Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ellie - the story of a "Moment to Shine" design...

I think I strayed a bit from my early ideas about using recycled fabrics to make new designs.
Nah, I don't think it- I *know* I strayed.

You see, there was a time when I shopped at charity stores for my sewing fabrics. Blossom and I loved to search through racks and shelving for sweet prints, soft linens, raw silks, or woollen cardigans and pullovers that we could felt in boiling water. Some of the loveliest gifts I have made came from fabrics I recycled from second-hand clothing.

An example of this use of recycled clothing is my cute little "Ellie" wall hanging from 2011...

The crimson satin was once a skirt, and the green silk was a shirt. 
They only cost a couple of dollars each, but made this design 'sing' with expensive taste!

I raided Blossom's stash of Swarovski crystals, and sewed them loosely under the Ellie block, and between the rose tabs...

...and I added my own little seed beads in and about the roses.
Variegated threads were perfect to add dimension to the stitchery.

The linen I used to stitch the 'Ellie' block and the rose tabs came from a large soiled table napkin - 50c was all I paid for it. After removing the stained section I still had a good amount to use in the design.
The linen had aged beautifully, and was a dream to stitch through...

Perhaps you have vintage linens or old clothing on hand that is unable to be used or worn again, but is made from fabric that would love it's chance to shine?

Search through your forgotten fabric pieces and clothing to see what lovely projects and gifts you can sew using them. If the fabrics are from an item that has been passed down in your family, this may be a way for it to once again 'come to light' and be useful.

If you would like to stitch my "Ellie" yourself, the pdf pattern has been listed today HERE in my shop.
It has all the instructions, plus step by step photos. 

I've drawn the giveaway winner for Michelle May's wonderful new book, "Fabled Fusions"...
Congratulations to 

I have emailed you, Wanda, so check your email inbox.
You have a gorgeous book waiting to wing its way to you. 

Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway. Don't forget Michelle has copies in her SHOP and can post anywhere in the world, so if you're after something nice, funky, and soft to stitch this will be perfect.
Perhaps you have some felt already?
Or you could make your own from pure wool winter garments like Blossom and I did. The possibilities are endless...




  1. Jenny -

    I LOVE the idea of recycling fabrics in the creative process...both from a sentimental and ecological standpoint. Plus reusing clothing you own, or that is donated to you by family, or sought out in thrift shops is frugal and FUN. Sometimes I get a little frustrated that the "latest" colorway is not necessarily in my stash, but I make things that I, personally, love. It takes even more creativity to make something with what you have than to go out and buy lots of "matchy-matchy" fabrics. I'm not saying I don't purchase complete fabric lines...I do...but more often than not I prefer to seek out my own fabric coordinates. My creations may not even be made in my "typical" colors...but I love them just as much. It stretches my abilities when I put my hand on a single piece of fabric and then build my project around its colors, theme and "feel".

    I love your "ellie" and think you brought it all together beautifully. That is the true expression of creativity. Kudos...

  2. I love vintage fabrics and always look for ways to reuse them. Your stitching and bead work is so pretty - perfect! The colours and fabrics all go together so well - you are clever.

  3. Thank you for reminding me of recycling fabrics. I've got a lot of wool I felted myself and I'll make sure I use it next year.

  4. Nydelige broderier i gode farger:)

  5. Congratulations to Wanda. Jenny I lov eyour elephant . It is so cute. I love to reuse recycled fabrics....

  6. Thanks for the suggestion of using what you have to stitch on. I have an enormous old damask tablecloth that belonged to my mother-in-law which would be wonderful stitched with one of your designs (or several). Otherwise it will be tossed when I am gone as my children have no use for such a thing.

  7. Your Craftsy site has adds that pop up when you try to access the patterns. I would love to get the pattern for Ellie but could not.

  8. Congratulations to Wanda! How wonderfully happy I imagine she was as she opened her e-mail. =) I just bought the Christmas ones yesterday, so Ellie has to wait a bit, but I love her, and the story of her creation. I have a lot of old linens, mostly from clothing and table linens, that I've used in crazy quilting projects, and I expect to use a lot more this coming year with my plans for getting back to making Moms Blocks again.

  9. Bless you for taking a few minutes to publish this. I understand where you are coming from on this article however , I do believe that there are more desirable solutions.

  10. I have been a bit snowed under with some "passed on" fabrics samples, some heavier almost upholstery fabric, not quite quilting weight... And i found the local kindergarten and play groups really happy to use them for their crafting. Also i too have some damask which i washed and is now creased that i dispair about how an embroidery will work out. Should i wash again and starch it and iron damp?? Any advice kindly accepted!!😁

  11. Luv the fabric boxes.....will start making some tomorrow. Jenny I don't like to be a "pain", but I find it very difficult to read coloured words on the grey background, the aqua & pink are extremely difficult, I do wear multi lense glasses & not sure if they make it worse....otherwise I always enjoy your Blog!

  12. I found your website from the Quilting Gallery Bog Give Away-you were listed on one of the blogs. I love your things and after work, I will be shopping at your Etsy Store-Thank you!


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