Category Archives: Embellish

Lions and Birdies and Babushkas, oh my!

I have to tell you a secret, I  really enjoy embroidery. It’s not something I do as much as, say, sewing, but it’s a very relaxing thing to do and adds such a great detail to objects and garments. I know it’s weird and deeply Regency England of me, and in point of fact it used to be required behavior for all “gently brought up young women” (you never hear about the roughly brought up young women, now, do you? Well, not outside of Moll Flanders). But I’ve always loved the look of embroidery, so when Spool (that place is my crack den, I swear) had these adorable little embroidery kits with animals bleating their respective calls, I was helpless in the face of such cuteness. So I got one. And then I discovered the wonder that is Sublime Stitching, and, through Casey over at Elegant Musings, found all these free embroidery transfers, and, what can I say, sign me up for the Marriage Mart and advertise about my dowry because I’m hooked.

This all does bring up an interesting issue, and that is, crafting and creating and gender roles. All joking aside, just to be clear, I don’t craft and make things because I think that as a woman it’s something I ought to do. A friend and I were having this long discussion the other day and I mentioned that I do a lot of things (cook, sew, craft, etc.) that would seem to subscribe to traditional gender roles, i.e. Donna Reed would be so proud of me. But I also do lots of other things like write and work at my day job and make theater and drink whiskey and I enjoy doing all of these things. And ultimately it all comes down to choices, and whether or not it’s my choice to sew and make candles and bake cakes and embroider birds on sweaters, or whether I’m doing it because it’s expected of me, because it’s “what I should do”, because it’s “what’s done” (such an achingly WASPy phrase, don’t you think?). There is this amazing new generation of people discovering these crafts and art forms and exploring them and I think that’s fantastic and admirable, and I think, or I hope, it has nothing to do with what genital organs you have.  In the classic words of Miss Pigglewiggle vs. The Little Girl Who Talked Back “I’ll do it because I want to, not because you told me to.” Preach.

Okay, jumping off my soapbox now, onto the photos!

A pillow of Babushkas! Or more correctly, Matrushka dolls. The pattern is from Sublime Stitching. Love!

The biggest one. CUTE!

This is a cashmere cardigan my mother gave me. It was hers, but it was too big, so I took it in on the sides and gave it a bluebird!


This was my first Embroidery project.

I added a border. I love how the lion is so stoic. It reminds me of someone else I know:

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Filed under Embellish, Embroidery, Sewing

Moses Supposes Shirt

I went to college in New Haven, Connecticut, which has excellent pizza, freezing winters, miserable springs, and terrible shopping. There is a college bookstore, which is great if your entire wardrobe consists of sweat pants. There is a J Press, which is great if you want to look like an enormous tool all the time. There is a Salvation Army, which is great for Halloween and thrifty costumers. And there is an Urban Outfitters and a J Crew. And an American Apparel, which moved in just after my graduation. Thank you, American Apparel, for your terrible timing and cotton basics.

So if you wanted to shop and if you didn’t want to hop on a bus to the mall in Hartford, you either went to J Crew or Urban. Or both. And if neither of these two options satisfied your needs, you sighed, and thought longingly of H and M.

Before college I never really shopped at J Crew. It’s rather too rich for my blood, and I’m not wild about the tailoring, it seems exclusively manufactured with Empire Waistlines. Plus a lot of it is poorly made and falls apart in your hands. But during college I rather developed a taste for it’s little thin t-shirts and headbands and wool blend sweaters. And I love all of the embellished tops it does (or did, I browsed the website to try to find photos to show you but now they have all magically disappeared. I swear they were there just a season ago!) with ribbon and ruffles and beads. But I hate the price tags.

So using a shirt I got from Gap Outlet for the princely price of 5 dollars, and some seam binding I got from the PA Fabric Outlet for 30 cents a yard (love!) I made myself this:

Seam binding roses!

This is actually fairly easy to do. I used a tutorial on Ruffles and Roses and just sort of adapted it for seam binding rather then strips of jersey. It’s fun and easy, and I think it looks fairly J Crewesque, which was rather the idea. If you are interested, there was a fascinating discussion about J Crew over at Colette Patterns, very interesting, calling into question the brand and it’s marketing.

Happy to be beating the corporation!

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Filed under Clothing, Embellish, Sewing

Illness:1, Craftiness: 0

I’m sick. So sick. My throat hurts and my nose runs and the most distressing thing is my voice, which sounds like a frog or a troubling fairytale gatekeeper of some sort. I’m the reason goats really shouldn’t cross streams. I’m like a Dianne Wynne Jones villain. I’m a struggle.

So you would think that given my infirmity and the fact that I’m playing hooky from work I would have a lot of time to sew. But I don’t. I mean, I’ve got the time, but I have no energy, nor hand eye coordination, and it feels like those symptoms coupled with cough medicine mean I shouldn’t be operating any kind of machinery. And I could force my mother to take more photos of me in garments I have already crafted, but given just how cute I look right now (picture an all fleece wardrobe, fake ugg slippers I bought in China, my hair doing all kinds of things to defy the laws of gravity, and a tea cup nestled into my  hand. It’s hot, right? I know. I know. ) I didn’t think that would be a great idea.

So, instead, I have decided to update you on a few projects that are currently wasting away in my very messy sewing room. Other blogs I’ve read call these sorts of things UFOs, or unfinished objects, which is hopelessly cute, honestly. So here are some things I’m making or thinking about:



The Franzi Vest

I had a bunch of purple tweed left over from my Purple Tweed Sweetheart Skirt, as well as purple lining from the same project. So I’m making a vest. It’s actually the Franzi Vest, which is a FREE PATTERN! at I’m going to use bound buttonholes, which is fairly scary.



I bought this pattern online and am so excited to make it!

I’ve made the Muslin for it already, (first muslin! Wow.) and it fits me very well. I might bring down the neckline a bit, though, right now it’s very Big Love. Thoughts? Disagreements? Ideas? I think I’m going to make the shorter variation in wool. Color commentary?



Seam Binding Bonanza!

I got this shirt from Gap Outlet for 5 dollars. In this photo, 13 yards of seam binding is currently festooning it in an homage to Jackson Pollock… I’m just kidding. I hate Pollock! But I love seam binding, it’s thinner then ribbon and iridescent, and it’s about 30 cents a yard at PA Fabric outlet. So I’m going to combine these two elements sometime soon, and save myself the 50 dollars I could pay J. Crew for the same item. Ha. I love it when I beat J. Crew.

But I’m not going to do any of these things today. Today, I’m curling up with gallons of tea, oceans of soup, Cold Eeze, Netflix and my cats. I’m sure my sewing machine appreciates the rest.


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Embellish, Sewing, Vogue Patterns