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Daisy’s Gatsby Days Vest- detail of silk ribbon embroidery

Detail from Daisy's Gatsby Days

Detail from Daisy’s Gatsby Days

The title for this garment came to me as I was working with these soft pastels, which reminded me of summer dresses worn by women during the 1920’s.

This is a close-up view of one of my favorite vests, see the full view here. I wear it with a blue linen skirt, and a cream colored cotton blouse. It looks great with jeans too!

I started with a simple woven print, and embroidered silk ribbon flowers and leaves; sewed on ribbon worked flowers and leaves; and stitched traditional embroidery stitches with a variegated cotton thread; bead embellishments were added here and there as finishing touches. I used a vintage blue and yellow ribbon for the flowers and some of the 4mm silk ribbon I used was hand dyed; both elements added to the vintage look of the piece.

The techniques I used for this vest are similar to the Renaissance of Ribbon Embroidery, by using a base fabric with a floral design and embellishing it with silk ribbon embroidery.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Indian Roses- French wire and silk ribbon worked flowers and leaves

Rose Beret by Christen Brown

Rose Beret by Christen Brown

Indian Roses is an ensemble that I recently created to accompany a vintage piano shawl that I bought many years ago. I include this in one of my lectures, Vintage Redressed. The ensemble includes the beret, a ribbon worked neck-piece, an embellished pair of vintage cotton gloves (close-up below), vintage celluloid earrings and bracelets, and a gold lace bracelet.

The beret, pictured here incorporates a lucious display of colors and textures in hand dyed silk ribbons and French wire ribbons. I used mainly 1″ and 1-1/2″ ribbons which were stitched to a crinoline base. I then hand stitched this to the brim of the beret.

Close up of ribbon worked flowers and leaves

Close up of ribbon worked flowers and leaves

This is a close-up view of the tiny ribbon worked flowers and leaves that I stitched onto the vintage cotton gloves.

These flowers and leaves are also used on the ribbon (an embroidered piece from India) that I used as the base of the necklace.

I used French ombre, picot edged ombre, and ruffle edged ribbons here, all between 1/4″ to 3/8″ wide. A hand dyed ribbon is stitched along the top of the glove.

I am sure whoever wears this will truly feel the beauty of Spring when surrounded by all of these glorious flowers!

Happy Stitching! Christen

Floral Pastoral Tassel: ribbonwork

Floral Pastoral Tassel

Floral Pastoral Tassel

I love flowers, I love spring-time and I love tassels!

The Floral Pastoral Tassel showcases the many different types of ribbon and their versatility. I used 5/8″ and 1″ French wire ribbon; 3/8″ picot edge ribbon; 3/8″ vintage grosgrain and jacquard ribbons; 2mm silk embroidery ribbon; and Hanah silk bias ribbons in sizes 7/16″, 5/8″ and 1″.

The tassel top was made from machine stitched cotton paper, reinforced with Timtex, the technique much like the one used in Aurelia’s Garden and Fairie Tea Party. It was then embellished with hand made flowers and leaves, ribbon embroidery with beaded accents.

The tassel skirt is a lace that is made from a cotton/rayon blend. I dyed the lace with the Color Hue dyes, which were the same ones that I use in the Scrumptious Scraps project.

Enjoy your life, love lots and create when you can! Happy stitching! Christen

Deco Plumeria Ensemble: neck-piece and bracelets

Deco Plumeria by Christen Brown

Deco Plumeria by Christen Brown

The inspiration for this ensemble came from a wonderful group of old “confetti” celluloid buttons from the Deco era found at an antique show in Santa Monica, CA. The colors of the components I chose for this ensemble are so reminiscent of the “barkcloth” curtains of the 1930’s with large images of tropical flowers, that I just had to make a floral venue in which the buttons could reside.

The necklace and first bracelet “Violas and Peas” are made from a base of grosgrain ribbon adorned with individually stitched ribbon worked flowers and leaves, (and pea pods in the case of the bracelet). The second bracelet is made from vintage glass cabs glued to a metal base. The last “Ribbon Bracelet” is a vintage jacquard ribbon covered with vintage Bakelite and celluloid buttons.

I used a variety of ribbons in this ensemble including silk bias, grosgrain, French wire and even a ribbon that was tied to a box of Godiva Chocolates (a Valentines Day gift from my husband). You just never now what may come in handy some day….

Bracelets by Christen Brown

Bracelets by Christen Brown

May you have many hours of Happy  and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Antique Autumn Roses: neck-piece

Antique Autumn Roses- by Christen Brown

Antique Autumn Roses- by Christen Brown

This necklace was started in a class using my pattern “Entwined Roses”. The design grew with the addition of the wonderful wrapped metallic gold center piece given to me by a friend.

I had also just acquired a collection of vintage celluloid buttons, which found there way into major focal areas around the hand made silk ribbon flowers and leaves. Almost all of the buttons are made with vintage materials such as Bakelite, brass, molded glass, and cinnabar. Two other special components are the porcelain leaf button by Rama in the front, and a large flower shaped yellow bronze button from Worldly Good Buttons.

The other stunning components are the gold reflective glass flower shaped roundels, that really make the rest of the colors stand out. I used the peyote stitch to add in the vintage and new glass beads and charms; carnelian, Pyrex, cloisonne charms and dangles; and wrapped metal dangles.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Summers by The Sea: neck-piece

Summers by the Sea by Christen Brown

Summers by the Sea by Christen Brown

After graduating High School, I spent one glorious year on Catalina Island working as the Crafts Director at a YMCA camp. This was the perfect place for someone who enjoys the ocean, the creatures within, and the treasures that often wash ashore. Not to mention that it was a great place to think about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!

Many of the bits and pieces in this neck-piece were gathered during that year. The most prominent shells are the “button shells” which are from the cowrie shell family. They are very rare, and only found in certain locations, one being at Button Shell Beach, which was the name of the cove where the camp was located.

Summers by the Sea was created with the free form peyote stitch in a pallet of soft colors provided by the sea, air and shore. Vintage and new glass seed beads and novelty shaped beads are stitched to simulate rivers and clusters of treasures washed up along with the sea foam. Other beads and items that I used were: fresh water pearls; “tiny” green abalone shells (these I purchased at a store in Avalon); brown muscle shell charms and beads; abalone shells and chips.

A few years ago my husband and I attended a Jazz festival held in the Casino ballroom. This was the first time that I had been back to the island in 32 years. I found the island still lovely, quiet and quaint, with some new growth which was to be expected. I still felt the old attractions of my longing for the sea, the shore and the solitude that I found here so many years ago. I have this necklace as a reminder and inspiration to never let go of my dreams!

Happy and Joyous Stitching! Christen

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: necklace with vintage buttons

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride by Christen Brown

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride by Christen Brown

“It’s never the wrong time to call on Toad.
Early or late he’s always the same fellow.
Always good-tempered, always glad to see you, always sorry when you go!”
excerpt from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I really loved the illustrations, the title and the characters of this book. Oddly enough though this happens to be my least favorite ride at Disneyland and my husband and daughter’s favorite ride. I am not sure what comment this makes about us, (perhaps it is the fact that they both deal with chaos better than I), but I still think that it is a wonderful book.

This entire ensemble was created to display the gorgeous black glass buttons, one from the Victorian era, mixed with vintage sterling buttons and new picture buttons Dorothy (for my daughter) and Albert (for my husband) at the top of the picture.

The vintage green glass leaves were made in Japan and the round red glass beads were made in Czechoslovakia. Other beads and charms add a fun color mix which was actually inspired by an old set of bark cloth curtains that my grandmother owned. I wear this with a short sleeved jacket that was made with the bark cloth which also bears the name, “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride”.

Bracelets: Toad Greens, Czech It Out, African Stripes

Bracelets: Toad Greens, Check It Out, African Stripes

“Toad Greens” is chock full of vintage glass beads from Japan and Germany. “African Stripes” is made with vintage African Trade beads. The beads in both bracelets were strung on Soft Flex, with crimp beads on the end.

The middle bracelet “Check it Out” is made from the “Chantilly Laced Buttons” pattern using vintage Czech glass and Victorian “mourning” glass buttons with glass seed beads. I had been collecting these buttons for both the necklace, where I used my “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern and this bracelet for many years, and am happy to say they are at home now.

Happy Stitching! Christen

Scrumptious Scraps Wall Hanging: silk ribbon embroidery with silk ribbon worked flowers and leaves

Scrumptious Scraps by Christen Brown

Scrumptious Scraps by Christen Brown

This wall hanging truly covers all of my passions, embroidery, ribbon work, vintage lace, and dyeing! Scrumptious Scraps was a labor intensive project, but well worth the time that I spent on it. In fact this piece is one of my favorites, and I have used it throughout the design of my website.

The base fabric is comprised of all of those precious scraps of handmade lace and fabric that you can’t throw out! The base was created with a layer of Solvy over the scraps of lace and fabric which was then machine quilted fusing all of the pieces together. The base was then dyed with Color Hue Dyes, along with the ribbons that I used to embroider the flowers and leaves.

The ribbon worked flowers are made from Hanah silk bias ribbons, cotton grosgrain ribbons, and dyed silk satin ribbons; the embroidery was stitched with silk ribbons and embroidery threads.

size 12-3/8″ W x 9-1/2″

Happy Stitching! Christen