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National Lace Day

October 1, 2022

I LOVE to work with lace, and have acquired a wonderful stash, many of the pieces were given to me by thoughtful family members and friends. A variety of techniques are used to create lace, by hand or machine, from natural or synthetic threads or yarns. The hand-made techniques use simple tools, such as a needle, wooden bobbins, crochet hook, tatting shuttle, or knitting needles, and I tend to collect these, but all lace is welcome in my home!

9″ x 10 3/4″

Creme de la Creme by Christen Brown

This is a collection of some of my favorite little scraps of lace, trims, doily bits, and pieces of a collar and cuff. I collage-pieced these bits onto a background of dupioni silk, then hand-stitched the pieces in place. The vignettes are comprised of silk ribbon embroidery floral components, groups of buttons with silk ribbon embroidery stitches, charms and other beaded components. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

23 1/2″ x 19″

Girly Girls by Christen Brown

This entire collection of doilies, napkins, small serving place mats, and lace bits was given to me by friends and family members. The kid glove belonged to my grandmother, and my mother stitched the oval floral pieces. The earrings came from both of my husband’s grandmothers, and the jacquard ribbon from his mother. I collage-pieced and hand-stitched the base first, then added in the larger components, and ribbonwork flowers. The embroidery is worked with perle cotton, and beads. I also added in vintage buttons, jewelry bits, perfume vials, and and a safety pin with tea themed porcelain charms. This piece can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Photo by Felix Mayorca

Pearl’s Delight by Christen Brown

I stitched this simple jacket from a fun paisley print that I had found in a $1.00 a yard bin many, many, years ago. Every inch of the base is covered with bits of vintage machine made, tatted, and crochet lace that had been given to me by my friend Jeri. The sections of lace are embellished with ribbons, mother-of-pearl buttons and charms, freshwater pearls, glass beads, and glass pearls that came from an old necklace that belonged to my grandmother. This piece can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Here is a collection of some additional pieces that can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 30

Question: Are you looking for inspiration, a little kick start, or just some eye candy? I have a few books that may help you on your creative journey, may that be a long and happy one!

Here is a re-cap of National Sewing Month 2022:

  1. September 1, 2022– Question: When did you first learn to sew, and who was your teacher?
  2. September 2, 2022– Question: How do you design a project, do you start with a plan or do you let the materials tell you what and where they want to be?
  3. September 3, 2022– Question: What type of piecing do you like to do?
  4. September 4, 2022– Question: When you choose a fabric, what are you drawn to, do you like to work with solids or prints, or hand-dyed or batiks?
  5. September 5, 2022– Question: Do you like to recycle old clothing, or use something in an unexpected way?
  6. September 6, 2022– Question: What type of embellishments to you like to work with on your projects?
  7. September 7, 2022– Question: Do you plan out every detail, or do you approach your work with serendipity?
  8. September 8, 2022– Question: Do you like to make and sew your own jewelry and adornments?
  9. September 9, 2022– Question: Did you know that the wooden spools that you have in your stash may be 50-100 years or older?
  10. September 10, 2022– Question: Do you have a favorite pincushion, or two?
  11. September 11, 2022– Rustic Americana, In Memory of 9/11
  12. September 12, 2022– Question: When you design a project, do you sometimes think, hmm I like that, but I want to try it in another colorway or design?
  13. September 13, 2022– Question: Do you plan out a project, with bits and pieces of paper lying around the workroom with your notes, or do you use a dedicated book to keep track of all of those ideas?
  14. September 14, 2022– Question: Do you name or title your projects, and how do you choose those names?
  15. September 15, 2022– Question: Do like to work with felt?
  16. September 16, 2022– Question: What sewer does not have a favorite pin or needle keep?
  17. September 17, 2022– Question: Do you sew functional forms for the home, or do you like to create whimsical additions?
  18. September 18, 2022– Question: Do you like to crazy-piece, but sometimes find the sections so small, that it is hard to embroider every seam?
  19. September 19, 2022– Question: Do you like to embroider over a pattern or print?
  20. September 20, 2022– Question: When you embroider a piece, do you like to use free-form images or do you use stencils?
  21. September 21, 2022– Question: When you create a strip-pieced base, do you embroider the seams, in the seams or over the seams?
  22. September 22, 2022– Question: What sewer hasn’t heard of the Sunbonnet Sue?
  23. September 23, 2022– Question: Do you sew functional forms or do you like to create fabulous frivolities?
  24. September 24, 2022– Question: Do you like to add lace to your creations?
  25. September 25, 2022– Question: When you are working with a group of fabrics, how do you decide what colors to use for the embroidery stitches?
  26. September 26, 2022– Question: What kind of sewing machine did you learn to sew on, and, what kind of machine do you sew on now?
  27. September 27, 2022– Question: When you see a hanky used in a project, do you ever think of Rhett Buttler’s comment to Scarlet: “Never, at any crisis of your life, have I known you to have a handkerchief.”
  28. September 28, 2022– Question: Do you ever hold on to a piece of fabric, and think, someday, I will use that?
  29. September 29, 2022– Question: When you buy a charm pack, do you often find that there are prints that you think, hmm, how did those get included in here?

I hope that you have enjoyed this month, and have found some inspiration within these pages.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 28

Question: Do you ever hold on to a piece of fabric, and think, someday, I will use that? Well I think if you are a sewist, quilter, artist or designer, the answer is YES!

17 1/2″ x 16 3/4″

Eastern Influences by Christen Brown

This piece started with the small scrap of fabric that I used for the center. It had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project to come along. The printed fabric that I used in the border, was one of those fat quarters I purchased, and then held onto for years. Sound familiar? Additional fabrics were a machine embroidered cotton, and plain black cotton, that were left over from other projects. Glass seed beads were used for the embroidery, along with vintage bugle and hand-blown glass beads, and nail heads. Vintage buttons are sprinkled throughout, along with large glass beads and charms. This piece can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 25

Question: When you are working with a group of fabrics, how do you decide what colors to use for the embroidery stitches? Here are a few ideas.

10″ x 10″

Victoriana by Christen Brown

This crazy-pieced square started with a rayon print, and 6 different silk fabrics that matched the colors of the print. I chose silk embroidery ribbon, perle cotton, buttonhole silk, cotton floss, and seed beads in those same colors. I used 7mm silk embroidery ribbon and silk bias ribbons for the ribbonwork flowers. Each section of fabric is worked with a combination of the colors and components.

15 3/8″ x 15 3/8″

Melted Crayons by Christen Brown

Tiny bits of precious silk fabrics were crazy-pieced onto four foundation squares and strip-pieced onto four border strips. These blocks and strips were bordered with black silk fabric, satin ribbon, and rayon cord. I chose to work each of the border rows with black buttonhole twist, then the decorative and detail stitches with a variegated Valdani perle cotton. Vintage and new button details were stitched down with perle cotton and rayon floss. This piece can be seen in The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 24

Question: Do you like to add lace to your creations? For me that is a resounding yes! Here are a few ideas for you.

3 1/4″ x 6 3/4″

Spring Butterflies by Christen Brown

The little jewelry holder, is a perfect example of a small project that has a lot of punch. Two silk fabrics are strip-pieced together to create a base, which was then layered with vintage lace and butterfly appliques. The embroidery, which shadows the edges of the lace, is all worked in perle cotton. This project (pattern), Floral Garden Jewelry Holder, can be found in my book, Embroidered and Embellished, by C&T Publishing. Note: The design in the book is different than the one above.

This little block example is from my book, Hand Embroidery Dictionary, by C&T Publishing. It really gives you a close-up view of the stitches, that can be used when embroidering around a piece of lace or applique. The blanket and chain stitches can be worked around a curved shape with ease. Straight stitches can be used as decorative stitches worked inside small appliques. Remember to work the stitches within the open sections of the lace, or just around the outer edges. Don’t pierce the threads or stitching of the lace, as this may break down the fibers.

Sand Pebbles by Christen Brown

This piece showcases a beautiful vintage lace applique, that was stitched to a sand-colored cotton fabric. I embroidered the piece with several colors of Wildflower threads from the Caron Collection, then embellished the embroidered and lace sections with vintage and new glass beads, and jewelry findings. I bordered the outer edge with a piece of Hannah silk ribbon, and a few hand-blown glass beads. You can find this piece in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 23

Question: Do you sew functional forms or do you like to create fabulous frivolities? Here are two examples of the classes that I offer that will help you to explore that fabulous and dare I say frivolous side of life!

7 1/2″ x 7″

Beadazzled Somemore by Christen Brown

This is a version of my PDF class lesson Beadazzled Somemore Purse. This purse is made from a beautiful cotton batik fabric by Hoffman (who else?), but you can choose any type of fabric. The bead embroidery stitches are worked with a variety of techniques. Additional embellishments include buttons, charms, roundels, and sequins.

8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Gypsy Treasures by Christen Brown

This is a version of my PDF class lesson Textured and Treated Reticule. This purse is also made from a cotton batik fabric by Hoffman, but any type of fabric would work. The base is heavily quilted and textured, using a twin needle for the quilting. Surface techniques include a vine created from yarn, covered in gold metallic threads, fabric yo-yos, and machine couched novelty yarn details. The sections of fabric are embroidered with raised and textured stitches, beaded embroidery stitches, shisha mirrors, and buttons.

For more information on beads and working with beaded embroidery stitches, check out my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 19

Question: Do you like to embroider over a pattern or print: I like the fact that I can follow a guide, but mix it up a bit and add more color to the piece. You can find the following pieces in my book the Hand Embroidery Dictionary by C&T Publishing.

20″ X 19 1/2″

Glamour Girl by Christen Brown

This piece started with the fun print that was used in all four blocks. I loved the colors that were used and found additional fabrics in both stripes and prints in those same colors. I also incorporated a few precious strips of vintage batik fabrics. The piece is embellished with rickrack trim, grosgrain and novelty ribbons, embroidery, beads and sequins, and novelty buttons.

21 1/2″ x 12 3/4″

Big Leaves by Christen Brown

This piece started with the large linen leaf print. I chose Valdani perle cotton, from Rusty Crow Quilt Shop, for the embroidery stitches because of the ombre and variegated colors. The printed fabric gave me so many opportunities to use a variety of embroidery stitches. I used a wide grosgrain ribbon for the border, and embellished this with vintage wooden buttons.

12 1/2″ x 13 3/4″

Misty Blue Hills by Christen Brown

I used a printed upholstery fabric for the center that had great lines and colors that I could work with. I pieced the simple border with blue and creme colored printed fabrics. The embroidery stitching follows the pattern in the center, using a variety of stitches. I used a Sashiko style of stitching on the border fabrics. Many vintage glass, metal, shell and celluloid buttons were used for embellishments, along with two bone dragons.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 18

Question: Do you like to crazy-piece, but sometimes find the sections so small, that it is hard to embroider every seam? In those cases, I like to “collage” embroider and embellish.

13″ x 13″

Scattered Splattered Tatters by Christen Brown

Left-over pieces of muslin fabric were crazy-pieced together, then hand quilted with perle cotton #12. Crochet, porcelain, and mother-of-pearl buttons are nestled into the lengths of tatted and machine-made lace, scattered crochet, appliqués and tatted components. The finished piece was hand-dyed with Colorhue dyes, using a Rustic Aging recipe that I created. This piece can be seen in my new book, Creative Stitching, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″

Wild Persimmons by Christen Brown

This piece started with a crazy-pieced base of silk and cotton fabrics, which was machine quilted in a random spiral pattern. A rayon cord was couched down with seed beads to create a pattern. The embroidery and embellishments that follow the pattern are vintage plastic and glass buttons, sequins, glass seed beads, and large beads. This piece can be seen in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 13

Question: Do you plan out a project, with bits and pieces of paper lying around the workroom with your notes, or do you use a dedicated book to keep track of all of those ideas? I keep my notes, thoughts, and swatches in this planner.

Embellished Art Embroidery Project Planner by Christen Brown

This delightful planner is designed especially for embroiderers so that you can track multiple projects throughout the year—because let’s face it, who doesn’t have lots of projects going at once?! Set your project goals, track your progress, and manage your time and works-in-progress (WIPs). Each project has four pages to track and record all the critical details: the name of your project, the layout, the stitches and embellishments, due dates, supply lists and more. Plus, flip to the back of the planner for a reference section and even more handy tools.

Happy Stitching~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 12

Question: When you design a project, do you sometimes think, hmm I like that, but I want to try it in another colorway or design? Here are a few of my ideas.

Castle Door and Rustic Door: These two wall hangings are based on a door theme, using vintage and new keys as the focus. The first piece is all machine stitched, with hand embellished charms and ephemera. The second piece is machine quilted and hand embroidered, with ribbon trims and ephemera.

Bouquet of Flowers: These two small wall hangings start with a lace basket, and lace trims, but change dramatically with the choices I made in color palettes. The project can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing.

Beadazzled Stitches was a class that I taught for many years, that eventually grew-up to become the nexus for my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing. I love both color ways here!

Happy Stitching~Christen