Kits are finally here!
I finally have kits to sell! It’s taken a while to translate some of techniques in Creating Couture Embellishment (aka CCE, The Book) into kits. After refining a technique into a great project, I had to source quality fabrics, cords and tools, create the “enhanced” directions and photos, figure out packaging & shipping and calculate the cost per kit, but I’ve done it. I’ve also tested the kits on fellow ASDP members (Association of Sewing & Design Professionals), ASG (American Sewing Guild) and MVC-EGA members (Merrimack Valley Chapter of Embroiderers’ Guild of America).
In February, I taught three workshops, via Zoom, to some of the members of the Needlework and Textile Guild of Michigan using the kits: Fanciful Feathers, Chinese Knots, Corded Quilting. We had a great time together. Each workshop was three hours long. The Feathers and Chinese Knots workshops produced completed samples. The Corded Quilting workshop established the process of corded quilting, but everyone had more sewing to do to complete their samples.
There are currently 7 kits in my “store.” The photos below are taken from The Book to illustrate which technique the kit will feature. Kit specific photos are coming soon.
Choice Chinese Knots
Clarifying Corded Quilting/Boutis Provencal- by hand sewing
Clarifying Corded Quilting/Boutis Provencal- by machine sewing
Versatile Reverse Applique
I am working on the descriptions for these kits. The descriptions need to be written with a tempting tone, which is new for me. When I teach I speak in a casual, chatty style, “ Smooch this over…” When writing Creating Couture Embellishment I learned to write in precise, academic style, “Ease this in 1/8” (.125cm)…” Now I am learning a new voice: fun, engaging, “Of course you want this…”. Happily, I do believe you want this kit. I do believe that the kits are fun and engaging.
In each kit you will find:
- Enhanced directions in a folder; all the photos are larger and the type is bigger than in The Book.
- The special tools you will need for the project: a needle puller and 3 different needles for Corded Quilting, a gridded pinning board and pins for Chinese Knots, the special bias-cut ribbon for Carnations, etc.
- The basic materials for each sample: a piece of silk & muslin fabric and filler for Corded Quilting, the satin cord in several sizes for Chinese Knots, etc.
The kits are skill builders; by working through the kit you will learn a couture embellishment technique. Each kit takes about 3 hours to complete, except Corded Quilting, which takes longer.
Each kit costs $35.00 including taxes and shipping.
*Fanciful Feathers kits are only available as a bulk purchase, minimum order 8 kits.
My next couple of posts will have specifics about each kit; what’s in it, what you need from your workroom, etc.
If you want a kit email me directly @ email@example.com.
A brief recap of my interview with Joanne Banko
On Monday, June 28, 2021 I was invited to guest-Zoom with Joanne Banko on her new channel, Sew… Let’s Talk! We had a wonderful conversation about sewing, my favorite sewing machine feet, a quick tour of some my sewing space storage and some of the samples I made for The Book (Creating Couture Embellishment). I could talk to Joanne for hours. She’s engaging, curious, well informed about sewing and sewing related topics and just plain Nice! You can find the recorded/YouTube version of our conversation here.
Joanne and I met in Cleveland OH during a taping of It’s Sew Easy, series 1500. Joanne was filmed after me, but was there for my filming to help set up the Brother sewing machine for the Sashiko technique. (You can see my post about that experience here.) Joanne and I both belong to Craft Industry Alliance, which you can find here, so we get to wave and briefly chat at the monthly Roundtable Zoom meetings.
So… the samples I showed to Joanne and her subscribers started with a simple sleeve with gathered ribbons adorning the hem and then black velvet sleeve with pink-gold trim couched down the length. (I’m not adding photos of the sleeves to this post as I hope you will watch the YouTube interview. The sleeves start at 26:44.) Next we talked about changing the hemline of a sleeve and adding trims to accent that change: the silver sleeve with dark green trim and the grey short sleeve with sequin trim. From there we looked at using both sides of a fabric: shiny & matte finishes on a piped sleeve and a jacquard weave with an added single feather. We also looked at using both sides of a trim. Using both sides of a fabric or a trim is easy because the colors always match. We always have long discussions about which colors “work together” in our house as we each see colors very differently.
From the website of Optical Masters of Denver CO comes this scientific description:
The vision process is the same for every person. However, color perception is different in some people. Color perception (or the colors you see) depends on if parts of your eyes are working correctly. We mentioned the retina of the eye and how it is a light-sensitive tissue that communicates with the brain. This thin layer of tissue houses millions of microscopic light-sensing nerve cells that we call rods and cones. These are the cells that send impulses to your brain, interpreting colors from light waves.
Rods and cones don’t work the same in every person. They may malfunction slightly, meaning your color perception is only a little off. However, severe forms of abnormal color perception are referred to as “color blindness”. This means that people with color blindness aren’t aware of specific color differences like the rest of the population is. You may see a stop sign as being bright red, while someone with red-green color blindness sees that stop sign as a hue of green. 8% of men and 0.5% of women have color blindness. In many cases, this trait is inherited by males from a mother who had genes for abnormal photo pigments. This will make the cone cells work differently in the eye than they should.
But I digress…then I showed two sleeves with beads: picot trim and beaded net fringe.
Next we talked about adding lace or trim to a garment and then cutting away the under or base fabric. -The add and subtract method is similar to Applique but with two more steps; after the lace or trim is appliqued,
- Cut away most of the base fabric.
- Sew down the raw edges of the base fabric so you have a peek-a-boo effect through the lace or trim.
Both of these samples were Bodices: the Lace Trim chapter opener and Crochet chapter opener (the Crochet chapter was cut when we ran out of space!)
Finally, I showed Something Seriously Elegant: the Hollyhock sleeve sewn in an ornate silk jacquard and organza and Something Seriously Fun: the Loose/Single Sequin sleeve sewn in cotton chicken fabric with “wings.”
I answered some of questions from the Chat and our hour was up. I think the final sleeves summed up our talk: serious, elegant and fun! Thank you so much Joanne!
Would This Be A Help?
I found this photo on FaceBook and laughed so hard!
Would this be a help or a “Mind your own business ” moment for you?
Nine Favorite Small Tools I Use All The Time
With the Holidays fast approaching I thought a list of my Ten Favorite Small Tools would be fun. These tools are listed in no particular order.
I use large washers from the Hardware Store to hold my fabrics and patterns in place on my work table. The size of the washer does not matter, but the weight of each washer is important; look for stainless steel or steel, zinc washers are too light. Washers come in many sizes from Grainger.com or special ordered from your local hardware store. The large washers are 3/4″ washers; washers are measured by the size of the inner hole ( to fit around a 3/4″ bolt.) The smaller washers are 1/2″ washers. On the far right is a small washer that was spray-painted white to disappear in photos. I like 3/4″ washers as I can easily grab a stack with my fingers to distribute or gather up. You can buy washers singly or in boxes of 20 for $43.41, plus $12. shipping, from Grainger or another hardware distributer.
Keep a small magnet near your sewing machine and/or cutting table. When you tip over your box of pins a magnet will make picking up the pins much easier.
A sharp seam ripper makes the annoying job of ripping out a seam much easier.
The small seam ripper is an inexpensive version like this one from Gold Star Tools. I have these inexpensive seam rippers in multiple locations in my work room.
The larger seam ripper was a gift from a cousin. It is double headed, with a large ripper on one end and a smaller ripper on the other end. I use this tool if I have a long seam to rip out as the large, ridged handle is comfortable and easy to hold for that annoying, mis-sewn seam. I have seen rippers like this one at craft fairs and small sewing/quilting stores.
I keep these by my sewing machine for clipping threads. The upper snips are inexpensive and efficient, but can’t be sharpened.
The lower snips are heavier and can be sharpened when needed. I keep these snips by my sewing machine and on my worktable; they are great for cutting notches.
There are lots of different fabric markers on the market. I have lots of fabric markers in my workroom, but these are the two I reach for most often.
The Chaco Chalk Maker leaves a fine line that can be brushed away. In the photo is my blue Chaco chalk Marker; they also come in white.
https://www.wawak.com/Cutting-Measuring/Marking-Chalk-Pens/Chalk/clover-chaco-liner-marker-white/?sku=CK4 at $5.81 Little bottles of ground chalk for refills in a 2-pack cost $3.44.
Frixon Pens are the newest version of “disappearing ink” pens. The ink in Frixon pens is heat sensitive; the heat of an iron (140°) makes the ink “disappear”. The ink does vanish from view, but will reappear if exposed to extreme cold: 14°. I recommend the “Fine” point at 07. I find the Extra Fine at 05 is too fine.
https://www.amazon.com/Pilot-FriXion-Erasable-3-Pack-31578/dp/B004JXHTDK/ref=pd_cp_229_2/143-5975381-7412206?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B004JXHTDK&pd_rd_r=9cc92d31-dabc-463d-865e-00f7a66a128a&pd_rd_w=zqHkG&pd_rd_wg=hl2No&pf_rd_p=0e5324e1-c848-4872-bbd5-5be6baedf80e&pf_rd_r=41K6MQM2CECJR619W5GY&psc=1&refRID=41K6MQM2CECJR619W5GY for a 3 pack at $5.79.
Hole Maker and Pattern Notcher
The Screw Hole Maker is perfect for making a hole in your pattern to mark dart tips, button placement, the break point of the jacket lapel, etc. With changeable bits, you can make a small hole, a medium hole or a large hole; the large holes are large enough to sew Tailor’s Tack through.
A pattern notcher eliminates the fussy cutting of the triangle notches the major pattern makers use. Instead of cutting out 3 triangles, squeeze the pattern notcher once (or three times side by side) and get a cut into the pattern’s seam allowance. When cutting out your garment in fabric make quick snip into the seam allowance to mark the notch.
Pattern notchers are available at Gold Star tools, Wawak and other sewing tool suppliers.
Both of these needles help finish a seam. On the top, an Easy Thread needle, which threads from the top, is perfect for hiding thread ends.
On the bottom, a double eyed needle has an eye on each end. Thread the ends of a serger chain into one of the eyes. Slide the other end of the needle back through the serger seam and bury the thread chain ends to prevent the chain from raveling.
Easy Thread needles are available at Gold Star tools, Wawak and other sewing tool suppliers.
https://www.goldstartool.com/selfthreading-needles-10-pc.htm at $3.99 for a 10 pack
The Double ended needles are harder to find. I found them at Sewing Machine Plus online:
I hope you have found a new tool put on your Holiday Wish List or buy for yourself. I’m sure you have other tools you love that aren’t listed here. Please share!
NB: all of the links to the shopping sources are provided by me, without any sponorship from the vendors. I have received good customer service from GoldStar, Wawak and SewingMachings Plus. Please let me know if the links don’t work!