Tag Archive | ribbon work

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures

Tide Pools Natures Treasures

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures

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.

beach sand

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

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

close-up view of three sizes of bowls

Happy beach combing and treasure hunting, enjoy- Christen!

Recycled Blue Jeans and Denim Fabric

JEANS, when did you get your first pair? I grew up wanting to be the “ballerina” in Elton John’s song “Blue Jean Baby”. I can hear you singing, “can’t you see her, tiny dancer in the sand”.

In high school I embroidered jeans and work-shirts for friends and family. In fact the reason that I now wear a thimble while stitching is from being poked so much by working on the heavy jean fabric. I have recycled a pair or two (that did not fit anymore), and used them in various projects. I also like to work with denim fabric (sold by the yard), because it provides a nice firm base to work on.

“Blue Jean Baby” is stitched onto a pant leg, from a pair of old jeans. I removed the pocket first, and used it and the pocket from the other leg in the examples below. I appliqued a lace heart, and many hand made flowers into the heart vase. I added vintage and new beads into the centers of the flowers. I embroidered ribbon down the side edges using traditional embroidery stitches. The little cat (made from a quilt from 1880’s) was a gift that came along with an eBay purchase, and Marcia Marcantonio is the creator. Thank you Marcia, I think that your gift is quite at home here.

“Butterflies and Snapdragons” (a pocket from the pants), was featured in my book Ribbonwork Gardens, by C&T Publishing. The middle embroidery was worked on another portion of the jeans. “Flower Child” (a pocket from the pants), was featured in my book Ribbonwork Flowers, by C&T Publishing.

These two pieces begin with the same pair of jeans (cut from the other pant leg), and one of my favorite fabrics, the vintage floral print that the hearts are cut from. The heart shapes are bordered by a dyed leaf trim, and are surrounded by silk ribbonwork flowers and leaves, and silk ribbon embroidery.

“Country Hearts” Wall Hanging was featured in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing. Each square was cut from the same pair of jeans, and I used the vintage rickrack trim to cover the raw seams. The embroidery stitches are worked in perle cotton threads. The embellishments include vintage tatted lace, ribbonwork flowers, vintage buttons, and glass beads.

“Denim and Dresden” is featured in my book, Creative Stitching, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing. I used jean fabric for the base of the piece, and I think that it compliments the vintage feed sack fabric so nicely. The embroidery is worked in perle cotton, cotton floss, and vintage tatting threads. The embellishments include yo-yo’s and vintage buttons.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

Stitched Adornments

Vintage Floral Embroidery

Vintage Floral Embroidery

Floral embroidery is a descriptive term that was used for both thread embroidery (silk, wool or chenille); and ribbonwork flowers (a piece of ribbon or fabric that was stitched with a needle and thread). The flowers were arranged in sprays, or as a single bud on men’s waistcoats, ladies gowns, shawls and other accessories. Popular stitches for the embroideries were satin, long and short, and stem. The chain stitch that could also be worked with a tambour needle is often used as the only stitch in the design.

Ribbon work flowers such as aerophane or crepe floral embroidery (used in the late 19th century) had the details of leaves and stems stitched in with thread embroidery. The ribbon, a thin silk gauze or crepe would be cut then gathered with stitches to form each petal of the flower. Narrow silk “China” ribbons were available in shaded colors, and were first used in ribbon work floral embroidery. This narrow silk ribbon could also be threaded into a large eyed needle and stitched into flower shapes (usually a straight stitch) with added silk thread embroidered accents. The combination of ribbonwork flowers and silk ribbon embroidery gave the design dimension. The top image is from a satin purse, with the ribbonworked flowers and leaves of stitched chenille. A gift from my husband for my birthday, probably circa early 1900’s. It is incredible in person.

Vintage Floral Sewing Bag

Vintage Floral Sewing Bag

The second image with the whimsical floral vignettes was made, I believe as a sewing or knitting bag, but I use it as a purse, circa 1940’s judging from the fabrics used. Some of the flowers are made with ribbon, some with fabric scraps, some with added felt details. Primitive embroidery and beading were used to enhance the floral sections. I found this lovely treasure on eBay, and I adore it.

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

Day 27 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 27 of FLOWERS GALORE!

dyed ribbon corsages

dyed ribbon corsages

dyed ribbon corsages

Corsages to Dye For

This is a series of classes that I taught on-line for Joggles, Corsages to Dye For I, Corsages to Dye For II, and Corsages to Dye For III. The student learned how to mix colors and dye her own ribbons. The flowers and leaves were made with ribbonwork techniques, and a little bit of embroidery. Many of the techniques can be found in my two ribbonwork books by C&T Publishing.

Ribbonwork Gardens a book by Christen Brown

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 26 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 26 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Pretty In Pink

Pretty in Pink

This is an ensemble that I made using a vintage tatted reticule and crochet collar. I used silk ribbon for the flowers and leaves, and added in acrylic flowers and leaves with beaded stitches. This can be found in the gallery section of my book Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 25 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 25 of FLOWERS GALORE!

buttons, charms, ribbon

Funky Junky Steampunky

This was an on-line class that I taught for Joggles. The base of the bracelet is made from two ribbons that are woven together to make a larger base. The flowers are made from zippers lined with satin ribbon, other flowers are made from satin and vintage lace. Additional embellishments include glass, shell and metal buttons; metal, glass and wood charms; lace appliques and other collected treasures.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 24 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 24 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Mariposa Fall

This is a small wreath that is comprised of flowers and leaves made from hand-dyed silk ribbon, Hannah silk bias ribbon, vintage grosgrain ribbon, vintage jacquard ribbon, taffeta ribbon, and satin ribbon. The wreath is also adorned with vintage buttons and butterflies, lots of butterflies! The techniques can be found in my book Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 15 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 15 of FLOWERS GALORE!

silk ribbon embroidery with ribbon work flowers

Rococo Pillow

This is a close-up view of a small pillow that I made using both ribbonwork and silk ribbon emboridery stitches. The base is made from two silk fabrics pieced together and embellished with vintage ribbon trim, a basket made from vintage lace, embellished with a variety of ribbon flowers and ribbon trims. This was an example used in my book Ribbonwork Gardens from C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 6 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 6 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Red and White Vase

This is a small vase made from a china doll arm. I made a sleeve from vintage lace pieces, and then filled the vase with lily of the valley, calla lily, sweetheart’s flower, and petals made from the boat gather and folded petal techniques. These flowers, and more  can be found in my book Ribbonwork Flowers, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!