well known book, Alabama Stitch Book written by Natalie Chanin. Included in this beautiful book, is a lovely leafy stencil that I slightly modified and used for the appliqué pieces. From my stash, I used a white-on-white subtly, patterned cotton quilt weight fabric. Since I wanted to use both sides of the white fabric, I made a sandwich of the two different sides of the fabric with Heat N Bond Lite in between and fused them together. For the layout, I used both the patterned and plain sides of the fabric interchangeably. I placed the leaves down in somewhat of a symmetrical design around the front buttoned placket, over the shoulder and around the back neckline and then heat set them into place.



Then the fun began! I hand “slow stitched” all around each leaf with perle cotton. This was a perfect traveling project that didn’t really require any deep concentration:  as hubs drove, we chatted, listened to music, and I stitched! The drive down was some three hours, give or take. The project was completed on the return trip.


I love the clean simplicity of this design and embellishment! This shirt will be great to wear with jeans, leggings, a cami underneath or a sweater thrown over it on a cool summer night!

It’s always a challenge for me to participate in challenges while school is in session, but I’m always glad I do in the end! It’s that little extra nudge I need to work on something new or a long overdue project that’s been waiting in the queue.

For more on #MMM17, click here!


Sugar Stitching

Fall sewing is in full swing in the studio! To get my students warmed up, I decided we needed a quick project to incorporate machine and hand stitching as well as some embroidery and beading. We used some of that sweet Sugar Skull fabric left over from my tote, see previous post, and appliquéd it on a white, cotton long sleeve waffle tees. To do this,  first we fused Wonder Under onto the woven sugar skull fabric cut out.  Then ironed the sugar skull appliqué onto the knit shirt fabric. This fusing step stabilizes the knit fabric and makes all stitching and embellishing a breeze.  Using machine appliqué we stitched all around it a few times. Now, we were was ready to go to town with some hand embroidery and beading.  Below is my version..IMG_4763.JPGI used both DMC 6-stranded embroidery floss as well as size 8 Perle cotton for the hand embroidery. French knots. backstitch, statin stitch, couching and chain stitch were some of the stitches I used. Japanese glass seed beads in different sizes and some teeny tiny Delicas  added some pop and sparkle. When I finished all the hand work, I put the embellished shirt in a tea dye bath for about 45 minutes. The result was a warm, light tan color. Just the vintage look I was hoping for!

For the last year, I have enjoyed learning all about and trying some styles of “Slow Stitching”. I have worked Sashiko, Kantha and Boro stitching combinations on jeans, jackets and journal covers. Here’s a pair of boyfriend jeans that I recently distressed and stitched.



On knee areas, I used patches of cotton Ikat fabric under the denim to add interest and to stabilize the  area. Then I cut several lines across the knees, sand papered and carefully picked out rows of thread to get the distressed look I wanted.  I used white Sashiko thread and stitched neat little rows of running stitches through the denim and the Ikat patches underneath.

IMG_4784.jpgUp by the front left pocket, I continued with the same treatment of adding an Ikat patch of fabric, distressing the denim and then stitching tiny running stitches.

Today was a beautiful, quiet, Fall Sunday. Daughter T and I went up to Easton, CT to pick up apples, pumpkins, cider and cider doughnuts from one of the local orchards. Driving around we found some cool old red barns, sheds and lovely stone walls. T is to be credited with these fun and autumnal photos! Well done and thanks girl!


IMG_4798.jpgHave you seen these Sugar Skull Cookies at Starbucks…note they taste as good as they look! I couldn’t resist! Happy Fall ya’ll.

Me-Made-May 2016 Post #7



I have been participating in a global sewing challenge this month called,                  “Me-Made-May 2016”.  My previous posts have featured garments I made for this spring and summer. Today’s post features something different: make up bags!

Our daughter is graduating college this month and to celebrate her and her BFFs, I designed these bags. Back when she was in high school I also made cosmetic bags for her friends and they were such a hit!  I received thank you cards and emails from them saying how they loved their bags and had them perched on desks and dressers in their dorms. They said their bags which were a sweet reminder of home and their friendship. SO, naturally I wanted to create a fresh, new look for this limited edition, college version!

I decided to Shibori dye three yards of snowy white, canvas fabric a dark navy/indigo color, T’s school colors!  Wooden blocks, clamps and hemp were used to bind the cloth. All the bags have a zipper closure with a bit of vintage ribbon as a zipper stop. I lined the bags with a purchased indigo, paisley gradated printed quilting weight cotton (Joann’s). For embellishment, my very dear, talented friend Lisa spent the greater part of a day helping me design a zipper pull. We used pewter “2016” and “Handmade” charms (Oriental Trading) and an assortment of glass beads including Lampwork “Wise Ol’ Owl” Beads (from Michaels), adorable! I tied a Sashiko inspired printed ribbon (from Joann’s) through the wire loop. For the finishing touch, I hand stamped “2016” and a mini Peace sign, using a blend of Gold and Brass Jacquard Fabric paints.



Looks like we are ready for the commencement festivities to begin!

Congrats and best wishes to all this year’s Grads!

For  more info on #Me-Made-May2016, click here.


Love Stitching and Sewing-Valentines Day 2016

On January 27th, my hubs had his first of two hip replacement surgeries. BTW he is doing very well recovering here at home! That day at the hospital, I brought a couple portable stitching projects to keep my mind and hands busy. I loved working these little stitched hearts. I found the project online and the directions, see the link, were very good. It would remind you of a lazy daisy stitch. .


I chose not to connect the hearts and used 4 strands of embroidery floss doubled.

Cute right?

Also I added some freehanded lettering using 2 strands of embroidery floss in a backstitch!


There’s nothing like hand stitching to pass the time!

In my studio, my students and I played around with a bin of Valentine inspired bits of festive printed fabrics and trims to create cute book marks to gift family and friends.



Since lessons are only one hour, we batch sewed! First we chose a backing fabric that we fused a

medium weight interfacing to give some stiffness. Next we added a layer of Quilters Dream Request Batting and then we horizontally layered torn raw edged strips of the fabrics. That was our lil quilt sandwich! We used free motion machine stitching with an open toe presser foot to quilt the piece

Next we rotary cut the mini quilt into 2″ wide bookmarks and added trims and embellishments.


Here’s a few of our adorable and quick Valentine handmades!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

New Year Dyeing & Stitching Journal


25 Days of Make & Give- Day 25!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We made it! Congrats to all those who put their creative abilities to worthwhile and charitable uses this season!

Doesn’t it feel great to make and give?!

For my M & G on Day 25, I am gifting my two children with my annual handmade Christmas Tree ornament. Someday when they have their own Christmas trees, they will each have their own collection of hand mades to decorate with (if they like? no pressure!).



This year’s ornie was inspired by my Shibori fabric dyeing adventures this summer and fall. For this ornament I used fabric that featured the “Arashi” binding technique where you wrap the fabric around a PVC pole and bind it with twine. Next, I layered the dyed organic cotton twill fabric with batting also dyed. Never dyed batting before…easy peasy!


I then stitched the sandwiched fabrics in a heart shape and used some of the dyed twine for the hanging loop. Waste not want not?!

The last part of the process was using Sashiko hand stitching. I’m pretty excited to continue to expand my knowledge and practice of this very simple but impactful “little stabs” or “big stitch” needle art form. In my 2016 workshops I will be combining both Sashiko stitching and Shibori dyeing. Can’t wait!


But now it’s time to slow everything down and enjoy my much look forward time off with family and friends.

Thank you all for following my 25 Days of Make & Give for 2015! Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!. Be inspired!

25 Days of Make & Give- Day 4


Every Saturday morning I am so fortunate to participate in a mindfulness meditation group. We have practiced for over a year now and have become close knit. I find that this weekend session combined with my at home practice has brought me calm and comfort when I need it. What a blessing!

To honor and celebrate the group and our shared experiences I decided to make each person a little cloth talisman.


I used pages of vintage inspired, winter postage stamp designs from ArtChix  as my image on the front, which I copied onto fabric sheets. Next I layered the image page with a thin batting, “Quilters Dream, Request” and hand dyed raw silk, which I free motion quilted. I slipped a pewter charm onto a piece of baker’s twine in between the layers and then zig zag stitched all around the piece to create these sweet charms. Initialed and dated on the back.


Just a little hand made expression of my gratitude, during this holiday season, to the group, our generous hosts and our insightful, inspiring leader, N!

Art Is You Stamford 2015, Recap!


Just recently I had the honor and pleasure to attend and teach at the 10th Annual Art Is You Stamford 2015.  I had been preparing and promoting my workshop, “Art Retreat Threads” for almost a year leading up to the retreat. And am happy to report that the workshop lived up to my high hopes and then some! Every one of my students brought such enthusiasm and diverse skill set that added to the overall success of the class. IMG_3808


The ladies all tried out the different techniques I offered to recycle and upcycle some of their clothing. Machine and hand appliqué, Reverse appliqué as patches, Fabric Painting with stencils and stamps, putting Inserts into garments with contrast fabrics, adding Ruffles, Hand and Machine embroidery and beading.


Brenna who is still learning to machine sew, used two shirts that she had but wasn’t wearing and sewed them together as one and added a ruffle. Now she has a tunic to wear!

Judy (pictured below) found two silk shirts at goodwill and used the body from one and the ruffle from another and created a whole new look! She took the upcycle further using machine appliqué, note the “10” (included in the class kit) to celebrate AIY’s anniversary and then added a sweet flower appliqué on the front!


Susan went to work on a denim shirt where she used Reverse Appliqué to make a window with a fabric painted patch, fabric stamped where there were some tough to remove stains (you would think those crayon stains were part of the design…so clever of her!), added a vent with some Shibori dyed fabric and then embroidered and beaded! She brought the WOW, for sure!



Cheryl (hiding behind her shirt!) also up cycled a denim overshirt with a sweet RA patch window on the front and back and then added jumbo ric rac down the front button/buttonhole placket.


CL focused on a denim skirt. She added a lined pocket and ruffle!  I hope she sends a photo of her finished work!IMG_3808

Our friend, Nancy, was only able to stay for the morning and was off and running on her garment…can’t wait to see some pics!!

All students were given detailed directions of each technique in these handmade class journals, made from recycled grocery brown bags! Also included was a tote bad filled with fabric samples and supplies for each technique to continue sewing with at home.



Thanks to Sallianne and Ellen for the this teaching opportunity!  All my students were asking for a multiple day workshop experience with more garment redo’s and up cycling! You got it! I’m at work on some great new samples and will be in touch!


Brenna gifted me with this hand sewn and embroidered heart as a thank you for helping her with her machine sewing skills. I am grateful to her for her appreciation and to all my dear students for bringing such fun, talent and interest to our class!!

Here’s to 2016!

Art Retreat Threads: Bottoms!

IMG_3409 BOTTOMS! Here’s a lil recap on the sample bottoms I embellished for my upcoming workshop, “Art Retreat Threads” at Art Is You, Stamford, this October.  One of the easiest and quickest ways to embellish a look is to use stamps and stencils with fabric paint. As this year is the 10th Anniversary of Art is You, I thought I would use both store bought and hand made stencils and rubber stamps to embellish these bottoms as a homage! I love wearing these cotton yoga pants when I am putting long hours in my studio…they are so comfy and yet have a creative flair.  Another little benefit is that should I need to run out to do errands, I wouldn’t hesitate keeping these on…cute in and out of the studio! IMG_3408   I am classifying overalls in the “Bottoms” category.  I have two samples to present! My first was actually a pair of overalls with shorts on the bottom.  I removed the crotch seam and turned it into a overalls skirt! IMG_3339 This piece was calling out for some journalling and so I responded on the back with… IMG_3346   And then with this on the front… IMG_3340 With a little help from a skinny belt, a bouquet of raw edged muslin blooms and some vintage lace around the unhemmed bottom, we were go to go! I can’t wait to wear these overalls this Fall! IMG_3430 I loved these overalls but they had one too many holes for me! So, I sewed in patches using reverse appliqué, added embroidery stitching and finally stamping with fabric paint to make them pop! For more on these overalls, refer to my blogpost….click here. IMG_3419 As you can see the possibilities are many to recycle, upcycle and alter clothing, that you already own and that fit you properly but are just sitting in your closet, are endless! Some changes, as you can figure, are quicker fixes than others but we will explore, and get to as many as possible in my workshop!. Registration for my class “Art Retreat Threads at Art Is You 2015, Stamford, CT is still open! Click here for more information.

Art Retreat Threads Recap: Tops


As many of you know, I am teaching a workshop, “Art Retreat Threads”, on  Saturday, October 10th, 2015 at Art Is You…Stamford, CT.  To show prospective students some of the unlimited ways the could recycle/alter/upcyle garments they already own into fun and unique pieces they can enjoy wear when making art at home or away.

I thought I would run a few posts to recap and to also introduce the workshop to those still considering classes at AIY.

Time for a Fashion Show!!

Today’s feature are TOPS.


As pictured above, I decided to stamp the name of my workshop on this little T to create a signature piece. Stamping is easy peasy. I used Jacquard Textile Paint and the dress form was drawn free hand. Acrylic paint mixed with fabric medium works fine too ( I have used acrylic paint alone and had no problem with it regarding repeated washings etc.).


Now Top #2 is more like a tunic. Can u believe this piece started out as a plain ol’ grey sweatshirt! I machine appliquéd the letters  and the flowers and then added a piece of white cotton eyelet, from a flea market found skirt, onto the bottom! Cuteness!



Again a outstretched old cropped sweatshirt. I thought I’d take the loose, cropped look a step further by adding batik fabric inserts on the side seams. The embellishment is a free motioned flower that I beaded.  For more on this, click here.

The last Top, is a homage to our dear Art is You Retreats that are celebrating their 10th year!


Under this nifty hoodie, is a baseball T. The number 10 is hand drawn, I will have it available for workshop attendees to use to make their own commemorative/anniversary pieces!. Using fusible on the wrong side of the fabric was the technique here, and I followed up with top stitching all around. For more on this T, click here.

These Tops are just some of the ways students can change up simple T’s, sweatshirts and button downs. A basic knowledge of hand and machine sewing is all you need!

There is still time to sign up for my workshop,”Art Retreat Threads” at Art is You, Stamford!!

For information and registration, click here.


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