There’s A Whole Lot of Piecing Going On

My fall sewing retreat took place in October. The autumn group is called The Hauties. The spring group is called Sew Sistas. Many of us attend both. It always amazes me how many new ideas spring up from twenty women who have taken classes or tried something new in the previous six months. We come together to share these marvelous fiber adventures, new patterns, purchased treasures and unconventional ideas in this safe environment with others of like mind.

This year seemed to be the year for piecing fabric together. Some random. Some planned. All embellished! Most of it made and layered with raw edges and meandering stitches. A delightfully freeing exercise for using up those precious scraps and seeing them come to life in a new way. Hang on for the barrage of pictures….50 of them!

I’m going to begin with Helen because, well, Helen is awesome! A diminutive dynamo of creative energy. She can and will use everything and anything to express herself. She can take a man’s suit vest and give it nine lives. We love her.

A bounty of buttons and a boa on her blouse.

Do you have some old gloves you’ve inherited? Want to give yourself one continuous hug?

Now let’s head on over to the hardware store for some cables and flexible tubing.

And now one last piece from Helen. It’s still in the “pinned” stage in these pictures. What a great way to use up those precious pieces of ribbons and trim.

Sharon always brings good examples of her workshop projects. This simple pullover vest is a creative way to contain disparate pieces from your stash. Here is the front.

Here is the back.

And here are some close ups. It made me wonder how many sample and practice pieces of screen printing do we have tucked away? A logo from a beloved t-shirt? Or what if you screen printed over a t-shirt logo?

And there’s cardiac stitching everywhere to hold it all in place.

Heidi’s Terrific Tabard would be the ideal pattern for this surface design. Here’s another super creative vest featured in an older Threads magazine. It’s a Vogue pattern, 8430, without the sleeves. It’s been raw edged pieced and it’s reversible.

Gayle is our cashmere queen. She eco dyes recycled cashmere sweaters, cuts them up and pieces them back together with hand stitching. They are gorgeous to look at and even better to touch. Here she displays a large throw. Can you imagine cuddling up under that?!?

This darling little vest is from Diane Ericson’s Faultline pattern.

Don’t you love that running stitch throughout the whole piece? The little squares of cashmere are sewn onto a backing of netting. It was so soft and drapey.Gayle’s next top is a dream for any of us who like black and white and red. There were so many clever little places to look on this piece, I had to share them all.Front


Tiny running stitches!Cardiac stitching!Striped piping!All three! Be still my heart!

Here’s Sarah making easy work of embellishing. Buy printed fabric and just take a black marker to it with random abandon. Why didn’t I think of this?

Daniella modeling her kantha jacket.

A true artist, Daniella brought some silk she had “embellished” at home by BURNING it! Yup, those are burned holes. Cool, eh? Can’t wait to see what she makes with it and what she chooses for lining.

Gwen quietly sits and hand stitches many of her projects. They are absolutely gorgeous and thoughtful. She chose to work on a tea cozy pieced together with random fabrics, mostly decorator pieces. Then she began embroidery embellishments to tie them together. 

Some more of her work with leaves.

Using duct tape and plastic, Gwen created this rain coat and shared it with us. I know this is a Marcy Tilton pattern. I’m guessing Vogue 9287. If someone knows differently please let me know.

She also brought another rain coat made from a taffeta type polka dot. Embellished with simple tulle donuts, I must put this on my list of things to try.

Jenny attended a wool bead jewelry class in Mendocino. They made the beads themselves, beaded the balls, threaded them and built the necklaces. These are just so cute and colorful.

Vicky looked so put together with her purchased necklace and her repurposed men’s shirt top. Excellent creative vision.

 If you want to try this piecing idea on a small scale, this journal cover is perfect. Cute and clever.

Wynne, Helen’s daughter, spent her time embellishing onesies. We affectionately called them Wynnesies as she gave each one a new and different personality.Another small but effective detail that I want to try are these tiny tiny strips sewn on in a series of stripes. 

And this fabric necklace reminded me of Heidi’s necklaces. Cute! These could be made with scrapbooking paper too.

And finally, a nod to the freebie table. No one had any idea what this was but I thought it was amazing. I felt I had won the jackpot. Just look at all those treasures on it! Who knows what could be done with those! Dice, mah jhang tiles, scrabble letters and pieces of yard sticks. 

Outside of sewing machines and sergers, these tools get plenty of use.

Keep creating!

12 thoughts on “There’s A Whole Lot of Piecing Going On

  1. OH.MY.GOODNESS!! Even though I was there, this makes me feel even more there! All the fabulous details and beautiful pictures brought me right back and helped me notice things even more. Thank you for sharing this insight and your amazing artist’s “eye”.

    • Hi Kay! Glad you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. It was only 5-6 weeks ago but photos help keep the ideas in front of me. I suffer horribly from leaky memory syndrome.

    • Aren’t those tulle donuts so simple and cute! She zig zagged them on with her sewing machine. The stitching blends right in.

  2. Wow!!!! There are a million great ideas here Mary! Thank you for sharing them! And… I hope the surgery you and Patty endured to remove your headaches went well!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post and hope you found an idea or two to try. No surgery required….I couldn’t wear it while eating, it hurt to chew! Otherwise it was fun to break it out around, say, 5:00pm! 🍷

    • Hi Julie! The cardiac stitch is just a lot of crazy wild zig zag stitching, but larger. It can be done in the free motion way where the feed dogs are dropped or more controlled by using your reverse button. Just think of a heart monitor in a hospital room! I hope that helps.

    • Hi Mary Lee! I’m glad you found us too. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog from Jane Haworth and our retreat announcement for 2019 should be posted around the first of February.

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