Category Archives: Art

Shibori Fish Scale Top


Fabric: Medium Stretch Jersey Knit from Dharma Trading Company  – Top – Sewing Pattern #4020
Year: contemporary
Notions:  Procion Dye in Yucca and Marigold
Time to complete:  Several days, for the dying process,  about 1.5 hours to sew
First worn: April 10, 2014
Wear again? Yes, a great canvas for trying out dye colors and Shibori
Total price: 1 yard stretch knit jersey $4.00,  Pattern $2.24

I tried a new technique, applying dye with a squirt bottle onto shibori tied fabric. I used #4020 as the garment that would be made from the dyed fabric. It’s a very simple top with a bit of draping in the front and two front sleeve bands.

Here is a step by step pictorial of how I did it:

1. Print out the pattern, tape it together.


2. Lay fabric on top to see how much you need.


3. First, process fabric with soda ash according to instructions at the Dharma Trading Company website. Shibori Fish Scale Design: Fold fabric in fourths, draw scooping lines, end to end, across the fabric with a washable marker.

4. Scrunch or accordion fold around the fabric, following drawn lines.


5. Squirt one color on the tied section. Saturate, let it soak in, and squirt again. I placed my piece up on wire racks so it wouldn’t sit in puddles. Turn over and dye other side.


6. Apply second color to the outside edges. You can use a squirt bottle or a foam brush. Saturate both sides.


7. Wrap up in plastic wrap and let sit over night.


8. Rinse under cold running water until water runs fairly clear. Wash in warm water, rinse, and hang to dry.


9. Cut out the pieces and sew together!


10. Have someone take your picture.

















Filed under Art, crafting, Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Dyeing, Lekala, Sewing, Tutorial

Japanese Robe



Fabric: Silk Habotai 8mm- 45″ wide-  3 yards.
Pattern: Short Dressing Gown – Sewing Pattern #5247
Year: contemporary
Notions: thread, fabric dye, resist, string, paintbrushes
Time to complete:  About 3 days.
First worn: March 23, 2014
Wear again? Yes! During the hot summer months
Total price: Silk was about $6.50 a yard,  Jacquard acid dyes: Sky Blue and Burgundy $10.00. Pattern $2.24


This was an excellent pattern to use for my midterm project at the local college. has the option of printing out your entire pattern on a large scale printer. I selected the large PDF format and transferred the file to a usb drive. I took it to the local printer and using their 36 in. printer, I received my entire pattern on one piece of paper! The best part was the cost. It was only $5.00! That saved me printer paper, ink, and taping together all of the sheets at home.

IMG_7872I cut out the pieces on the cutting line, so that I could use my rotary cutter around the edges of the pattern. I knew if I tried to use my scissors to cut silk, it wouldn’t turn out nice and straight. I also used my homemade pattern weights instead of pins. I have a DIY here, if you  are interested.

IMG_7873First, I sewed the shoulder seams of the fronts to the back using French seams, attached the sleeves, and sewed, then serged the side seams and bottom edge.  Next, I choose a Shibori technique to design the top part. I wanted to hand-paint a wide boarder on the bottom so I masked that section off with tape and a plastic bag. This part was easy to keep out of the dye bath by clothes-pinning it to the side of the dye pot. I wrapped and bound the top section tightly with jute cord (sorry no picture).

IMG_7874For the boarder, I decided that I needed big plain shapes to coordinate with the business of the top section. I had to do the boarder in 4 sections, using my stretcher bars. First I drew the shapes with disappearing ink, traced them with the resist, let it dry, and then painted the blobs burgundy and the outside blue. I sprinkled salt on the wet dye, to give it texture. After I completed all the sections, I steam pressed the boarder between paper, using my steam iron and paper on the top and bottom of the boarder. This helps set the color.


I was hoping for brighter colors, but the dye mixed for painting and then steam set, resulted in lighter colors. I dyed the rest of the fabric burgundy, according to stovetop instructions. This I cut into strips using my ruler and rotary cutter for the robe front edging, sleeve edges, belt and ties. I folded it in half, pressed it and serged the raw edge side to the robe. You could fold it over and try topstitching it, but it can be tricky to get silk to behalf like you want it to. The silk liked my serger better than my regular machine.






Filed under Art, crafting, Customizable Sewing Patterns, DIY, Dyeing, Lekala, School, Sewing, Tutorial

Funny panties!


As a bridal shower gift, I made these two thematic panties for the month of March. Each guest was given a different month with the instructions to include a bottle of wine and a plan for the two newlyweds to celebrate together during that month. I was inspired by the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. I’ve been learning  how to paint with fabric dyes in my college course, so I applied that to my pantie project.


1. I used Kwik Sew Pattern 2100

2. Two-way stretch cotton with lycra

3. Coordinating leg and waist elastic

4 Dhrama Co. Porcion fabric reactive dye

5. A Washable Presist for outlining the design

6. Embroidery hoop, paint brushes

I used the hipster style, but had to adjust the fit. I trimmed the waist, and narrowed the crotch. They were fast and easy to put together using both my serger for seams and my Pfaff for the stretch stitch. Needless to say, they were a big hit at the party!





Filed under Art, crafting, DIY, Dyeing, Sewing

Prayer Service Fashion 2014

Joining in with the National Prayer Service Breakfast today, our local community is having its own Prayer Service Breakfast. A good friend of mine is speaking on behave of the the Jewish Community and is wearing a special outfit that was made to her specifications by me.


The fabric is a Dharma Trading Company Bamboo Rayon. I used Lekala patterns:

1217_small_image_6044Six-gusset Skirt Sewing Pattern #5030


1212_small_image_6019Blouse Sewing Pattern #5035


I’ve been busy working on this project for a couple of weeks. First with muslins and fittings and then with all the finishing touches. She’s wearing it with a beautiful hand-dyed scarf that was made by another local artist.


Handmade Frog Clasp

She was very pleased with the finished project, which also made me very happy. Now I can start working on those pants for the Monthly Stitch and continue experimenting with natural dyes as I learn more about it in my college class.



Filed under Art, DIY, Dyeing

Post Number 350!!!

IMG_7607Hello Friends! This is celebratory post number 350! Wow! And amazingly, I have 362 followers (so far) that take an interest in what I do.  I am very happy that I have kept track of  my achievements, be they large or small.  I started blogging in  October 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I started focusing more on my creative endeavors, especially sewing. Blogging is a great way to record your makes and mistakes, your trials and errors, and share those with like minded people from all over the world. Thank you for letting me be a part of your world. What a great sewing community I have been able to enjoy through so many interesting and creative sewing blogs.

For Blog # 350, I have something new to share.  I’m taking a class at the local community college on Fabric Printing and Dying. I couldn’t wait to get started so at home this weekend, I dug right in. The top you see in the pictures was hand dyed by me, I used one of the Japanese Shibori techniques of stitches gathered tight to form a resist. I’ll explain the process that I used. Now, I’ve only taken one class so far, so I assume that I’ll learn how to do everything ten times better.


I used a cotton jersey knit that had been washed and dried. After the stitching, I presoaked the 1/2 lb of fabric in warm water and soda ash. I went by Dhrama Trading Company directions for how-to’s and ingredients.


Next, I made up the dye bath: hot water (bath temp), salt, soda ash, and the Porcion Dye. I dipped the fabric in, and agitated it frequently for about an hour. This pretty color is called Coral Pink. I left in about an hour.


I had to be very careful with the water that I used for rinsing because we are in a severe drought and water use is restricted. I was a good girl and used the rinse water on my rose bushes. The dye adhered to the fabric so well that very little rinsing was needed. I then washed it by hand with a little soapy hot water and  set it out to dry.

IMG_7572 IMG_7573

Removing all the stitching from the top half of the blouse to be, was very surprising. It wasn’t exactly how I imagined, but  I was very pleased!

IMG_7574I cut one back and one front out of the solid and used the Shibori dyed piece for the bodice front, back and sleeves. You may recognize this pattern from previous posts. I’ve made several, one for Christmas out of  sparkly fabric and two more for my granddaughters .  It’s  Lekala Blouson With Decorative Back Sewing Pattern #4284. It’s so darn cute!


After I found the right color of thread, I sewed it together using my serger and the stretch stitch on my regular sewing machine. I actually preferred sewing all the seams with the regular machine and just did the finishing with the serger.

IMG_7582IMG_7585IMG_7587IMG_7599IMG_7613Thanks for visiting and happy sewing!


Filed under Art, crafting, DIY, Dyeing, School, Sewing

Fabric Printing and Dying


This is one of the pieces made by my teacher, Tari Kerss, a very talented textile artist. Here’s her website. It’s never too late to learn new things so off to school I go!  I know I will love the new skills and knowledge that Tari will be sharing with us. We will be exploring tie-dye, batik, and painting and printing of fabric using dyes and pigments. In our next class we will be using the following Shibori Folding Techniques: twist and coil, pleated diagonally, marbling, knots or Arashi, banding, folded square, binding with slip knots, and clamping. We’ll do each technique on a 12 x 12 in. square of cotton and use several dye colors. I can’t wait! I’ll post some pics of my completed samples when I finish. I’m looking forward to applying these new techniques in the designing of fabric for apparel. I probably can count this as my newly learned skill on the Monthly Stitch for January :)

Today we did the burn test on mystery fabrics and my partner and I identified 3 out of 4!

Who can name the four oldest fabrics in order?


Filed under Art, DIY, Dyeing, School, Sewing

Sewing For Others


I’ve been sewing for others and enjoying the challenge. I am especially  thrilled to do some designing as well has mending. Cindy brought me her most favorite nightgown and asked me to copy it. I traced the nighty and made a new one out of a blue floral flannel. I also shortened a shirt, hemmed pants, and mended a jacket. For another friend, Linda, I redesigned a Nepalese shawl into a a poncho that opens up the front and is sewn together at the sides. I used silk from my stash to face the neck and front edges. I added four extra large snaps and chose coordinating light purple buttons from my button collection. I think she will be very happy!







Now that our 1920′s play, “Shrewed” is over, my costume construction class at the local college is teaching us how to dye using soda ash, salt, and quality dye (so much nicer than RIT).  I dyed some pajamas that I made out of white jersey knit and some silk scarves that were purchased through the Dharma Trading Company.  If you  need dye, fabric, or items already made to be dyed, this is the place! Plus, their site has great tutorials. The prices are really reasonable too. I bought hand-stitched rolled edge silk scarves for $3.50 a piece! That Dharma Trading Company is only a few hours away from where I live! I’ll have to go there sometime!


Filed under Art, DIY, Sewing, Upcycle, vintage

A little sewing, a little crafting, a little cheering!

I took a break from sewing up all those Hawthorn’s after perfecting the muslins, and did a little crafting. I had a lot of fun decoupaging two different vintage suitcases. Too bad I didn’t remember to take before pictures, but you can tell that these were great foundations for decoupage. I made the larger one into a “sewing suitcase”.


Presently it stands next to my dress form and holds all of my interfacing. I used a vintage sewing book and some vintage famous designer photos to cover it. It was really easy. I used a mixture of half white glue and water and a small sponge brush to wet the suit case, and then coat the pictures. After it dried, I used the real decoupage stuff and painted on several layers. I let it dry in between. When that was dry, I used a finishing spray made by Modpoge.


The smaller makeup case, was a bargain at $2.oo from the local thrift. The little bag inside was mildewy and stinky, so I made a new one for it. Of course, I think it’s even better than the original. For this case, I used scrap book paper from Michael’s. All in one theme; a beige, vintage, travel theme.


For the inside, I matched the color of the original blue suitcase with a blue florals and geometric prints. It turned out so lovely.



New bag with zipper for inside

I gave it to my daughter for her 30th birthday. On her birthday, we cheered for her as she crossed the finish line after running a half marathon in Healdsburg.

Kimberly Runs a Half Marathon on her 30th!

 Then we went out for a celebratory breakfast at Costeaux’s French Bakery.  In the afternoon, we joined up with some of my youngest daughter’s friends and went zip-lining at Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental. It was an awesome day!

So now, I’m back to sewing! I’m starting up my own local business of alterations and custom sewing and I have added a new page to the top of my blog about it. I’ve also ordered some business cards to pass out. I’ll share that with you when it comes. I just finished an alteration on a bridesmaid dress, and I have two more to work on after the ladies buy their shoes. I’m not sure how busy I may get, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Oh, one more cute item. Have you ever wondered what you could do with all those empty chicken feed bags? What about making a sturdy shopping bag?


I DIYed one to see how it would turn out. All I did was cut off the top, bind that edge with some wide bias tape, folded it over for strength, added a handle to both sides, squared the bottom and reinfocred that seam by adding bias tape  to it.  The letters and graphics are upside down…heheheh, but the chickens think it’s great! What do you think?


Filed under Art, crafting, DIY, Family, nature, Sewing, Upcycle, vintage

Week 3 Copy Cat!

Week 3 of Refashion Runway

Thanks for your support, it’s been incredibly exciting to take part in the Refashion Runway competition.


This week was fun, fun, fun! The challenge was to copy a fashion look from a magazine or catalogue. I did some preliminary research online specifically on two main sites, Fashion Magazine, and Vogue. Both had a tremendous amount of  looks for every season and for several different years. As I sifted through articles, and runway slideshows, I saved a few interesting, and possibly makeable looks to my desktop. After narrowing it down based on what I might find at a thrift shop, I consulted my husband on the look that he liked the best. We both agreed that the yellow skirt with coordinating top, was the cutest and probably the easiest to find supplies for. I could kick myself for renaming the image file which resulted in not being able to locate the photo anywhere in cyberspace! Believe me, I spent hours looking. I wanted to know who the designer was and give them credit for the lovely style. I even offered my daughter $10.00 to find it. Alas, I can’t name that designer.


The one on the left is the copy. No, it’s the one on the right! Right? ;)

At the Goodwill, I searched for just the right colors and weave of several women’s knit tops, and paid a measly $13.00 dollars. I used acrylic paint  for the design on the front of the top. Painting the design  similar to the original, took longer than sewing the whole outfit! It was a slow process as I had to mask the places where I didn’t want paint, mask painted colors, so that the new colors didn’t bleed into them, let them dry, and repeat the process. I did a test on a scrap of fabric to see if I could laundry the item, and yes, it can be done!  I’m very pleased with the way it all turned out.



Here are the steps for making the skirt: Use two yellow knit tops for the skirt. Cut into four inch strips. Save one hemmed edge to be the bottom of the skirt.


Match up the side seams of the strips and cut a back center seam. If your strips are different lengths, like mine were, make an adjustments on the longer ones at the side seams.


Once your strips are even, you can serge them together. Note: my two yellow tops were both yellow but just a slightly different shade, so I alternated them. It created more of a purpose for the layout of the horizontal strips, in my opinion.


On your dress form, pin the back seam together. It should fit snugly around the hips. Pin the side seams in at the top, curving slightly to blend into your natural waist. The waist width should  be bigger than your natural waist, because you will be inserting elastic into a folded-over casing. It makes it is easy to pull on over your hips.


Pin and sew a curved edge toward the waist.


Fold over the top edge, sew with a stretch stitch, and insert elastic.

Steps for making the top: Use a white knit top, Cut it so that it is loose and has the built in sleeve. Cut the neck to your liking. Serge, fold, and top stitch the edges of the neck and sleeves.


The contrasting bottom part is about 2/3 distance from the top. Cut from your contrasting top straight across, just under the arms. You can use the bottom hem for the bottom of the garment, but you will have to remember to adjust the length of that piece before you sew it onto the top.


Then comes the painting. You will need  masking tape, acrylic paint, and a good stiff paint brush, I used a 1/2 in. flat, slightly angled brush. Create channels with the masking tape and paint away! Let your color dry, pull the masking tape off and continue the process. Have fun!




Ok if you haven’t voted for one of these lovely entries. Please do so now, Thanks! REFASHION RUNWAY

If  you have any questions about the DIY, feel free to ask.

Thanks for looking!


Filed under Art, DIY, Sewing, Upcycle

Bumble Bee T- Shirt Rug

Quirky project but I’m loving the result. Earlier this year I taught myself how to make t-shirt yarn by watching youtube tutorials. I started out with a small basket  (see tutorial here) made from two t-shirts and then moved on to a small colorful bathroom matt. My next project was this one, an entry rug for the front door.

I went with a color scheme of yellows, grays, and black. First, I collected the t- shirts, about 12 of them,  from the local thrift stores at $2.00 or less a piece. Second, I cut the shirts just under the arms. Then, I measured 3/4 inch across using my see-through ruler and a rotary cutter. It is important not to cut completely through one side of the shirt so that you can make a continuous strip later. I cut the strips, matching the first cut to the second cut in order to make that one long strip. Finally, I gently stretched the strip between my hands so that it curled into a yarn like string; and then I rolled it into balls.

Then comes the easy meditative part of crocheting it to together. I used a single crochet stitch. At the corners I added stitches to make it lie flat. I let the shape and colors speak to me as the rug grew. It really doesn’t take long to do this last part. It’s pretty easy to do while your watching TV or listening to the radio.

I love how it turned out. It brightens up the entry way to my house. I feel a sense of accomplishment at my ability to create something new from something old  like second-hand T-shirts.


I have plans for another one for a bathroom that has an aqua blue theme. However, I’m also in the middle of trying out my Laurel Pattern by Colette. So far, I’ve made the size 0. And now I have a size 4 made up, but not hemmed or modeled. I hope to have those pictures up in the next post.
Happy sewing and crafting!
Thanks for looking.

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Filed under Art, crochet, DIY, Sewing