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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 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 22

Question: What sewer hasn’t heard of the Sunbonnet Sue? She appears in all kinds of ways, including quilts, small wall hangings and even pin keeps. The pretty little Sue below, belonged to my Grandmother, and as you can see, she is made from real felt. The Sue on the right is my version of the pin keep, working with synthetic felt, lace, buttons, ribbon and perle cotton.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 10

Question: Do you have a favorite pincushion, or two? Here are a few of mine.

perky pincushion

Perky Pincushion is a class that I have taught both locally and at the International Quilt Show Festival in Houston. It is a fun little project, that requires very little time, with a fanciful result.

Strawberry Scissor Fob and Red Roses Pincushion and is similar, but has different flowers, and of course, the strawberry fobs! This piece and the instructions for the flowers and strawberries can be found in my book, Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing.

The above pincushions all start with a ribbon base. The first three can be seen in my book Ribbonwork Flowers, with the instructions to make all of the flowers. Bonbons were gifts that I made, for the dedicated editors of my books.

Happy Stitching~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 9

Question: Did you know that the wooden spools that you have in your stash may be 50-100 years or older? If you have been saving them for just the right project, here are a few ideas and ways that you can use them.

Spools and Tools Wreath, started with a group of wooden spools, that are threaded through an 18 gauge florist wire, to create the base. I wrapped an old pair of my grandmother’s scissors with a printed cotton tape, and wrapped the base with a printed satin base. The flowers and and ladybugs were made using instructions from my book, Ribbonwork Flowers, by C&T Publishing.

Tid Bits and Tats, is a class that I taught, were you take a length of ribbon and cover it with scraps of lace, fabric, doilies, hankies, and all manner of goodies. The ribbon is attached to a wooden spool. I also have version of this project in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing.

Wooden Spool Vase is a simple and fun way to use a wooden spool, and use up some of your other treasures. This project 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 8

Question: Do you like to make and sew your own jewelry and adornments? I have a few suggestions including cuffs, bracelets and brooches, all use bits of this and that including fabric, lace, ribbons, and buttons.

Chantilly Lady’s Lace Cuff by Christen Brown

These are examples of what I call the wistful days gone by, reminiscent of tranquil days lounging on an overstuffed satin pouf, or demurely sashaying along a tree-lined avenue, parasol in hand. There are two styles to choose from that will be embellished with needle-tatted and crochet components, ribbonwork flowers, a few silk ribbon embroidery stitches, beads and buttons. The lace base and other components are dyed with Colorhue dyes.

silk ribbon, embroidery, bracelets

Tandleton Rose Bracelets by Christen Brown

You have two styles to choose from, both using a Tandleton base (pillow). The “Ring of Roses” is made up entirely of embroidered ribbon pillows, strung with beads and has a glass button for the closure. The “Band of Roses” is made from a ribbon base, layered with vintage lace and a few of the embroidered pillows; a dainty embroidered button and hand-stitched button loop are used for the closure.

ribbon work flowers and leaves

Scrumptious Hearts by Christen Brown

The base is created with bits of cherished lace and with silk fabric to form a beautiful heart shaped base for your floral design. Chose from a few different heart shapes and ribbon worked floral vignettes or create your own. This is an excellent way to use up small amounts of this and that to form an heirloom brooch to be treasured. The lace base and other components are dyed with Colorhue dyes.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 7

Question: Do you plan out every detail, or do you approach your work with serendipity? For this piece, I did a bit of planning, so that the metal frame could take a prominent place amongst the pieced fabrics.

Midnight in Paris by Christen Brown

I crazy pieced solid and printed cotton fabrics with satin ribbons and vintage laces that I dyed. The embroidery was worked in silk embroidery ribbons (4mm and 7mm), silk perle, perle cotton, and cotton floss. I combined these with vintage and new beads and charms, and vintage buttons, including metal, glass and shell. A ribbon border with beaded details was used to frame the piece.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

Autumn Wreaths

These are a few of the small wall hangings and wreaths that I have made. The first was featured in my book Ribbonwork Flowers, the second was a class that I taught at my store, and the third features a dragonfly that I taught at my store.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen