Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Toothbrush Rug
December 17, 2013


I think I am beginning to forget how to blog.

For the past week I have been learning how to make toothbrush rugs. The photo shows the rug I am making, the toothbrush tool I made out of a toothbrush handle, and the fabric I am using. The fabric was bought on sale a few years ago to make a top, then I thought better of it, as it is too bright. I think it is making a pretty rug.  I bought the toothbrush at the dollar store for 5  for a dollar and shaped it with a dremel tool.  I love using a dremel, but that will be another blog post.

There are so many ways to make a toothpick rug on the internet. The way I like is the one without the runner strip. I think it is referred to as a Swedish technique. It makes a really thick and durable rug because each stitch/loop of fabric is worked 3 times. It took me an hour of play before I really got the hang of it.

These are the directions I followed.

These directions say to sew the strips together, but I looped them trough a slit like most of the videos on You-tube show. There are a lot of videos, none have all the information. It is nice to have so many different ways to do something, and to pick the ones that make sense to me. The only tip I found out that I didn’t see mentioned is that you need more increases to make the rug lay flat than I would have thought coming from a crochet background. I am doing 10 increases a row, 5 on each side of the oval.

Now I don’t feel so bad about some of my sale fabric purchases. Rugs will use up a lot of that fabric.


A New Project
February 13, 2013

I decided to join our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild. Tonight is the second meeting working on what we are calling a French jacket using Chanel couture sewing techniques. That is where the lining is quilted to the face fabric to give the jacket body without weight. It should feel as comfortable as wearing a sweater. On Saturday a group of ladies from our neighborhood chapter  went shopping in LosAngeles. We met at 8:30AM and headed downtown to Michael Levine’s. It was important to go early, which I found out when I went to leave. It was so busy, the parking and traffic were crazy. Next we went to Mood at their new location on LaBrea, then on to International Silks and Woolens.

I bought this fabric at Mood for the jacket.


I am planning on combining a couple of patterns to get a modified swing style jacket.  I don’t want a short boxy one.   This jacket project is one that we will be working on all year.

It was so much fun shopping with everyone.  I loved all the stores and spent way more than I had planned.  I love this fabric, and the lining fabric too.


Collar Notes
January 23, 2013


I didn’t get to much crafting this week. Not sure why. Rick cleared out his closet and set some clothes aside to take to Goodwill. Looking at the bag I remembered I need buttons for the shirt I still want to make. So I thought it wouldn’t be too wasteful to take the buttons off one shirt and toss it out. I ended up cutting up several, both for buttons and as paint and craft rags. Some were a bit thread bare to send off anyway. I noticed the collar stays, and saved those too. Then I wondered how the crisp points on the collars are sewn. As I was picking and cutting it apart I noticed how the interfacing is done. It is in two layers. The first layer is bias and sewn into the seam around the collar. The second is on grain and cut away from the neck edge 1/4″ in back and only sewn in the seam allowance for an 1″ or so at center front. Also the neck band interfacing is cut on the bias. This technique is new to me, though it may be in some of the newer sewing books. The nice thing about cutting buttons from old shirts is that they come in sets with the matching little cuff placket buttons. Now I am stocked up on button sets and paint rags. I even cut a white shirt because the fabric seemed ideal for a pressing cloth.

Now I just need to clear the cutting table to make the pattern adjustments and sew a collar like these. The double interlining may be why the collars on store bought shirts do not wear out as fast as on the shirts I make.

Tracing Paper Board
January 16, 2013


I am thinking of joining our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild. This year the group is working on making a Channel jacket using couture techniques. The leader, Jeanette, had ordered sheets of 26″x39″ tracing paper to use when making the muslin. It is a carbon like paper I remember using during my days as a cutter in various costume shops. Every shop I worked in had this paper taped to boards. I bought a sheet to make it into a board. I found the board at Aaron Bros., then went next door to Osh Hardware to look for tape. Imagine my surprise when I found duct tape with a lace design on it. I love it and it made the board so pretty. Big sheets of transfer paper make it easy to copy patterns and mark long seam lines. It will be nice to have this new tool to copy patterns, especially ones from old Burda magazines.

Art Deco Fashion Book
January 2, 2013


This is a lovely book of drawings of 1920’s fashion. I bought this book last year at the Samuel French bookstore on Ventura Boulevard. Rick and I stop there when we are in the neighborhood. The store is a wonderful resource for books relating to theatre and film. I fell in love with this book. It has 8 to 12 little black and white drawings on at least 100 of the 408 pages. That is a lot of inspiration. There are many color pages too. This book will be big help in deciding where to place embroidery designs, such as the black rose from a previous post, on a garment. The photo above is labeled with the ISBN 9789054961352 to help with finding it online. I found a few books for a reasonable price doing a google search, but like all out of print books, some prices are exorbitant. I paid the list price, I wouldn’t recommend paying more.

Here are a few pages that I particularly like. I want to make the scalloped collar on the right and have been thinking of ways of doing the contrast edging easily. It might have to be trim, since binding scallops is not easy.


I like the hem below. This has the scallops following the embroidery.


Having the embroidery peek out on an under dress is nice too.


Many of the photos I took were really blurry. So this is all I have to share right now. I do need to stop looking at books and actually make something. That will be my resolution for this year.

Best wishes for your health and happiness in 2013.