This felt project is fun, fast and easy to make for yourself or someone you love! Use up your tiny bits of precious lace, appliqués, and trims to create a hand-sewn collaged tree. The lace tree can be embroidered and embellished with stitches, buttons and more. It can be used as a pillow, or you could add a piece of ribbon to the top, for wall hanging.
This piece started with the a group of batik fabrics in dark mustard, teal, and cranberry/rust. The cranberry/rust fabric reminded me of the red ring around Mars, so I created a galaxy in the center of the piece, using a wholecloth reverse applique technique. The copper and antiqued brass finishes of the celestial-themed charms added an extra color element. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.
Umbria by Christen Brown
This piece started with four printed fabrics in rich browns, rust, and cranberry colors. I found a variegated perle cotton that picked up all of those colors. I then chose the remainder of the embroidery and embellishments to match the thread. Embellishments include vintage shell buttons, copper charms, and glass buttons that are sprinkled around the fiber and metal leaf trims. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.
Autumn Ribbons by Christen Brown
The base of this piece started with a linen napkin, and added bits of vintage lace that I hand-dyed with Colorhue dyes. I then added in loads of rust, orange, and brown flowers and leaves that I hand-stitched from Hanah silk bias ribbons. I used techniques that can be found in my book Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing. The embroidery was worked with perle cotton, Wildflower threads, and silk embroidery ribbon, using many of the stitches that can be found in my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.
Harvest Quilt by Christen Brown
The base of this quilt was strip-pieced using Hoffman cotton batiks, in rich autumn colors of rust, umber, cranberry, maple, and olive. The embroidery stitches are worked in perle cotton #5 and #8, Wildflower threads, and cotton floss. This piece was featured in the gallery section of my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.
Tidbits and Tats is my version of the popular “snip rolls”. This is a fun, fast and easy project to make for yourself or someone you love! Perfect for you to use your tiny bits of precious lace, fabric, ribbon, appliques and trims to create a hand sewn collaged base. The lace base can be embroidered and embellished with buttons, sequins and charms. You can add in your own flare with other items such as fabric yo-yo’s and ribbonwork flowers.
Skill Level Beginning: hand-sewing and embroidery knowledge needed
This class can be purchased at any time, there is no set schedule. The class can be ordered by contacting Christen: email@example.com. She will send you an invoice through PayPal.
Once the class is paid for, the supply list and handout/s will be sent out.
A high-speed internet connection is recommended, and you must have basic computer and internet skills. You will need to be able know how to download and save a document to your computer’s hard drive, open it, and print out a copy.
You can contact Christen with any questions pertaining to the class/class information throughout the length of the class.
Being a native of Southern CA., a shell lover from early child hood, and an avid collector I am drawn to the ocean, the sand, the waves, the tide-pools and all of the treasures that you can find.
I started my project with birch bark collected many years ago from our cabin outside of Toronto, Ontario Canada. This I used for the sand, and the inside of the bowls.
I then crumpled up pieces of cotton paper to create the waves, and rocks. I stitched these together with cotton and rayon threads on my sewing machine. I placed this on an old wooden tray, that had seen better days.
The next step was to create the actual tide pool rock formations that capture the sea life and shells.
I started with Timtex and more cotton paper. I cut round shapes in three different sizes. I layered cotton paper over these, and cut out round pieces of birch bark for the center of the bowls.
I stitched the layers together on the sewing machine. I then cut darts into the circles, and over lapped these to form the bowl shape. The last step was to cut the edges of each bowl and then machine stitch over these edges.
shells, sea life and kelp
I had an abundance of real shells that I had collected over the many years of beach combing. I had a great time selecting which of these would be included into my beach scene.
I also had some old celluloid buttons that were somewhat grungy, but the colors matched and the patterning looked like sea urchins to me, these are interspersed amongst the bowls.
I thought that it would be cool to include shells and sea life that I had made from ribbons, crochet and embroidery. I started to play and this is what I came up with:
A crochet length of kelp with cord and pearl cotton, and grape shells at each leaf (these have a florist wire glued in the center to attach to the kelp)
Crochet and embroidered snail shells
Embroidered sea urchins, sea anemones and limpet shells
Embroidered and gathered ribbon coral
Ric-rac coral and star fish
Plumes of something made from rayon cord (I am not sure what these are but I liked them)
close-up view of three sizes of bowls
Happy beach combing and treasure hunting, enjoy- Christen!
Embroidery adds so much texture and dimension to your fiber creations. Here are some ideas on how to approach working the stitches over the pieced seams of your fabric base.
Once I create a pieced base, I make a swatch card of the fabrics. I then gather the threads and ribbons that will be used on the project, matching or blending the colors of my pieced base. I then create a color chart for the project, organizing the colors of thread and ribbons that will be used as I embroider the stitches on each seam. For more information on my process, see this free handout: Designing With Color.
Border Rows: I work the border row on each piece of fabric with a different color of thread. Here I have worked the backstitch, outline, and coral stitches in a variety of shapes and designs as the beginning of my border rows. Other stitches that can be used for border rows are chain, blanket, feather, cretan, herringbone, and chevron stitches, and any of their variations. Individual stitches can also be used to create a border row over a seam.
Decorative Stitches: I work the decorative stitches on each piece of fabric with a different color and/or colors of thread. Here I have added in lazy daisy, fly, cross, cattail, pistil, looped tendril, buttonhole circle, French knot, and straight stitches onto my border rows. There are any number of decorative stitches that can be used.
Detail Stitches: I work the detail stitches on each piece of fabric with a different color and/or colors of thread. Here I have added in additional detail stitches to the border rows and decorative stitches.
Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen
PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.
I love to embroider, which I am sure you can tell. I have two books that are specifically focused on embroidery. In the Hand Embroidery Dictionary there are over 500+ stitches, both traditional stitches and unique stitches that I developed for the book. In my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, I offer you both traditional bead embroidery stitches as well as unique techniques that accommodate the special characteristics of the different bead shapes and sizes.
Below, I show you how various forms of thread embroidery can be adapted to bead embroidery and bead woven stitches. The use of beads in the bead embroidery and bead woven stitches certainly do bring a surprisingly visual and dimensional aspect to the work.
Here is an example of two crazy pieced sections of fabric. The first is worked in traditional thread and silk ribbon embroidery stitches, along with embellishments such as tatting, rosettes, charms and buttons. In the second piece, you see traditional stitches translated into beaded embroidery, with the stitches worked in seed beads in sizes 6°, 8°, 11°, and 15°. Embellishments include lace, larger beads, charms, and buttons.
This is an example of a sashiko pattern, the first is embroidered with perle cotton; the second is embroidered with 11° seed beads.
Here is an example of the cross stitch worked in perle cotton, and size 11° seed beads.
Here is an example of two brooches, worked in similar design. In the first I embroidered the Brazilian rose, and traditional leaves and French knot stitches in perle cotton; with a couched cord frame. In the second, I embroidered the a rose with size 11° seed beads, and added in bead woven leaves, and charms; with a beaded couched cord frame.
Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen
PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.
This time of year brings to mind spooky things, and to me the spookiest is running into a spiderweb and wondering if you are wearing the weaver of that web! We have quite a colony of orb weavers in our garden, and I am amazed by the intricacy of these woven wonders.
Ugly Bug Ball, by Christen Brown
The base of this piece is a cotton twill fabric. I pieced and stitched the web using a vintage embroidery ribbon, and rickrack trim. The web holds a host of ‘’ugly bugs’’ stitched mainly from old sewing notions and vintage glass and hand-blown glass beads. This can be seen in my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New.
Spiders Hide in the Dusk, by Christen Brown
The base of this piece is a cotton batik, that I machine quilted, and then framed with a rayon cord. The embellishments include vintage glass and shell buttons, glass seed and larger beads. The webs, spiders, and button flowers are worked in bead embroidery stitches. This is a project in my book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching.
If you know my work, you know that I sneak a spider and a web into many of my crazy-pieced creations. I am in awe of the beauty of those delicate structures, and I try to capture that beauty either with beads or threads.
Charlotes Webs, by Christen Brown
This project started with the reproduction cigarette silk print in the center, whom I named Charlotte. The center section was crazy-pieced with tiny and tinier pieces of precious silk scraps left over from a few other projects. Satin ribbon was machine stitched randomly to create sections for the vignette embroidery which was worked in silk embroidery ribbon, woven ribbon, perle cotton and beads. Additional embellishments include vintage buttons and glass charms.
As much as I love to look at the webs, I am deathly afraid of real-life spiders! When I embroider the spider, I try to create a more whimsical version to somehow confront my fear! It works, until I run into a web, and then wonder…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.”
September 28, 2022– Question: Do you ever hold on to a piece of fabric, and think, someday, I will use that?
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.
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?
Paris Flea Market- by Christen Brown
The four 9-patch blocks are comprised of the lighter colors of the charm pack, with a border of bleached muslin. The embroidery was worked in three colors of perle cotton, the border row stitches in one color, the decorative stitches in a second color and the detail stitches in a third color. I stitched groups of mother-of-pearl buttons to the border.
Charmed Square by Christen Brown
This small square was pieced with a few leftover squares from the pack, with two complementary fabrics to complete the nine-patch design and borders. The border row stitches were worked in one color of perle cotton #8 to straddle each seam. The decorative and detail stitches were worked in five colors of cotton floss, and two colors of seed beads. The color and stitch changed depending on which side of the border row they were stitched on. I used three colors of glass buttons and charms and added brass buttons as an accent color.