Friday’s Favorites: Repurposing Vintage Ties

If you follow my blog, you know that I love to repurpose, rescue, and re-use discarded and forgotten items. Today’s post is no different. I have a collection of pieces to show you how I have done just that.

Victoriana, The Crazy Lady

Victoriana, the Crazy Lady: This piece was created as I taught my in-person class, the Crazy Corner. I used several vintage ties, and the tie linings, satin, rayon, and silk fabrics to create the crazy-pieced base. The center section was pieced first, then I added crazy-pieced borders. I used a vintage satin ribbon to hide the seam connections for the base and borders. The embroidery stitches are worked in silk embroidery ribbon, perle cotton, cotton floss, and seed beads. Embellishments include ribbonwork flowers, fabric appliques, vintage buttons, and charms.

Kimono Ties

Kimono Ties: The crazy-pieced and machine quilted base is comprised of silk fabrics, men’s ties, and pieces of kimonos, haoris, and obis. The embellishments include vintage glass, celluloid, and inlaid buttons, fabric yo-yos, fabric circles, and embroidery. This is a gallery example from my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the old with the New.

Mary Margaret’s Pretty Purse

Mary Margaret’s Pretty Purse: The pieced base of silk ties and a scrap of silk fabric features a small purse with steel cut beads and a metal frame. Embellishments include silk ribbon and ribbonwork embroidery, vintage gimp and rickrack trims, fabric, metal, crochet, and glass buttons, and glass beads. This is a gallery example from my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the old with the New.

Here are a collection of adornments made from vintage ties. The Hollywood Rose Bracelet and Brooch are made from a tie that my dad had worn, and the label was Hollywood! Loved the kitsch of it all! Instructions for the Old Rose Corsage can be found in my lecture/class Upcycle it with Embellishments.

Happy Stitching to you! ~ Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Bouquets of Ribbons and Buttons

Rococo Pillow was a gallery example that I created for my book, Ribbonwork Gardens, by C&T Publishing. I used a variety of ribbons in the piece including: silk bias ribbon, woven ribbon, and vintage jacquard ribbon. I embroidered the flowers with silk ribbon embroidery stitches.

Blue Jean Baby was also a gallery example that I created for my book, Ribbonwork Gardens. I used a heart-shaped applique for the base, and filled it with ribbonwork rosettes, posies, and leaves. The tiny quilted kitty was a gift, and I think that she is quite happy here in her forever home.

Lace, Doilies and Appliqués is one of the Projects by Design, from my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New. I combined ribbonwork flowers, with fabric yo-yo’s, buttons, charms and beads to create a floral display. The project has two block designs, which are repeated, and then stitched into a 4-block wallhanging.

Champagne and Pearls and Welcome Home are gallery pieces from my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing. These pieces are variations of Feminine Fancies, Project A: Bouquet of Flowers. I used buttons for the base of the flowers, and embroidered the petals with beads, and beads, and well dare I say, more beads!

Tatiana’s Garden is a design example that I created for my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing. I used two vintage cuffs and other pieces of flat lace to create the basket and the handle. I embroidered the piece with silk embroidery ribbon in sizes 4mm and 7mm, buttonhole twist, rayon twist, perle cotton #12, seed beads in a variety of sizes, glass charms, and buttons.

Flowers in a Cuff is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece, from my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New. I died a vintage lace cuff and grosgrain ribbon with Colorhue Dyes. I filled the basket with rosettes made from the grosgrain ribbon, cloth and mother-of-pearl buttons, and a few glass charms. I embroidered the piece with a variegated #8 perle cotton thread.

Sage and Cornflower is a new gallery piece that I created, based on the Projects by Design: Lace, Doilies and Appliqués, (see first row of images above). The base started as half of a stained doily, which I dyed with Colorhue dyes, as well as the lace and rickrack trims. I used Finca Mouline perle cotton, Valdani variegated perle cotton, and dyed perle cotton by Artfabriks. I embellished the piece with seed and larger glass beads; vintage glass and celluloid buttons; and brass charms.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Zippers and Tape Measures

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing.

Buttoned and Zippered Up: Featuring flannel fabrics, vintage tape measure, zipper, celluloid buckle, and variety of celluloid buttons.

Measured Party Fowl

Measured Party Fowl: A machine quilted base of pieces of left-over fabrics and a gifted bag full of selvage edge strips becomes the background for a collection of whimsical friends. An old tape measure was used for the body of each bird, with fun googly eyes, rickrack legs, laundry pin wings, shoe beads, and hat buttons. Other embellishments are rickrack and ribbonwork flowers, vintage buttons, glass mushrooms, vintage tin pins, and metal charms.

Bees Buzz on a Saturday Afternoon

Bees Buzz on a Saturday Afternoon: This patch- and strip-pieced grouping of cotton prints and vintage printed panels, with layered vintage rickrack trims, jacquard, and grosgrain ribbons, becomes the backdrop for a medley of vintage and new buttons, scatter pins, birds’ nests, and ribbonwork flowers.

Cookie Cutter Wreath: This is a collection of vintage cookies molds wrapped with a variety of burlap and woven ribbons, that were combined to create a wreath. The wreath is embellished with ribbonwork and zipper flowers, buttons, and other purchased ephemera.

Buttons and Buckles Pin: The base of this pin is a fast2fuse shape covered with grosgrain ribbon. It is adorned with mother-of-pearl and celluloid buttons, buckles, zipper roses, and twill tape flowers.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Attic, Garage and Junk Drawer Finds

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing.

A selection of orphaned and discarded items, waiting for a forever home!

I love to re-purpose items, and give them a new or different home, other than what they were intended for. Here are a few examples of how you can take orphaned or found items like this odd selection above, and repurpose them into something useful.

These are Stash Idea Inspiration examples of two of the Stash Projects in the book, Scrap Pin and Hoop Frame. I re-purposed old knitting and jewelry pins and a wooden embroidery hoop.

The first picture is a Stash Project in the book, that uses and old Jello-o mold for the base. The next two images are Stash Idea Inspiration pieces. I incorporated a collection of heart-shaped cookie cutter molds, that I wrapped with ribbons, and added in ribbonwork flowers to make a wreath. The next wreath started with a base of vintage wooden sewing thread spools. It has vintage sewing thimbles filled with ribbonwork flowers, and old pair of scissors, trims, and metal butterfly pins.

Here are a selection of vases, made from unexpected finds. The first two are Stash Projects in the book. In the first image, I used a vintage china creamer that had belonged to my husband’s mother, Virginia. Filling the vase are flowers and leaves made from a variety of ribbons and zippers. In the second image, I took a wooden spool from my mom’s old stash, and filled it rosettes made from hand-dyed ribbon, and a group of vintage French beaded glass leaves. The last image is a Stash Inspiration Idea, where I took a saltshaker and inkwell and used them as small vases filled with flowers.

The book has a chapter called Altering the Past, where I give you instructions how to make the ribbonwork flowers and leaves, the rickrack and fabric flowers, and the penny circles.

I hope that this inspires you to find and repurpose those abandoned attic, garage and junk drawer finds, and get creative!

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Vintage Notions

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. Some of the pieces are gallery examples, some are examples of the projects included in the book.

Create, Sew And, Stitch, And Play Garland: is a Stash Inspiration Idea, that I created for the book. I had been collecting vintage notions for a long time, and wanted to have a use from them other than sitting in a vintage sewing basket, ignored and forgotten!

Vintage Sewing Collection: This sewing kit and needle keep were stitched from a scrap of vintage flannel fabric. The embellishments include a vintage measuring tape, soutache trim, woven rickrack, buttons, sequins, beads, and sewing notions. Also shown are a collection of well-loved vintage sewing tools. The Needle Keep on the right is a “Free Project” that I created and wrote directions for, that can be found on C&T Publishing’s website.

Ugly Bug Ball: This is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece, that uses the ideas from the Hoop Frame Stash Project. The base is a piece of cotton fabric with a hand-stitched web of variegated rayon embroidery ribbon, and cotton rickrack trim. My “ugly bugs” are embroidered with vintage sewing notions and glass beads. The embroidery stitches are included in the book.

Scrap Pins: These are examples of the Scrap Pin Stash Project, which starts with a base of wide ribbon, or fabric. The base is then hand-stitched with embroidery, buttons, and all manner of gathered ephemera. An old knitting pin, laundry pin, or other type of pin is used for the hanger.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Ribbons and Trims

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, some you may have seen and some are from my upcoming book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing.

Well Hello Dolly: Vintage jacquard ribbons from the 1940s frame the four hand-quilted, printed pattern pieces for the dolls, Alice and Jeannie. Embellishments include a leaf trim, satin ribbons, ribbonwork flowers, celluloid flower pins, glass and plastic flowers beads, and vintage hat buttons. The chapter on Altering the Past, has a section on Ribbon and Trim Details, that shows you how to make the ribbonwork flowers.

Here are two examples of the Stash Projects that use ribbon. These two projects are primarily hand-sewn, so if you don’t own a sewing machine, you can still make them!

These are all examples of how you can incorporated rickrack and other trims into your work. There is a section in the chapter Altering the Past, on how you can stitch Ribbon and Trim Details.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Tips and Tea on Tuesdays

On Tips and Tea on Tuesdays, I will cover a topic and hopefully provide you with some tips that will be helpful! And just as an afterthought, tea may occasionally be a cup of Joe!

Tea today is a light Jasmine green tea, with a bit of orange honey, freshly made locally. I am also munching on a slice of carrot cake left-over from the weekend. The lovely china cup was a gift from my dear friend Jeri, and I treasure it. She introduced me to all things feminine, like drinking tea in beautiful vintage cups, playing with lace, and collecting mother of pearl buttons.

She also was a staunch believer in re-cycling. Her workroom was filled with all manner of collected treasures, displayed in jars, boxes, and tins. Her spirit lives on here in my collections.

Tip: Repurposing Glass Jars

  • Wash your glass jar thoroughly in hot water, preferably in the dishwasher, this will remove all leftover food or oils.
  • All manner of collected treasures can be stored, I usually leave the lid off.
  • Store buttons made from glass, metal, shell, and wood.

Note: Do not store vintage plastic buttons in glass jars with the lid on, as the materials and chemicals have a tendency to breakdown. If you ever wondered why those buttons have a funny smell, that is it! I store vintage plastics in a cardboard or wood box.

Here are some additional ideas for ways to use unusual vessels:

  • Fill a spice jar with flowers from Michael’s or your local craft store and place it on a doily.
  • Keep a jar for all of those bead blips, broken buttons, odd pits of ribbon, stuff you don’t want to throw out.
  • Fill the holes of a salt shaker with hatpins, or remove the metal top and fill it full of hat pins.

Happy tea drinking and stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment! See Tips, Tricks, the Basics, for more helpful ideas.

Friday’s Favorites: Lace and Appliqués

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my upcoming book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. Some of the pieces are gallery examples, some are examples of the projects included in the book.

Vintage hand- or machine- made laces can be used as a focal point, or for embellishments.

Framed Lace Collar: is a Stash Project that displays a beautiful vintage lace collar. You could substitute a nightcap, handbag, or vintage pair of gloves. I embroidered vignettes of silk embroidered roses and leaves, and added vintage buttons and glass beads for the embellishments.

Scrap Pins and Lace Collage Brooch or Needle Keep: These are two of the Stash Projects, that use very little materials, and time to make. They are a perfect way to preserve and use up small bits of this and that, and to give them purpose again.

My Fair Lady (gallery piece): I took a reproduction silk print, and framed it with a printed cotton upholstery fabric. I decorated the base of the frame with vintage and new ribbons, laces, and trims. I added in floral bridal appliqués, vintage glass buttons and beads, vintage shell buttons and buckles. I embroidered silk roses at her neckline, and added buttons down the front of her blouse and on her bonnet. If you would like to make a similar frame, I have written a free handout for C&T Publishing.

Lace and Rose Finery (gallery piece): The base of this piece started with a vintage upholstery linen. I collage-pieced my precious stash of beautiful, fine, lovely bits of lace given to me by my sister-in-laws mother’s husband, a collection that belonged to his mother Evonne. I added in sections of crochet lace for the baskets, and filled these with silk ribbon embroidered flowers and leaves. The embellishments include vintage glass and metal buttons, glass beads and charms.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Linens and Doilies

What more can I say? I have a selection of pieces to show you today, from my upcoming book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. Some of the pieces are gallery examples, some are examples of the projects included in the book. All with wonderful buttons!

Vintage linens like napkins, hand towels, embroidered cotton doilies with lace edges, can be combined with lace doilies and trims to create a collage base that can also include fabrics, ribbons, and trims.

Faded Shades of Rococo Days: This is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece. I pieced a base of a charm packet of Moda prints, and additional printed cotton fabrics. I stitched with a nine patch square for the center, framed this with a strip of a printed cotton fabric, then finished off with a pieced boarder of the remaining charm squares. I placed a lace doily in the center section, and layered cotton flat lace throughout the base. I highlighted the center section with a velvet ribbon. I embroidered and embellished the base with threads, beads, buttons, and ribbonwork flowers and leaves.

Butterfly Fields: This is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece. An old Battenburg lace doily was cut into sections to form the three trees that are stitched to a batik background framed with a strip-pieced border. Embellishments include ribbonwork and lace flowers, beads, sequins, buttons, and charms.

Doily Bunting: This is a Stash Project, that is a great way to use up your collection of embroidery and printed doilies.

Girly Girls: This is a Stash Idea Inspiration piece. This entire collection of doilies, napkins, and small serving placemats 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 my husband’s grandmothers and the jacquard ribbon from his mother. The vintage buttons, jewelry, perfume vials, and glass beads were purchased at thrift stores and online.

Here is a video that I shot at the C&T Publishing Studios, that focuses on the new book, and some of my favorite pieces.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen

Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, Book Promotion: And the Winner IS!

I have a new book coming out in March 2023, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with The New. The emphasis of the book is to create something new from your vintage and new stash of fabrics, hankies, table linens, doilies, laces, appliqués, trims, ribbons, threads, buttons, beads, notions, and more.

Watch my YouTube introductory video, How to embroider and embellish your stashed treasures.

And the winner of my blog post was Anne Davis!!!! Congratulations to Anne!

Please check out these past posts, to read more about the book.

Happy Stitching! ~Christen