90’s jumper gets a much needed up-cycle!

I know amazing people. Recently my friend, Robin gave me a bin of treasures. For FREE. Bits of lace, embroidered pillowcases and vintage linens  – all crying out to be made into new things! It was like Christmas for this scrap junkie. On the top of the pile was this not-quite-finished jumper.

YJ 05wmRobin had made this a long time ago using a canary yellow tablecloth, an embroidered table runner and some crocheted lace doilies. In it’s time, it was very stylish and trendy. In order to live in my closet, it needed a makeover. The hem was unfinished and very long. Plus, although I do like yellow, it was a little bold for me. Robin had given me permission to do what I wanted with it, so I grabbed the scissors, extra lace and some dye and got creative!

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The first thing I did was cut off the length to about mid-thigh. I wanted this to more of a long shirt than a dress, that would work over leggings. To tie in the lace from the bodice, I dug through the treasure bin and found some lace from a pillow case to edge the hem.

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After finishing the hemline, I had the straps to deal with. Although bibs usually have buttons, all the buttons I auditioned just wouldn’t make the cut. I wanted this to look classy, not so cutesy, so I ditched the buttons and sewed the straps down to the front. The sides also got snaps that didn’t show instead of visible buttons.

YJ 07wmWhen I tried on the new outfit (over my pajamas, no less), I liked the length and loved the lace, but I wanted to calm down all the colors. Nothing a little tan dye wouldn’t fix! I added a half bottle of tan Rit dye to my washer, following the directions on the bottle. Here’s the results:

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The tan dye did the trick. It calmed down the yellow to a nice mustard color. It also antiqued the embroidery and helped tie the ensemble together, making a new, stylish top.

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If you like my chicken wire dress form, check out how I made it here: DIY Dress Form from Chicken Wire.

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This outfit is now complete with a denim blue shirt, brown leggings and boots accented with a long, lacy scarf.

Now back to the treasure bin to find something else to create!

       Artfully sewing,



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.


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

Falling Leaves Apron

I finished up a few more aprons yesterday. I keep tweeking the pattern as I go. They all turn out differently which keeps it fun. I really dislike making the exact same thing over and over again. That’s probably why I seldom use the same pattern twice! Here’s the first one:

Apron of Falling Leaves


This apron is made from one of my hubby’s worn out work shirts. The color is very nice, so I cut it up and used the back of the shirt for the front of the apron. With the leaves falling outside as my inspiration, I matched up an embroidered tablerunner to use as the pocket. The pockets are accessed through the side instead of the top. In fact it’s just one big pocket, nice and generous in size. Isn’t the edging on this embroidered piece gorgeous?


The other side of the tablerunner will be saved for a future apron. After cutting the pockets, a nice sized middle section was left over. I couldn’t waste that beautiful crocheted remnant! By cutting it in half and sewing the edges together I created a nice skirt edging for the bottom of the apron. It felt a bit bottom heavy, so I found some leaf-like lace in my scrap bin that matched the leaves in the embroidery.


The back of this apron has a tie and suspender type straps. I’m hoping that this style will accommodate many sizes. The straps are made from the sleeves from the shirt as usual.


This photo also shows off my recently made dress form I constructed from chicken wire, a wooden hanger, a broom handle and the base of a broken office chair. It’s become a very handy tool in my studio!  Check out the post here to see how i made it.

Now the apron feels finished and happy. I will post more aprons throughout the week.

What is a good price for handmade one-of-a-kind aprons? What would you pay for this apron? Let me know you opinion below. Thanks!

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean

Doodling with thread – embroidery stitches

I love to doodle with thread! Although this project isn’t finished yet, I wanted to share my progress so far. Experimenting with various embroidery stitches on this appliqued heart was very fun. Now off to add the verse and more embroidery doodles.


Doodling with embroidery thread by Angela Jean of Artfully Sew

Artfully sewing,

Angela Jean