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Information and tutorials for folks interested in antique Italian lacework, nouveau fashion, sewing techniques and much much more!

Category Archive: Projects

Make a No-Sew Zebra-Skin Felt Rug


Here is a PDF pattern and directions to make a pop art inspired felt zebra-skin rug. This will make any adobe even more groovylicious! It is perfect to snuggle indoors for a long evening of buttered popcorn and Gin Rummy. It’s so simple you can adjust the technique to make a rug in just about any size or style, including a welcome mat, and there is no reason that you couldn’t make in it high-grade wool felt in grey and cream for a more subtle effect! Britex Fabrics carries wool felt and acrylic felt on our 4th floor. (courtesy of Etsy’s How-Tuesday and Dorm Decor by Theresa Gonzalez and Nicole Smith)

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Free Pattern – The Coffee Date Dress


This vintage-inspired dress is perfect for a coffee date! It is a sophisticated frock, with a slight scoop neckline, a-line skirt, and ruffle detail at the bodice front. Talented Elaine, the Selfish Seamstress, designed and drafted this pattern as a free download, and I love what sweetiepiebakery on BurdaStyle did with the ruffled bib (click for PDF)! Done up in red velvet, it throatily whispers, “Be Mine!”

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Woven Felt Heart Basket for Valentine’s Day

Jennifer from CraftSanity made this variation of Norwegian woven paper heart baskets out of durable, non-fraying felt, and then graciously posted a video tutorial demonstrating this lovely handicraft. A woven heart-red and sky-blue felt basket filled with wax-paper wrapped salted caramels and chocolate caramels would be a perfect Valentine gift for any sweetie!

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Top Hat Creation – Circa 1951


The amazing folks at the British media company British Pathe (founded in 1902) present a preview of a video newsreel film on making top hats, circa 1951. The short clip depicts various steps in the hat-making process including laying out cloth until it is taut and the formation of forming a cylindrical shape. We love the depiction of craftsmanship, and the pride each milliner takes in their contribution to the finished top hat.

Posted: Organizations, Projects
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Top-Stitching Hints


We love the extra verve that judicious use of top-stitching adds to garments. A line (or two) of top-stitching can empathize the tailored angles of a jacket collar lapel, add decorative contrast with a coordinating thread color, or spiff up the pockets of a cowboy shirt. Carolyn of TheDiaryofaSewingFanatic gives us instructions and hints on top-stitching, including advice on needle type, the importance of consistent stitching line direction, and the top-secret scotch tape stitching guide method!

Posted: Sewing Techniques
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Vintage Valentine Apron Pattern


This circa 1945 vintage apron pattern from the gal at Tipnut is just the thing! We’ll wear while baking Valentine’s day sweets for our sweetie, and love the heart-shaped bib and the flowering heart appliqués. No one can resist the delicious sight of a dedicated and be-aproned chef removing hot home-made Linzer cookies from the oven!

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Sew Dandy-esque Pocket Squares of Britex Silks


Spiff up, stand out and sew a drawer full of one-of-a-kind pocket squares with Britex Fabrics’ amazing world-renowned selection of imported silks. I hear from dandified sources that pocket squares are this season’s accessory for our dedicated follower of fashion. According to Aaron Britt of SFGate, there are several sartorial guidelines to wearing this dapper devise, including the admonition not to match your tie to your pocket square. Lord Whimsy has graciously supplied PDFs of 13 pocket square folds, from the Winged Puff to the Cagney. I can barely compete with Lord Whimsy’s splendid prose, so won’t: “A slightly pedantic note for the acolyte: The occasion or setting will often recommend a particular knot or pocket square fold. (Festive? Sober? Rascally?) ….Trial and error in these matters can be good fun, but over time, one will gain a sense of what works best, and a personal repertoire will take shape.”

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A Documentary on Neapolitan Tailoring Traditions – Kid Dandy


Kid Dandy, an Italian creative group, are in the process of finishing up a documentary on Neapolitan tailoring traditions. Here is a 5 minute trailer for their stunning documentary. This film is a must to watch for anyone who is enamored with the craft of traditional fine tailoring, hand-stitching, hand-made button-holes…..and the luscious beauty of Naples, Italy. I love watching the beautifully suited Claudio Attolini as he talks about the process of tailoring while making gracefully articulate hand gestures that mimic hand-stitching.

Posted: Classes, Events & Shows, Sewing Techniques
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Free Vintage Embroidery Transfers of Housekeeping Cats!


Meow meow…….if I’m going to mop, sweep, polish, mend, and iron I’m going to do so with vigorous verve! Vicki from PatternBee brings you these free iron-on vintage embroidery transfers of housekeeping, bushy-tailed kitty-cats. These industrious kittens would be super-cute embroidered on tea towels, and a set of them would make a charming Mother’s Day gift!

Posted: Hand-Needlecraft, Projects
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Create a Top Hat for your Fashion Doll


We are top hat crazy! The talented Lori has created a detailed tutorial for making silk top hats for 16? collectible fashion dolls. These stunningly chic silk top hats could coordinate with your doll’s riding habit, or perhaps be the perfect accessory for a dashing Marlene Dietrich ensemble a la Morocco. And I love the snippet of veiling! All supplies can be purchased at Britex Fabrics.

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