Thanksgiving Tradition

A few decades ago my mother began the tradition of adorning each place setting at our Thanksgiving table with an extra special Christmas ornament. This year I am continuing that tradition by making each guest their own ornament to take home.

We have an abundance of lichen covered branches, pine cones, interesting grasses and twigs to forage on our ranch. Add to that beautiful ribbons, miniature deer and woodland creatures, raw cotton, and perhaps just a touch of sparkle with frosty glitter and crystals. 

I don't know what is more enjoyable, making these sweet gifts or giving them!

Here they are. By using mostly found objects and what's in my stash, they were very inexpensive.

With glue gun in hand, I think you'll find they're very simple to make if you feel the urge. 

Another family member couldn't help but having a go.

They are quite fragile, so I've found some little boxes to store them in.

I hope you and yours had a most enjoyable and thankful Thanksgiving.

Simple V-neck Top

My idea was to make a simple t-shirt for my mother to go with the skirt I made for her Paris trip earlier this year.

We chose Alabama Chanin's 100% organic cotton jersey fabric in dove. We were going to bind the neck, sleeves and hem in navy and put a small applique from the Magdalena stencil on the sleeve to match the skirt. I was to use my modified A-line pattern that I had used for this top.

This top fit my mom perfectly and looked so nice on her that I insisted she make it her own. But when she tried on the basic top, it didn't fit. It was too small. She hadn't gained any weight; in fact, the opposite. Usually a basic, unembellished garment will fit more loosely than an embellished garment. I must have used the wrong pattern when I cut it out. So on to plan B. I kept it for myself, and opted to keep it all one color, without any applique. I may bind the sleeves and hem at some point....maybe. I want to wear it a few times to see if the sleeves are the correct length first.

Here's a simple way to make add the v-neck binding, shown to me by Diane Hall when I was at the Alabama Chanin Factory years ago. There is also a tutorial on this blog post. But here is a refresher.

After making your binding (1 1/4" strip cut across the grain and ironed in half), take a length of binding that would be long enough to go around the whole neck, approximately 30", but it's best to measure first on your own garment. Fold the binding in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch a "V" at the crease.

Cut a notch in the "V".

Unfold the binding lengthwise, turn it right sides out,  fold on the crease, and place the notched "V" over the "V" of the V-neck.

Pin, baste, and secure with a stretch stitch as you would normally sew on a binding.

Remember to pull or stretch the binding ever so slightly as you are pinning it. This will keep your neckline from flopping forward.

I used the feather stitch as my stretch stitch to secure the binding.

The back has a simple seam down the middle.

After the Holidays I may try again to make the correct top for my mother. But first I'll need to make sure I have the correct pattern! As for which pattern this is cut from, my guess would be the Alabama Chanin fitted T-shirt pattern; but I can't be sure of that either. I will enjoy having this very basic top to wear with my embellished skirts, over dresses, and also with jeans.

Alabama Chanin Daisy Stenciled Mid-length Skirt

Storm blue, twilight, black, navy, slate ~ this color palette spoke to me. I knew it would make a lovely, versatile garment; and I liked the idea of a new, longer skirt. I'm fairly short, so the mid-length skirt pattern from Alabama Chanin was perfect for a warmer, winter skirt in these most delicious colors.

Earlier this year I set about making up seven "kits" to keep me stitching through the year and into 2019. You can read more about that here. I used Alabama Chanin 100% organic domestic cotton jersey fabric in storm blue and twilight. The stencil is Daisy.  Coats and Clark button craft thread in slate and navy were used for sewing the running stitch and also for construction. I used embroidery floss for embellishing with the satin stitch, feather stitch and accent knots.

I felled the outside facing seams open so that I could see more of the twilight color, making it almost like a stripe down the seams.

At first I stitched tiny "x's" on the seams. I wasn't happy with the way that was looking, so I went back in and added another stitch to make them look more like snowflakes. It lends a slightly nordic feel to the garment.

There are a variety of things going on with this skirt design, so I like the straight lines of the snowflakes and the parallel stitch used to attach the fold-over elastic waistband.

Here is my method of attaching foldover elastic to the waistband. Put the elastic very snugly around your waist, add about 3/4", and cut. I've learned over the years to make the elastic more snug than loose. You don't want the elastic flopping over and your skirt constantly slipping down. I then put a pin about 3/4" from one end of the elastic: Fold the elastic in half at the 3/4" pin and put another pin there: Fold it into quarters and put a pin at each quarter. It will look like this.

If your seams are equidistant, the pins will match up with each seam. Pin the elastic at each seam, overlapping the ending edge about 3/4".

Next, fold the elastic over the raw edge of the waist so the raw edges of the fabric are snugged all the way up into the fold of the elastic. Stretch the elastic to fit the waist, easing each section, and pin.

Baste the elastic onto the waistband and remove the pins. If you try to stitch the waistband on without basting and removing the pins, your thread will constantly catch on the pins and make the final stitching really frustrating. (Trust me!)

Use a stretch stitch with a single strand of buttoncraft thread  to secure the waistband. I used the parallel stitch. You might also try the cretan stitch or the rosebud stitch, among others. Take out your basting thread.

I wanted this skirt to be thicker, heavier weight for warmer winter wear, so I used the reverse applique technique instead of negative reverse applique. You can see below, the right-hand side panel is stitched but not cut, and on the left-hand side the elements have been cut.

I used a loose satin stitch, the feather stitch, and knots with tails to embellish this skirt. I wish the colors were more true on the screen, but my photos just don't do the rich colorway justice. It's beautiful and will match with so many things in my closet.

On the photo above I've placed the seams differently than on the photo below. This skirt is very adaptable, and I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it all seasons of the year.

Thanks for joining me here and reading my blog. I'd love to hear from you. If you ever have any questions,  please reach out as I enjoy helping when I can.