Tag Archive | buttons

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

Earth Day 2023: UpCYcLe IT

I have always been an advocate for re-purposing and turning something old, and worn, and forgotten into a new treasure, I have a lecture (with handout) on Creative Spark, Upcycle It with Embellishments that shows you many examples of ways that you can rescue, update and revive your own wardrobe.

And why not do this yourself, with your wardrobe? What better way to honor Earth Day, and be creative at the same time? Here are a few pieces of mine that I have updated, embellished, and refreshed.

Phred’s Jean Jacket

My friend Phred, created this jacket from 6 or 7 pairs of jeans that he found at several different thrift stores. He made this jacket in the 70’s. At some point he gave it to me, and it has been worn at various times, by both myself and my daughter. As you can imagine the raw edges of the jeans had frayed through the years. So I sat down one week, and trimmed off all the frayed edges, and then repaired any rips that had occurred. I then took 2 colors of perle cotton #5, and hand-stitched a running stitch around the edge of each square. I added in some white vintage buttons, and a few corsages that I made from old ties. VOILA a star was re-born.

Shabby Chic Jean Purse

This is a jean purse that I just loved, I used it over and over again. But at some point, the brass findings had left rust spots on the purse. I cut off the tabs that the findings had been attached to, and pulled out my box of vintage crochet doilies. And then I got busy! I added in rosettes made from lace and ribbons, large ruched flowers made from denim strips, zipper roses, crochet flowers, and buttons.

Old Rose Corsages

These corsages are made from vintage silk ties, so get to rummaging through your stash, and get busy! I have included instructions in the lecture handout on how to make a version of the one on at the top right of the picture

Millifiori Jewelry Ensemble

This jewelry ensemble represents many hours spent on eBay, looking for all of the vintage parts and pieces to complete the group. I strung the necklace with new and vintage glass and metal beads. I just love how all of the colors pop when worn with the jacket.

If you would like to learn more about re-purposing and updating your wardrobe, see my lecture, (with handout) on Creative Spark, Upcycle It with Embellishments.

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

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

Slow Stitchin’ on Sunday Mornings and National Button Week, Day 7!!!

In these posts I want to share some of my favorite pieces, which will include wall hangings, small works, pillows, purses, and just because pieces. This month they are going to be from my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing. This is the last day of National Button week March 13-19, 2023, here are few of my favorite buttons, and buttons, and lots and lots of buttons.

Bees Buzz on a Saturday Afternoon

I created this four block wall hanging, combining a grouping of solid and printed fabrics with vintage printed panels, using a different piecing technique for each block. The blocks are layered with a variety of both new and old ribbons and trims which include vintage rickrack trims and a jacquard ribbon; grosgrain, satin, and picot edge satin ribbons; burlap ribbon and burlap loop trim. Once the base was stitched, I hand-quilted it with perle cotton #12.

I incorporated an assortment of buttons, charms, and other ephemera to tell the story. I found loads of buttons in all sizes and materials including vintage celluloid, plastics, ceramic, and wood. I also used a collection of bird and bee charms, and Scottie dog scatter pins.

Block 1: This block started with the 9-patch square that I made with left-over pieces from another project. I added in strips of solid and printed cotton fabrics. I used grosgrain ribbon and burlap trim, along with vintage rickrack trim in several sizes for the seam treatments. I ironed a vintage cotton tape measure to muslin backed with HeatnBond, to use for the birds nest boxes. The wooden garden fence was purchased at JoAnne Fabrics. Notice Buzz is spelled with one Z and a bee button, because in Scrabble there is only one Z.

Block 2: This block started with the floral screen print, which I purchased from Woof and Warp Fabrics (my first job), back in the late 1970’s. I strip- and patch-pieced the sections around the block. I used the cinnamon colored jacquard ribbon and woven ribbons to hide the raw edges while piecing the block. I also used grosgrain, and burlap ribbons along with vintage rickrack trim for the seam treatments. Other embellishments include vintage fly buttons in the center panel, and Scottie dog “scatter pins” along the bottom edge. The little cutie next to my signature “C” was made for me by my cousin Richard, when he was in high school in the 1960’s.

Block 3: In the center of this block I used a printed fabric advertising “Flower Baskets” and “Bee Keeping Supplies” that I found at a rummage sale back in the 1980’s. I patch-pieced the center panel with strips of fabric, and used the ribbons and trims as seam treatments. To balance with Block 2, I repeated the grouping of large crochet flowers and rosettes made from grosgrain ribbon. I placed the flowers on stems of looped trim, with leaves made from ultra suede.

    Block 4: This block is strip-pieced, with a few of the strips pieced to create a larger strip, using up the remaining bits and pieces of fabric that I had. The blue strip on the bottom became a fence for the three “Cat Amigos” to sit on, to ponder those Bees Buzzing on a Saturday Afternoon.

    Embroidery Stitches Used Throughout the Blocks

    • Blanket Stitch Up and Down
    • Couched Stitch
    • Straight Stitch
    • Lazy Daisy Stitch
    • Fly Stitch
    • Cross Stitch
    • Bell Flower Stitch
    • Spiderweb Corner Stitch
    • Button Spider

    Little Stitched Extras

    • Rosette
    • Loop Leaf
    • Birds Nest

    Happy Stitching to you all! ~Christen

    National BUTTON WEEK, Day 6!!!

    In honor of National Button week March 13-19, 2023 I thought that I would share a few of my favorite buttons, and buttons, and lots and lots of buttons. Today, I want to share a few pieces from my collection of novelty buttons. Sometimes these types of buttons are referred to as realistics or goofies.

    Realistic buttons were designed to look like the actual shape of the item, and have been around since the 18th century. The first two examples above were probably made during the 1940’s. The last card would be considered as a novelty button, as it is not depicting a specific shape, but I think that they are fun!

    Realistic, goofie and novelty buttons, can be found made from a variety of materials such as glass, celluloid, wood, Bakelite, and other materials.

    Fruit shapes seemed to be very popular. The artist Marion Weeber Welsh specialized in designing celluloid buttons that resembled fruits and vegetables as well as other imagery.

    Often buttons came in a grouping of similar images, such as the first card with the green accessory shaped buttons. I had to search to collect all of the same buttons in red, as seen in the second card. As you can see from the last card apparently the set was also available in white, navy, and crimson. I included the umbrella, just because it should be shown, no idea what group it might have been a part of!

    Recommended Reading

    Hope that you enjoyed looking! Happy stitching! ~Christen

    Friday’s Favorites: Buttons of Course, and National BUTTON WEEK, Day 5!!!

    In honor of National Button week March 13-19, 2023 I thought that I would share a few of my favorite buttons, and buttons, and lots and lots of buttons. Today, I want to share a few buttons that have a practical purpose.

    Bachelor Buttons

    Well I guess that you could say all buttons have a practical purpose. But I think that you will agree that these really are uniquely purposeful! As advertised, the company Pilcher’s designed this two-part replacement button for trousers, vests, and coats, to be used anywhere a button has been or should be. You simply separate the two halves, you then insert it into the fabric and snap the parts back together to replace the lost button.

    I just love the advertising button cards, helping the consumer to understand where to put the buttons! Priceless!

    Here are a few more practical hard “working” buttons to share.

    • Leather buttons can be found on those high top button up leather shoes, gloves, and practical coats.
    • The “rubber buttons” were designed to hold up under lots, and lots of hand or machine washings.
    • A “perfume button” is a fabric covered button form that is encased with a decorative metal cover. You just dab a bit of your favorite scent onto the fabric.
    Button card with instructions how to make a necklace.

    Coquette garter ornaments, were kept hidden from prying eyes, and only shown to your intimates. Originally the face was fashioned after Clara Bow, the IT Girl, who was the iconic example of a ” Roaring 20’s Flapper”.

    And lastly, Betty Button Originals, take the plain white button to the next level. I think that these were used as place cards, for a dinner and drinks party, or a ladies tea party, or maybe a bridge club get together. Too fun!

    Hope that you enjoyed looking! Happy stitching! ~Christen