Celebrate National Sewing Month!

National Sewing Month logoSeptember is here! On the one hand it means a melancholy feeling because summer is coming to an end and we’re heading to cooler temps. But on the other hand, September is a CELEBRATION OF SEWING! September is celebrated as National Sewing Month and is co-sponsored by the Sewing & Craft Alliance and the American Sewing Guild.

A Brief History of National Sewing Month

President Ronald Reagan signatureIn September 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation #4976, declaring that September as National Sewing Month. The proclamation recognized the tens of millions of Americans home sewists and  “the skill and the self-reliance which are so characteristic of this Nation.” This was followed with successive annual proclamations by President Reagan during his terms. But in 2005, the request for a proclamation was not accommodated. However, even without a Presidential proclamation, September continued to be supported and promoted as National Sewing Month by various organizations.

In  2008, the American Sewing Guild joined forces with the Sewing & Craft Alliance to continue the promotion of National Sewing Month and provide a central location for the distribution of National Sewing Month information and materials to organizations, educators, sewing enthusiasts and anyone else interested in promoting and/or participating in activities for National Sewing Month.

Celebrate With Sewing: Sew For The Love Of It Contest

 Sew For the Love of It logoNational Sewing Month is celebrated with a contest to showcase and encourage sewing creativity and imagination. This year’s theme is “Sew For the LOVE of it!” 

The contest runs through September 30, 2011. Official rules and entry can be found on the National Sewing Month website. Here’s what you should be thinking:

“Show us what YOU love to sew! You choose the project, whether it’s an article of clothing, a toy, something for your home, an accessory, a quilt, or even an item for your car or boat. Whatever you decide to create, show your love with a within the project. It can be heart fabric, a pillow shaped like a heart, heart embroidery, heart-shaped pockets – it’s completely up to you. The item you enter must be hand-crafted and utilize fabric, thread and sewing machine and there MUST be a visible heart somewhere on the project itself. Whatever you choose to sew, just make sure we see the expression of your love of sewing!”

Think about using National Sewing Month in your neighborhood group challenge this month. If you have pictures, be sure to post them to the Members’ Projects album or email me to post them.

Follow National Sewing Month on Twitter

Twitter logo

The National Sewing Month is on Twitter, @sewingmonth. Watch their tweets for daily giveaways and tutorials posted to the National Sewing Month website.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, @sewchicago. Watch for our special National Sewing Month tweets with the hashtag “#NatSewMo”. We and other sewists around the Twitter-sphere are using the hashtag to share our enthusiasm for sewing!

Tweet Day: Shark Sewing

Shark Week. It’s become not just a must watch of Discovery Channel for the past 24 years (yes, 24 years of Shark Week!), but also spawned themed sewing posts around the blogsphere.

At the end of Shark Week, we tweeted an entire day of shark-related sewing patterns, tutorials and inspiration with the Twitter hastag #sharksewing. Did you see it? Did you follow us? Well, if you missed one or two or even a few, here’s a recap of the tweeted links.

Happy shark hunting!

Watch for another day of tweets with a theme. Who knows what the next topic will be. If you have a topic that you’d like to see, tweet me at @SewChicago or email me.
Shark fabric

"Woo Woo sharkies" available on Spoonflower.com

Also be sure to check out other shark fabric at Spoonflower.com. Or will you design your own for next year’s Shark Week?

No-Fear Lace Bowls

I love to make what I call “no-fear” projects. Basically, they are projects that you really can’t go wrong, but if you do make a little boo-boo, no one will notice. Have no fear to try this project.

British textile artist, Jan Tillett, for Colouricious demonstrates how to make pretty lacy bowls from thread scraps, candy wrappers and water-soluble facing in this lovely video. This is one of the few videos I’ve seen that is not only clear, but shows a beautiful end-result. It must be very easy to make, too, because if you listen to the background, Jan Tillett must be at a tradeshow booth to demonstrate this project.

I like her tip of cutting the excess facing so the water doesn’t become too “gloopy.” Enjoy! Let me know if you try this with your bits and bobs.

Wouldn’t it be pretty as a pocket overlay? Or embellished with beading? How about a long piece for a pretty scarf or wrap? Maybe this is an excuse for me to eat more candy so I can save sweets wrappers? 😉

Twitter bird logoYou can follow Coloricious on Twitter at: @Colouricious. Are you following us on Twitter, @sewchicago?

Add Dimension With Corded Pintucks

Twin Needles

(Photo source: Craftstylish)

Last year, some of the Sew Chicago NG members took a class about heirloom sewing Eveyln Cummings, co-leader for the Joliet Desperate Stitchers NG. That’s where many, including me, discovered the wonders of the twin needle. How lovely are  the rows of bumpy rows.

Where do you go from there? And are pintucks only for heirloom sewing. Colette Patterns shows how to add cording to the pintucking to create some added dimension. Sewn in a zig zag or lazy curves and it has a completely different feeling than heirloom sewing.

Corded pintucks

(Photo source: Colette Patterns)

Colette Patterns has a tute (tutorial) that is so much better to read for yourself than I can reduce here. She uses thick embroidery thread wound on the bobbin to give the pintuck an extra dimension and applies it to a pretty tap pant. It’s a nice extra embellishment.

Definitely something to try for a next garment, quilt or even a handbag. Wouldn’t this be just delish on a yummy soft leather? Or fun in rows on a grey flannel pillow? Maybe follow a couple rows of pinstripes on a wool suiting for a bit of nubby texture.

Corded pintucking on a curve

(Photo source: Craftstylish)

Nancy S. from Sew Chicago and I also played with a wide twin needle on fleece at this year’s Original Sewing & Quilt. The effect had almost a tarpunto feeling.

Here’s a cute idea: use a thick corded pintuck and make a corrugated cup holder. Keeps the hot coffee at bay while giving your fingers something to grip onto.

Reusable coffee sleeve with pintucking

(Photo source: Craftstylish)

This would probably be good for little people’s fingers to learn texture or to hold onto. Does your cat like texture? Maybe sew up a bunch of cat toys with this texture to distract kitty from scratching up your favorite chair. Here’s a link to the tuteon Craftstylish.

Get out and play with your (twin needle) feet! As always, please send us pictures or post to the ASG Chicago chapter Flickr album to share with everyone. We love to see what you’re making!

Star Wars Day Sewing

Happy Stars Wars Day!
May the fourth be with you! 

I can’t believe that I almost let this get away. But here’s a quick round-up of some fun Star Wars-inspired sewing.

How could I have gone for so long without a Millennium Falcon Neck Rest? Follow this tute and cover your buckwheat neck pillow to look like Han Solo’s ummm…trusty craft and you won’t get whiplash when you hit hyperdrive.

Millennium Falcon neck rest pillow

(Image: starwars.com)

Again from StarWars.com, make your own cuddly Bantha to roam Tatooine. Starwars.com has several sewing crafts of character puppets that you can make for or with young sewists, including a space slug draft dodger and a Chewbacca sock puppet.

Bantha plush

(Image: starwars.com)

Applause to this BurdaStyle sewist for modifying and drafting her pattern for a Jedi cloak and costume.

Jedi cloak and costume

(Image: BurdaStyle)

Make your own Yoda and Darth Vader puppets for the ultimate battle of good vs. evil. If terrycloth were they made of, very useful would they be, hmmm?

Yoda and Darth Vader puppets

(Photo: stumblesandstitches.blogspot.com)

There’s so much more, but I thought four would be appropriate for this special day. To find more, just search on “Star Wars sewing crafts.” In the words of Master Yoda, “Feel the Force!”

[EDITED] I couldn’t resist one more. For the quilters out there. A Star Wars quilt.

Star Wars quilt

(Photo: bellsbellsjo Flickr album)

How to convince a 3 year-old that sewing is cool…

This just touched my heart and I had to share it with you, dear readers.

How to convince a 3 year old that sewing is cool…

..,offer to turn their much-loved (falling apart) cuddly toy into a superhero.

My nephew came round for a couple of hours while my brother played football, I generally try to entertain him in ways that entertain me too but he wasn’t biting on the Disney bait. I never thought he’d fall for the sewing thing but the offer of watching Auntie Kirsty use a SPECIAL MACHINE to make a cape for Tigger was golden…”

Read the rest of Tigger and Auntie Kristy’s tale on The Leopard Anchor’s blog.

Tigger's new cape

The next time you’re feeling a bit low on your sewing accomplishments, how about making something for a little someone special in your life?

How Does Your Garden Grow

Where flowers bloom so does hope. — Lady Bird Johnson

The snow has finally melted and flowers will soon be showing their colors. But if you’re like me and have a black thumb, you’ll have better luck with making some flowers with fabric, needle and thread. In addition to the beautiful pieces from Candace Kling and Soutache Ribbons, here are some floral embellishment ideas that will hopefully inspire you and brighten your day.

Flowers by Ruth Singer

(Image source: mantua-maker.blogspot.com)

These beauties are brooches from textile designer Ruth Singer‘s flower/corsage workshop. Study this picture and you’ll see flowers made from felt, leather and yo-yo’s. Ever see a pretty button, but have no idea what outfit you would put it on? How something like these pretty flowers?

Imagine this next bunch of hydrangeas as a pocket on a swingy, skirt or clustered on a jacket…a sewn-in corsage! Or make it in an embroidery hoop as e tells tales does and enjoy over a kitchen sink or in your sewing studio.

I wonder if this flower was made in green, if it would look more like an artichoke? 🙂 Crafty Chicks’ tutorial on their blog will show y0u how to make this vintage-looking rose.

This next floral display of poppies(?) simply screams spring with its color and fun spirit. Sure, the colors aren’t true to Mother Nature’s palette, but there just seems to be a fresh feeling to it. Could be that the vibrant colors are set against the crisp white cotton.

Felt flower pillow

(Image source: CraftholicsAnonymous)

And you don’t have to give up if you’re working with knits. Imagine a trail of these next posies on your garment or a pillow. A beautiful tone on tone, texture effect. Sew It All has a full tutorial how to make this on their site.

Flowers made from knits

(Image source: sewitallmag.com)

Flowers and bugs from Clotilde

(Image source: Clotilde)

Clotilde’s Garden Zips pattern has some fun with zippers! And what’s a garden of flowers without a few floral-friendly insects? Sew cute!

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. — Georgia O’Keeffe

Happy Spring! If you make any of these or any of your own flowers, please be sure to send in a picture or post it to our Members’ Projects Flickr album. We’d love to see what you’re making!

Stitch-n-Pitch with the Boys of Summer

baseballBaseball season has opened. The White Sox home opener is today; the Cubs opened at home last week. Baseball is the signal of warm weather. Do you go outside to enjoy the weather or do you stay inside from the sun and heat to continue sewing?

You can do both with Stitch N’ Pitch! Stitch N’ Pitch is the perfect outing for those (like ME!) who love baseball and the needlearts.

Stitch N Pitch logoStitchers of all kinds and all levels converge upon major and minor league games to sit and knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch and needlepoint. I can’t imagine bringing a pair of pants to mend or doing couture beading…hmmm, I wonder if I can get a needlefelting needle in?

On June 5, 2010 Stitch N’ Pitch set a new Guinness World Record for “Most People Crocheting Simultaneously” at Mets Citi-Field with 426 crocheters! Way to go!

Stitch N Pitch at the game

(Image source: Stitch N' Pitch; © Matt Linder)

Stitch N’ Pitch will be at U.S. Cellular Field to watch the White Sox on Sept. 10th, as informed by their tweet. No word yet of a Cubs date. Anyone want to join me in attending?

If you aren’t a big baseball fan or if you prefer a more relaxed setting, try a minor league team. Check Stitch N’ Pitch’s minor league team schedule to find one near you. If you’ve never been to a minor league game; it’s a much different atmosphere.

Free Pattern

Stitch N Pitch sock pattern

(Image source: Craftzine)

If you’re a knitter, Stitch N’ Pitch links to an online pattern on Craftzine to knit socks in your team’s colors. Or make them for a baseball fan that you know. Hint, hint: I’m a die-hard Dodgers fan! 😉

In the words of Harry Caray, “Lemme hear ya!…”

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo

Susan and I spent today setting up our ASG booth at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo that started today with pre-conference workshops. The show is officially open March 31-April 2. Are you going to the expo? We’d love to see you at the booth, #619. Drop by and say hello!

Setting up the booth

We're almost finished setting up.

Follow Us At The Expo

Susan setting up

Susan carries in her mannequin to set up the booth.

I’ll also be posting pictures from the Expo. You can follow along in real-time as I tweet them onto Twitpic or click the links in my tweets and you’ll be able to see them. I’ll also be posting them at the end of the day onto our Flickr album. If you see me at the Expo, take a picture with me! I’d love to see you!

New Member Raffle

If you’re not a member of the American Sewing Guild, be sure to sign up in the booth. You’ll be automatically entered into a raffle for a gift basket of sewing notions worth more than $150.

Already a member? Encourage someone new to join and maybe (s)he’ll split the basket with you!

Mess with my fabric, I'll rip your seams out t-shirt

We love this t-shirt on our new friend, Elaine!

Play With Your Food!

Fold it, pinch it, dust it, fluff it, even felt it. It’s felted food..well, not just felted as you can see by this bee-yoo-tee-ful box of chocolates.

Candace King Ribbon Candy Box

Image source: CandaceKling.com

These are the best-est truffles in the world! Because they have zero calories…but you can’t eat them. They’re made from ribbon.

They are the creations of Candace Kling, a San Francisco textile sculptor and teacher. Marina at Soutache Ribbons told me about her. Candace Kling is the author of The Artful Ribbon and teaches around the country how to bring life to ribbon as embellishments. She has taken the embellishments beyond the ribbon flowers and has brought back the art of using ribbon as trim, with an vintage, but updated feel.

Candace Kling Ribbonwork

Image source: CandaceKling.com

Go to Candace Kling’s site to see the other luscious chocolates and A-MA-ZING sculptural art she created. You won’t believe that they are made from ribbon. I, for one, am going to keep my eyes peeled for any classes she might teach in our area.

Felted Food

Felt donut pincushion

Image source: weirdlywonderful.deviantart.com

Going to a different side of the spectrum…I won’t say “the opposite side” because I think these next items are just as gorgeous and creative as the Candace Kling’s ribbons.

Maybe you’ve seen someone in your group or local fabric shop make doughnut pincushions. These are practical as well as fun, but if you want to take felted food to a different level than softies for your youngest child to play with, take a look at these. I think I gained five pounds just looking at them. Come to think of it, this would still be fun toys for my niece and nephew to play house with.

Felt lemon cake Felt latte
Felt sushi Felt strawberry cake
Felt cinnamon rolls Felt pasta

Isn’t it amazing and inspiring what sewists are making with felt? Most of the books that I’ve found on felt food are in Japanese, but the instructions are filled with pictures that, after some studying, can surely be understood. Or, like me, you can just search the Internet for “felt food” images and appreciate the handwork. I can tell you that if you search on Flickr, there are several delicious examples of various felt foods.

Image source: Burdastyle.com

Image source: Burdastyle.com

How about trying something new for National Craft Month? Maybe the ribbon bon bons caught your eye or using ribbon as a beautiful edging or decoration as Candace Kline did. Whatever it is, try something new and HAVE FUN!

As always, we’d love to see pictures of what you’ve made, so please do send pictures to: Tinawong@asgchicago.org and I will post them for you or add them to our Flickr album.

BTW, here’s a link to the tute (tutorial) for a donut pincushion, not the same as above, but you can easily modify it.

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