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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

Free Cross-Stitch Pattern of a Double-Decker Bus

Spring is coming, we are redecorating, and have become besotted with this free cross-stitch pattern of an English double-decker bus! It would be smashing as the front of a loveseat pillow, and backed with vibrant red suede or linen. Aida cloth is available on Britex Fabrics’ 4th floor, and needles and floss is available on our 3rd floor.
Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello
On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain…
Very strange.”

(By J. Lennon, P. McCartney)

Posted: Hand-Needlecraft, Projects
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Free Child’s Apron Pattern Plus a Perky Squirrel

This free pattern for a child’s be-pocketed apron from Vicki at PatternBee is ideal for keeping wee chefs neat and tidy! All it takes is ½ yard of fabric and some bias tape. Embroidered vintage critters on each pocket make this apron perfection, and Rectangle has just the collection of free vintage embroidery transfers to spiff things up! I’m partial to this perky squirrel. As a bonus, here is a tutorial from Jaden and her 4 year old son, Andrew on baking no-knead bread.

Posted: Hand-Needlecraft, Projects, Sewing
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Make a Hand-Sewn Fabric Valentine Card & Envelope

Jennifer at SewMamaSew made this delicious tutorial for a hand-sewn fabric Valentine’s day card and envelope! All you need is an exterior fabric and a complimentary lining fabric, interfacing, embroidery floss, pretty buttons to seal it shut….and love. We adore the hand-stitched details, and are eager to embroider sweet stanzas to tantalize our secret friends!

Posted: Hand-Needlecraft, Projects, Sewing
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Make an Umbrella Case – Crocheted Accessories from 1895

Just in time for spring are directions for making crocheted accessories, including an umbrella case and suspenders! With springtime showers on the horizon, the umbrella case is eminently practical. The authors recommend crocheting it in silk yarn, and who are we to disagree? Its open weave makes it eminently suitable for the facilitation of drying your umbrella. The crocheted races are totally irresistible. I picture them made up in a variegated yarn for a jaunty striped look, and then worn with a rumpled linen suit and spectator shoes. All items can be found in The Last and Best Book on Art Needlework (Published by The Brainerd & Armstrong Company. c. 1895) (Published by The Brainerd & Armstrong Company. c. 1895) This delightful booklet was posted by the wonderful folks at the AntiquePatternLibrary, and includes a “Huge collection of embroidery, crochet and knitting patterns for silk threads and yarns, including descriptions of the thread itself, hundreds of stitches and types of needlework, and beautiful illustrations. Socks, mittens, motifs, chains, edgings, bags, ties, bags, belts, tassels, fan, slippers, lamp shade, garter, suspenders, embroidered flowers.”

Posted: Knitting & Crocheting, Projects
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Who does not like wee forest creatures? Here is a plethora of cunning diminutive free gnomes and gnome accessories. Andra with a pattern for a child’s knit stocking hat to keep your bairn’s head warm, Debi from has a tutorial on adorably dressed gnome dolls with braids and beards, Andrea from has a très cute embroidery transfer for plump gnomes and spotted mushrooms, NovaMade (another librarian!) made a smart, traveling gnome costume for her child,
and Megan of Sanctimommy presents another knit gnome doll….one can never have too many gnomes!

Posted: Knitting & Crocheting, Projects, Sewing
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Ribbed Sweater with Britex Buttons – Risa

We have a soft spot in our hearts for libraries…..and of course librarians. Risa of LibrarianKnits is a knitter and a librarian, so we want to give her double the love! When she finished this lovely ribbed sweater she chose over-sized, shiny Britex Fabrics buttons to complete her ensemble, and emphasize the asymmetrical front. We adore this sweater’s mock turtleneck and the warm coffee-colored yarn! The free pattern is called by Gilet chaussette asymétrique and can be found on the community knitting site, Ravelry.

Posted: Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Knitting & Crocheting, Made by You, Projects
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How to Sew Bluff Pockets

2011 is the year of the pocket! I want pockets on everything right now; I want pockets to keep my mitts warm, pockets to store pieces of salted caramel wrapped tightly in waxed paper, and pockets to slip love notes into. Kathleen from, and Sandra from TheSurlySeamstress posted these fabulous tutorials on how to stitch on bluff pockets, otherwise known as pockets with no visible outside stitching. Bluff pockets have a classic simplicity that we adore.

Posted: Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Striped Knit Fingerless Glove Pattern

Becky posted PDF instructions for these cozily spiffy striped fingerless mitts on CraftZine. This unisex pattern will keep your chilly limbs toasty while you bike, text, or play bass. Be a pirate and knit them in black and white, yellow and black for a bee-tastic look, be a wafting faerie in pale pink and meadow green, or in heathered brown and grey for a gentlemanly approach!

Posted: Knitting & Crocheting, Projects
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Sewing and Sewing Machine Maintenance Guidelines

For novice sewers (and really anyone!), we have rounded up some basic suggestions for sewing project success:

1. Measure yourself carefully and buy your pattern according to your measurements; pattern sizing and ready-to-wear sizing are radically different.

2. Read the pattern’s directions all the way through first, and then follow them as you construct the project.

3. Use a fresh needle for each larger project.

4. Don’t stint on thread, but buy matching, good quality thread.

5. Use fabric that you truly adore, not just because it is on sale or you kind of like it.

6. Iron your seams as you go.

Stacy and BurdaStyle have several suggestions for sewing machine maintenance, including change your needles often, clean and dust your machine after each project, oil your machine as recommended by your manual, and tighten loose screws. We have found that by following these simple hints, many machine issues are resolved.

Posted: Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Free Short Cape Pattern

This short cape by the talented team at Thunderlily would be a dashing wrap for that in-between season that takes place after winter’s last chill, but before cherry blossoms are spreading their delicate pink petals across Japanese Tea Garden. We adore the vintage look and the asymmetrical zigzag buttoned front. The open source pattern and directions are posted as a PDF on the BurdaStyle. We think this cape would glamorous be in a deep, berry pink velveteen lined in grey stripped silk. Think pink!
“Think pink! Think pink! When you shop for summer clothes.
Think pink! Think pink! If you want that quel-que chose.
Red is dead, blue is through,
Green’s obscene, brown’s taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce
Or chartreuse.
Think pink! Forget that Dior says black and rust.
Think pink! Who cares if the new look has no bust.
Now, I wouldn’t presume to tell a woman
What a woman oughtta think,
But tell her if she’s gotta think: think pink!

(By R. Edens)

Posted: Projects, Sewing
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