Monday, June 21, 2010

Sew and Sew

I learned to sew from Sister Barbara at St. C Academy. She inspected our buttonholes and hem stitches with an eagle eye and many's the seam I had to rip and redo. Sister Barbara presided over my first projects, from a simple pencil skirt (with zipper!) to my prom dress that year and I still thank God for her even-handed guidance every time I pick up a needle and thread.

Throughout my college years and adult life I've made clothes, curtains, and costumes.  In recent years, my interest has shifted away from the practical, but I still love to sew.  Mainly I'm interested in hand sewing nowadays, the kind of thing I can curl up with in the living room while everyone else around me is doing their own things.  

I don't like the hassle of setting up the machine and then putting it away again.  So I haven't been constructing any garments, but I do hems and repairs to things that need it.  I also have been making some pictures.  I mainly use fabric (applique), embroidery, and beading.

Gem likes her hair to swoop down over her right eye.  I made this a couple of years ago when her glasses broke and I just couldn't throw her old pair away after they were replaced.  So here is a sort of portrait of Gem with her glasses, some fun boucle yarn, beads, and scraps of fabric I had on hand.

I don't know what she thinks of it, but I framed it and hung it up.

This is a more recent applique.  I love my chickens and this picture of a mama hen with her hatchlings is actually 2 small pictures.  They are mounted, but not framed yet.  

I wonder what Sister Barbara would think?  She would be happy that I am still sewing and enjoying it.  Maybe, though, she would also see me as a little lazy.  You see, I rarely rip out and redo my mistakes.  Instead, I just work them into the picture the best way I can.

Sometimes it really works out.  With this Mama and Babies I measured the background fabric wrong and needed about an inch more in both length and height.  So I set the pieces aside for a while until I happened upon this pretty gold ribbon.  I used a variety of goldish beads to attach the border to the picture and, frankly, I like it better than my original plan.

I have a 6 year old niece, Vava, who is a real artist.  I love her drawings and am using one of her butterflies right now to make a new applique.  Here are some of the fabrics and colors I have in mind:

I learn a lot by reading all kinds of needlework blogs and I've recently read about Gwen Marston's Fearless Quilting.  I don't know if I'm interpreting it right, but I think of it as just what I do.  If I make a mistake, rather than ripping it out, I try to turn it to my advantage.

Kind of like life.  When I do something wrong, I try to have a good heart, pick myself back up, and keep moving.  Maybe it even comes out better than my original plan.  You think?

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