Painting by Robert Payton Reid, British 1859-1945
Summer's Day in the Flower Garden
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The above painting shows a dress that could easily be made with the long sleeved versions of this pattern or this one.
Similar patterns can be seen here
There is never any need to pay full price for patterns, since they regularly go on sale for $1.99 or 99 cents at fabric stores. Sign up for an ad to come in your mail and keep your eye on the upcoming discounts. To make these patterns look like the dress in the painting, just wrap the completed dress with a sash of the same fabric, or stitch an obi belt on to the front of the dress. If I get this sewn, I will try to demonstrate it online. An alternative would be a skirt and blouse, with the blouse of similar design. The hat could be easily immitated also.
Today I have made a pin cushion, using fabric that co-ordinates nicely with the blue/rose fabric I have done the previous projects in, which fits nicely also with the white muslin. It is a print you should be able to purchase in any fabric store: a tiny rosebud pattern. See if you can click on the picture and get a close-up view of it.
This is all hand-stitched, and a little more complicated that the other things, and, if you will not get frustrated with it but patiently try to master what you are doing, I think you will be excited about the results. Making this pin cushion also gives you some more sewing knowledge, and a technique you have not done before, if you are a beginner.
I like to show what you can do by hand, because I believe women should always be prepared to make-do in hard times. Even if you expect to live an easy life of prosperity, one day you will be glad you can do these things. My little student that I have had since she was 8, is now 13, and has been asked on occasion to sit with an elderly person, while her care-giver is called out of the home. During these times, she has taken her sewing basket and put in some little projects like this.
You need a scrap of fabric of your choice, a small dinner plate or salad plate or bowl, and a frozen juice can lid. Lay your plate or salad bowl on the fabric and draw around it with a pen or pencil, and cut it out.
Do the same thing with the juice can lid. Then, iron down the edges a fourth inch, all around, on both round pieces. Don't worry if it pleats and creases as you iron around it, because it will work out fine when you start to stitch.
Thread your needle with a strong quilting thread, knot it on the end, and, putting several stitches at a time on your needle, stitch all around both pieces.
I have used a co-ordinating hot-pink thread so you can see the stitches for this demonstration. Make sure your knot is on this side of the piece.
Do the same thing with the smaller piece you traced from the juice can lid. Make sure your stitches are not too close to the edge, because they have to go through both layers of cloth, like a hem. Take four or five stitches in the same place at the end, to make a secure knot so that the stitching will not come undone. Clip thread.
Put plenty of glue on the juice can lid, using the side that is the flattest. One side dips in a little and will not stick as well.
Before you glue the lid down, be sure to stitch around the hem you ironed, and do not make a knot, because you are going to have to pull up your threads and make a gather. Just leave the needle stuck in the fabric while you put the lid in it.
Lay your cloth on a plate so that the glue from the lid will not seep on to your surface or table. Put the lid, glue side down, on the middle of your fabric, eyeing it as best you can, to get it evenly in the middle. Let it dry, and have a cup of tea while you are waiting. If it is summer, you can take it outside and it will dry quickly. If it is colder weather, put it in front of a blowing heater for a few minutes.
This lid is necessary so that your pins and needles will not go all the way through the pin cushion, and so that they will not damage your table or any where you are using it.
Next, on the larger piece, pull up the thread, still in the needle, until it gathers up, like this, but do not make a knot yet. It has to be flexible enough to put your stuffing in it.
Put stuffing inside it and make it is full as you can. If you do not have stuffing, you can shred with your hands, a small piece of batting, or you can use something else that might work (cotton balls?).
With the thread still in the needle, pull up the stitches as tightly as you can so that it looks all gathered, like the above photo. Then, take about six stitches in the same place, over and over, to secure the thread. Cut your thread.
Now, take that smaller piece that you stitched but did not gather, and pin it across the hole in the top, to secure it while you sew. Stitch in and out of the previous stitching on the little circle, filling in the blank spaces with your thread.
You can see in the above picture, how I filled in the stitch areas, to give it a finished and pretty appearance. If you cannot quite do this, just do the best you can to get it sewn on.
Add some pins that match the fabric, and your needle and coordinating thread. In some stores, you can buy pins with heart-shaped tops, which would look nice on a hand made pin cushion with a heart print. This looks like a confection, doesn't it!
Completing this small cushion gives you the ability to make a very large pillow or cushion in the same manner. Try using a different fabric for that center medallion piece.
Before showing a sewing basket, I need to make a few more supplies, such as a scissor case and a thread holder, which will be posted later. In the mean time, just find anything to keep your sewing supplies in: a shoe box with a hinged cover, covered in scrapbook papers is nice; a plastic ice cream bucket with a handle, a wicker basket, or even a large wide-mouthed jar. A hat box works well, too.
Someone mentioned a fabric called homespun, in the previous post, and I just happened to have a gift given to me by a recent visitor, who makes dish towels from home spun:
She irons on an applique, made from a cut-out of other fabric, and stitches it down with a machine satin stitch.
The homespun makes a much better dish towel for drying, than the cotton that I am working with for these projects. It has a looser weave and is softer and more absorbent.