May 9, 2015

Spring 2015 Collection: Meet the Birds!

Stitched on white linen with pearl 5 thread from Weeks Dye Works

Next up in the spring collection is a new pattern for stitchery or applique, Birds in Flight. It seems that everything comes around in cycles, and applique as well as hand embroidery are enjoying popularity once again. When I was playing around with this idea a few months ago, I originally played around with doing hand embroidery only, but as I thought about it more, there was so much more I could contribute to the design if I expanded it to the realm of applique. For those of you who have been following me the past few years, you may not know that I started out almost exclusively in applique with touches of embroidery. That seems like almost a lifetime ago! It is amazing to look back over the past 14 years to see how my work has evolved. I am forever grateful to the success of those early applique patterns...they fueled my company for many years until the transition to full tissue garments was complete.

I thought it would be great to offer a lower priced set of stitchery patterns to you that you can use on anything you want......these designs lend themselves so well to clothing, bags, quilts, pillows, or a lovely stand alone piece of artwork. There is such a quiet peace in sitting and stitching! I do love that time. In this world of nonstop everything, doing handwork is very grounding and there is something so nice about something you can take with you anywhere and work on it a bit at a time at your whim, using stitches, thread and colors of your own choosing and creating something truly unique.

The pattern includes some tips on technique and how to complete the applique as well as hand embroidery, everything from tracing to stitches that I used. I also add a few embroidery details so that you can use some of my ideas if you want. I fully encourage you to go your own way and make these designs your own, though!

I chose a variety materials for these designs to show their versatility. The main photo is stitched on white linen with pearl 5 threads from Weeks Dye Works. This particular piece is now stretched and inside an oval frame...perfect for hanging on the wall. Weeks has such beautiful thread! It is truly a pleasure to peruse all the wonderful colors!! The only trouble I have is choosing the one I want to stitch with. I also used some of their wool crewel embroidery thread....just wonderful texture!

My personal preference on some of these variations is to do fusible applique and then add some hand embroidered detailing, such as for the flap of our Madison Wallet Bag, shown here. This is the sample I used the wool crewel embroidery thread. It is amazing how just a few simple stitches with a few colors brings an otherwise flat applique piece to life.

Fusible machine applique, shown on our Madison Wallet Bag. Fabric featured is Canyon by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics

On another variation, I chose to use fusible machine applique and finish it off with metallic thread on the machine. If you have been following my posts over the last couple of days, you have already gotten a sneak peek of this one. It is our new Ava Sundress with the birds in varying sizes flowing up from the hem of the dress. I used cotton voile for the applique as I wanted a bit of a translucent quality and finished it off with Sulky metallic thread for the detailing. I just used a simple straight stitch for this work and my handy frixion pen for drawing in the details before stitching. Note that the birds go from really large to really small on this variation. In the pattern, I give you several sizes, but also grant permission for you to enlarge or reduce the size of the birds as you see fit on a copier.

Close up of the stitching detail on the applique on the Ava Sundress
Fusible machine applique in cotton voile onto stretch chambray on our Ava Sundress pattern. Stitching detail on the birds was completed with a straight machine stitch in metallic thread.
On this chambray dress, I again used the wool crewel embroidery thread for the hand embroidery. You'll be amazed at how fast this work goes. I usually complete the embroidery as I am in the middle of constructing a garment. For this one, I stitched the yoke together, added the embroidery, then finished the construction of the dress. It is easier to get access to the area you want to embellish if you do it this way.

Close up of hand embroidery work on front yoke of our Aspen Tunic pattern. Stitching completed with wool crewel thread from Weeks Dye Works.
Close up of hand embroidery work on back yoke of our Aspen Tunic pattern. Stitching completed with wool crewel thread from Weeks Dye Works.
I have really piqued my appetite for the work I used to do all the time. It is nice to revisit an old skill and see how it can be made new again. I hope I have inspired you to get out your needles, thread, and fusible products so you can get started with this again! I would love to bring more of these designs to brain is on fire with ideas now!

This pattern is now available for purchase on our website. Thanks for taking a look and let me know what you think!

Happy Sewing!