Wrist Candy

I’ve been experimenting with fabric wrist cuffs. You would think that making one would be fairly straightforward (and it can be, I suppose), but I’m wrestling with all kinds of existential questions, such as: Ribbon, twill tape, or fabric? Neatly turned or rough edges? Adjustable length or one-size-fits-all? Interfacing or no interfacing? Ideal width? Snap or lobster clasp closure?

The possibilities are mind boggling, such that when I close my eyes at night, I see fabric wrist cuffs. I hope that I work out the perfect formula soon, because this certainly cannot continue.

Here is what I’ve managed to come up with so far.





I love knotting off that last blanket stitch at the end, it’s so satisfying! Right up there with arranging the family’s shoes in the entry from smallest to biggest, don’t you think?

Art Birds

I’ve come to love birds belatedly in my life. I never really paid much attention to them for the first forty years or so, but now I’m enthralled. I want to draw birds, paint birds, and most of all, sew likenesses of birds from vintage textiles and linen.

While scouting the craft book aisles in my local library a few weeks ago, I came upon this book by Abigail Glassenberg. Look how cute that bird is on the cover! It called to me. I had to make it.


I borrowed the book and immediately set about making a few of the simpler patterns. Glassenberg gives very detailed instructions which were fairly easy to follow and let me tell you, she doesn’t cut any corners (figuratively, of course. Literally, she takes care to cut corners and notch curves). Have you ever tried to turn a fabric beak the size of a fingernail inside out and then turn the edges in and baste them? I did a little bit of swearing.

Also the legs. The legs are definitely something that takes practice. Long pieces of steel wire can be a bit unwieldy, and I had a few close calls with the wire and my eyeballs. Also one of my first birds is completely missing a talon. But we persevere, don’t we? Especially when we really want to make a cute little wren.

In the end the birds I made came out looking pretty much like they were supposed to, sauf pour the extra long beak and missing talon on the green one. And the fact that I took several liberties with the wings and the beak and the stitching  on the blue one.



Soon I felt bold enough to try to draft my own little bird pattern. The first few attempts were piteous until I figured out how to make the head and lower body gussets fit the curve of the side body. But eventually I came up with a pattern that yielded this little tweeter.


Maybe not quite as artful as Abby’s, but I’m pleased with it. I used some leftover linen fabric, beads for the beak and eyes, 18 gauge wire wrapped in floral tape and hemp cord for the feet, and a leaf stamp I made ages ago for the wings. There will definitely be more bird making – and possibly safety glasses –  in the future.

Hello, Dollies

As a child I would sit in my room for hours and draw fashionably dressed women and girls. Every once in a while I’d throw in a cat or some flowers, but mostly it was girls. I knew how to draw other things. I just didn’t want to.

After awhile I stopped drawing fashionable women, and then I stopped drawing altogether for about twenty-five years. And when I returned to art as an adult, I found myself gravitating again to the depiction of females, although this time in the form of mythical creatures like pixies and mermaids. What can I say? I love women.

Earlier this week, I was seized with the compulsion to make a little cloth art doll. I looked around the internet for some basic instructions and found this one from Beth at By Hook, By Hand to be very useful. In the end I drew my own pattern, but I used Beth’s method for making the shape of the head and the neck for the first of the two dolls I made.

I free-hand embroidered the face and followed this tutorial for attaching la coiffure and I must tell you that besides stuffing teeny tiny arms and legs, this was by far the hairiest (ha) part of the whole business. I used linen fabric scraps that I already had for the body and the clothing, and I just sewed the clothing right onto the poor doll.

Here she is in all her blue-haired glory:



For the next doll I made, I sewed the head and torso separately and then attached them together.  I also drew her shoes using fabric marker instead of sewing them into the legs.




The doll on the left can't even.


So those are my dolls and now my life has come full circle. They were fun to sew and I’ll probably make some more, but weirder looking. There is something really gratifying about stitching up a little lady, almost better than drawing one.