Categotry Archives: sewing


embroidered hamsa


In October I noticed that my trusty old purse was falling apart. It was linen with a tree embroidered on it, and I wound up selling a replica to a friend. Oh well, out with the old and in with the new!

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I thought about sewing another tree, but instead I went with a hamsa. I’ve always been fond of hand designs, because they are full of positive connotations to me. First, I use my hands in all the wonderful things I like to make. I also like an open hand as a representation of sincerity and honesty. Also it is a Jewish and Muslim symbol of fertility. When I was in Barcelona in April 2009 I bought a little silver hamsa pendant that always draws comments.

This was originally white linen. I painted the hand silhouette a light yellow and then color the rest of the fabric with a pthalo blue. I like using paint to dye fabric sometimes because it doesn’t bleed. It took me a few hours to add in all the embroidered details. The purse is lined with a blue floral scrap and has one inside pocket.  I’ve had that single brass button for years and I feel like this is the perfect use for it. All of the sewing was done by hand.

I’m really happy with the design and colors, and so far the bag has held up wonderfully.


biased blouse and black pants


I LOVE this blouse! This is the first time I’ve cut a garment on the bias. I drafted the pattern myself, the only way I make things nowadays. When I did the neckline and the hem I was somewhere in the lovely grey area between tipsy and drunk, so that’s my favorite part. Gots to have my rum.

in the alley the back of the blouse


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All the fabric is 100% cotton. The floral fabric is pretty thin, and if I were to wear anything dark under the shirt it would be visible. Like I said, it’s cut on the bias, and there are darts in the front and the back that give it a fit that I love. One of my favorite things about this blouse is that it was all made of scrap fabric. The only thing I bought for this project was the cording that went into the green piping, so I spent about $.75 on my new favorite shirt. Incidentally, the green floral is leftover from the first garment I made without a pattern, a dress way back in early 2006.

the neckline underarm piping the fabric detail of the keyhole neck

Working with the bias definitely presented its own special set of challenges. Making the front and back darts even took a surprising amount of time. The original sketches for this shirt included sleeves, but once I attached them I wasn’t wild about the look, plus is made the body of the blouse fit very differently than it had without sleeves. I love the way the armholes came out and impressed myself with how neat the piping and red trim came out.

my black pants black pants

I made the black pants too, and no pattern for that either. I can’t remember ever having owned black pants before. I wish I’d been able to find some heavy weight fabric with a bit of stretch in it for these. Hopefully in LA I will find some awesome material to cover my butt in.

i am also a monster


luxe patchwork chair


This project is actually from last summer! I came across Squint furniture, and who could help but be inspired? My mom bought me this cute slipper chair and I knew exactly what I was going to do.

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I bought a million small pieces of some gorgeous upholstery fabrics. Even at lengths 1/4 yd and less, and with a 40% sale, it still cost around $50.

It’s technically a slipcover, although the zipper is tacked closed. Still, it is possible to remove the fabric for cleaning if absolutely necessary. I made the base of the slipcover out of an old sheet. Then I pinned and topstitched the “patches.” I used 1,500 yds of thread for the satin stitching! It was a very time consuming project, but not too difficult. I’m thinking about using the same process on my sewing chair.

I love all the covered buttons! I got these fabrics as swatches for free, and the fleurs de lis and bees are my favorite.

I gave the chair to my mom when I started traveling, but here’s how it used to look in my living room. I also upholstered the violet sateen sofa, made the pillows, painted the two tables, and made the wax screen behind!

This chair was selected as a Craftster featured project in January 2010!

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