Using Up Treasured Fabric

I have a problem. I love to collect fabric. Actually, not just fabric. I love lace and linens, anything with hand embroidery, silks, satins, velvets and gaudy vintage bed sheets. I love the look, feel and even the smell of fabric. Yes, I do have a problem. And what is the solution to this problem?

I have to start using the fabric I currently have in my stash.

Every quilter/seamstress has a section of special fabric that she has fallen in love with. Sometimes it’s so special, we don’t even want to cut it! It’s time, ladies. Get out your imagination and your scissors and get to work!

Fabric up-cycle by Angela Jean of Artfully Sew www.artfullysew.wordpress.comMy first treasure was this silky oriental print I got from my step-mom. I love the cranes and fans! I used it for the top part of the shirt and fussy cut it so that the crane would be fully visible. The rust color was brought out with some orange ticking hidden in my Halloween fabrics and accented with a hem of cream/blue ticking.

Fabric up-cycle by Angela Jean of Artfully Sew www.artfullysew.wordpress.com I kept getting frustrated with the sleeves. Originally I added long sleeves from another shirt I used for an apron, but they didn’t work and made it look clunky and tacky. Then I got some lace from a friend (click here to see more treasures) and decided it would look nice as sleeves. It softened up the look and gave the top a light and feminine look as well.

Fabric up-cycle by Angela Jean of Artfully Sew www.artfullysew.wordpress.com

Fabric up-cycle by Angela Jean of Artfully Sew www.artfullysew.wordpress.com

This top looks great with a pair of jeans.

Fabric up-cycle by Angela Jean of Artfully Sew www.artfullysew.wordpress.com

Simba the cat had to hop into the picture because he is much more photogenic than I am!

What fabric do you have fears of cutting because you have a love affair with it? Share your fabric photo below and tell what you think you will make from it or ask for input if you’re stuck on ideas.

Now off to the fabric closet to find my next project!

Artfully sewing,

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Creative (and cheap) packaging tips

Packaging Fiber Art

Art Quilt by Angela Jean: artfullysew.wordpress.com

“Faith” Art Quilt by Artfully Sew

One of the challenges of selling fiber art is packing for shipping. When a customer purchases one of my pieces, I want to be sure of a couple of things:

1. The art quilt is protected during shipping.

2. Because of the embroidery and embellishments my quilts often have, I also want the art quilt to be secure, unable to be bent or folded.

3. That the art quilt is packaged creatively so that it is beautiful and fun to open when received.

This verse from Hebrews 11:1 has been such a help to me!

This verse from Hebrews 11:1 has been such a help to me!

Since each quilt is individually made, I very seldom have two art quilts the same size but usually do not exceed 20” – 24″. Postage rates change frequently, so I always use the postage calculator at usps.com. You can put in the exact size of your package/envelope and know what to charge for shipping (I totally underestimated the shipping on this piece!)."Faith" Art Quilt by Angela Jean - artfullysew.etsy.com

The shipping charges increase if your package is over 12″ long. I think it’s worth the extra money so the art quilt isn’t folded. Folding these quilts makes creases that can become almost permanent because of the embellishing I do to the fabric.

Supplies

Simple supplies work great for packaging.

Simple supplies work great for packaging art quilts.

Most of the supplies I use are things found around the house:

  1. Plastic wrap
  2. Stiff cardboard (usually from a box of some sort)
  3. Tape
  4. Bubble wrap
  5. paper bag (grocery bags work great)
  6. Dress pins (I save pins from new shirts etc)

Cut the cardboard to about 1/4 inch wider than the quilt. Tack the quilt to the cardboard with dress pins, one in each corner and one or two on each side. This prevents shifting. Note: try to keep the point of the pin in the cardboard without poking out the backside. You don’t want to prick your customer!

If you’d like, you can attach the receipt, a note, a bonus gift and etc to the backside of the cardboard. Sometimes I even cover the cardboard with wrapping paper to give it a better look. It’s up to you!

I love writing a little note to my customers, instructions for care and even a bonus gift on the backside.

I love writing a little note to my customers, instructions for care and even a bonus gift on the backside.

Once you have the front and back set, it’s time for the plastic wrap. I use plastic wrap for a couple reasons. One, it protects my quilt from dampness and dirt and secondly, helps keep the quilt securely in place. I also think it makes the quilt look nice and well cared for.

I wrap the wrap just like wrapping a present, securing it with tape on the backside. You might want to get a friend to help – plastic wrap can be clingy.

Next I wrap that in a layer of bubble wrap, giving it some extra cushion.

Finally, I wrap the whole thing with brown paper from a shopping bag. I love using brown bags because it’s upcycling something, plus it thick and adds protection to my package.

The easiest way to turn a paper bag into packaging is to first cut down the seam of the bag to the bottom. Cut along the bottom edges, around all four corners until the bottom is completely cut off.  Open up bag and, voila! You have nice, big piece of packaging paper.

If there are graphics on the bag, I usually keep them on the inside of the package so that I have a clean surface to write the address. But sometimes grocery stores have really nice graphics that can add to the creativity of packaging. Aldi sometimes has a pretty tree or at back-to-school time some stores have doodles for kids to use as book covers. Many possibilities!

Sometimes I love the back of the quilt as much as the front.

Sometimes I love the back of the quilt as much as the front.

How do you package your items? I’d love to hear your ideas! Share your tips in the comments below.

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean

Goodbye, Chicken Apron <>

Sometimes selling something on Etsy is a bittersweet experience. That goes for this apron I sold from my shop yesterday. I made it from a vintage tablecloth I bought at flea market a few years ago. I will write about the process another day. I made 4 aprons from the four corners, two with the chickens and lady, the other with a horse and buggy carriage. The other chicken apron I’m keeping, of course, but the two horse and buggy aprons are still for sale. Just click on the photo of it below to purchase.

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean

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Chicken Apron made from a hand stenciled vintage table cloth

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All ready for cooking and baking!

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This tablecloth was hand-stamped with a stencil, I believe. The other panel has slightly different colors.

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Back view plus a peek at the   cool Artfully Sew tag.

Preparation for quilting a small quilt, wallhanging or tablerunner

So, you’ve finally finished that quilt top! The piecing is done and maybe you’ve even added some applique or embroidery. Now it’s time for quilting. Putting together your quilt sandwich is a very important part of finishing your quilt. Take your time and do it right. Choosing the right batting and backing fabric will have a permanent effect on the look of your quilt, so don’t rush through this process.

What is a Quilt Sandwich?

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A quilt sandwich consists of three layers that will be quilted together to make a finished quilt.

1. Top piece – This is the layer you’ve been working on for the last few days or weeks (or years). The top piece is the side that will show to the world. I bet it’s beautiful! Be sure to trim any loose threads, especially on the backside. They may show through after quilting which, from experience, can be very frustrating. If you have a lot of piecing, you may want to stitch a 1/8 inch around the outside to prevent your piecing from coming apart.

2. Batting – This layer makes the quilt officially a quilt. The thickness and type you use depends on your desired look. I tend to use Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting from JoAnn Fabrics. The quilts I make generally aren’t washed so I don’t have to worry about shrinkage. If you’re making a table-runner or quilt that may need washing now and then, use batting with some poly in it to reduce the shrinkage. The batting should be cut a few inches larger than your top piece.

3. Backing –  The bottom layer of your quilt can match the front but is not necessary. Sometimes I use plain muslin which shows off the stitching beautifully. The backing fabric should also be a few inches bigger than your top piece to allow for stretching and maneuvering.

Watch for future posts on free-motion quilting tips.

Quilted examples

Here are some Artfully Sew examples of quilted wall-hangings I have done. Some are available in my Etsy shop at www.artfullysew.etsy.com. I also love to make custom orders, so don’t hesitate to ask!

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This piece is densely quilted with curly ques and flowers.
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“Hope’s Horse” is from my personal collection. I loved quilting the clouds and the hair on the horse.

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“Sammy” is also from my personal collection. Our cockatiel made a perfect subject for quilting. I especially enjoyed doing the feathers.

Quilt in Process…

I’ve been going through my ufos (un-finished objects). I found this quilt top I pieced a couple years ago. Poor thing has been sitting in a box on my top shelf. So I blew off the dust and unpacked it.  I’m determinded to finish it and bring it back to life.

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The colors are great, but to make it more appealing, I’ve decided to add a boarder using white fabric with embroidered flowers.  I love doing hand embroidery! Thankfully, I kept the extra fabric in the box, so I was able to use coordinating fabrics.  So far, so good…

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I can’t wait to show you the finished project, especially since the last photo is kinda fuzzy.  I’m hoping to have it ready to quilt by the end of the weekend.  Quilting is my favorite part, so yippee!

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What quilting goals do you have for the following week?  Do you have any nagging ufos on your shelf? Post your goals below and we can hold each other accountable.

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean